With Super Mario Bros. Wonder releasing nearer to the end of this week, Nintendo has made Super Mario Bros. Wonder the latest game to get the “Ask the Developer” interview treatment. Across the interview’s multiple instalments, we got to hear from the likes of Takashi Tezuka and other developers all involved in Mario’s latest 2D outing.
During the interview, we heard from the devs behind Super Mario Bros. Wonder, as they discussed Mario’s brand-new elephant form:
Mario Devs on Elephant Mario:
Shiro Mouri: Elephant Mario was another idea that came out of the idea-sharing session, but before we arrived at this idea, we first discussed what kind of gameplay we wanted and what we needed to do to achieve it. First, we wanted to make the body bigger. Having a bigger body makes stepping on enemies, hitting blocks, and collecting coins easier, adding ease of play. Also, we wanted the characters to be able to hit blocks from the side and to spray water. We thought these two features would provide more variety to the gameplay. What ticks all three of those boxes? An elephant, of course! (Laughs)
Koichi Hayashida: That’s right. With the ability to spray water, you can make withered flowers bloom that in turn generate a variety of things. So I thought this ability would enable us to create new secrets and wonders. Also, I was involved in the development of Super Mario Sunshine alongside Mouri-san. I remember spraying quite a bit of water in that game. (Laughs)
Koichi Hayashida: It was great to work with Mouri-san once again after 21 years to create another Mario game where we can spray water. (Laughs)
Takashi Tezuka: Just when I was thinking that something was missing, Mouri-san suggested Elephant Mario, and I liked it. The “boing” sound it makes when you hit something with your trunk is quite impactful. I also like that coins appear when you spray water.
Koichi Hayashida: Another idea we had was to blow up shells with the trunk. We gave it a lot of thought, thinking, “Having an inflated shell would be cute, but how can we use this large shell to make the game more interesting?”. After much deliberation, we ended up not going for it…
Masanobu Sato: We were also saying that an elephant would be powerful enough to move through the course with several characters on its back. (Laughs)
Koichi Hayashida: But the idea of being able to carry big things is still there.
Koji Kondo: We also worked on the sound in various ways to make this new elephant transformation distinctive. When a character collects an Elephant Fruit and transforms, you hear “wowie zowie”, a phrase unique to the elephant transformation that wasn’t in past games. In addition, the background music’s arrangement changes when a character transforms into an elephant. We’ve also paid a lot of attention to the sounds of footsteps, jumps, and sucking up water.
The sound effects of the elephant footsteps were the very first things we created. For us, the elephant transformation was that special. We came up with tons of different ideas for the gameplay, design, characters, and sound, and we reviewed every single one of them. It was within the final six months to a year of development that a unified direction for the game took shape as we considered its world and story. I remember thinking, “Now here’s a team that knows how to put things together”.
For the full interview, why not click here to check out Ask the Developer Vol. 11, Super Mario Bros. Wonder – Chapter 2.
Ask the Developer | Super Mario Bros. Wonder (Participating Developers)
- Takashi Tezuka | Executive Officer Senior Officer, Entertainment Planning & Development Division
- Shiro Mouri | Entertainment Planning & Development Department Production Group No. 10
- Koichi Hayashida | Entertainment Planning & Development Department Production Group No. 10
- Masanobu Sato | Entertainment Planning & Development Department Production Group No. 10
- Koji Kondo | Senior Officer, Entertainment Planning & Development Department