New Super Mario Bros 2: “We had to develop two Mario titles at the same time”
In an exclusive interview Nintendo’s Yusuke Amano explains how he not only made New Super Mario Bros 2 different to previous games but also the upcoming New Super Mario Bros U
What did you set out to achieve with New Super Mario Bros 2 that previous Mario titles haven’t before?
This doesn’t apply just to NSMB2 because we actually put ourselves into a challenging environment where we had to develop two Mario titles at the same time, each title utilizing the specific features of Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. So, we tried not only to improve our development system but also to create a new approach towards making games. I also believe we were able to create new ways to play by including co-op play, StreetPass and SpotPass. Through those features, we created a system where you will be able to keep discovering new things, even when playing on the same courses.
The first NSMB had the advantage of a new look and style to offset any sense of familiarity about level/world design… How have you managed to keep things fresh with NSMB2 while incorporating the similar visual style ?
For NSMB2 we carefully analyzed the overall game design of Mario games and created a new design principle based on both our new findings and the previous NSMB game. Thanks to the level design and graphic design staff being able to share this new design principle for side scrolling 2D Mario games we were able to create a well balanced design accessible to all kinds of players while allowing us to implement various new features we wanted to include.
NES and SNES era 2D Mario games each have distinct personalities – from Mario Bros to Mario World – how does NSMB2 standout in the new canon of side-scrolling Mario games?
One of the major distinctions is that we have revised the game design based around both the existing idea of being able to enjoy the game no matter how many times you play it and this new idea of collecting coins. Based on this concept, we implemented a mode called Coin Rush where you can play the same courses over and over trying to beat your record. A unique gameplay of collecting coins on the same courses multiple times called “Coin Rush” has been created in this game. Nintendo 3DS also has a feature called StreetPass. Thanks to this feature if you carry your Nintendo 3DS around with you and pass someone else who plays NSMB2 you can share your Coin Rush records and also try to beat their records too. This is a completely new Mario experience we will be providing in NSMB2.
What is it about the element of collecting coins that proved a particular draw?
When we were planning out the new game designs, we were thinking of what features could possibly help boost users’ motivation besides needing to rescue the woman you love from evil hands. And we decided that collecting coins would do this best. From the very first Mario title, coins were always there as some sort of symbolic element to help users understand the game naturally rather than forcing it on them. However for NSMB2 we have greatly increased the importance of these coins.
What did the 3D effect allow yout do that wasn’t possible in the first New Super Mario Bros?
The power of Nintendo 3DS can be seen in how we have made full co-op play for a side scrolling 2D Mario game possible on a handheld for the very first time in history. We are also now able to have lots of enemies and coins on screen at once.