Shigeru Miyamoto is without a doubt one of, if not the most important video game designers within the last 30 years or so, and he's widely credited for much of the success that Nintendo's own games see time and again thanks to innovative and fun game design.
Make no mistake though, when it comes down to the approval process for games in development, Miyamoto means business according to a recent Iwata Asks interview. Such was the case for Intelligent Systems and Vanpool Inc. when Paper Mario: Sticker Star had been in development for upwards of three and a half years.
Development on the game started at the tail end of 2009, and the game that was announced at E3 in 2010 as one of the many titles that would be available for 3DS was actually the first iteration in what would be a longer and more arduous process than most 3DS games usually go through.
The reason for the long development? Miyamoto rejected the team's design several times before it became what it is today. Upon playing a demo of the game after E3 2010, Miyamoto told the development team that it felt like a port of the Gamecube version (which many fans consider to be the best game in the series, I might add).
That meeting ultimately led to the creation of the whole "sticker" concept and thus an entire game based around stickers, even down to the battles. A year later, the team would again present their work to Miyamoto, who told them that it felt too "boring." His counsel and suggestions led them to rework much of the atmosphere while also focusing less on story and more on the Mario world itself.
Ultimately, the end design for Paper Mario: Sticker Star worked out pretty well as our review can attest to, but I will admit I'm a little sad to hear that Miyamoto wanted less emphasis on the story and characters this time around. With all of this in mind, hopefully the next Paper Mario won't take nearly as long to make.