An interview with Mario + Rabbid‘s Creative Director Davide Soliani has been posted on the Nintendo UK website.
In the interview, Soliani is asked about Ubisoft’s pitch meetings with Nintendo. Soliani speaks about his reaction to meeting Shigeru Miyamoto, the man who has inspired his whole career as a game designer, and mentions that he was torn between asking for an autograph and ensuring he presented the idea in the most professional way.
Here are some snippets below:
“NUK: There must have been many pitch meetings between Ubisoft and Nintendo. How did they go?
DS: After we felt as a team that we had something solid, Ubisoft contacted Nintendo and said, “We want to propose the idea.” We were not expecting to meet Nintendo super soon, but the meeting was about three weeks later and we said, “Oh my God, it’s super early!”
We felt that we had to do something special for this pitch. We wanted to avoid any Powerpoint presentation or any design document that would have been boring and ineffective. So we said, “We should work like crazy and go there with a playable prototype.”
When I arrived in front of Miyamoto-san, who is the creator of the games I prefer the most, who inspired my whole career as a games designer, I felt split in two between the urgency to ask for an autograph and at the same time the responsibility to present the idea in the most professional way.
But he loved it! He said, “I’m impressed!” I was not expecting such a reaction. Then he asked me, “Where did you get the Mario and Luigi from, because they look identical to the Nintendo versions?” The truth is that we were so crazy, we wanted this game to happen so much, that even with only three weeks we recreated Mario and Luigi from scratch in order to bring the essence of those two characters to our prototype. I think that this was the moment where we convinced Nintendo of our passion and commitment.”
Soliani was also asked about his emotional reaction to Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle being revealed on stage at E3, and what it meant to him at the time:
“NUK: When Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was finally revealed on stage at E3 2017, you gained instant internet stardom because of your emotional reaction during the reveal. Can you talk us through what that announcement meant to you at the time?
DS: It’s not easy to answer you, but you can imagine the pressure on me, because I’m just part of a team. I’m the creative director, so I feel the pressure. On our shoulders was the responsibility of three years of development. Ubisoft took quite a big risk, because we decided to embark on this game without knowing what the new Nintendo console would be or if the idea would be accepted.
As a Nintendo player, growing up with Miyamoto games, he was almost a father, telling me bedtime stories every night. Seeing Miyamoto-san on stage, I was not ready for him to call out my name. I felt like everything was finally realised and I said ‘don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry’, but then I broke apart.
Also, because a few rumours started on the internet, prior to our announcement, a few people made their own assumptions about the game, but now they can play it and they have changed their minds! They’re having fun and that is the biggest reward ever.
So the conference for me was a wave of emotion that I couldn’t control, but I didn’t know that it was spreading all over the internet until I discovered it the night after. Because I was in the Nintendo booth ready to do a rehearsal for Nintendo Treehouse Live and a guy stopped me saying, “You are super famous in China, you have more than 2 million views on our website” and showed me the picture of me crying. I said, “Oh noooo!”
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle will be available on the Nintendo Switch on August 29th, 2017.