News Article

New Super Mario Bros. U is 'Accessible and Intuitive'

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Keeps the 'building blocks' of the series

The extended unveiling of New Super Mario Bros. U at E3 this year prompted a number of reactions from viewers. In our office there were comments that it looked exceptionally pretty, graphics-wise, but also that it looked extremely similar to its 'New' series predecessors on DS and Wii. Whether that's actually a criticism is down to individual interpretation, but this continuity is certainly deliberate.

In an interview with Gamespot, Takashi Tezuka — producer of the revived 2D Mario series — spoke about Nintendo's intentions to make the series familiar to gamers of all kinds.

It's intentional. That similarity in the visual style and the control style is all intentional. The things we feel like we've already promised the gamer is that Peach will be kidnapped by Bowser, and Mario will move from left to right. We know that's what people are expecting! [Laughs] We know that there are all types of Mario games, as you said. So for us, with the New Super Mario Bros. series, we don't really need to mess with it. This is what people want.

One of the things we always focus on in development is that we want a wide audience to play these games and enjoy them. So we're looking at games that are accessible and intuitive. So, for example, we have a recurring enemy type from one game to the next. If in the first game the enemy acts a certain way and has a certain functionality, our audience says, "OK, I know what to expect." If they see that character in [the new] game and it's completely different, I don't think that's a good thing. For characters like the Goombas and the Koopas, those are the building blocks, the fundamental things that we're not going to change.

In terms of producing a HD upgrade to the visuals, Tezuka highlights a Retro Studios Wii title as one that set new standards.

The Donkey Kong game that we just had out on Wii, Donkey Kong Country Returns--I actually got a glimpse of a ROM while they were still in development. The graphics were so pretty that I thought, wow, that looks really nice. We were working on New Super Mario Bros. Wii at the time, and that really became an impetus. That really kicked us in the butts. I don't know if "influence" is the right word, but it had an impact.

Tezuka was also quizzed about the use of the GamePad touchscreen in Mario's latest, as well as the well-worn issue about Mario games on certain other touch screen devices.

The thing that we started first was what ended up being Boost mode, that ability to add extra platforms for players [using the GamePad touch screen]. One thing we learned via the DS system was that touch-screen control was something that's best used only when necessary. It wasn't the key controller. We didn't want to throw it in and use it everywhere. To be honest, we didn't feel that traditional Mario [directional pad] movement married with touch screen at the same time worked that well. So that's why using the touch screen only where it made sense, as we learned with the DS, was something that we brought to [this new game].

With the touch screen, our feeling is that it really depends on the type of game you're developing. So if you've a game where you're stopped, thinking about things and checking stuff out, or you've got inventories and whatnot…then man! The touch screen is fantastic! But Mario is a game that's always on the move, so it's not necessary to have it as a key control feature.

...We can definitely make a Mario game that's touch screen only. It wouldn't be a 2D side-scrolling Mario platformer, but I think we can definitely make games maybe in the vein of Mario vs. Donkey Kong or something like that. I think that's definitely possible. Would we make that for another platform? No. Of course not. It would be on a Nintendo platform. But it's definitely something we could do. It just wouldn't be a 2D side-scrolling platformer.

Is over-familiarity going to be a problem in New Super Mario Bros. U, or are you happy to have more of the same?


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User Comments (53)



MeWario said:

Over-familiarity isn't a deal breaker but it does put me off a bit. I liked the differences between Mario Bros 3 to Super Mario World to Super Mario World 2. That's what made them special.



FyreeTSG said:

I'm getting it---regardless of over's MARIO!!
Flying Squirrel looks great, and Baby Yoshi is BACK!
two thumbs up



Snaskyman said:

Super mario bros. games should always be the same basic idea.
Just new levels, power ups and other new elements to keep it interesting.



WaveGhoul said:

There were differences between 'all' 2D Super Mario in 1, 2 , 3 and world. They were different from each other in every single way imaginable....Now we have a 4 parter NSMB series that seriously needs to die after this one....4 is enough already. it's too predictable....Typically Nintendo creates the unexpected, not with this series. 'GoodFeel' seems to be the new unexpected. I bet nobody was expecting to play a Yarn based kirby game.

Using the same visual asthetics, music, just everything '4' times is going overboard....Even so, I'm still really looking forward to this, plus it's a launch title with the console which will make it all the more special AND it's the first Mario game ever to go HD!

As far as the next 2D mario goes...How's about we get something 'animated' in the same style as Wario Land shake it? Or what about being made out of clay? We need new music, new creative visuals, just 'something' that makes a 2D mario title stand on it's own the way 1-World did!



Lew3107 said:

The art style doesn't bother me too much, it does look similar to NSMBWii, but who cares? But I agree with WaveBoy; this must be the last one, it doesn't feel new anymore. Also on WaveBoy's comment, I love GoodFeel, I'd like to see them make a new Yoshi's Island game



Drawdler said:

I love the visuals but I do think with four already n every system since DS is a bit redundant. In terms of how excited for New Bros. U I am, though, it's very high because it's a Wii U launch title that actually looks quite different from the rest of the series. I'm a LOT more worried about New Bros. 2, quite frankly.



chiptoon said:

I kind of want them to split the 2d Mario's again. I really enjoy New Super Mario, but I also want a crazy reinvented Mario in Super Mario 5 (counting World as 4). They could easily do that since they've established the "New" series as its own brand really. But maybe that would be too many Marios even for me.



LavaTwilight said:

Mario is as Mario is! Thing is, you need 'new' games and Mario 64 brought a welcome advancement to the Mario series, Mario Sunshine made it better and then Galaxy blew us all away! What we wanted though was something back to basics and thats what the so-called 'New' Super Mario Bros did for us and they did it well!

So what they need, same basic formula but just give us something different. DS version brought us the megashroom and dry bowser and in all honesty I don't know why they didn't port at least dry bowser to the Wii version because although that was ok I did feel like it was lacking something. With NSMBU I just hope they've played their cards right... not that they have to because from what I can see we're all gonna get it anyway



LavaTwilight said:

O yeah and where do they get off having two toads as playable characters? BORING - How about bringng Daisy in as player number 4? She hasn't been in a Mario game (besides the spin-offs of course) since Mario Land on the Gameboy!



MrKenta said:

People thought it looked like the other NSMB games? Most of what I've seen so far about this game reminded me of Super Mario World.



Moshugan said:

I also think that this is a bit redundant. I understood why there had to be a Wii version to accompany the DS one, but four ''New'' games? Man, no more!
Although, if the price is right I'm happy to purchase one, because they are fun. I'm not going to pay 50€ for it though!



Slapshot said:

It's the least innovative and revolutionary launch Mario for a Nintendo home console, and I find it quite disappointing. These games always have a "Wow" factor and it just isn't here in NSMB U. I expect much more than this from Nintendo when it comes to their core Mario titles.



Cyrso said:

It does look bland and uninspired. It's just NSMBW rehashed for Wii U. :/

Yes, Donkey Kong Country Returns still looks 5 times better than this.




DK CR was brilliant, but I have sold it on whilst still keeping hold of my NSMB Wii. This is insta-download all the way as its great family and personal gaming fun.



abINC4L said:

I've never purchased a "New Super Mario Bros" title so this one along with the 3DS ones will be my first :3



luminalace said:

I haven't played the game but I know I loved New Super Mario Bros on DS and Wii so more of the same is not a downer in my book. I just hope it's harder than NSMB on DS but I guess I should be directing that at NSMB2 on 3DS and not NSMBU.



DreamOn said:

I am so glad they are making these side scrollers. I think people forget how valuable that tradition is with Mario. It makes Mario. While I enjoyed galaxy and other new 3D era takes in the Mario franchise the side scrolling predictable goomba and koopa patterns classic Mario platforming is the pure fun of playing Mario. They will make other styles of Mario games but I say let them set down the roots experience with every generation. It's a shame that the N64 and GameCube had no 2D Mario's along with the 3D ones. So this is what Nintendo knows and is doing.



WaveGhoul said:

The day this uninspired cut and paste series became redundant was when NSMBWii was released. Now, it's just getting ridiculous. I may be looking forward to both NSMBWii U and NSMB2 but like Slapshot pointed out there is absolutely 'nothing' about either of these that sets off the "OMGZ wow factor", there's nothing innovative, revolutionary or special going on....And it is definitly suprising, because nintendo NEVER would of done this during the NES & SNES era(Unless you count the Jap version of SMB2: Lost levels. 2 USA destroys it!).....

I seriously miss the mario of old. 1-World were all magical and extremely different in their own ways. Seems like the Galaxy games as far as modern mario goes have been getting all of that Nintendo creativity and imagination. While 2D Mario remains stagnent in 'plastic mario land'

Ahem.....Still extremely excited countless amounts of negativity asidey' lol



rjejr said:

@WaveBoy Agree.
And I'ld also like to add, anybody who bought a Wii the last year or so probably got NSMBWii IN THE BOX, so this isn't going to look all that special to them. Better, yes, but not all that new or different. I'ld have preferred a Sunshine sequel.



DreamOn said:

When Tezuka says: "...we don't really need to mess with it. This is what people want." it's the truth. I think people will complain up until they get the actual game in their hands and are having that good a familiar Mario fun they never want to die all over again.



hendie001 said:

this looks great and i love all the new smb games they kick butt and everyone knows it. Just look up the sales on the wii game thats all that needs to be said. 25 m



WaveGhoul said:


It's not what i wan't. I want a spiritual successor to SMB2. Hell, even Miyamoto said that SMB2 and 1 were his favorite mario games of all time, and when asked if he'd do a sequal to SMB2 he mentioned he would personally love to but it's not exactly in his hands. He said it probably won't happen because of that other developer that never worked on it. What a bunch of Bull dookie.
Hand it over to GoodFeel and they'll do something miles more ineresting and unique than nintendo will ever do with it. Even IF nintendo themselves did a SMB2 sequal, i guarantee it would look identicle to NSMB, but with different enemies and vegetables sticking out of the ground. lol



MrWezzle said:

Don't forget 3D Land, boys and girls. In this era of a new NSMB game every year or so, 3D Land really gave me quite a bit of hope back. What a gem! It felt like what the old Mario games felt like, or at least as close as I think the franchise has come since World. If they took the ingenuity that made 3D Land great and applied it to their 2D games, I think we'd have something really special on our hands.



Linkstrikesback said:

I'm just not excited for 2D Mario games any more. Whereas with Galaxy 1/2, you were bound to be getting a new experience every single star! Yeah, a few came back and were reused towards the end, but that was the extent of rehashing.

This is essentially going to be the 4th New Super Mario Bros. level pack, and only the first two really brought anything new (NSMB had it easy being the first real 2D mario game in a long time, and NSMBWii had the excellent multiplayer), and I could not care less at this point.

It's a shame nintendo games take forever to price drop, I'd get this as a Budget Title.



LittleIrves said:

"Complain boring tired rehash unoriginal blah...
But I'm super excited and will buy it and love it!"



LittleIrves said:

Also: What MrWezzle said.
People seem to forget that, before NSMB on DS, we'd gone two full generations since the last classic 2D platformer. People missed it, and they've bought them up in droves. If Nintendo WASN'T making more of these, the same people would complain. Just as long as they still work on titles like Galaxy and 3DLand (which they are and will), I have no problem with the "New" series. They're like the big tent-pole summer movie that will make 200 million dollars so the same company can produce a few smaller, more experimental titles without the risk of going under. Next year we'll see the next original/3D/creative Mario WiiU title and then we'll see what they've been up to in their magic lab.



19Robb92 said:

This game looks really great IMO. A lot more appealing than the New Super Mario Bros. 2 game for 3DS.

Multiplayer, social features, new powerups, good level design.. It just looks like a lot of fun. I'm buying it launch day.



Rapadash6 said:

I think the argument about this series not innovating enough is completely valid. Growing up, seeing Mario change over the years was always exciting to see, and even now, with games like Galaxy and 3D Land, we're still seeing it. That's what I feel the critics of the NSMB games don't realize however; these games are strictly made for the purpose of catering to the nostalgia created by the original Super Mario Bros. and not meant as true successors in the series. That's why the name never changes, why there's always flagpoles at the end of the levels, and why the art style is fairly plain. It's meant to maintain the simplicity of the series roots.

That being said, I see NSMB games as something I can always count on to bring a smile to my face. Sometimes games don't need to push hardware or offer new ways of playing to be fun. There's a good reason these games sell as well as they do, and irate gamers can't argue with that kind of success. These games are plain fun, and that really should be enough for any type of player.

On another note, I feel this is a perfect launch title for aging gamers like myself. NES, and subsequently, Super Mario Bros., are pretty much my earliest memories of playing video games, and the very idea that I'll be taking home classic 2D Mario gameplay on day 1 has me absolutely giddy.



C-Olimar said:

I only had NSMB for a week (borrowed) and I never had NSMB Wii, so over-familiarity wont be a problem for me, I'll be getting both NSMB 2 and U! I like the fact Nintendo explore new gameplay types in the 3D platformers, 64, Galaxy and Sunshine (in a way 3D Land), so I can't wait to see what they do next!



C-Olimar said:

@Rapadash6 I think we basically have the same idea

I don't think there really can be much innovation or many new ideas in 2D platformers. It's different for 3D platformers, and that's where Nintendo will innovate.



Luffymcduck said:

At least this one looks a bit more like Super Mario World, the best Mario game of all time. But seriously, do something about those plastic 3d models, draw them (Rayman Origins) style or heck, sprites like back in 80s and 90s. And that music... nothing memorable. That needs fixing too.

And what I want to see next is an actual 3D Mario. You know, like 64 or Sunshine.



FonistofCruxis said:

It certainly looks more creative than NSMB2 but that's not saying much. I'm sure it will still be a great game but I hope that the next 2D Mario game will be more creative than they have been in recent years. I also hope they stop releasing main series Mario games so frequently. That could be part of the reason that they're losing their creativity.



Moshugan said:

@FonistofCruxis ''I also hope they stop releasing main series Mario games so frequently.''
I think the ''New'' series can't be concidered main series. It's more like a parallel series.
Mario 64, Galaxy titles and 3D Land were main series titles. And those don't come too frequently in my opinion. Rest assured, Wii U will have it's own wow-inducing main title.



Mario-Fan said:

As you can see from my user name, I am a huge fan of Mario. When I first saw New Super Mario Bros. U I notice a lot of change in graphics, the baby yoshi's are back with 3 colors and each color does different techniques. I've also seen the background which in one level, looks like a Vincent van Gogh painting. I'm not going to go to far into detail on everything but I've listened to the theme song a lot. Maybe 30 times or more and it's much different then the other New Super Mario Bros. Series theme song.

Overall the game looks amazing and this will be the first new super mario bros game that I will really love. Not that I hate the others. I love them to, but there wasn't much change. I can compare them like crazy other then in graphics Wise. Even though I was hoping for a 3D adventure like the galaxy games I am looking forward to getting the game as long as they keep up with things like new enemies or even bosses. Also I would like to see the final boss (Bowser) to be a little hard this time. Not just waiting for Bowser to jump high and run under him and hit the switch. I can't think of any ways to make Bowser Hard as a boss. But that's Nintendo's job.



lanabanana said:

I think they should make a game in which Daisy gets kidnapped by bowser or some other monster and then Luigi tries to save her... I'm sick and tired of Peach getting kidnapped...



NintyMan said:

I agree with Tezuka. While classic, 2D Mario platforming should be preserved for delivering the lively experience we like, it's also nice to shake some things up if need be. That's why NSMB2 has all those coins, and while people will complain about the predictable "Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach and Mario has to rescue her" plotline, I think we should agree that if a Mario game can be fun and make you smile, that would be enough.

I'm very pleased that NSMBU is inspired by Donkey Kong Country Returns. That game has some spectacular backgrounds in it, and it already looks like NSMBU will have some of its own.



yobucky said:

I think with the spate of "2D" platforming games in recent years there's a risk that it will start to feel old. NSMB wii, 2 kirby games, dk cr, rayman origins are all excellent games but playing them one after the other the basic premise does get a bit tiresome, whereas super mario land 3d feels very fresh to play because it mixes things up so nicely. I'll still buy NSMB Wii U when I get a wii U but I doubt I'll feel as compelled to get 100% completion as I did with SMG 1 + 2 and Super mario 3d land.



Aldo_Raine said:

The NSMB games are fun of course,but I think that's enough. Do a little investment in the 2D Mario games,please. It makes it look like Nintendo is just trying to see how long the sales will be high by not making any effort whatsoever. It works for COD.

We all know Miyamoto likes to try new things with the series instead of playing extremely safe,it would be nice if the general audience who buys these games got tired of the same thing over and over,and accepted the 3D games better. But apparently they don't care.



UnseatingKDawg said:

When or if I get a Wii U (cash is the factor there), this will be a must-buy. I say that because I have every Mario platformer to date. And I enjoyed both of the previous New Super Mario Bros. All they have to do is crank up the difficulty to about DKCR level, and it'll be perfect.

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