…there’s a portrait on the wall of a piano, but it has eyes and the keys are jagged like a mouth. So is that a tease of the boss that lurks behind the decorative concert hall door?
SwitchedOn Gamer’s own Paul Hunter had the rare opportunity to run a face to face closed interview with Luigi’s Mansion 3 producers, Yoshihito Ikebata and Kensuke Tanabe. They went into great detail with us for a full 45 minutes and teased some previously-unreleased insights that might have franchise fans “scarily” excited! It’ll be tough waiting for the game to be released later this year.
Paul: Thank you so much for your time today Mr. Ikebata and Mr. Tanabe, it’s a sincere honour to sit down with both of you. My first question relates to Luigi’s new vacuum, the Poltergust G-00. Does this model number mean anything?
Ikebata: Yes, there is a meaning behind it. Since we’re introducing a new character—Gooigi—in this game, and that’s why “G-0-0” or “goo”. That’s where it comes from.
Paul: This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this Poltergust vacuum. We also saw it in the Super Smash Bros. trailer featuring Simon Belmont last summer. Was that meant as a fun teaser and a first look at the new vacuum?
Ikebata: Yes, absolutely, that’s a great observation. That was definitely a teaser where they showed the new vacuum with no explanation, hoping people would speculate what it might be.
Paul: I have a lot of questions about this vacuum, hope you don’t mind (laughs). I noticed the back of the vacuum has this yellowish glass tank. What’s in that container?
Ikebata: So the yellowish thing you’re seeing is the goo, and that’s how Gooigi comes out.
Paul: It looks like Luigi can change the end of the vacuum. He’s got a regular vacuum end and also a plunger. The plunger appears to stun ghosts, but could you elaborate on the plunger’s purpose?
Ikebata: In this new title, there’s a new action you can take called a Slam. It’s this new, exhilarating action where you can vacuum in a ghost and then slam it back and forth. Because we love the action of slamming the ghosts so much, we wanted to do the same thing with the furniture and different objects around the hotel. So, that’s what the plunger’s Suction Shot does, it attaches to an object and lets you slam that stuff around, too.
Paul: That would explain why, in the reveal trailer, some of the furniture got rearranged. Speaking of the plunger, it’s attached to a rope and not a traditional stick handle that real plungers have. What’s the function of the rope? Is it because it’s easier to suck into your vacuum?
Ikebata: That’s exactly the case. We chose the rope because it’s easier to vacuum up.
That action is called the Burst and it’s a new action we added in this game…it’s not him jumping, it’s the exhaust of the vacuum pushing him upwards.
Paul: I was in Tokyo last year and finally played the Luigi’s Mansion arcade game—it was awesome fun. I love holding the arcade vacuum and the cool rumble effects. For Luigi’s Mansion 3, I’m imagining myself holding a Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controller, pointing it at my TV screen like a vacuum and sucking up ghosts. The controller’s HD rumble shakes as I suck up ghosts. Are there any motion controls like this in the game?
Ikebata: There are. The slam motion can be done by moving the Joy-Con back and forth. But unfortunately, you can’t use the motion controls to aim or point at your screen.
Paul: One of the big, new additions I saw in the reveal trailer is Luigi can now jump. This is the first time he can jump in a Luigi’s Mansion game, yes! But I wasn’t sure if he’s actually jumping or if it’s because the vacuum’s exhaust is propelling him into the air. What’s happening here?
Ikebata: Yes, you’re correct. That action is called the Burst and it’s a new action we added in this game. Like you said, it’s not him jumping, it’s the exhaust of the vacuum pushing him upwards.
Tanabe: It’s technically not a jump. So while you’re thinking of it as a jump, I’d like you to think of it as a “burst” that lets you clear everything around you and distance yourself from enemies. There’s going to a lot of small objects scattered around the rooms and you can use Burst to clear them—it’s very satisfying. Or, if you’re in a tight spot surrounded by ghosts, kind of like this room we’re in (everyone laughs), you can use Burst to get free. You’re unable to jump around like in a platforming game, like you can’t jump on top of room objects. But you are able to use Burst to evade objects that are coming at you, such as attacks.
Paul: I will always call it a Burst and never a jump again, thank you for clarifying (everyone laughs). In the announce trailer, we saw a tipped-over red suitcase and a coffee mug with Mario’s red “M” on it. I’m really concerned because I love Mario. Is he OK? Is Mario captured? Does Luigi need to rescue him again?
Ikebata: Unfortunately, yes, he is captured.
Tanabe: That’s a detailed observation. You just saw the tipped over suitcase?
Paul: Yeah, I literally analyzed every second of this trailer, perhaps obsessively (everyone laughs).
So when they first arrive at the hotel, it’s all gorgeous and it has pictures of all the special guests that have arrived. But once things change and the hotel turns into this dark and gloomy atmosphere, the portraits get the X’s.
Tanabe: If you’re looking into that detail in the game there are all kinds of hints and clues throughout the game. To get back to your original question, yes, Mario is captured and this story is about the younger brother standing up to save his older brother.
Paul: Speaking of looking into the trailer way too deeply, it appears in the lobby of this hotel there are portraits of Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad. I found this interesting because this would be the first time Peach is in a Luigi’s Mansion game, which is pretty exciting. It also looked like there were X’s on all their faces, as if something has a hit list for the four of them, and succeeded. Am I onto something here?
Ikebata: So, the premise is the ghost is trying to capture those four and that’s why those pictures are there. Since they all came to the mansion, the ghost succeeded and that why there are X’s. However, they’re actually being tricked into coming to the hotel. So when they first arrive at the hotel, it’s all gorgeous and it has pictures of all the special guests that have arrived. But once things change and the hotel turns into this dark and gloomy atmosphere, the portraits get the X’s. (everyone says “ohhh” rather ominously.)
Tanabe: Wow, you have amazing attention to detail.
Paul: In the trailer, there was a shot of Luigi looking at what appears to be the front door of the hotel, but it’s heavily boarded up and chained shut. Is it correct to assume that whoever owns this hotel doesn’t want another soul stepping inside?
Ikebata: Since they’ve succeeded in bringing all the Mario characters into the hotel, they just don’t want them to leave and that’s why it’s shut tight.
Paul: Ahh, so it’s more about keeping them inside than about stopping outsiders from coming in. I was looking at the artwork for the game that shows the hotel and also the trailer. There’s one scene where Luigi is on floor five and you can see room numbers 506 and 507. So obviously—well, at least I assume—this hotel has at least five floors. Looking at the artwork, the hotel appears to have five distinct sections, perhaps more. I’d like to know if is this a five-floor hotel and does each floor have a different theme?
Ikebata: In terms of the number of floors, there’s a lot more than five. (Paul says “ohhh nice”) Initially, when you walk in, it does look like a hotel, that’s the theme of the interior. When creating this game, we wanted to make the hotel as strange and quirky as possible. So as we designed the other floors, we tried to make it as strange as possible to make you doubt if you’re still inside a hotel.
Paul: I was looking at the front lobby and I noticed there’s a green circular button, which is a gameplay mechanic from Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon. In that game, if you shined your flashlight on them, you’d activate something in the room. Does the button act the same in Luigi’s Mansion 3?
Ikebata: Yes, it’s the same in the sense that you shine your flashlight on it and it does something.
Since it’s an action adventure game, we want the players to really think about where a boss’s weak point could be? What do I need to do in order to attack it?
Paul: I like seeing mechanics make their return in later games, so that’s cool. There was a shot in the trailer of Luigi in what looks like a music hall. There was a red carpet, a ticket podium and a ghost shaking the carpet. In the left-hand corner, there’s a portrait on the wall of a piano, but it has eyes and the keys are jagged like a mouth. So is that a tease of the boss that lurks behind the decorative concert hall door? Is my hunch correct?
Ikebata: So first, each floor will have a different boss. Clearly, when you go through that door there’s most likely going to be a boss (everyone laughs).
Tanabe: Whether that’s a piano or not, you’ll find out when you play the game. I’m really impressed with your observations. We might have to revisit our own trailer now to see (everyone laughs).
Paul: What I liked about the first two Luigi’s Mansion games is the boss was part action combat and part puzzle. Are we going to see an equal amount of these elements in Luigi’s Mansion 3?
Ikebata: We created one theme for all the boss battles in this game: we just want the players to be excited when they battle bosses. So of course, there’s an action element, but none of the bosses are as simple as punching them over and over again. Since it’s an action adventure game, we want the players to really think about where a boss’s weak point could be? What do I need to do in order to attack it?
Paul: I love those a-ha moments when you finally figure out how to exploit a boss’s weakness. There’s a scene that appears to take place inside a parking garage and the vehicle in there reminds me of the vehicle in the ending credits of Dark Moon. It’s a slightly different colour, so perhaps it got a paint job between the games. Is it the same vehicle, and did Luigi drive it to this spooky hotel?
Tanabe: For me, this is the first time I’m working on a Luigi’s Mansion project.
Ikebata: Hmm, and I can’t remember (everyone laughs). I’m having trouble remembering which car specifically you’re talking about, but I can say one of the cars is a car that belongs to Luigi.
Tanabe: [interjects] Luigi only drives a Mario Kart, so he actually doesn’t drive in this game (everyone laughs). In terms of the car you may have seen, there is a car that Professor E. Gadd drives in the previous games and it appears in this game, so it might be that one.
Paul: Speaking of E. Gadd, where is the professor? I didn’t see him in the trailer.
Ikebata: So of course, he will be in this game as well. He will be helping Luigi and sort of confusing Luigi, and trying to help him out as he solves puzzles. He’s not there at first, though.
Paul: Hmm, maybe he’s the one that captured Luigi then? (everyone laughs) Going back to that garage scene for a second it appears there’s the Polterpup, or at least the collar colour implies so. Can you confirm if is it the Polterpup, and does he affect the gameplay in any way, like sniff out treasures?
Tanabe: Yes, that’s the same Polterpup. He does kind of give you a helping hand. It’s also Luigi’s favourite Polter. We definitely wanted to show some scenes where Polterpup has a great moment or really shines in the game. In particular, he’s very helpful in teaching the players how to control Luigi. As soon as you play, you’ll know immediately what we’re talking about.
Paul: Whoever animated the Polterpup, give them a high five from me. He’s soo cute and I love that adorable wagging tongue. I was looking in the hotel lobby and I swear I saw a diamond or a gem of some kind. In the last game, there were various gems to collect, so are there gems or other collectibles in this game?
Ikebata: In this game as well, in addition to having the players clear the game, there a lot of hidden things like collectible gems to find.
Tanabe: We didn’t want to make the game too difficult; we wanted the gameplay to be accessible. However, collecting all the gems is hard.
Paul: I’m a completionist, so that’s like music to my ears. In Luigi’s Mansion, after defeating bosses, you could squish them flat and press them into a portrait. It made me feel powerful to say, “A-ha, you’re forever stuck in that portrait”. Will there be something similar to this game? After I defeat a boss, can I admire my accomplishment somehow?
Ikebata: We have something like that in the game and hope you look forward to it.
The reason we decided to include those four characters is we really wanted to show Mario getting captured, and have Luigi save Mario (who’s typically the hero) in front of Peach and Toad with both watching.
Paul: Got a general question for you. Today during the E3 Nintendo Direct, we learned there’s a Scarescraper mode in the game. I understand it’s a 4-player mode, but is it offline? Online? Are their leaderboards? What exactly do we do in this mode?
Ikebata: Like previous titles in the series, you are able to play both online and locally. You can play with up to four Switches. Because Switch has two Joy-Con controllers and each person can also play as Gooigi or create a copy of Luigi, by having four Switch systems, you can have up to eight players.
Paul: Oh, great. Now I just need seven friends (everyone laughs). I’m a big timeline nerd, so I like knowing where games sit in the series history. Is this a direct sequel to Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon? Also, Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon was called “Luigi’s Mansion 2” in Europe and Japan and I see this next game is called Luigi’s Mansion 3. Have you decided to drop the subtitles and number each game in the series going forward?
Ikebata: In terms of the timeline, yes, it’s linear progression and this is the most recent one.
Tanabe: Well, the next game certainly won’t be called Luigi’s Mansion 5 (everyone laughs). Joking aside, we titled it Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon because it was a very strong request from Nintendo of America saying they really wanted a subtitle. That’s why it’s there. When continuing a series without a number at the end, it gets a little confusing as to which one we’re talking about, so we decided to give it a number this time.
Paul: Alright, well I’ll be sure to tell everyone I know that Dark Moon is really number 2 (everyone laughs). Last question, Luigi’s Mansion 3 has Luigi, Mario, Toad and Princess. Usually, when you see all four of them, they’re all playable. I’m thinking about Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario 3D World—games like that. Any chance we’ll be able to play as characters other than Luigi in this game?
Tanabe: Ahh, that is something we didn’t think about. The reason we decided to include those four characters is we really wanted to show Mario getting captured, and have Luigi save Mario (who’s typically the hero) in front of Peach and Toad with both watching.
Paul: Wow, cool. Luigi is definitely the hero this world needs. Well, thank you so much for your time. I can’t wait to play the game and best of luck on the game launch!