We take you with us to the Italian-style Mushroom Kingdom: Ubisoft Milano has given us a behind-the-scenes look at Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
The presentation we told you in the previous special dedicated to Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope it’s already been an unexpected glimpse into the creative beating heart behind the game, but the boys of Ubisoft Milano they (to our complete delight) increased the dose with a tour. We would be lying if it hadn’t been a classic “chocolate factory moment”: after all, due to the seniority of the videogame medium, we have reached a moment in which those who grew up with trade magazines in their hands now write for a newspaper. A new generation to hold the torch of the previous one.
By maintaining a kind of demeanor, we made our way where ideas come to life. Thinking about it is crazy: one of the spinoffs dedicated to the mustache, one of those with the greatest (although initially unexpected) success, boasts a maternity ward as Italian as the name of the plumber himself. The heart in the throat is difficult to hide, especially when the distant echo of the collaboration between different branches of Ubisoft around the world returns to be felt. We witnessed a real “behind the scenes“For a game so ambitious as to cross all existing customs. A sense of proportion that makes the work done even more impressive.
Shovelful brush strokes
The first to welcome us in his temple of art was Valentina Moscon by Ubisoft Milano, starting from a background on the pages of children’s books to the character design (and more) of Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. The division devoted to the starting illustrations enjoys all kinds of muse. We move from the display case, which houses Brick Headz and One Piece artbook in equal measure, to the occasional self-congratulatory statuette dedicated to Watch Dogs. But Valentina brings us back to order by reminding us of her role. She is a real “360° artist”, And to illustrate the concept, he immediately made it clear how vital the synergy between departments is.
In fact, a mutual feedback between designers and 3D artists. The aim is to reach an ideal compromise between what makes good use of the hardware and the technical limitations it imposes. Just think of one NPC in the game, the Rabbid of the Autumn Forest Dryad. Not all the first ideas born from Valentina’s pen worked on the fly in 3D. In this interlocking game other elements also enter, such as a backstory for the appeal and the desired contrast between Dryad and the lumberjack Rabbid. Despite the importance of the contrasts that we have already mentioned in the presentation of the game, the working environment of the Milanese studio guarantees a lot of creative freedom thanks to its synergy.
Tell me how you dress up worlds and I’ll tell you who you are – our Ubisoft Milan tour for Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope
A few meters away, we found ourselves in the Ubisoft Milan division dedicated to the aforementioned transition phase, admiring the 3D model of a world of Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. All of this, of course, in motion, going from the actual look to the ruined level look with a single click from the level artist Alberto Viapiano. The task of the level artist fully responds to the description of synergy previously provided by Valentina Moscon: a reciprocal feedback to bring the balance between visual aspect and level design to an acceptable and functional compromise.
According to Viapiano, each world has its own “mood”, to further convey an ideal message to marry art direction and game design. The game world, as we mentioned earlier, changes during the adventure according to the player’s actions. And the game adheres to the “show, don’t tell”Typical of the world 1-1: it is enough to surround a tree with rocks to communicate that it cannot be shaken. The message will be directed to each location, like a mountain scenery that alternates an impervious climb with a decidedly less hostile downhill path.
Magi (u) stralmente yours – our Ubisoft Milan tour for Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope
There is a reason why we talked about the changing of the guard (so to speak) in our opening words: just like Ugo “Surgo” Laviano in the presentation, here too two historical faces of Nintendo the Official Magazine peep out. With the narrative director Andrea Babich (“Bisboch”, on NRU) we will talk more specifically in our interview, while now it is Roberto Magistretti (“Magiustra”), narrative coordinator, to describe her role here. The goal is to outline the player experience from the very beginning, constantly communicating the order of in-game events to other departments.
Everything happens through a synopsis, distributed to the whole team. This general summary describes what event takes place at a certain point on the level (with an occasional, additional summary for the quicker colleagues). The direction of the cutscenes goes straight to the point, to favor the exchange of information between divisions. From the notes for the voice actors (Italians, as is our case, or foreigners as they are) to the drafts for the animators, nothing is really missing. The most important ingredient, in particular, is theamore for the video game as an art form, as universal as the controllers used in the testing phases.
The Milanese armory – our Ubisoft Milan tour for Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope
The tour ended (or almost, as you will see shortly) with Alan Casanova, responsible for the design of weapons in the game. Ballistics is also subject to sudden changes during development: the trajectory of the bullets could be optimal for a division of the team, while at the same time turning up their noses for the artists who conceived the arsenal in the first place. Fortunately, in each development team, everyone has their own role, preventing everyone from being overburdened with work. We have seen the painstaking care behind each animation by trying the game firsthand, and perfectionism is tangible here too.
Casanova reminded us with a touch of irony how many changes an apparently simple appearance like the one may have received trajectory of Rabbid Peach’s bullets. To show us an example, the programmer showed off a battle of the game within the testing program, stripping it of outline details like backgrounds or whatever. The focus is all on Rabbid Peach’s line of fire, suddenly subject to lopsided trajectories that you will never see in the full game. The guide took us back to refreshments, but it is not on this note that we would like to say goodbye.
NRU, acronym for We Stay United
Have you ever seen Mom, I missed the plane and followed suit? Director Chris Columbus, switching to Harry Potter years later, decided to check the background of the young actors, a priori torpedoing anyone who was accompanied by unscrupulous parents as was the case with Macaulay Culkin. The reason for our excursus before closing is simple: before leaving school with a heart full of emotions, we stopped to chat with Roberto Magistretti. Indeed, given the more informal tones pending the interview with Babich, we would like to say that we have spoken with the Magiustra.
And from a personal anecdote (the writer met him over ten years ago in the same video game store) to the other, good old Magiustra left us a stupid smile on his face with a simple sentence. In the company of Gianmarco Zanna (ex-NRU in turn), Magistretti described the main reason behind recruiting Davide Soliani in the same team: sharing the same great love for the most important icon in the gaming world. Because when those who take part in a project have, like the Columbus wizards, the heart in the right place… It is only then that “not a day goes by when you work without a laugh”. And, these days, we badly need it.
Now it’s up to you to tell us yours: were we able to bring you too among the Ubisoft studios in Milan? Let us know below, and as always don’t forget to stay on TechGameWorld.com for all the most important news for gamers and more. For your purely gaming needs, you can instead find the best discounts in digital format on Instant Gaming.