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Koizumi on story in Mario games, Miyamoto’s involvement with Odyssey, chances of second 3D Mario Switch game, more

Posted on August 25, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Switch

At Gamescom, The Verge chatted with Super Mario Odyssey producer Yoshiaki Koizumi. While the two talked, Koizumi touched on Nintendo’s approach to story in Mario games, Shigeru Miyamoto’s involvement with Odyssey, and the chances of a second 3D Mario title for Switch.

Head on below for some notable excerpts from the interview. For the full discussion, read up on The Verge here

On story in Mario games…

I don’t think of story as being the central focus of Super Mario games, but the two important roles that it plays are firstly providing a motivation and an emotional driving factor for the player to play the game and complete it. And secondly, to provide context for the game mechanics and the actions that are contained within the game. I think that players create their own story in a video game and so it’s not necessarily for the creator to map that out.

On Shigeru Miyamoto’s involvement…

The involvement of Mr. Miyamoto in this project is pretty similar to previous projects as well, in that we will go to him and say “this is the kind of game we want to make, this is what we’re hoping to achieve,” and he will look at it and give his feedback and advice and ideas. In terms of actually how much of his advice we take on, we have a degree of flexibility and a degree of autonomy. And for Super Mario Odyssey, actually I’d say he left us to our own devices quite a lot.

On whether portable-focused games will go away due to Switch…

So Nintendo is still continuing with Nintendo 3DS alongside Nintendo Switch. But I would say in terms of game design for Nintendo Switch, I feel that the distinction you made in your question about the difference between handheld-focused design and home console-focused design, perhaps already that distinction has gone. Think about a game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s a very large game, but a lot of the play within that game, like going and completing shrines — there are lots of them and each one is quite small. So that is an example of a game that lends itself to either the handheld or home console style of play. And I think going forward that approach of designing games that really are already for both is the most likely.

I wouldn’t necessarily consider a top-down Zelda or a side-scrolling Metroid games that have to be on a handheld, and there are of course people who like those kinds of games. And I think for Nintendo Switch I could definitely imagine those types of games appearing for it. At E3 this year a new side-scrolling Yoshi title was announced, and I imagine that going forward those types of games will be able to be played at home or on the go.

On the reaction to Switch…

… At the time we were thinking for us to communicate this message to people, it might take one or two years for it actually to catch on. We were thinking we would need to be persistent. But one thing I am really happy about is that it hasn’t taken one or two years for that to get through and for people to adopt it — people have consciously taken it to heart in quite a short space of time.

And of course my ultimate dream is for everyone to be playing like that with the Nintendo Switch. There are lots of people who have adopted the system and are not having fun with it in that way, but I think it can be more and more and I would like to achieve that.

On the chances of another 3D Mario game for the Switch…

I’m obviously considering lots of things for the future. In terms of Super Mario Odyssey and whether there would be a sequel, the first game hasn’t even come out yet so it’s very tough to say at this stage whether there would be a sequel or not. I’m first and foremost just hoping that Super Mario Odyssey is a success. And secondly, yeah, with the Nintendo Switch lifecycle again it’s very early — who knows how things will turn out? As you say, in the past maybe there’s been one 3D title per hardware generation on average, but I wouldn’t say that that’s a hard-and-fast rule that would have to be adhered to.

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