March 24, 2013 -- "Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon" releases today for the Nintendo 3DS, a lengthy sequel to Nintendo's short 2001 GameCube title "Luigi's Mansion."
In the new game, as in the original, Mario's younger twin-brother, Luigi, takes the spotlight, hunting through haunted rooms for spooks and specters with a vacuum cleaner strapped to his back, equipped to suck up and capture creatures of all sizes.
In the second part of our discussion with Shigeru Miyamoto, we asked the renowned creator of "Super Mario Bros." and producer for "Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon" about what Nintendo is calling "The Year of Luigi," a year of games geared toward featuring the green-clad plumber.
Q: "Dark Moon" multiplayer features four Luigis tracking down ghosts with vacuum-cleaner backpacks. It has a "Ghostbusters" vibe. Are you a fan of the movie?
A: I am a fan of "Ghostbusters." That wasn't the inspiration for the original "Luigi's Mansion." In fact, when we were developing the original "Luigi's Mansion," we were taking care as a team, even though that wasn't our original inspiration, to make sure that people didn't just assume that that was what we were trying to do.
Q: The "Luigi's Mansion" series is returning in 3-D while the "Pikmin 3" sequel and "Wind Waker" remake are coming back in HD. How do you make the choice between going 3-D or HD with Nintendo franchises?
A: Ultimately, it comes down to the decisions of the directors of the next games that are being made. Interestingly, when we were originally developing the original "Luigi's Mansion" on GameCube, we worked with Sharp on a 3-D monitor and we ported the game into a sort of 3-D mode that we experimented with. So when we worked on Nintendo 3DS that was a natural fit to then take that game that we had originally wanted to do that with and bring that into 3-D.
Similarly with "Pikmin," that was a game also when we created on the GameCube, we actually wished that we had had HD visuals at that time. Primarily because you've got so many small little Pikmin running around, we wanted the level of detail to really be able to express the characteristics of those Pikmin in a detailed way. That's why we wanted to do "Pikmin 3" on Wii U and in HD.
Sort of similar to that with the decision on "Wind Waker" in particular, the animation style of the original "Wind Waker," we felt that HD could really sort of breathe new life into that animation style and so that was the reason we went into that direction. Ultimately, there isn't a common reason across all the games they're basing the decision on. It really is which games are best suited to which styles or which systems or which features.
Q: Nintendo is calling this the "Year of Luigi," and we're celebrating him, but what is Luigi after ... Is he going to save Mario. Is he going to get the girl? There are rumors that Princess Daisy is the princess for Luigi ... this could be her chance to shine.
A: (Laughter) I'll talk to Mr. Tezuka. (Producer on the current series of "New Super Mario Bros." games.)
Q: Daisy and Wario aren't original "Mario Bros." series characters, but they're invited to the Mario Karts, they're invited to the tennis matches … Why don't these characters ever take part in the Mario storylines?
A: Both Daisy and Wario were originally drawn as part of the "Mario Land" games and had the same illustrator. The art style of those games was different from the "Mario World" series with Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach, and for a long time that was the reason that we didn't have those characters enter into each other's stories.
Through the sports games, then you started to see the overall character lineup grow a little more. What's interesting is, because we've moved into an era where the characters have moved from some of the hand-drawn or the 2-D illustration style into the full 3-D model style, the differences between the art styles are no longer there. So, although originally we never had them entering each other's stories because of the different art styles of the different games, perhaps now we don't have to follow that condition anymore.
On "Super Mario 64" for the DS, that game did, in fact, have a multiplayer mode that Wario appeared in.
Q: Back to the Year of Luigi. Do you have a brother?
A: I have an older brother, and I have a younger sister, as well.
Regretfully, we neglected to ask whether there was a lost Super Mario sister. "Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon" is available now for the Nintendo 3DS.