When it was decided early on in development that Yoshi would appear, what did you think, Hayashida-san?
I thought it was an appealing idea. I thought being able to play a stage with Yoshi, in addition to Mario alone would result in multiplication of the gameplay elements. And since we were making a new game, we wanted to introduce some new controls. You control Yoshi with the Wii Remote pointer, so it was perfect.
So at first you were all dried up, but then you suddenly started thinking positively.
Did controls for Yoshi come easily?
We wrote specifications about controls early on, and then basically just followed them.
So all along you would eat by aiming with the pointer .
Yeah. Later on we added the pulling action .
When we talked about this pulling action, Miyamoto-san was bragging about how it stands out as one of the game’s main attractions. Miyamoto-san doesn’t say those kinds of things very often, so it made quite an impression on me. He said, “The way you pull things and they come out - like tug…pop! - isn’t like anything you’ve ever experienced before. “
At first there was only one place where you pull, but Miyamoto-san thought it was great and we started using it all over, like for fighting enemies.
Eating comes as no surprise for the players when they hear that they can use Yoshi, so we naturally wanted to try a bunch of different stuff.
That’s why “eating” became the keyword for transformations, too, so we added a lot of those. For example, something Koizumi-san said gave us the idea for Blimp Yoshi .
I was just trying to give an example. I muttered something like “When Yoshi eats a fruit, we should make it so that the players can immediately tell what the effects are, like Yoshi suddenly inflating and starting to float away.” And before I knew it, Yoshi looked the way he does now! (laughs)
Whenever Yoshi eats something this time, something happens immediately.
We made a bunch of transformations, and that really brought out everyone’s love.
Their love for Yoshi. From the development staff, the people in Mario Club7 and everyone at Nintendo of America. People who really love Yoshi send in all kinds of passionate comments, about the controls too, like “This isn’t right!” and “Yoshi doesn’t jump like that!” 7Mario Club Co., Ltd.: Members debug and test play software under development by Nintendo.
One person even said, “That’s not my Yoshi!” (laughs)
“My” Yoshi? (laughs) Everyone has their own idea of Yoshi, so I guess it was a fight to get those ideas to match.
Right. And their ideas are all based on different games, like Yoshi’s Island 8 and Yoshi’s Story .9 8Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island: A platform game released for the Super NES system in Europe in October 1995. 9Yoshi’s Story: A platform game released for the Nintendo 64 system in Europe in May 1998.
So they all spoke out of their varying loves for what Yoshi should be like. That must have made it hard for you. (laughs)
They liked different parts of gameplay, too. Some people liked the way Yoshi struggles to make it higher, while others liked the way you can jump off .
One person even said Yoshi should not be ridden on!
He said Yoshi is a main character that you control. I think he was talking about Yoshi’s Island, but if that was true, then what would we do with Mario?! (laughs)
We couldn’t just abandon him! (laughs)
So we added in everyone’s requests and Yoshi became a powerhouse; he’s fast and really toughs it out. (laughs)
Yoshi will eat anything! (laughs) And you can stop riding, too.
Miyamoto-san said it wouldn’t be any fun if Yoshi were too powerful.
A certain kind of good tension would be missing.
Right. So we really applied ourselves to coming up with objects and enemies best suited for Yoshi.
Another thing with regard to Yoshi is we re-recorded him for the first time in ten years. Kazumi Totaka-san10 did the voice. 10Kazumi Totaka: A member of the sound team in Nintendo’s Entertainment Analysis & Development Division. He has worked on the sound for numerous games such as Yoshi’s Story, Animal Crossing and Wii Music.
Is that his real voice? (laughs)
Yes. It’s a new recording. When I asked him to do it, he was a little uneasy. Ten years have passed, so he was worried it would sound as if Yoshi had aged! (laughs)
But it was all right. (laughs)
And as you were working on Yoshi, Hayashida-san and Motokura-san returned to good spirits?
What other things besides Yoshi did you get excited about?
Early on, we decided to improve the tempo and to use a world map. Then, along the way, we decided to put in Starship Mario .
Oh, right, a starship shaped like Mario’s head. Why did you put that in?
It was based on something Koizumi-san had in the proposal.
(looking at the proposal) Oh, you’re right! The design for Starship Mario is in the proposal from five years ago!
Yeah. When we were making the previous game, Koizumi-san kept nagging us about putting in a planet shaped like a head.
I was going around telling everyone until I was blue in the face about how I wanted to put in a platform that was a planet shaped like a head, but everyone just ignored me. (laughs)
That happens sometimes when everyone is busy. It’s happened to me, too. I kept mentioning something, but everyone pretended like they didn’t hear me. (laughs)
They’re like, “Oh, is he saying something?” I was really persistent, though, so I think they remembered.
We decided to make a planet shaped like Mario’s head when we realised you could walk across it.
Walk across Mario’s head? Like a land form?
Right. Mario’s head is a complicated shape, with its hat and whatnot, but we realised you could walk across it naturally.
It was possible as far as the engine went.
Of course, we could have made it shaped like a normal rocket, but this way it’s easier when you look at the world map to know exactly where you are in an instant. We also thought Mario’s head was an appropriate place for kicking back and taking a break after you finish an adventure.
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