Last week's Game Developer's Conference was clearly an ideal opportunity for Nintendo's brightest to talk about the company's main mascot. Koichi Hayashida, a key figure in all things Mario nowadays, revealed that Mario could have had a skateboard, amongst other things, and that he wanted Donkey Kong and Pikmin cameos in Super Mario Galaxy 2. In yet another interview, this time with Modojo, Hayashida revealed that rather than Tanooki Mario, he wanted Super Mario 3D Land to feature Cape Mario from Super Mario World on Super NES.
Almost all of the 3D Mario games have a jump delay mechanic that allows people to slow their fall a little bit so they can look very carefully where they are going to land. You might remember that Mario 64 didn't have anything like that, but Sunshine introduced the FLUDD jetpack that allowed the player to hover and delay their fall a bit.
In Super Mario Galaxy, you have the spin, which you can do midair during a jump, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 had Yoshi, who has a bit of a flutter kick.
We knew that we needed one of these mechanics in Super Mario 3D Land to balance gameplay. Fairly early in development, Mr. Miyamoto suggested the Tanooki Suit. Now, myself being a fan of Super Mario World, I really wanted to go with Cape Mario, but he shot that down.
Hayashida also acknowledged the 'possibility' of a Mario level editor in future, and explained what would prompt Nintendo to produce Super Mario 3D Land 2 for 3DS.
Well, maybe one way for me to respond to that question is to talk about how we developed Super Mario Galaxy 2, the second of two games on the same hardware. We often rely on new hardware innovation to push us to new places when developing Mario games, trying to find a unique match with the hardware's capability with the familiar but fun Mario gameplay experience.
When you're suddenly in the position to make a Super Mario Galaxy 2 on the same hardware, you find yourself in a very different position. It's going to be much more of a struggle to come up with ideas, because this is the exact same way you brainstormed for the first game. Hopefully, you have ideas that didn't make it into that first title, or things you weren't able to do for some other reason.
In the case of Super Mario 3D Land, I felt we got so much of what we wanted to do into the game, that we would start from a difficult position in having to come up with something from the same process.
Having said that, we are always thinking of new possibilities for Mario gameplay experience, whether it's on a portable or console.
Although Hayashida has expressed doubts about a sequel it seems that plenty of ideas were left on the cutting room floor, just waiting to be retrieved and given a second chance.