Masashi Haraki Interview Provides AlphaDream Insights

Masashi Haraki Interview Provides AlphaDream Insights

When it comes to Nintendo and associated companies, information about their development practices can be hard to come by. Oh sure, we do occasionally get Iwata Asks style interviews, and there are presentations at GDC every few years…

But day to day information is as rare as hen’s teeth, especially when it comes to small third parties working with Nintendo on their games.

Like say, the now defunct developer of the Mario & Luigi series, AlphaDream. They were never a particularly public company when they were still around, and their unfortunate demise in 2019 only made information about them even harder to come by.

However, thanks to the efforts of a YouTuber called Lizardy, that’s all changing. Yep, with numerous interesting videos under their belt about AlphaDream’s development processes and history, they’ve singlehandedly been revealing all kinds of intriguing details about the company and their works.

With their latest video being the best example yet. Why? Because they’ve actually scored an interview with longtime Mario & Luigi dev Masashi Haraki, and revealed all manner of neat details about their time at the studio and the games they worked on there. Here’s the video if you haven’t seen it already:

YouTube player

It’s an interesting watch, with lots of new details about the series and its development. We won’t spoil all of it for obvious reasons (an investigation like this should reward the actual journalist, not other parties rereporting their findings), but there is one little fact we found most interesting of all.

That being, how the battle transition from the original Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga came to be. As you know, when you enter a battle in that game, you get a short animation of a star spinning onto the screen in 3D. It’s a neat effect, and one that definitely felt quite advanced for a GBA game.

Mario & Luigi Battle Animation

The star shaped transition into a battle always sets the mood well

But apparently, it wasn’t the initial idea the team had in mind here. No, they had all kinds of ideas for battle animations and transitions, which AlphaDream’s COO Yoshihiko Maekawa wasn’t too keen on. So, Mr Haraki implemented the effect as a somewhat desperate last-ditch effort, and Mr Maekawa liked it enough that it got included in the final game.

It’s a neat detail, and one which makes you realise how different things might have been had this effect not been created. Would the game have just faded to black before battles? Would we have seen a modernised version of the Super Mario RPG battle transition instead? Could the game have originally had no transition at all?

All of these possibilities are interesting to think about, though they make us glad we got the effect we actually did here. The spinning star setup is just iconic in this series, and it just fits the feel of the original game so, so well.

Regardless, the video is definitely something that every Mario & Luigi fan should check out at some point or another. There’s a lot of neat stuff about the series and its developers there, and Lizardy did a great job compiling it into a video. Here’s hoping for more awesome Mario & Luigi content from them in future!


Interviewing Masashi Haraki, Mario & Luigi Dev (Lizardy on YouTube)

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