Shigeru Miyamoto, the man who created Mario, is still very much involved with many of the platforming plumber’s projects, almost 40 years since the character debuted in 1981’s Donkey Kong as “Jumpman.” He continues to produce and supervise Mario games and is even co-producing the upcoming Super Mario movie. In the case of Paper Mario: The Origami King, however, it seems Miyamoto allowed the development team to take the reins for the most part.
In an interview with Eurogamer Germany (translated by Nintendo Everything), Paper Mario Producer Kensuke Tanabe says his team had a lot of freedom when creating the game. “Ever since Paper Mario: Color Splash, we have almost complete control over the creative direction of the game,” he says. “Mr. Miyamoto checked in on development once or twice, but there were no specific requests to make changes.
“However, all character designs have to pass a check by our IP team, which is pretty strict,” he continues. “Nonetheless, we were allowed to change the outfits of some Toads in this game.”
Director Masahiko Nagaya agreed with Tanabe’s sentiment, though added that they remained cautious when handling the Mario brand. “Mr. Tanabe is correct about us having complete creative control over the crucial elements of the game,” Nagaya adds. “We were constantly checking whether or not our approach was moving too far away from the Mario universe. During development, we were also careful not to disappoint the expectations of fans of the core Mario series.
“As mentioned, there are strict guidelines related to the use of characters,” Nagaya explains. “It’s a challenge to emphasize the unique aspects of the game while still adhering to the guidelines.”
In an earlier interview with VGC back in July, Tanabe also noted these aforementioned limitations on creating characters within the Paper Mario series, revealing that, “Since Paper Mario: Sticker Star, it’s no longer possible to modify Mario characters or to create original characters that touch on the Mario universe.” This seemed like a significant restriction, but it’s great to now hear that Tanabe and Nagaya are satisfied with their level of creative control.