News Article

Iwata Asks Reveals New Super Mario Bros. U Took Three Years To Develop

Posted by Andy Green

And it's not child's play either

New Super Mario Bros. U will be one of two first party Wii U launch titles when Nintendo’s new console finally becomes available to buy - the other of course being Nintendo Land - and it has been revealed in the latest edition of Iwata Asks that the game has been in the works ever since its predecessor New Super Mario Bros. Wii was released.

This of course meant that the development team didn't have a whole lot of access to the Wii U hardware needed to make the game, so they began by doing the basic things first, like making the courses while thinking about new gamplay techniques they could incorporate.

The team was then shown the Wii U GamePad and a whole host of ideas surged through them, one of which was to make good use of that beautiful touch screen to enable an additional player to drop in and out to help their friends get through a level. Although the team had to think hard about how to implement this as similar touch screen gameplay in New Super Mario Bros. had been "underwhelming”.

The game’s director Takemoto said his main desire was to make a game that needed no instructions, something someone could pick up and start playing right away:

I wanted to make something with responses for even a child who doesn't understand language. Then I considered how we could use the touchscreen on the Wii U GamePad for a Super Mario action game. If you just used it to move Mario, touch controls would be inferior to the Wii Remote controller… But touching it to have blocks appear is easy to understand, and when I tried it, I saw that it was fun. Then I decided to pack in more gameplay like that.

Naturally, this block placing gameplay may make the game seem a little simple to get through - after all, if getting over a particular pitfall is becoming too taxing you can simply place a few blocks to help you over stress free. Iwata was quick to bring up this issue of difficulty but the development team were just as quick to assure him this new Mario Bros. game is by no means easy.

Step forward challenge mode, something the Japanese development team are very proud of indeed. The new mode is not something you simply unlock by finishing the game - it is there from the beginning, introducing a new way to play right away. The team wanted to create a game that was more difficult than usual but had to balance it out so less experienced players could enjoy the mode as well, so they made three difficulty levels: bronze, silver, and gold:

I wanted all kinds of people to play the Challenge Mode, so we prepared a mode that advanced players could enjoy, as well as a slightly easier mode that you can progress with little by little for people who can play about halfway through the story mode.

Less experienced gamers can build up their experience in challenge mode by working their way through the medals and improving themselves as a result. So if you were looking for something to boost your Mario skills, it looks like the development team has had you in mind. However it does appear the game is a tad difficult, as many of the game's testers have reported back to the team that the game is more challenging than previous versions. The team even sent out the game to Nintendo of America who emailed them back wondering if there was an error in the game design as they could not attain a gold medal.

There is also a two-player boost challenge mode that requires two people to get along and help each other to the finish with one controlling with a Wii Remote and the other frantically placing blocks to help out along the way. The team were worried that the game would isolate those without a second player until they saw a programmer on the team playing by himself with the Wii Remote in both hands and a stray finger being used to tap the GamePad screen when needed. Now that does sound a challenge.

The team also spoke about the new map which sees the return of the connected world seen in Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo. The board game style world map in Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES - something Iwata referred to as “shocking” - did not appeal to the team, so Takemoto made the move to create a vast and connected world map to plough through:

I wanted to take that thrilling map from over 20 years ago and use the latest Wii U technology to take it a giant step further.

The team also confirmed that DLC for the game will be on the way involving some additional courses.

What do you think of all this new information? Are you looking forward to getting stuck into challenge mode? Think you can get all those gold medals Nintendo of America struggled with? Fire away in the comments section.


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User Comments (42)



GameLord08 said:

This sounds like the most resourceful and definitive New Super Mario Bros. to date. From reviews to consumer hands-on experiences, it really sounds like it's shaping up to be something better than initially thought. Looking forward to playing it.



SilverBaretta said:

Aw man, I had my heart set on not getting this, as I already spent money on 3 NSMB games and didn't want more and more of something I already had, but these new additions sound really nifty. Maybe sometime down the road...



renaryuugufan92 said:

3 years~ oh my i hope the team that worked on the galaxy games has been working on a new 3d mario game alongside this one ((behind the scenes of course)), if not then we may have to wait awhile before we see a new one~



Sylverstone said:

Looks like this could be the best NSMB title yet.

While I did enjoy NSMB2 in some spots, NSMBU looks to improve far beyond it while bringing together various elements from past games (Mario 3, Mario World, NSMB Wii, NSMB2) to make an impressive and fun 2D Mario game.



6ch6ris6 said:

3 years?

what have they done all the time. game doesnt even have a new engine or does it?



Mk_II said:

This game is going to be HUGE, even for Mario standards and it will take the Wii U platform to the top of the charts.



WhiteTrashGuy said:

OLD NAVY's Black Friday (post-Thanksgiving mega sales) deal is spend $40, get a copy of Mario U. I'll be there at midnight! ; )



theblackdragon said:

@WhiteTrashGuy: That deal states that you could win a chance to get a free copy of NSMBU, not that you will if you spend $40 or more in-store that day. You're not guaranteed a copy, just so you know :3



Haywired said:

"I wanted to take that thrilling map from over 20 years ago and use the latest Wii U technology to take it a giant step further."

Perhaps over-selling it a tad...



Emaan said:

So this took 3 years huh? Interesting. At least now we can know it wasn't rushed like NSMB2 most likely was. Really excited to play this! It looks to be the best 2D Mario since Super Mario World!



Auracle said:

The challenge mode sounds intriguing, and I'm also interested to see what the DLC in this game is like. I'll certainly get this.



NintyMan said:

3 years is a good chuck of time to work on a game. This will easily be the best New Super Mario Bros. yet and will truly be new. It's my most anticipated Wii U game right now.



Haywired said:

Will get this eventually, but having just played NSMB2 merely a couple of weeks ago (which I loved btw) I have absolutely no anticipation or hunger to get this right now. Maybe in a year or two.



aaronsullivan said:

So far early reviews are very good for this game. Metacritic score of 84 with G4 TV being the dissenting score of 70 bring down the rest.

Positive things I've read: "best 2D Mario in decades", "As compelling as the 3D Marios", "Modern and nostalgic at the same time."

I'm stoked because this and Nintendo Land are all we'll have for awhile and they both seem to be exceeding expectations from a critical standpoint. I was pretty sure I'd love them anyway because I've been far less critical of Nintendo's first party stuff (read: I've had tons of repeated fun with them) far more than the critics have seemed to.



SammyOfMobius said:

@SkywardLink98 They put lots of time into it and I think we should reward them for their efforts and buy and play this game. And the only thing similar to the others about this game is graphics style, music and gameplay. But new environments, modes, side-missions, and Boost gameplay set this game apart from the others. Plus there's a huge plot twist.



HaastMK7 said:

Wow, three years. That is why it is at the peak of its performance.
Gotta say three years were spent well. The game is amazing!



Gridatttack said:

3 years is right. Usually, when you make levels from any mario games, you always have to test the level you made. Also it may have been that they needed to rework because they dont feel mario-ish.

Also count up the time needed to think of the worldmap design, the textures, level design and all. Is not that easy at all



GamecubeMan said:

Well this game looks amazing. They probaly didnt spend 3 years on the soundtrack though. :/ Also one of the modes was so hard that the game testers thought there was a game glitch hundering you from getting a Gold medal, that should be interesting
Hopefully the DLC will come out before I get a Wii U, it probably will since NSMB2 DLC came out really quickly



sinalefa said:

I have only bought the console New Marios, so I think I will get this one. It really looks more interesting and polished, and that challenge mode sounds great.

The bad thing is that I may not be able to get a Wii U at launch, so hearing this is great won't help that wait at all.

As a side note, I hope Nintendo Life won't wait until the European launch to have reviews for this and the other Wii U games. Eurogamer already has a Mario U review.



WindWakerLink said:

After reading this article, I'm even more excited for this game! I really hope that Star World, assuming one would be in this game, is way harder than the one for the Wii... "specifically harder than stages 9-4, 9-6 & 9-7 because those annoyed me so much trying to get all 3 star coins!" The harder the better!



SirSmugleaf said:

Looks like they put a lot of effort into it, and it's starting to show! Can't wait to pick it up when i get a Wii U.



Henmii said:

Am I the only one who is afraid that because of this game we won't see a new, innovative 3D Mario soon?! Maybe they just have started, or have yet to start!!

Nintendo, don't tell me there is no new 3D free-roaming Mario in the cards! That would be a shame!!



Kirk said:

I do think it looks like a solid Wii U title and 2D Mario platformer in general but I still wish they could have done a little bit more with the visuals than just go for the typical New Super Mario Bros plasticky rendered look.



theblackdragon said:

@BlueCurry74: Ah, thanks for the link — i had read two different articles that had stated they were entered into a drawing for the game, not that it was a guaranteed deal. I did read another article, however, that stated the way they're gonna go about it is give out wristbands to the first few people waiting at the doors when they open for Black Friday, and those people alone will be eligible for the deal. If you're gonna go for it, get there super-early. Good luck! :3

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