At first, we had the option to view the Super Guide on the first menu screen. But as I couldn’t bring myself to allow that, we considered a number of solutions and eventually came up with the idea that after losing three turns, a hint block would appear. If you hit that, then the option to view the Super Guide would be displayed.
You made it so that players can view the Super Guide after giving it three tries but not being successful.
I played that version myself, but that still made me upset!
I thought: "Are you making fun of me!?" (laughs) When we had the hint block appearing from the beginning I just felt like: "I don’t need this!"
If it appears right from the start, you feel: "This has got nothing to do with me!"
Right. But if you lose the turn three times and it appears…
Then you feel really annoyed?
(violently) …”Leave me alone!”
(laughs) It’s fine if it appears when you’re on the verge of tears, but if it pops up when you’re still brimming with determination to do it, then you feel: "I can do this! I’m going to clear this! What’s this thing doing popping up?"
So in the end, getting that timing right is extremely important - how many times should the player be allowed to slip up before the hint block appears?
That caused us a lot of headaches. Should it be five times, or would it be better if it was ten times? I thought that ten times would probably be best, but there were people who thought somewhere in between would be better and they suggested: "How about making it eight times?"
So that’s just about in the middle.
You start the game with five turns. But you’ll pick up a number of 1-Ups once you make a little progress. So we thought that if the player attempts to clear a level over a couple of sessions but can’t manage it, surely it’s okay to let them move on to the next level. That’s why we decided that after losing eight turns, the hint block should appear. But here’s the funny thing – when it appears after you slip up eight times, I think: "But I didn’t want it to pop up at all!"
You have your pride as a gamer, after all! (laughs)
I can’t forgive myself! (laughs) That’s why I’ll try my best to complete the level in seven attempts or less.
It’s funny that even though you were the one who added the Super Guide feature, you’re dead set on not letting it pop up! (laughs)
That’s why I wanted something to appear for players who didn’t allow the hint block to pop up.
Something for players who’ve done really well?
Right. For those players, there are medals awarded for not bringing up a hint block which are displayed on the title screen.
With that feature, it now means that if you bring up a hint block even once, you’ll want to wipe all your save data and start again from scratch.
So basically, if you slip up eight times, you start again from zero! (laughs)
Right. You go back to an earlier save game and try again! (laughs) A lot of the staff do that, and it’s actually an exciting way to play. If you’ve been coasting on autopilot up until then, this will make you refocus and give it your all.
So you’re playing hardball every time! (laughs)
You’re playing hardball. That’s something that we wouldn’t have come up with if we hadn’t thought of the Super Guide…
What kind of feedback did you get from the hardcore gamers at Mario Club22 ? 22 Mario Club Co., Ltd. is responsible for the debugging and test play of Nintendo software during its development.
They are all extremely skilled gamers so they are never going to actually need the Super Guide. On occasion, someone would say that a certain level was difficult and you’d check their data and see that they’d only slipped up three times.
So if they fail three times, it’s a difficult one! (laughs)
There are a lot of hardened gamers at Mario Club who are aiming for a perfect performance and this time round you can actually view a Super Skills display from some of these hardest-of-the-hardcore gamers.
Tell us more about this Super Skills display.
Well, this is Mario, so naturally there are three Star Coins to be found on each level. Needless to say, if you use the Super Guide, it won’t collect them for you or show you how to collect them. That’s why you need to get them through your own efforts.
So simply by playing using the walkthrough, there are aspects of the game you definitely can’t complete. At the same time, really good players will be able to prove that they stand out from the crowd.
By collecting Star Coins relying on their own abilities, skilled players will be able to watch a Hint Movie made up entirely of displays of Super Skills.
So there’s an example video with the very best play by the hardcore gamers at Mario Club and this will serve to enable skilled players to become even better.
That’s the idea. What’s more, if you collect all of the Star Coins and fulfil other conditions, you’ll be able to play new levels in the ninth world.
If the levels are for someone to have gone that far, the ninth world must be tough.
It’s not that these levels are all really difficult. We’ve got a mix of fairly unique levels as well as difficult ones.
Am I right in thinking there are fairly unforgiving levels?
Right, they’re unforgiving! (laughs) We’ve constructed the game so that not only Mario novices, but also skilled players, can really get the most out of it. I think that even playing alone, you can thoroughly enjoy the game. But this time round we’ve also got multiplayer action , which means that every time you play, you’ll get the sense that you’re playing on a new level.
Out of interest, did you intend to include multiplayer modes in the game from the beginning?
Yes, I did.
Ever since Mario Bros., you’ve had your heart set on making a multiplayer Mario game. You’ve tried each time, but it’s never quite come together… Even with Mario 6423, it started with Mario and Luigi running around together, didn’t it? 23 Super Mario 64 was the first 3D Mario platform game. It was released in Japan along with the Nintendo 64 console in June 1996 and in Europe in March 1997.
That’s right. The screen was split and they went into the castle separately. When they meet in the corridor, I was incredibly happy! (laughs) Then there was also the mode where the camera is fixed and we see Mario running away, steadily getting smaller and smaller.
Yes, that’s right.
That was a remnant of an experiment we did where Mario and Luigi would run away from each other but you could still see them both. But we were unable to pull it off…
The idea of having multiplayer mode in Mario is one you’ve worked on for many years. How were you finally able to realise it this time round?
We owe it all to Wii’s processing power. The CPU is much faster than anything we’ve worked with before, its graphical capabilities are advanced and it has a large amount of memory.
So your longstanding dream has finally been realised on Wii.
Yes, it has.
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