Paper Mario: Sticker Star was first unveiled at E3 2010 along with the announcement of 3DS and became hotly anticipated amongst fans of the series. Unfortunately, we didn’t receive it until over two years of waiting had occurred and now we know why. The title’s lengthy development dragged on because of Shigeru Miyamoto’s dissatisfaction with the prototype of the game. Miyamoto felt it was too much like its GameCube predecessor, Thousand Year Door, and influenced the team working on the next addition to change the gameplay and create a new experience. When introduced to the idea of implementing stickers, the team changed the game’s mechanisms and turned it into something completely unique.
Would you have rather had a Paper Mario title like Thousand Year Door or are you happy with how Sticker Star turned out?
Iwata: We imagined rather early on that Paper Mario would be a good match for the Nintendo 3DS, and the papercraft atmosphere of the actual prototype was good.
Tanabe: That was about three years ago, at the end of 2009.
Aoyama: At the beginning of development, we were simply incorporating an idea making use of the stereoscopic display function. Then at the 2010 E3, before release of the Nintendo 3DS, we revealed several images.
Iwata: So why did it drag on until now?
Aoyama: After E3, Miyamoto-san played the prototype and said it was just a port of the GC version.
Tanabe: I had heard that at first Miyamoto-san said that something like an RPG would be fine, so for a while I thought that something like the previous one would be fine.
Iwata: That must have meant that you hadn’t done much that was new.
Tanabe: Right. So we wondered what to do. Then the idea of using stickers came up. Originally, the plan was to use stickers here and there for solving puzzles on the overall map and so forth, but then we thought, “If we’re gonna do that, then we might as well use stickers for the whole thing, including battles,” and we decided to begin rethinking the game mechanics.