Eurogamer recently caught up with Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto and Ubisoft’s Yves Guillemot where they talked about how the well-received Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle title came to be. The pair also spoke about the possibility of future collaborations, the relationship between the two companies, use of IP and more. Check out a portion of the interview below:
Eurogamer: How did Mario + Rabbids come about, and why now? It feels like the product of a very special relationship between your companies.
Shigeru Miyamoto: It started out when launching Just Dance in Japan – and the idea to have Mario in there. Ubisoft has provided a lot of support for [Nintendo] hardware and they understand how it works. They’ve made products which are very satisfactory and fit the market we’re shooting for. We’ve had a relationship now for over 20 years, but this is the first time we’re operating at the level where we’re sharing characters.
In terms of major games in both companies – Ubisoft has Rayman, it’s a similar sort of platformer. We thought about ways of collaboration and then Rabbids came up – and that them collaborating with Mario might be a fun idea. We also wanted to create a new genre with this collaboration.
Yves Guillemot: We admire what Nintendo does. We also thought we could learn a lot from this collaboration. Our teams did Just Dance together – Nintendo published Just Dance in Japan, and they reworked the core concept to make it fit with the Japanese market.
Xavier [Poix, Ubisoft’s French studios’ manager] and his team made a proposal to Nintendo to put those two worlds together, and Mr Miyamoto reacted strongly – three years ago actually, at E3 – saying ‘I’m ready to see more’. So Xavier’s team went to Japan to show more of that possible collaboration.
Eurogamer: What were the conversations like behind the scenes, feeling out what each set of characters could or couldn’t do – I know you’re both obviously protective of your respective IP. Some people were surprised to see Mario shooting an energy gun, for example.
Shigeru Miyamoto: In terms of Mario wielding a gun, it’s something which was talked about for a while within Nintendo to work out what the appropriate way to do that would be. There was a time in the development of Splatoon where it could have been a Mario-based game. But we decided that a new style of weapon would work. We had a lot of discussion between Ubisoft and Nintendo to make what you see today.
Eurogamer: What’s next for the Nintendo and Ubisoft partnership – do you have plans for more collaboration in the future?
Yves Guillemot: It’s too early to say – we’re finishing the game and we’ll see what it does. For sure, we’ll analyse if we can do other things, but the first step is to make sure this one is coming along well. And there will be some extra content coming along after… It’s already a long-term partnership on this one.
You can read the interview in its entirety here.