Super Mario Bros. Wonder Is What Happens When Devs Have Time to Play
It's a story you don't hear very often in game development. When the Super Mario Bros. Wonder development team was in the prototyping stage of the game, there was no deadline. "I didn't want to be told, 'We didn't do it because we couldn't meet the deadline,'" says producer Takashi Tezuka. For game director Shiro Mohri, this was a very clear and very positive sign. They had no intention of leaving the match half-finished. Out on October 20th, Super Mario Bros. Wonder is a return to the 2D side-scrolling format on which the entire series is based. Mario replaces the Mushroom Kingdom with the Flower Kingdom. Talking about plants and special items can rock the world faster than a bad trip.
It's been 10 years since the last Mario game of its kind, 2012's New Super Mario Bros., came out, and since players got used to the popular playstyle Nintendo introduced in the first Mario game. It's even longer. "Of course, when Mario first came out, everything was new, so there was absolutely no need to explain anything or convince people to adopt that playstyle," Tezuka said. says. “When we introduced the game, people were able to create their own playstyle.”
But now, Tezuka says, that's not enough. Older Mario games were about mastery, requiring players to go through difficult levels over and over again until they were high enough to survive. The Nintendo team's current challenge is to create an environment where players can choose how to play more freely.
This freedom makes him one of his two guiding principles in the game and is expressed in various ways within the game. Players can choose which track to tackle first, and in some areas they are not limited to straight roads and can even walk across the world map. Dozens of characters to play with, including recurring characters like Mario, Luigi, and Peach, plus new playable characters like Daisy. Most play the same, but all four Yoshis and Nabbits are milder alternatives. They take no damage and Yoshi can eat enemies.
Wonder also introduces badges that grant players various abilities such as invisibility and resurrection when equipped. Some are intended to appeal to more advanced players. During development, the team considered allowing the player to use his two or he three at a time, as well as changing mid-level badges, but ultimately failed. did. "It felt like something you would see in a Zelda title," says Tezuka. "It didn't feel very Mario-ish...Mario's gameplay is much more streamlined and simple."
If for some reason the player wants to try the level again, they can always try a new badge. "It's a little sad when you see someone go through a course, finish it, move on, and never come back," says Tezuka. “I would like people to play the course many times.”
Another of his big priorities for the team was filling Wonder with secrets that players would want to brag about discovering. “What we talk about as a team is not to build mazes,” Mohri says of the game's puzzles. "You just need something that looks and feels like a maze." That's basic set design: Teach your players how to play, whether it's gambling or gambling, and give them the chance to practice it. This is evident in the game's power-ups, such as Wonder's new water-spitting elephant shape and an elephant that punches you in the head with a drill. Cute, silly, and incredibly practical. Mohri says the key to creating new power-ups is how they change the gameplay. For example, consider Drill Mario, who can travel underground and ceilings. "You might think, 'If that's what you want to do, why not make Mario Moles?'" Mohri says. "With Drill Mario, you can kill enemies that attack you. And that's something a mole can't do." "Elephants were the obvious choice," he says.
Power-ups aren't the only way players transform. Super mario bros. Wonder also introduces the plant of the same name, which makes things a little quirkier. The miracle flower can make Mario really big or turn him into a Goomba. Sometimes you can bend or creep pipes and change the world itself. Mohri says he found it difficult to create something new to surprise players with the number of Mario games he has. They initially considered the idea of an item that could be moved to another area, but Tezuka accused him of saying, "Even if you move to another area, it's still the same." Want to change your current location? "