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 revealed plans for a live commentary mode, a tsundere commentary and then go discussed the talking flowers:
Mario Devs on Cutting Live Commentary, a Tsundere Commentary and Creating the Talking Flowers:
Shiro Mouri: Tezuka-san also once asked, “Can’t we have live commentary?”. I had absolutely no clue what he meant. (Laughs) But I interpreted it as a desire for a new experience, even if it’s not necessarily in the form of live commentary.
Koichi Hayashida: We actually spent about six months seriously developing live commentary. We tried adding voices to match the player’s actions. Even though we’d added various voices, questions like, “Who’s doing this commentary?” started to pop up amongst the team. Something about it just didn’t feel right. (Laughs)
Takashi Tezuka: I was quite a fan of it. (Laughs)
Shiro Mouri: Even the team was evenly split between those in favour and those against. (Laughs) The default voice was very generic, like a newscaster, but you had the option to switch it to a Tsundere commentary.
In fact, according to our play test records, quite a few people were switching to the Tsundere commentary. (Laughs)
Takashi Tezuka: But if we were to do this commentary feature seriously, just the process of creating voice variations alone would’ve involved a tremendous amount of work. So, unfortunately, we had to let it go. Still, it would’ve been a shame to shut down the whole experiment. So we brought in an additional team member to dedicate themselves to this feature full-time.
Shiro Mouri: Around the same time, there was a discussion about setting the game in the Flower Kingdom, and we were able to incorporate the idea of live commentary in the form of Talking Flowers that would match the game’s world. It’s a version of live commentary that fits the world of Mario.
Koichi Hayashida: It’s nice that you’re never lonely when the Talking Flowers are there. If you were all alone in a course, it might feel like it was you against the world, but the Talking Flowers speak to you at just the right time.
Masanobu Sato: They’ve got some funny lines like, “Make sure you’re getting your veggies!” as a parent might say. (Laughs) I think it’s a fun experience for those watching the player too.
Takashi Tezuka: We thought the gameplay might be more enjoyable if the Talking Flowers speak to you and you can resonate with what they’re saying. Of course, there’s an option to turn off the chatter, but we hope as many people as possible will give it a listen.
Shiro Mouri: And by making them something that exists in the course, we were able to create a new type of Mario gameplay. For example, searching for a hidden Talking Flower or catching a glimpse of one above you and working out how you can reach it.
Koji Kondo: While discussing difficulty levels and live commentary, there was mention of Tezuka-san “asking the impossible”. I felt like there might have been a disparity between the world of Mario that Tezuka-san and I envisioned and the world of Mario that the rest of the team had in mind. The developers found creative ways to pack every gameplay idea they could think of into each of the Mario games up until now, within the specifications and limitations of each successive hardware. For the development staff who grew up playing Mario games, they see the world depicted in those games as the world of Mario. And they try to carry that over to future games. But the world of Mario that Tezuka-san and I think of is actually much broader, and we’re allowed to incorporate anything we think would be fun. So maybe that’s why they thought we were “asking the impossible”.
For the full interview, why not click here to check out Ask the Developer Vol. 11, Super Mario Bros. Wonder – Chapter 3.
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