Mario + Rabbids creative director Davide Soliani has been at Ubisoft for a long, long time. He’s been there so long his first game was Rayman for the Game Boy Color, which he worked on after signing on back in 1997.
So getting to put Rayman in Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope after all these years has been a bit of a dream come true for him.
“I was taking care of the traces and the level design [for the GBC game],” he says. “It was my first love basically, my first challenge where I started to learn a lot of things. And I always dreamed about being able to work again with these characters.
“And finally, because of the Rabbids’ presence in the Mario + Rabbids Universe, I have been able to justify this appearance. I think that we will create a very interesting adventure as we have been able to do with the Donkey Kong Adventure.”
Though Soliani has been dreaming of bringing his beloved Rayman back in step with the Rabbids for years, that’s not the only character he has in mind. He also has a pile of Nintendo characters he’s been allowed to mine for Mario + Rabbids. And while we’ve seen the introduction of some new heroes in Sparks of Hope, such as Bowser and Rabbid Rosalina, there are still some characters Soliani wishes he could have brought along for the ride.
He clarifies to me that these wishes are coming from him as a player, not a creative director, since he can’t divulge secrets about what they may work on in the future. But as a player, his most-wanted hero character in Mario + Rabbids would be Daisy.
“It’s been a pity that we couldn’t put [her in], but that would be nice,” he says.
Then, he remembers Wario, too, and laughingly says he can’t choose.
Wario, of course, has made somewhat of an appearance already in the form of Rabbid Wario in Kingdom Battle alongside Rabbid Waluigi (sorry, that’s Bwario and Bwaluigi, my mistake). Soliani doesn’t tell me whether or not the duo return for the sequel, but does explain that Wario would be a bit more difficult to introduce as a main character in a game like Mario + Rabbids, because “seeing Wario as a hero” is “way more difficult.” Possible, but difficult.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for Bwario and Bwaluigi in Sparks of Hope, but in the meantime you can check out our final preview of the game as well as the rest of our interview with Soliani covering topics like why the Rabbids talk now, and how Mario + Rabbids wants to be a gateway to more tactics games.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.