Thursday, February 14, 2013

"The Year of Luigi"

So this morning on Nintendo Direct, Mr. Iwata came onscreen... wearing a Luigi hat. Is he just being silly? No, in fact. Iwata was announcing the "Year of Luigi", a year where they focus on the green-capped brother for once. After a short discussion about Luigi's history (where Iwata curiously avoids talking about Mario is Missing), Iwata lead the topic to the announcement of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (which you can read about in Netto's earlier post) and a new Mario Golf for the 3DS. Not much more attention than usual for the man in green, but Iwata also introduced a new face to Nintendo Direct: Shigeru Miyamoto, who hadn't appeared on Nintendo Direct before. Miyamoto, via his translator, in the spirit of "The Year of Luigi", began talking about Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon.

Now, I was skeptical about Dark Moon from the beginning. I'm a BIG fan of the original Luigi's Mansion and I was concerned that this sequel wouldn't do the original justice. Miyamoto's appearance here, though, made me realize that they're working hard to make this game a unique experience, and one that should be very enjoyable regardless of any previous games.

Not much new information was given, but it was elaborated on, and the developers' vision for the game was discussed in greater detail, which you can read below.

The first thing that Miyamoto brings up in his discussion is how much he wanted to see Luigi's Mansion in 3D, both during and after the game's development. If you didn't know, Luigi's Mansion was the testing ground for a lot of the GameCube's effects and programming. One of these effects being stereoscopic 3D. They couldn't get it just right, however, and ended up cutting 3D from the game. In other words, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is being made on the 3DS to finally achieve that. He also mentions the fact that they wanted to add a lot of visual depth and immersion to the game, and with some of the scenes they showed during this discussion, it looks like they succeeded.
An art room. This really pops out during the video.
This area really shows off the lighting well, as well as the architectural detail.
A room with a mirror on the back wall, although it's a bit hard to tell it's a mirror at first.
The next thing Miyamoto brings up is the atmosphere. Walking through dark, unfamiliar hallways with just a flashlight to guide your way, he says that the dev team was paying attention to this kind of atmosphere, and the scenes they show during that bit really seem to show that they did. He also mentions the shading being very immersive, which is then showed off as well.
This really does have a good atmosphere.
Luigi walking in a presumably outside area. Note another mirror effect in the back.
A flash of lightning strikes as Luigi tries to get past two carnivorous plants.
Not much new was revealed about the game, however. Miyamoto does imply more focus on puzzle solving, but the examples he gives us are mostly things that were in the first game, such as sucking up tablecloths, making a ceiling fan spin and sucking up and shooting projectiles at enemies. He does show off a few interesting ways of using the Poltergust though, like a puzzle involving sucking up a bucket, and pouring water into it. There were a few things shown off here and there that were new, however.

The Poltergust, in addition to having the strobe light, also has something called a "Dark Light". Flashing it seems to make invisible objects slightly tangible, and cause dark orbs to float around near it. Sucking up these orbs makes the invisble object fully tangible and usable by Luigi.

After discussing the Dark Light, Miyamoto begins discussing the basic gameplay that was revealed a while ago, going over a few clips of some new ghosts (and a Boo, which doesn't look nearly as detailed as it did in the original), before starting to discuss a new ghost in depth: a ghost dog.

This dog appears to function similarly to the Gold Mice or Speedy Spirits from the original game, although it appears that it steals money from you in the first place (or whatever that golden bone is). You then have to use the Dark Light to track the dog's footprints back to whatever wall it's hiding in, although we don't get to see Luigi suck it up, or what happens when you do, they do show a short cutscene of the dog eating a key and running off.

There was one other thing I noticed about this presentation. I'm not sure if this has been in any footage before, but there was a short clip of a Toad walking with Luigi in an icy cavern. Is it some kind of escort mission? Helping the Toad escape the mansion? I find it interesting either way.

One of the last things Miyamoto goes over is that it's not really supposed to be a scary game. They seemed to put a lot of focus into the comical-looking ghosts and their interactions with Luigi, which does seem kind of interesting, if more lighthearted than the original.

Really I can't do any of this footage justice with words and unmoving pictures, the game is really beautiful and seeing and hearing all of this is much better than anything I could express it with. So if you haven't seen the Nintendo Direct already, then go check it out here.