Koichi Hayashida GameInformer Interview; Super Mario 64 Remake Planned?

But don’t get too excited everyone, planned meant that they decided to scrap the idea after it’d play havoc with the stereoscopic 3D the 3DS uses.  There’s a lot of interesting information coming from this interview though, so I’ll give my thoughts on each point:

On the topic of a Super Mario 3D Land sequel

I already mentioned that he said Mario 3D Land would be a difficult and unlikely game to make a sequel too, but the point is repeated in this interview. Not going to repeat what Mr Hayashida said, since it’s both exactly the same as what he said the last time and only tangently related to the question.  Still, best not to expect a Super Mario Galaxy 2 style sequel to the game on 3DS since it’s probably not coming.

As for the Super Mario 64 remake…

Nope.  They used a Mario 64 level to test out the 3D effect, but…

we figured out very quickly was that that way the levels were all designed was going to create so many stereo window violations – where an object would come in between Mario and the camera – that we knew we were going to need a different approach.

Mario 64 wouldn’t work in true 3D then.  Best not to think about it any more.  If you need an even shorter and arguably best explanation:

we did rule out a remake of Super Mario 64 in stereoscopic view on the Nintendo 3DS.

No Super Mario 64 remake on the 3DS for you then.  Not that anyone should need one, we did have Super Mario 64 DS on the last Nintendo handheld console, right?  Is that not enough for some people?  I’d think remaking the same game multiple times is overkill.

As for his favourite Super Mario 3D Land level, it is…

The final boss battle apparently.  In his own words:

but my favorite stage is probably the very last Bowser fight. So not the one that you get the regular ending from, but rather after you clear all the special worlds you have this special fight with Bowser and the fireballs he shoots become much faster. It’s a good challenge.

Hang on, what?  I don’t recall any change in the speed of the fireballs in either the final boss battle or any of the Dry Bowser battles.  How can it be a good challenge if it’s practically impossible to notice?

Apparently he likes the 3D effect when Bowser shoots fireballs towards the screen.

Do you have a favorite song from the Mario games?

This one isn’t exactly surprisingly, he says his favourite song is the first Super Mario Bros theme because it ‘uses the rhythm of gameplay to create that sound’.  Or is timed to go well with the sound effects. Listen to it yourself and see if you agree with him:

This song started it all…

There’s a pretty interesting question they ask him next, namely why people love Kuribo’s Shoe so much. Should be interesting, right?  Well, the answer is…

Because it’s fun to get into a vehicle that you’ve taken away from an enemy. Or perhaps because it’s cute to look at.

Have to admit that’s a kind of disappointing answer since that’s not exactly why anyone I know likes the shoe as a power up.  I’d personally argue it’s because it makes Mario feel powerful and somewhat cool, and because it lets him jump on otherwise dangerous enemies.  Otherwise wouldn’t more people like the Lakitu Cloud as an item?

However, one great point is raised after asking why the Japanese game industry’s struggles aren’t affecting Nintendo:

but Mario games are probably not as easy to create as most people must think. I feel like every day at work we’re really wracking our brains and working hard.

Thank you.  It’s nice that someone is willing to say that designing a Mario game isn’t an easy task, and that they’re really not ‘easy’ to make in comparison to whatever game genre is supposedly popular at the moment.  Indeed, I’d say this difficulty is something most indie game, fan game and ROM hack makers discover very, very quickly after trying to build a Mario style platformer.  There’s a lot of things Nintendo do right in terms of gameplay design and general entertainment factor that are only noticeable when they’re missing (aka from most amateur works).

If you need more proof, look at this game:

It looks like Super Mario Galaxy, but by no means does it play like it.  I guess the Chinese makers thought ripping it off would be enough to make a good game, but they totally forgot about how important the basic game mechanics were to get right and ended up with a shoddy product that played nothing like a Mario game.

But you don’t even need to go into fake games to realise this.  Indeed, go back to the SNES and Nintendo 64 days, where Super Mario World and Super Mario 64 rip offs and copycats were a dime a dozen.  Only a very small few did as well as the ‘originals’ (namely Rare’s games and a few others).  Most just failed due to bad gameplay and being bad games in general.  See, any game starring Bubsy the Bobcat.

There’s also a really good point about why Super Mario Galaxy 2 may not have worked as well as the original. You see, they did brainstorming sessions and stuff to come up with things to include in the games, and based the second game off the stuff they couldn’t fit in the first one.  But there’s a problem with making a game based on intially cast off ideas:

But now as a director when I look back on those brainstorming thought processes I realize that you come out with a huge amount of ideas, but what you decide to use are the ones that floated to the very top. The ones that seem like they’re going to be especially effective and are going to implement well.

In other words, the first game’s reject pile.  That’s why Galaxy 2 was so inconsistent, because it was made up of these kinds of ideas:

  1. Those that weren’t too good in the first place but were arguably good enough to be in a Mario game (presumably much of world S)
  2. Those that were difficult to implement/use the first time around.
  3. Ideas which are just hard to put to good use

Presumably it’d be like a book publisher deciding to take all the ideas from the slush pile and compile into an anthology to sell, most of the ideas just wouldn’t be particularly good ones (hence why they weren’t ‘accepted’ in the first place).

That’s also a reason so many video games scrap a lot of things that were in the beta versions; they looked cool but either couldn’t find a way to fit them in, couldn’t make them work or they just weren’t fun to play.

This ties into the question about why there’s no sequel.  Because there’s very few if any Mario 3D Land ideas they left on the cutting room floor so to speak, so there wouldn’t be enough content for such a game.

Also, an amusing point about why ‘girls might identify with Princess Peach’.  Oh boy, probably not a great thing to say (either for Hayashida or Game Informer).  Never the less:

I would have to say that maybe it’s that Peach has been a playable character in quite a few games recently, when you look at the Mario Kart series, Mario Party, or even the Super Smash Bros. games. Maybe that has given people opportunities to identify with the character. But that does seem to be the case that a lot of young girls do want to play as Princess Peach. Of course, I can’t relate to their position exactly, being a middle-aged man. But that does seem to be the case.

Finally, as for why Mario is so lighthearted and how the world is so cheery and fun in a world filled with somewhat dull ‘realistic’ first person shooters:

I have to say that the fun that comes from Mario games comes from the expression that you see in that world. What we try to do is try to make the most absolutely suitable environment for these really fun expressions

From what I can understand, this means they make the Mushroom Kingdom a place where fun ideas can be implemented and where players can enjoy themselves rather than focusing on storyline or such like.  Fun/gameplay first, ‘art’ side second.  That’s the way it should be.

It’s a nice interview with a lot of interesting information, and you can read the full thing here:

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2012/03/22/koichi-hayashida-interview.aspx

But what do you think of this interview about Super Mario 3D Land and the Mario series as a whole?

Is It Now Time for a Super Mario 64/Super Mario Sunshine style 3D Platformer?

Ever since the Nintendo 64, the 3D platformer seems to have been neglected a tad in favour of other genres.  Indeed, last gen the once unthinkable pretty much happened and 2D platformers seem to have made a comeback with games like New Super Mario Bros Wii, Donkey Kong Country Returns and Rayman Origins flying off the shelves and games like Mega Man 9 and 10 being sold on digital distribution platforms.  But now with Super Mario 3D Land fading away and the Galaxy series likely history, is it time for a more traditional 3D Mario platformer?  The type of game that helped the Nintendo 64, like Super Mario 64 or Banjo Kazooie?

I think so, and here’s why:

1. Nintendo has learned from the collectathon mistake

Which means they can now avoid making the exact same mistakes they and Rare made at the end of the Nintendo 64/start of the Gamecube’s lifespan; focusing their games on collecting random junk rather than platforming.  That’s not to say a collectathon can’t be a good game, and titles like Super Mario 64 and both Banjo Kazooie games were excellent, it’s just that later games took it too far.

Look at Donkey Kong 64 for example, it had so much collecting of colour coded objects that some say it singlehandedly killed the genre by turning people away from the game style. It sold well I’ll give it that, but did they really need things like the five colours of banana, the blueprints and the fairies?

Or Super Mario Sunshine too, which ended up having so much money lying around to collect it got to the point of utter tedium sometimes.  Not just the Blue Coins either, look at how it seemed every other level was about collecting red coins for some purpose or another (levels like Bianco Hills actually had four shines dedicated to this type of activity!)

Going through the secret levels with FLUDD to get red coins was just filler.

But that’s all in the past now.  Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D Land showed us that a 3D Mario game which doesn’t rely on collecting things is entirely plausible, all we now need is for Nintendo to make the worlds larger and still keep the same traditional gameplay that made these games so popular. Is there a real reason we can’t now have large open ‘sandbox’ style levels to explore where all the stars are obtained through either exploring the environment or navigating tricky jumps rather than doing pointless fetch quests?  Not really.

Even Super Mario 64 had signs of this with missions like ‘to the top of the fortress’ or ‘into the volcano’ or ‘stand tall on the four pillars’.  Where the game then went wrong was by shoving a pointless red coin mission into every single course in the game then making you collect a hundred coins in each for the hell of it.

Did Rainbow Ride ever really need a maze with red coins in it?

But now Nintendo’s learned from their mistakes and knows how to design a 3D platformer without a fetch quest in every level, maybe it’s the time to bring back open plan 3D courses and the choice of tackling the missions in any order.

2. Nintendo themselves admit they’d find it hard to make a new Galaxy game or a 3D Land sequel

Read back to the recent comments they made at the recent Game Developer’s Conference:

In the case of Super Mario 3D Land, I felt we got so much of what we wanted to do into the game, that we would start from a difficult position in having to come up with something from the same process.

In simple terms, Mario 3D Land did near enough everything they wanted it to do, so a direct sequel like how Mario Galaxy 2 was one to the original Mario Galaxy would be difficult to design/make for them.  So let’s assume that’s ruled out for a bit.

From that perspective, to say we’d make another game using the ideas left over from Galaxy 2, it’s very difficult for me to imagine. I feel like we really did research the field very well for possible ideas and we used everything that was reasonably easy to implement.

It comes after a fairly long discussion of the design process used for Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 (read here), but it’s safe to assume that’s out the picture for a fair amount of time as well since all the good ideas were used in either the first or second game.  Heck, even the second game was difficult to make given how they didn’t have quite that many new ideas to keep it interesting at first and had to come up with new ones from scratch after a while.

Which makes me think now could be a good time to revisit the Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Sunshine gameplay style.  It’s been a long time since a new Mario game with the feel of those two, and if Super Mario Advance 3 is any indication, going back to an old game ‘style’ and making new levels for it leads one to come up with all kinds of interesting ideas:

Those are arguably some of the most creative levels in the Mario series to date, all made because the developers went back many years later with a fresh perspective and new ideas and added them to ported versions of the original.  I think if Nintendo went back and made new Mario 64 or Sunshine style levels, we’d get a lot of new ideas there as well.  Combining what they learnt from making Super Mario Galaxy and 3D Land with the gameplay style of 64 or Sunshine could work wonders for a new Mario game.

3. People have wanted such a game for many years

Fairly obvious point this, there’s always been a fair demand for a Mario 64 or Sunshine type sequel, hasn’t there?  Indeed, there was quite a lot of hype back when Super Mario 64 2 was still in development.

As well as plenty of ideas about what a proper 3D Mario game could be like.

So why haven’t we had one again?

4. The increased power of Nintendo hardware means better 3D worlds are possible now

You can especially see how much technology has moved on by how games nowadays can easily handle vast open worlds that earlier consoles would have choked on. In fact, many minor problems I recall about 3D platformers were only a problem because Nintendo 64/Playstation 1 era hardware wasn’t capable of the things the developers wanted the game to do.

For example, people say that many of Rare’s later games had quite a low frame rate for Nintendo 64 games simply because there was so much going on at one time that the Nintendo 64 itself was having trouble handling it.  The likes of Jungle Japes and Creepy Castle in Donkey Kong 64 or Grunty Industries in Banjo Tooie was arguably a little much for the poor machine to cope with at the time, even with the expansion pack in use.  But there’d be no problems with Wii or even Wii U level console hardware, would there?

It’s just that you could do so much more with a 3D platformer in this day and age than you could in the Nintendo 64 or early Gamecube era.  The graphics would be much better meaning the levels wouldn’t look so… well, non Mario like (see many Super Mario 64 levels that could probably pass off as real locations due to a lack of colour and an almost ‘industrial’ look to them).  The characters wouldn’t look so basic or blocky like they did in Nintendo 64 games, or as weird as they did in Sunshine.  If this is what people have achieved just by altering Super Mario 64:

Pity they used a terrible rip of a Yoshi’s Island background…

Then Nintendo could do so much better by making a new 3D Mario platformer with a similar gameplay style for a modern console.  Imagine what it’d be like if you had a Mario 64 game that looked like Galaxy did!

That version of Peach’s Castle just makes you want such a thing even more, right?

5. Nintendo could come up with so many interesting levels in this style now

Look at how varied and interesting your average Super Mario 3D Land level is, then imagine what it’d be like if that kind of stuff was included in a proper 3D platformer in the style of Super Mario 64 or Sunshine.  The levels look really nice already, I’d just prefer it if we could get a proper 3D platformer with this style of graphics and music and some of the clever ideas included.

Imagine doing things like running around open worlds with the Tanooki Suit or Fire Flower and only losing it once you get hit like the old days!  Imagine having enemies like Hammer Bros, Magikoopas and Chargin’ Chucks as standard in open world Mario 64 like courses! Or how cool it’d be if every time you came across a Bowser level it worked like the ones in Galaxy, minus the gravity:

Things sure have moved on since the like of Bowser in the Fire Sea, haven’t they?

It’s just with the constant move towards more linear levels and more gimmicky ‘themes’, we’ve never seen what an old school 3D Mario game with modern technology would actually be like.  Then again, is that really so weird?  We’ve never seen what an old school 2D one would be like with Mario Galaxy’s production values either.  Nintendo are missing a trick here in more ways than one!

So with all that said, I think the time may be right for an old style 3D Mario platformer in the same style as Super Mario 64 and Sunshine, and that such a game would work really well on the Wii U or possibly 3DS.

What do you think?

Source

Image from http://vgboxart.com/view/40753/super-mario-sunshine-2-cover/ and by Spritey

Japanese eShop Showing 360 Pictures Of Pretty Women

In 2010, an app called Beauty Clock Portable was released for the PSP. This were also released for the iPhone for 300 yen. The 3DS version that just arrived to the Japanese eShop, is free.

Beauty Clock shows different pictures of women every minute, and the PSP version had 1440 pictures. Sadly, the 3DS has only 360 which probably is the reason for it being free. It’s also been discussed before -by Nintendo, that they would release free software, which were missing some stuff to give pople a taste of the app. Then later they would release DLC with extra stuff, such as the Beauty Clock might get an alarm, and a timer. We don’t know if this will be released in the rest of the world, but it would be pretty interesting.

Pokemon Nobunaga’s Ambition Buyers Are Adults

This game were released about a week ago in Japan, and retailers seem disappointed with the low amount of sales. While the Pokemon games mostly focus on children, this game seems to attract a lot of adults. Retailers say that people usually buy the game at the evening, when adults are done with work. They’ve also said that it’s a few college students buying this. This game focus on pokemon, but it’s also about Japanese Warlord living a log time ago. This is probably one of the reason for not so many children to buy them. It’s mostly adults that have interest for history.

If this game gets released in the rest of the world, the sales may differ, but since it’s based around Japanese history, it might just stick to Japan.

Fortune Street Now Also On iPhone

I thought that fortnue street were supposed to be a Wii exclusie game, but turns out I was wrong. Today the iPhone version of Fortune Street was released on the Apple Market, for free. However, this version doesn’t have Mario characters and Dragon Quest characters, and it also have just one board. Might not be so good news for Nintendo, but I think people probably enjoy playing boardgames on home consoles.