On my last day of E3 2015, I headed back to the Nintendo booth for an opportunity I’ve been looking forward to the most all week: the chance to interview famed Nintendo executives, Takashi Tezuka and Yosuke Oshino. They are the producers of none other than Super Mario Maker and Yoshi’s Woolly World!
Super Mario Maker
After brief introductions, our interview began on the topic of Super Mario Maker, Nintendo’s upcoming game that allows you to build your dream Super Mario courses using the Wii U GamePad. Since this game is essentially opening the creation of Super Mario courses to the entire world, I asked Mr. Tezuka and Mr. Oshino what the feeling/sentiment was at Nintendo leading up to the launch. Both of them said there is a feeling of excitement within the company, and they’re looking forward to what the Nintendo community will build.
Mr. Tezuka pointed out that Super Mario Maker is meant to be a “toy”, allowing you to unleash your creativity and produce unexpected combinations. He showed us a 100-page book that ships with Super Mario Maker that has the appearance of an art book, but can also be used to teach you about the game. On one page he showed us, there were images of various Super Mario universe characters stacked on top of each other (in ways we’ve never seen before). While traditional Super Mario games conform to certain rules (for instance, Cheep Cheeps are usually always found in water world), in Super Mario Maker you could put Cheep Cheeps on land and see what happens!
Continuing on the topic of this art book, Mr. Tezuka pointed to number codes that appear below photos, and told us that if you enter them into the game’s e-Manual, you’ll get to see movies of how the different elements in the photo are created in the game! You can use this art book to stimulate your creative juices, and then when it comes to actually designing your custom levels, watching the mini tutorials will help you to get started. I was really happy to hear that because Super Mario Maker will likely introduce a lot of new gamers to the Super Mario universe, and this book is like your guiding hand to help you create amazing courses!
Another aspect of the game that really jumped out at me is how the final retail version of Super Mario Maker will contain some courses made by professional, full-time course designers at Nintendo–but also a lot of courses designed by people with different roles within the company! Mr. Tezuka said the creation process is very intuitive with Super Mario Maker, allowing anyone to build their own courses, test them out, and get feedback from others. The sample courses seen at the Nintendo World Championships, and on the E3 show floor, aren’t the ones we’ll see in the final retail version of the game. The ones we’ve seen so far have been designed by folks in the Treehouse, also people in the debug department of Nintendo. Mr. Tezuka said we’ll see a wider variety of course in the retail version, so stay tuned!
Yoshi’s Woolly World
We had such an engaging conversation about Super Mario Maker, I nearly ran out of time to ask questions about Yoshi’s Woolly World! Luckily I managed to get a few in before our interview time was up.
First I touched upon the two-player co-operative aspect of Yoshi’s Woolly World, asking Mr. Tezuka if there are any bonus or secret areas only accessible with two players. He said there won’t be secrets you can only find int two-player mode, but did say that by strategizing together it will make certain obstacles a little easier to overcome. For example, if you have two players with different abilities in gaming, and need to reach a very high platform, one player could swallow the other one (Yoshi will eat anything, even other Yoshis!) and then carry them to the higher ground and spit them out.
Next, I told Mr. Tezuka that when I played two-player mode at E3, occasionally my partner would eat me just for giggles, or even sometimes pelted me with Yoshi’s woolly eggs! I wanted to know if Mr. Tezuka intended for play sessions to sometimes get a little silly like this, and he said “yes, we think it’s kind of fun.” I couldn’t agree more! Sure, you can be a bit of a nuisance to the other player if you really want to, but this is a cute and charming Yoshi game so you’ll both be laughing anyway (that’s what happened during my game time!)
Before concluding, I recounted about how every Yoshi game I’ve played seems to have a different visual look to it, whether it’s the crayon aesthetic of the first Yoshi game, the pastel look in last year’s Yoshi’s New Island, and now the yarn/fabric presentation in Yoshi’s Woolly World. I wondered what Nintendo pictures in thier mind when they think of the Yoshi series, and Mr. Tezuka said the key element is making sure that each Yoshi game has this handmade feel, whether that’s handpainted graphics, or as in the case of Yoshi’s Woolly World, charming handcrafts. Beyond the handmade feel, Mr. Tezuka the sky is the limit!
It’s still a bit surreal to have interviewed such talented members of Nintendo’s executive, it was truly an honour and a privilege to say the least!
Do you have your eye on Super Mario Maker, Yoshi’s Woolly World, or perhaps both? Let us know in the comments section below your thoughts on these two upcoming Wii U games!