News Article

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?

[via eurogamer.net]

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User Comments (34)

unrandomsam

#2

unrandomsam said:

The best way to cater for both types is to have 2 versions of all the levels. It only needs very minimal changes to make it much more worthwhile for everybody. (Even just making it so you can only make the jumps at full speed and if you get hit you go small would likely be enough).

unrandomsam

#3

unrandomsam said:

What Nintendo wants is everyone playing the same game so "veterans" have to buy lots more games as they finish them so quickly and deliberately are kept wanting more. (Must be a concious decision. When I finished Super Mario World I was not interested in any more for a good amount of years.)

rjejr

#4

rjejr said:

Have they added the cat suit as a power up in SSB yet? I know some people complain about this just being a SM3DL port, but it seems like they've changed it up a bit to me, and it's 4 players, but I still haven't really seen anything new in SSB. Cat suit seems real popular.

My 8 yr. old son won't stop talking about the cat suit. And he knows we aren't getting the game until Christmas. It's going to be a long 2 months.

LittleIrves

#5

LittleIrves said:

I love the values Nintendo brings up when talking about their new games/features. What other company talks about "empathy" when they're selling their titles to the public? And not a word about resolution or teraflops or cloud storage or whatever. 3D World gonna be a hoot.

Pit-Stain

#6

Pit-Stain said:

I'm really loving those new and whacky power ups!

This game looks sooo promising! I like how there using different and unique designs for the levels!

BossBattles

#11

BossBattles said:

seems like they got the fun factor with this game. I still hope some of the later levels or "extra" levels provide a real straight up challenge.

NintyMan

#12

NintyMan said:

The Cat Suit is incredibly resourceful and will probably take time to master. Each of the characters having his or her own strengths is also nice in light of the throwback to Super Mario Bros. 2. I'll be experimenting with each to see who's my favorite. I also hope that the special levels in this game after the main game is done will be a real challenge.

sinalefa

#14

sinalefa said:

@rjejr

Maybe you should do what you did with your Wii U, and get it before Christmas. It may help you to keep your sanity.

About the game, I am eager to try Peach and Luigi. I also wonder about Toad's jumping ability. Hated how he was the worst jumper in SMB2

Geonjaha

#15

Geonjaha said:

"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."

So basically, it makes the game much more easy, a feature which many veteran players wont like. Being able to jump around the levels acrobatically wont really replace a lack of challenge.

rjejr

#16

rjejr said:

@sinalefa - "Maybe you should do what you did with your Wii U, and get it before Christmas. It may help you to keep your sanity."

Problem is, my kids are really looking forward to this, and if we get it before Christmas than they wont be as excited for Christmas morning. They didn't really want the Wii U - I bought it for myself for Pikmin 3 and W101, but this game is #1 w/ a bullet. The only thing they would want more is 3DS playable versions of early Pokemon games - (fire)red/(leaf)green. I think they've played all the others and they've been wanting those for years. If I could get them Pokemon for Christmas I'ld buy SM3DW for myself on release day.

Jazzer94

#17

Jazzer94 said:

So annoyed that I'm not going to be able to play this at launch, only stare at the box.

idork99

#20

idork99 said:

I've had a Wii U for a couple of weeks now and I still haven't had a "wow" moment like most Nintendo products usually provide. I had a wow moment with the touch screen gaming on DS, with Wii Sports on the Wii, with the 3D on the 3DS. But with the Wii U, not yet. I'm hoping this game will wow me.

KeatonTS

#22

KeatonTS said:

I am hoping that they pull a SM3DL and make Special stage remakes of all the normal stages. it was pretty neat how they re did nearly all stages, it was like an all new game. Would have been better if it were harder.. like golden stage hard. hopefully they will tend to that in 3D world

Giygas_95

#23

Giygas_95 said:

I tend to like regular old running and jumping so I might just ignore the cat suit and definitely the tanooki suit as it makes it way too easy.

Diddy_kong

#24

Diddy_kong said:

It's going to feel like Christmas morning the day I bring this home. Super Mario 3D Land is my favourite 3D Mario game ever. I was excited beyond words when this game with a similar design was announced at E3.

Just a few more weeks :)

Sir_Deadly

#25

Sir_Deadly said:

@idork99 I kinda "wowed" at the graphics with Pikmin 3 because i nvr seen that style before. But i do agree with u, we need a standout game that pushes the system and show what it really can do!

aaronsullivan

#26

aaronsullivan said:

@Diddy_kong Well, since this will be a Christmas gift for the family, it WILL be Christmas morning for us and I can't wait... erm... but will have to. :/

jsty3105

#27

jsty3105 said:

@Geonjaha @rjejr I got the chance to try the game for awhile at one of Nintendo's kiosks and finally understand why Nintendo's been promoting the heck out of the cat suit - it's the biggest power up change in the Mario universe yet offering you tons of freedom for how you want to approach the giant playgrounds Nintendo has created. Tried for a few minutes and I'm sold - selling my other games to fund this one for sure.

It doesn't make the game easier for advanced players - it creates new alternative paths. As soon as I got the cat suit it's like a different playing field was available for me.

Despite the initial look of the game, the worlds are much larger than they seem - there are multiple ways to reach the end objective and it feels like a giant playground, particularly when you get the cat suit powerup. Far from just being to climb walls (there's a small caveat in that there's a limit to how long you can spend running up walls) the cat suit actually gives you new ways to access areas. There's a whole lot of joy contained in that game.

LUIGITORNADO

#28

LUIGITORNADO said:

Easiest Mario game ever incoming.

What a waste. Shame on Nintendo. If it ends up selling a pitiful amount hopefully they don't put fault in that it was not easy enough for "beginners."

SphericalCrusher

#30

SphericalCrusher said:

Very very excited! The game was a blast when I played it, and I can tell it's going to be 100 times better now.

rjejr

#34

rjejr said:

@jsty3105 - Yeah, it's a good thing Nintendo doesnt put a demo for this on all the Wii U kiosks in stores or else people might actually want to buy a Wii U, and we wouldn't want that (I don't think it's really necessary to say, but that was sarcasm)

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