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 spoke about the sound team being more involved with Super Mario Bros. Wonder from an earlier stage in development:
Mario Devs on the Sound Team’s Influence on Wonder:
Koji Kondo: Whenever a new member joins the sound team, I always tell them, “You may be in charge of music or sound effects, but above all else, you’re a game creator, so bring various ideas to the table, and if there’s anything in the game that you find strange, don’t hesitate to speak up”. This time, we were able to work together more closely and felt that we were truly involved in the game’s creation.
Takashi Tezuka: The sound team has limited resources, so in many cases, we have them join from the middle of development when we need them, rather than from the beginning. Plus, it’s impossible to imagine what kinds of sounds to create unless the art direction is established to a certain degree.
Koji Kondo: Until now, we’ve typically joined during the latter half of development, and even if I thought it would be fun for the visuals to change in response to the sound, it wasn’t something we could really implement. So I was itching for a chance to do it. In the previous game too, I joined in the final phase of development, so the most I could do was make Goombas jump in time with the background music.
We got involved from the early development stages of this game to come up with gameplay ideas, and the programmers also worked together to create prototypes for sound-related areas.
Koichi Kondo: Yes, it did. I’ve always wanted to try something along the lines of having the entire course come alive like a musical. To begin with, we tested it out by having Piranha Plants come out of their pipes in sync with the music, and the level designers created a course where the pipes and the platforms move. This went down well with the development team, so we adjusted it so that various enemies and stage elements would move to the rhythm. But the level designers didn’t know much about beat or metre, and the sound team wasn’t familiar with level design, so it was hard going.
Takashi Tezuka: The sound leads and level designers spent a lot of time adjusting that, didn’t they?
Koji Kondo: We held briefing sessions for both parties, and the sound team had a chance to get hands-on with the level design. And by actually stepping into each other’s shoes, we deepened our understanding of each other’s areas of expertise.
Masanobu Sato: You did a lot of tests at the Wonder prototype meetings too, didn’t you? In fact, there were times when a new Wonder gameplay element was born from sound.
Koji Kondo: Yes, the “Ninji Jump Party”. When various things started moving to the music on-screen, it made me want to move along with it too. (Laughs) That’s how we came up with a course where you make your character jump on every fourth beat.
Masanobu Sato: This was also very well received and gave birth to the Rhythm Jump Badge so that the same thing can be enjoyed on other courses.
Takashi Tezuka: We had the theme of creating a foundation for future 2D Mario games, and I actually feel that the changes we’ve made to our development approach have borne fruit.
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