Mario is an icon. In a gaming culture increasingly focused towards guns and marketing, Mario still manages to stand tall in his red shirt and blue overalls. While the Mario games explore all sorts of genres, the heart and soul of Mario—where is all began—is on a 2D plane, running across the Mushroom Kingdom and stomping down Koopas along the way. When IGN had the chance to discuss Mario with the director and producer of Mario’s latest adventure, New Super Mario Bros. U, they explained that as consoles evolve, it gets harder and harder to innovate Mario without losing the simple yet fun gameplay that makes Mario so wonderful.
“When we finished [New Super Mario Bros. Wii] up, we thought,’It’s gonna be hard to add any new features to this.’ Once we started fleshing out the next concept, though, we realized that we could still come up with new ideas for [New Super Mario Bros. U]. Right now, I can’t really say what might come next, but I think we’ll still manage to find new stuff for the series. I think that innovation is important, but it can’t be something that destroys the core fun that defines Mario in 2D. We need innovation that retains 2D Mario’s play sensation…
..Of course we devote resources on measures to take advantage of a platform’s features and capabilities, but with a 2D Mario, we don’t want to lose the foundation that so many players already know and love. I think that sense of security helps the team feel like they’ve got some breathing room to work with as they come up with ideas…
…Players keep on playing Mario, after all, precisely because it’s easily understandable in a very unique way. That’s a strength that’s hard to imitate for games with shorter heritages, and it’s something I think we need to keep cherishing.”
What do you think? Should they take a little bit of a breather from the 2D Mario style, or should they continue to try to bring new features to the gameplay without sacrificing what makes Mario so timeless?