Some changes were introduced with the release of Paper Mario: Color Splash with many fans (especially of ‘A Thousand Year Door’) not looking at these tweaks in a favourable way. The following comes from a Nintendo Dream interview with Nintendo and Intelligent Systems where they also explain about how the color theme came to be:
ND: Why did color become the theme of the game?
Nintendo: In the beginning when we were starting development, we had a theme of using the Wii U GamePad for card battles. However, another theme was necessary in order to make exploring the field interesting, and we received a suggestion of using colors as a theme from Intelligent Systems. It looked like it could be fun after seeing a few experimental programs, so we accepted the idea.
Intelligent Systems: I was thinking daily what I could do with this project. Then I saw a child having fun painting with a coloring set and I had a sudden realization. Even though the child wasn’t skilled in painting, his/her face was beaming with joy, so I told the project members about painting freely and that was the beginning.
ND: Why do the Koopalings make an appearance?
N: The fundamental objective was to put characters from the Mario series together. Intelligent Systems chose characters that suit game mechanics and battles from that selection.
IS: The reason is that there were just the right amount of Koopalings to act as bosses when we had decided on the color theme. Actually, each Koopaling is protecting a Big Paint Star that matches with the color of their staff.
ND: Are there elements that you changed on purpose when compared to the previous title?
N: First of all, we made the hints for puzzle solutions more generous. Partner Huey gives effective hints as much as possible along the way of the game and various Toads have been placed as walking dictionaries giving hints. Also, we made inputting the action commands in battles as simple as possible and made the tutorial more generous, too. However, the thing that we recognized above all else was the story. It wasn’t about making a complex story, but rather making the journey of Mario and partner Huey memorable. It is a straightforward story in which you may get a bit emotional in the conclusion, and the seriousness has been spiced up and increased.
Special thanks to Nintendo Everything for the translation.