First, I’d like to ask about the graphics. This project included staff from the Tokyo Software Development Department that had been involved in the development of SUPER MARIO 3D LAND, right?
Yes. They really helped us out in our challenges with 2D Mario. The SUPER MARIO 3D LAND project tried all sorts of things in using stereoscopic 3D well.
If we had simply tried to make a 2D Super Mario game without the experience and know-how of the people from the Tokyo Software Development Department, I doubt we would have gone the route of fully utilising stereoscopic 3D.
Thinking about it normally, since it’s a side-scroller, you would have stopped your imaginations with a foreground and background that merely gave a three-dimensional impression.
I believe so. For the first prototype, we had only made the character models in 3D, so it looked three-dimensional, but the landforms were flat and just slapped on. However, the staff from Tokyo Software Development Department improved that nicely. To be exact, the background landforms are a flat image, but it came to look a little three-dimensional, and if you turn on the 3D depth slider, it doesn’t just gain depth, but gradually blurs.
By “blur,” also known as “bokeh”, you mean the effect that was originally a terminology in photography that then became adapted as a term used in computer graphics. It’s used when describing depth of field, where the area of the picture in focus is clear, but the area that’s out of focus is not.
Yes. Depth of field means the depth of the picture that’s in focus, and is used in terms of a picture having “a shallow depth of field”. The depth of field becomes shallower as you slide the 3D depth slider, and the background blurs. Well, rather than putting it in words, it’s better to actually see it.
Okay. Turn on the 3D depth slider and...oh! You’re right!9 (laughs) 9 To enjoy the stereoscopic 3D effect of Nintendo 3DS software, you must experience it from the system itself. 3D gameplay footage of New Super Mario Bros. 2 is available in Nintendo eShop.
Recent digital cameras have functions for blurring the background as well as foreground areas. Tezuka-san asked the Tokyo staff if we could do something like that, and this was the result.
This is really amazing – although maybe I shouldn’t be so unreserved in praising our own company’s product! (laughs)
It looks like you’ve changed the camera’s aperture settings.
Yeah. By making the depth of field shallower, in camera terms, that means you’re opening the aperture of the lens and bringing in more light and the image gets faintly brighter. We pursued it all the way through such details. What’s more, it focuses right on characters in the foreground, so it’s extremely easy to play.
In other words, you don’t just marvel at how cool it looks, but you can concentrate on the characters in the foreground, so it’s easier to play.
Right. I don’t think many video games have had anything like that before. I think we were able to realise it due to the addition of the new blood in the SUPER MARIO 3D LAND staff.
Super Mario games in 2D have always had a traditional graphics style, but in addition to extending and developing the game world from games past, did you try anything new?
This time, we added some night and evening scenes . It feels very different than before.
It was always a blue sky.
Yes. But this time, the designers had a desire to change that a bit. Design-wise, it’s an extension of what has come before, but the night scenes make a slightly different impression.
It’s definitely Super Mario, but at the same time it’s a world we haven’t seen before.
Yeah. I thought it would be good if everyone would be thrilled and – in a good way – it would be great if a sense of something unusual arose. And with regard to the characters, there’s a new enemy named Boohemoth, who’s sort of like a giant version of Boo. When facing Mario, Boo gets bashful and stops.
Boo’s called Teresa in Japanese, because the word tereru means to be bashful.
We thought it might be fun because people familiar with Super Mario games so far may be caught off guard and be like “Huh? Boo’s sneaking after me!” You may be taken by surprise here and there in this game in a good way, and I hope that makes it feel fresh.
I suppose many people may take a quick glance at New Super Mario Bros. 2 and think, “Oh, it’s the usual Super Mario.”
But I get the impression from when I actually played it that if you think it’s the same and don’t take it seriously you’ll run into trouble.
That’s right. The staff had a strong desire this time to think of tough things that people might even get angry about. And we’ve changed some things with regard to the setup to make a fresh impression. For example, this time you can play special stages that we like to call “Dash Mario”.
He’s dashing from the start and can’t stop.
It’s best to actually try this out, too.
All right... (plays a little) Oh, I like this! (laughs)
You cleared it without any mistakes?!
On the first time...
This is quite an adrenaline rush! (laughs) It’s like the carts in Donkey Kong Country !10 10 Donkey Kong Country: An action game released for the Super NES system in November 1994.
Yeah. We put in this simple kind of game so that people who aren’t very good at action games and can’t dash much will be able to experience what it feels like.
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