'Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle' is a strategy game from Ubisoft. Ubisoft

Traditionally, "Mario" games from Nintendo have been known for their family-friendliness, as combat has generally been limited to jumping or fantastical tools like fireballs and water guns. "Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle" is a departure from typical Mario games in a lot of ways, but most notably, Mario uses a gun blaster when he’s fighting enemies in-game.

In an interview with IGN, Ubisoft Milan creative director Davide Solinai detailed many of the decisions that went into developing the unconventional tactical strategy game. In "Kingdom Battle," which released Aug. 29, Mario and other characters from the Mario universe face off against Rabbids in turn-based combat.

During an early meeting with Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, the legendary designer told Solinai not to approach the game like a normal Mario title.

“One of the first times I met with Miyamoto-san, he specifically told me: don’t make this game a platform game, don’t make Mario jump normally,” Solinai said.

With Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Ubisoft had few hesitations about following this advice. In the pre-release cycle for Kingdom Battle, the game earned its share of raised eyebrows for a lot of factors: the game wasn’t developed directly by Nintendo, it was a crossover featuring the Rabbids and featured a Mega Man-like blaster that Mario and other characters could use for fighting.

Solinai told IGN that figuring out the tone to take with weapons in Kingdom Battle was a process, but Ubisoft’s final approach quickly got Nintendo’s approval. In-game, weapons include cartoonish rocket launchers and rubber duck grenades.

“It was, of course, not an easy topic, but we used common sense,” Soliani said. “We said, ‘as this will be the only — the first game — with Mario with weapons, we should come up with something which is colorful, joyful, not scaring at all. By the time we went to Kyoto proposing the weapons, we got the approval from Miyamoto the very first time.”

Despite a lackluster response on social media when the game first leaked — Soliani mentions that the backlash was a brief morale drain on the game’s team — the gambit between Ubisoft and Nintendo has paid off well. Kingdom Battle has been well-received among fans and critics, earning high grades from reviewers and holding a respectable 85 on Metacritic.

“Every time you are proposing something crazy to Nintendo, they are quite open-minded,” Soliani said. “But you need a good justification and a good logic to create something in the Mario universe.”