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Super Mario Bros. Wonder

En 2D-värld som ingen annan - Super Mario Bros. Wonder Intervju

Under vår tid i Köln för Gamescom 2023 fick vi chansen att sitta ner med spelregissören och producenten för det kommande och efterlängtade Nintendo-plattformsspelet.

Audio transcriptions

"All right, we are at Gamescom 2023 and I dressed up for the occasion because when you're seeing this we can tell you that I've just played Super Mario Wonder and that now I get the pleasure and the opportunity to interview both producer Tezuka-san and director Mouri-san. So first of all the impression I got is this is fresh, fresh, fresh and crazy like a party game. So is that something that you wanted to achieve with this game like coming from the new Super Mario series for this to be more varied, more fresh, fresher and crazier?
Thank you very much. As you mentioned a party game, this is like a party game. It does have that sort of side of it as well and so we're hoping that this game can be enjoyed by a lot of different people."

"So obviously there's also local multiplayer that can be enjoyed like a party game. Also you can play single player and also there's the online play which can be enjoyed by playing with various other people throughout the world and so we're hoping the user can decide and choose the way that they prefer. All right now that you mentioned the online play and if I'm correct you were programmer for previous Mario and Zelda games. What can you tell us about the difficulties or the challenge that is to have such a hectic game being online multiplayer for the first time?
In this game we are aiming for a 2D Mario game with a new kind of online experience."

"So what we came up with in terms of a concept for the online play was having or creating casual connections. So this casual connection what I mean by it is that it can be enjoyed in the same sort of experience as single player and because the matching is run in the background you don't need to wait for the matching to be done. And so when you play online there will be other players who are playing simultaneously around the world that appear on your screen as live player shadows."

"So these live player shadows if you send them a greeting they will hopefully send you a greeting back and if you fall and make a mistake they should help you as well. There might even be times when they give you items. So these actions that are done by the live player shadows only have positive impacts on your game. So we think it's a new online experience that can be enjoyed by a lot of different kinds of people. Same as I asked you as a programmer for both Mario and Zelda of course Tezuka-san has been close to Mario and Zelda since the 80s. So I like the level design of this game. How much of the old, good old, you know square paper with a pen and drawing the levels went into this game? Did you guys design the game like back in the day or are you using some sort of different approach this time around?
So first off thank you for noting that and as you mentioned back in the days we used to design these courses using paper and pen but of course we don't do that anymore."

"So now we've developed a specific tool for this and so level designers can use this tool to design their courses. So level design doesn't mean that we're just placing certain given elements and items into a course.
We also need to think about elements such as the enemies and the gimmicks and how these enemies and gimmicks would work and function within the entirety of the course."

"So these level designers need to work together with people like programmers, sound creators, and also other designers as well.
There's also obviously a know-how from past Mario courses as well and certain things that are sort of predetermined in that sense. So in order to sort of we also go through these fixed points as well but we also have a lot of different types of courses and so we need to think about different ideas to create these courses as well. That's one of the most challenging aspects."

"And on that I guess when I saw Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker 2 I was like wow this is the pinnacle I can create whatever I want but now of course you are doing such crazy things that I guess it's not possible with that tool. So was that something that you kept in mind like saying this has to be something more complex or crazier that really can't be possibly created with Super Mario Maker anymore?
I think when we first introduced Super Mario Maker there were some people that maybe thought that this was the pinnacle or this is all we needed for 2D Mario."

"Please don't worry there's so many many ideas that we can put into 2D Mario and that new things that we can create. Now that we're finally able to introduce this new kind of 2D Mario we're very happy to be able to do so.
All right and I also wanted to ask you how does it feel to be the director for a full new entry?
I know you've been related to Mario before but you're the director now and for Nintendo what does it mean to sort of introduce new talent into the directing positions which we saw with Zelda going fantastically well?
We had sort of two concepts that we had in mind when we wanted to create this new 2D Mario."

"First one was making sure that the game was full of mysteries and secrets. The second one was making sure that we gave the players the freedom to choose. In regards to the first point to elaborate a bit more I think the first Super Mario Brothers game was full of mysteries and secrets as well. So some examples of this are if you get a mushroom you get taller or if you go into a pipe which you thought was an obstacle you would go into an underground secret area."

"So one of the challenges that I felt as the director this time is that these kinds of mysteries and secrets that were sort of fresh in the past have now become normalized as we continue to make 2D Mario games. That's where I thought we need a new 2D Mario game that is full of other or new kinds of mysteries and secrets. That's where these wonder effects were born."

"So this time we had Mori as director but previously I was also involved in this kind of work as well. So we've actually had different kinds of people taking on the role of director in Super Mario games. So each different director is able to create sort of a different kind of game using their own emotions and feelings."

"So I'm also involved in each of these titles but I want these directors sort of really take in and incorporate the new kinds or new generation of Marios that they do end up creating.
That's how these new kinds of games that people go on to enjoy are created.
All right. Let me ask you about two very specific things of the game."

"One is, of course, you mentioned the power-ups. Of course, one is the elephant and the many things you can do. You can reflect the other's projectiles. You can water enemies and you can push pipes which is something incredible. And the other thing I wanted to ask you about is you can turn into a Goomba. And if you are Peach Goomba then you have eyelashes and you can move your eyes around. So please tell us about the elephant powers and how we can expect to use them and about the crazy transformations we can expect from the Wonder World."

"In terms of being able to spray water, we thought this was sort of an element that was fitting for a new mystery and secret.
So for example, if you spray water on a wilted flower, something unexpected is going to happen.
One of the themes of the Wonder Effects is that you don't know what's going to happen."

"I think you experienced this today as well but you don't know what kind of Wonder Effects are going to happen when you touch the Wonder Flower and so there's various kinds of transformations also involved as part of some of these Wonder Effects. So in terms of what kind of effects that happen, we want you to try playing the full game and experiencing it for yourself."

"You mentioned that the animation was very great in this title or in this game.
The artists put in a lot of effort to make this happen.
So in the sense of the work volume, because we have so many playable characters in this game, the work volume got larger and larger and so in that sense it was probably a very, very difficult task for them to handle."

"Even with these kinds of difficulties in this large volume, people continue to make suggestions and to try to improve the game even more. What was most or very interesting is that it was not only the artists but also other people like programmers and sound creators and also designers that made these kinds of suggestions and ideas."

"All right, so yeah, it makes sense for a plumber to turn into an elephant, I guess, to use the water.
Anyway, I've seen that you guys are dealing with difficulty in several ways.
I think it's interesting that you can choose a character such as Josie or Nabbit for you to be more powerful or don't take damage and you're also indicating the difficulty level for each level outside. So how do you work on trying for this to be both welcoming for new players, which is something that we expect from a Mario game, and also difficult and challenging enough for veteran players with those elements?
We did increase sort of the freedom level of the users and their freedom to choose."

"Characters like Josie and Nabbit don't take damage even if they're hit.
And other than that, there's another characteristic point about this game, which is the badge system. And so by equipping certain badges, you can make the characters do certain actions. But there's also other kinds of badges that also, for example, give you more coins or if you fall back, it'll restore you and revive you."

"We've even prepared badges for more experienced players like the one that makes you invisible.
So we think that this badge system allows for different levels of players to enjoy the game in different ways. And so we've even prepared very difficult courses as well. And so if you think you have that experience, then we look forward to you taking on that challenge."

"Let me ask you about inspirations now. With so many transformations, so many powers, and the ways you can change your moves here, did Super Mario Odyssey from the 3D Marios inspire you to create this game to be so varied and so crazy?
I think there's a particular case where we took inspiration from Odyssey. This was just what we ended up with when we tried to really focus on creating a very interesting and enjoyable game. One of the points is that if we try to make the animation more glamorous in these kinds of action games, the response becomes a bit worse or slower. So because there's certain kinds of limitations like this, we didn't really take the next step in terms of animations for these kinds of action games until now. But with that said, with things like the Mario movie coming out, we thought more that these kinds of rich effects are more needed."

"So we did think about a lot of ways how we can incorporate animations that don't get in the way of the gameplay, and so that's something that we really did discuss a lot during the development of this game. I was about to ask about the animation, but you already answered that, so thank you so much. I guess also to get that detail into animations, that's something that you couldn't do before in previous consoles, of course, because this is the first Super Mario Brothers game that's been built for the Switch. So I wanted to ask you about creating a game for the Switch and releasing a game for the Switch when it's, I don't want to say old, when it's so many years into its lifespan, instead of having the game as the first Mario game, such as happened with New Super Mario Bros. U on the Wii U."

"So as you mentioned, we continued to make Mario games, but the last 2D Mario game that we created was for the console before the Switch. So in that sense, for consumers, a certain amount of years have passed since the Switch was released, but for us, it's still sort of a new experience of developing a game for the Switch. And so from the prior experience of creating it for a different console, creating for the Switch now, there's so many new possibilities and things that we can do."

"As long as we have ideas, we can create a game regardless of the performance on the hardware side. And so you don't really think about, oh, I wish we could have developed this for a different console or the next console when we are developing a game. So that's not really something that we think about. Okay, and you mentioned the Super Mario movie before, and we've seen 3D Mario games being more story heavy than 2D Mario games. But what can you tell us about what we can expect to see here in terms of the story? And it's a new kingdom, it's a flower kingdom, so are you doing anything as crazy as preparing a wedding between Bowser and Peach? So what can we expect in terms of crazy stuff and the story itself? It'll also be interesting to check out the transformation of how you transform into a Goomba for other characters, maybe Daisy as well, and so hope you can enjoy that as well. And so the addition of effects and stories are to make sure that we can achieve this kind of gameplay that we think will be interesting. So as a result, this kind of story or game is created, but it's not that we have a grand theme like what would be done for a movie or what's present in the movie. And so we're hoping that the story can act as a support for the gameplay and so that the players, as the story, will help in making sure that the players can feel more immersed into the game itself. The one thing I do want to mention is that there is a character appearing this time called the Talking Flower. So the role of this Talking Flower is to sort of build around the excitement that players feel when they're playing the game. So the Talking Flower sort of talks on your behalf of the sort of emotions or feelings that you may have while you're playing the game. So sort of building on your excitement by listening in or sort of reading the comments that are written or said by the Talking Flower."

"So in that sense, we think that this Talking Flower has a very important role that may be more important than the story itself. So another interesting or fun fact is that this Talking Flower, the voice has been recorded in many languages and you can also switch the language of the Talking Flower freely. I think that's also sort of a fun aspect that you can sort of play around with or listen to different languages. So thank you. First off, thank you. And I didn't talk about this today during the interview, but there were also some stages or levels where we really worked together a lot and collaborated a lot with the sound creation staff. That was something new that we tried and I think that we were able to provide a new kind of experience for users as well. And so we hope that you can look forward to that as well. So that Mars that we've created until now aren't really sort of dependent on the story. What we think is most important is, first off, what kind of gameplay would be interesting? What kind of elements would be interesting for the players? Yeah, looking forward to hearing the Spanish voice of it. That's going to be new for a Mario game. So finally, we started talking about designing 2D platformers with pen and paper in the 80s. That's for you, Tezuka-san. Of course, you were precursors to the platform genre with Super Mario Brothers and with Miyamoto-san. So I just wanted to ask you, how do you feel looking back at the 80s, looking back at the genre, looking back at platforming and how it has evolved up until what we are going to play with Super Mario Wonder?
So if you're looking back, it's quite a long span of time. For myself, my own experience, it felt like it passed right away or like it went by very quickly. So as the hardware changed, the performance got better and the things that we could do, there were more things that we could do."

"So with the possibility of these expressions being expanded, there was a need for more and more staff members to be involved in the game development. So the games that we could create with just 10 people in the past, we now need 100 or 200 people to create. So this may sound like a difficult thing, but it's not just the difficult side. And this means that because there's so many more people involved, that means that there's even more ideas that we can incorporate into our games."

"As you can tell from this picture as well, this new Super Mario Brothers Wonder is full of various different kinds of elements. This isn't something that can be achieved by just one person. We can do this because we're able to come together and gather ideas from various different kinds of people.
So even going forward as well, we think more and more people are going to be involved and with different kinds of experiences and backgrounds. And so that's what's going to lead to the creation of new Mario experiences in games."

"I think that's it. I'm looking forward to turning into Peach Goomba again.
And I think we can say this has been a wonderful interview.
So thank you so much for your time and arigato gozaimasu."