Super Mario Odyssey director says there's a purpose behind having Mario in New Donk City's realistic environment - Nintendo Everything

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Super Mario Odyssey director says there’s a purpose behind having Mario in New Donk City’s realistic environment

Posted on October 22, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Switch

The very first thing we ever saw from Super Mario Odyssey was New Donk City. And it’s no ordinary city: Mario is running and jumping around with realistic people around him.

The concept of New Donk City may seem strange for a Mario title, but there was a purpose behind it. Director Kenta Motokura explained to Game Informer this month why it made sense for players to be interacting with a more realistic city.

He told the magazine:

“I thought that we needed a scale that was easy to understand. Users will wonder how high Mario can jump and how far he can fall. We thought that it would be easier for users to understand and relate to the world in which they actually live. Mario is a strong enough character that he fits in just fine in a realistic environment.”

New Donk City is just one of many areas you’ll visit in Super Mario Odyssey. Other worlds in the game are more in line with past Mario titles, but you’ll find an interesting variety across the various kingdoms.

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  • LB

    “The very first thing we ever saw from Super Mario Odyssey was New Donk City” I remember watching that trailer live during the switch presentation on January 13, 2017, but it wasn’t the first thing i saw of the game. Mario running around in Tostarena from Sand Kingdom was the first thing i ever saw. it was during the switch’s initial reveal in October 20, 2016

    • Hidden Flare

      Ah good memory I actually forgot about that.

    • KnightWonder

      At that point though, it wasn’t official.

  • KnightWonder

    Still a heck of a lot better than Sonic and Soleanna.

    • Reggie

      That’s the one from 2006, ain’t it?

      • KnightWonder

        Yes. The problem with Sonic 06’s art direction was its realistic setting. The city lacked a lot of color and didn’t look that interesting. In contrast with New Donk City, which is not only more colorful and interesting to look at, but the people have interesting things to say. Like the RC car guy and the suicide guy.

        • Reggie

          Yeah definitely. I tried watching a LP of the game, and the city hub world looked so barren and boring compared to Adventure’s city hub. I went in not expecting much, and I was still disappointed.

        • It’s not even just that the Sonic 06 looked too “realistic”, it’s that the environment and character designs looked like they came out of a completely different game (presumably some kind of Nomura-era Final Fantasy ripoff) next to the stubby cartoon furries that were the main characters. No attempt was made to find any sort of aesthetic middle ground.

        • MagcargoMan

          Suicide guy?

  • Evan Gustavson

    If I recall corectly, Mario is supposed to be 5’10, a foot shorter than OoT Link, so the only problem I have with New Donk city is not the proportions, but the scale.

    • Jack Red

      A foot shorter? Oot Link is 5’7. I recall reading that info in an Oot 3D Booklet. So in order for Mario to be a foot shorter than Link would require Mario to be atleast 4’7.

      • Evan Gustavson

        I meant to say “an inch”, or maybe “half a foot”, sorry.
        Maybe “an inch apart” is more accurate.
        I only remember that they were both 5 foot-something.
        I think Mario’s 5’6”.
        All I know is that OoT (Beast) Ganon and SM64 Bowser (final battle specifically, I think? Because hes bigger when fighting him in Bowser in the Sky than in Bowser in the Dark World/Bowser in the Fire Sea) are about a foot apart in actual height and both are about 2.5-3 times the height of the protagonists.
        (Based on research done by Gameinformer I’m assuming by estimating the height of Mario, and Link’s height based on that booklet.)
        In the ballpark of 14-16 feet.
        its just not as easy to tell because of the scaling/perspective of the player relative to Link and Mario.
        In OoT, the perspective is from just below/behind link, looking up at ganon, wheras in SM64, you’re looking at it from a distant, slightly elevated perspective, like a spectator

  • TruExtent

    As long as it doesn’t get too real… 😛

    https://youtu.be/j6mzBjFtcBc

  • Gamingfan

    An animated character looks out of place in a realistic environment.

    • zelgadis greywords

      tell that to space jam or who framed roger rabbit

      • Gamingfan

        The difference is space jam was done deliberately to look silly. I hightly doubt nintendo thinks this was supposed to look out of place.

      • MagcargoMan

        What did he say?

        • Gamingfan

          I just said mario in a realistic environment looks out of place.

          • MagcargoMan

            Then why’d it get deleted?

          • Gamingfan

            I decided to delete it. They’d prolly see it as trolling.

    • Which is why you can either use the contrast for humor or make the mistake of asking the audience to take it seriously. This certainly isn’t doing the latter.

  • Heck I can give you two reasons off the top of my head:

    1) it’s funny

    2) being able to utilize Mario’s moveset in a recognizable “real-world” location looks super fun and provides a whole new perspective on the game’s design and physics, which I guess is what Motokura already said

  • Reggie

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t the kingdoms, and New Donk City by extension, supposed to exist in their own little dimension or something like that? I haven’t been following Odyssey’s story, but it would at least explain the stark difference.

    • MagcargoMan

      No, all the Kingdoms on Odyssey are on the same planet. Personally I find this pretty stupid and would have preferred alternate dimensions instead of having all these places that clash with the Mario world’s aesthetic in the same world as it.

      I’m fine with Mario running around with realistic humans, but you can’t expect em to buy the idea that they live on the same planet as the Mushroom Kingdom.

      • Kamiyouni

        Actually, I see where they’re coming from. I mean, on one side of the world, the other side typically has nearly nothing to do with it. Now, if these were neighboring kingdoms thats be weird. Then again, at the same time, the US is rigjt next to Mexico so…yeah. The theme of Odyssey is travelling around the world, and the exaggerated art styles help make that point.

  • awesomeparadise3

    The scale has been around since the OG DK. You can tell when Pauline stands next to Mario. She was always way taller.

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