Kensuke Tanabe, Bryce Holliday, and Yoshihito Ikebata, the three developers behind Luigi’s Mansion 3, shared quite a bit about the creation process and philosophy of the game in an email interview with Stephen Totilo of Kotaku. Details were spilled of early gameplay concepts, player choices, and the prevalence of money in the game. Here are a few highlights from the interview.
This Gameplay Concept Was Scrapped For Being Too Difficult
Tanabe, had many ideas for the hotel setting of the game back in 2019, saying, “by having rooms above and below, it kind of adds to the amount of stuff that we can do from a puzzle perspective. For example, if you see water dripping down from the floor above, the player will understand that they need to explore the room above them.” Concepts like this are scarce throughout the final game because it confused play testers. Holliday and Ikebata agreed that these kinds of puzzles were proven difficult, but Holliday assures players that the setting still plays a large role in gameplay. He says, “…that idea of room connections is throughout the game at the room scale rather than floor scale. There are many secrets within ‘gaps’ in the map, behind oddly placed walls or rooms where the height doesn’t seem to match those around it.”
Paranormal Productions, a fan favorite level from the game, features a docile ghost named Morty. The goal for many players is to suck up all the ghosts, but this became a moral dilemma for a lot of gamers. The level is spent helping Morty, a director, find his red megaphone and complete his film. At the end, he is grateful for your help and rewards you the key to the next level. You have the option of capturing him anyway, or sparing him. Ikebata had this to say on the level: “We thought of making it so that you couldn’t catch the ghost, but we felt that there would be players who want to catch all of them, so we gave the option of catching/not catching the ghost to the player. When looking at the users’ response, you get a sense that many of them are having a hard time deciding as to whether they should catch the ghost, so I feel that we’ve made a memorable moment.”
Money Money Money
Quite a bit of money can be found in Luigi’s Mansion 3. It can be used to purchase temporary power ups, but that’s pretty much it. The sheer amount of money flying out of the rugs, bookshelves, and even plants is disproportionate to how much you can actually use it on. This is by design for the sake of game feel. Ikebata explains the concept and the origin of the money: “Actually, this money does not belong to the ghosts. It was hidden within the hotel at some point in time. The ‘feedback that acquiring money makes one feel happy’ is something that has been demonstrated in Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda, so it was something we wanted to include.”
The developers dive deep into game design logic as well as the process and experience of working on Luigi’s Mansion 3. You can read the full interview here.