Super Mario 3D World's Team Highlights the Values of Accessibility and Empathy
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
The cat costume is designed with beginners and veterans in mind
Much has been said about Super Mario 3D World and its approach in recent weeks; while we had a say in our preview and feature on the madness of the multiplayer, it'll be interesting to see how gamers of various backgrounds and proficiencies adapt to the title.
It's clear that, with the inclusion of local multiplayer and a host of key design decisions, the Nintendo EAD team has worked hard to produce an experience to cater to a wide range of families, those less experienced in gaming and, on the flipside, Mario veterans. One vital inclusion that typifies this attempt at satisfying different gamers in alternative ways is the cat costume; as part of a round-table media event attended by Eurogamer, the game's producer Yoshiaki Koizumi and Shigeru Miyamoto explained how the power-up can serve different purposes.
Koizume: The cat costume is the key to this game. It makes it easier for beginners to make it through levels and get to the goal posts. But advanced players can use the transformation to perform acrobatic moves and impossible feats. For example, you can perform horizontal jumps from one wall to the other - a new feature that advanced players will enjoy.
Miyamoto: Super Mario is fundamentally a game about jumping. So this addition might seem strange: the ability for the player to climb seems to challenge the core [of the series]. But I think we've found a way to implement that doesn't cause harm.
Game director Kenta Motokura also explained that "empathy" was a key principle when designing the playable characters in this title, as unlike the multiplayer clones of the New Super Mario Bros. console titles each iconic character has their own set of strengths.
When Miyamoto and Koizumi were working on Super Mario Galaxy 2 we discussed the topic of empathy. I think in the design of the characters we aimed for achieving this empathy. When it comes to Peach, I think many players will want to play as her; but I don't think that's gender specific. Remember, we've had her as a playable character in Super Mario Kart for a while now.
Players can choose type that best fits their playing style and it's also fun to play same course with different characters to see how it plays differently.
Naturally achieving these balancing acts of providing enjoyment for many and encouraging multiple playthroughs with different characters is a challenge, though Nintendo has certainly put its top designers on the case. How excited and optimistic are you about Super Mario 3D World at this stage?