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Iwata Asks: Super Mario 3D Land

by Patrick Barnett and Karlie Yeung - November 14, 2011, 8:12 am PST
Total comments: 2

Goal Poles, Tanooki Mario, and more are discussed in this Super Mario 3D Land themed Iwata Asks.

In a recent edition of Iwata Asks, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata sat down with various members of the Tokyo Software Development Department, the team that worked on Super Mario 3D Land. The team was composed of director Koichi Hayashida, lead designer Kenta Motokura, program leader Hideyuki Sugawara, and planning leader Daisuke Tsujimura.

One of the first topics discussed was how the team had to transition from 3D console Mario titles to handheld ones. Hayashida explained how the team would have easily been able to move something like Super Mario Galaxy over to the handheld, but decided to reset how 3D Mario titles work. 

Hayashida explained: "I think we should rethink the rules from the ground up." Being a game played on the go, the decision was also made to change the length of levels. They could not include levels of the same length as Super Mario Galaxy, but decided to dish out the levels in bite-sized pieces that were equally as gratifying.

Hayashida went on to explain how this game is meant to be the missing link between 2D and 3D Mario titles such as Super Mario World and Super Mario 64. The goal pole at the end of levels in meant to bridge the gap between the two. Miyamoto contributed to this idea by recommending the flag only raise to where you touched the pole. It was then revealed that this was an idea Miyamoto wanted to implement in the original Super Mario Bros. While speaking of the goal pole at the end of level, Hayashida also revealed that the goal pole concept was tried in Super Mario 64, but then eliminated.

Tsujimura discussed how in levels there are many ways that the game guides players to the ending. He revealed how arrows and barriers were placed to ultimately lead to the end of each stage. Star Medals, an item reminiscent of Star Coins from New Super Mario Bros, were added to give players additional objectives in each level.

After completing the main game, an additional special world becomes available that contains just about as many levels as the normal game. In this "second round" of the game, Luigi becomes available and levels are much more difficult. 

Details about StreetPass functionality were also described; players who pass each other can compare time-attack scores and even exchange Mystery Boxes containing various benefits for your journey. Passing someone who does not even own the title will provide you with some benefit within the game. 

Speaking about the 3D in the game, Hayashida described how development ran into issues due to system blurring if moved much at all. With the assistance of Miyamoto and ideas implemented in Mario Kart 7, the development team behind Super Mario 3D Land was able to use a reference plane. In this part of the screen there is no disparity between the left and right eye, making it not become blurry when the screen is moved. The point that was made this reference plane in the game was of course Mario, because that is where most players will be focusing on.

While discussing the Tanooki Mario, Motokura explained how Tanooki-Tailed Bowser came into existence. Paying homage to when Bowser turns into a Goomba in Super Mario Bros, the designers had a Goomba use a Super Leaf to turn into the Tanooki-Tailed Bowser. Additionally, once Tanooki Mario was in the game, it was only a matter of time before Statue Mario was also added. 

In the second volume of the Iwata Asks, Iwata sat down again with the game's director Koichi Hayashida. They were also joined by Yoshiaki Koizumi, Takashi Tezuka, and Shigeru Miyamoto.

During development, the team looked back at many of the fun elements on NES Mario titles and implemented them into Super Mario 3D Land. Unlike most modern Mario titles, players no longer have to collect coins upon defeating enemies. 

Miyamoto explained "in this game, you head for a goal, so if they were scattered back the opposite direction, gathering them would be a nuisance." The fact that there is now a time also led to this decision to eliminate coin chasing after defeating enemies.

The Invincible Leaf is a new item put into the game that reveals itself after losing Mario five times. The idea of making Mario invincible came from testers wanting to get past certain parts of the game without simply flying over it using the P-Wing. The Invincible leaf was compared to Mega Mario in New Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario 3D Land releases November 13 in America and November 18 across Europe.

Talkback

CericNovember 14, 2011

Interesting.
I hope this after game material really makes up for the in-game feeling easy and a pallet of concept levels.

KITT 10KNovember 14, 2011

I love the game. The controls are not hard to get used to, (there maybe some who could get tripped up on them once or twice), but I find them easy to use which allows me to enjoy the game even more. Great job on this game guys, (if they work on Mario Kart 7 as hard as this one then that one should be a great addition to the franchise also).

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