As the release of Super Mario 3D world draws near, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has conducted another of his well known Iwata Asks features.  Joining Iwata for the discussion were Nintendo’s creative mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto, as well as EAD Tokyo game designers Yoshiaki Koizumi, Koichi Hayashida, and first time game director Kenta Motokura.  The group discuss the choice to follow Super Mario 3D Land with the game’s design, newbie director Motokura-San’s “Lets put everything in!” policy that lead to a crowded game experience, and the various origins of the new power-ups.

Miyamoto acknowledged that the Cat Suit power-up made things a bit unbalanced, but that the compromise was made in the name of fun.

“If you really attempt trying to balance everything out in the name of competition, you start adjusting parameters-editing capabilities by raising this while lowering that. But then, even if the character types are different, you have to make adjustments so their overall abilities are equal.” – Shigeru Miyamoto

Initially the team focused on the fun of running and jumping which lead to running on all fours, and climbing up walls.  Before the cat-suits were added in, the characters were performing these functions in their normal costumes, to frightening effect.

“I became really worried when I saw that. I couldn’t keep my eyes on Princess Peach!” said Koizuma, “She was moving so quickly!” Miyamoto interjected, Koizuma felt that “It was like a scene from a horror movie.” 

After the cat-suits were added they took inspiration from Maneki-Neko figures (lucky cats), even adding the ability to make bonus coins appear with “ground pounds” under special conditions.

a typical Maneki-Neko (lucky cat) figure

A typical Maneki-Neko (lucky cat) figure.

The team also discussed the origin of the double cherry ability, which was apparently a staffers mistake with the placement tool that resulted in 2 controllable Marios.  Miyamoto suggested that the ability to control 2 tethered characters at once was reminiscent of old space shooters like Galaga.  Perhaps this was the influence for the top-down shooter level in the game.

In Iwata Asks tradition, conversation inevitably lead to game design principles.  In discussing Mario’s actions being designed to not require localization, Miyamoto quipped that  “If Mario shouldn’t touch something, make it sharp or on fire.” The team even designed the game to encourage griefing by implementing a random character assignment button that affects all players at the whim of any player.  This makes it harder to place who is getting in your way in order to alleviate resentment.  You can even steal the double cherry power-up from other players by doing a ground pound.

sm3dw-ia

In discussing some of the game’s new features and special stages Hayashida revealed that the stamp system rolling out to Miiverse was a result of him trying to find a way around his own personal lack of drawing ability when he was asked to implement Miiverse into the game.  The feature is now being introduced to other games as well.  The team discussed the Captain Toad levels in which you have to take a puzzle solving approach by having your ability to jump removed.

Closing out the discussion Iwata asked the team about any previous regrets they were able to iron out with the new game.  Koizuma revealed that in the initial tests for Mario 64, Luigi was playable alongside Mario.  Because of system limitations, this co-op functionality had to be cut.  Koizuma talked with Miyamoto about having Mario and Luigi together some day in a 3D Mario game.  That day has come at last.

As a special bonus, hidden within the article was a video showing the recording of music for the game.

Written by ElkinFencer10