As most of you are aware, an update recently went out for Super Mario Maker that added several new features. Players are now able to place checkpoint flags as well as conditional power-up blocks that dispense power-ups according to Mario's current status. Additionally, a new concept called Event Courses was added that allows Nintendo to spotlight stages crafted by other industry veterans and partners. All in all, it was a fairly meaty update – especially considering that we weren't really expecting updates – and USGamer recently caught up with a few development team leads to get some background on it.
Takashi Tezuka, Yosuke Oshino, and Yoshikazu Yamashita - the Producer, Director, and Co-Director, respectively – were the ones to give some details. It seems that this update was something that was planned from day one, likely due to time constraints. The features included were decided upon based off of both internal and external demand:
Tezuka: Today's update is actually something we had already been considering during the game's development. We had an overall idea of wanting to increase people's interaction with and enjoyment of the game after its release, and the update being released today was one of the ideas that came out of those discussions.
And finally, we have the conditional power-up item that allows small Mario become Super Mario if he hits the Question Block, but if he's already Super Mario that same Question Block will give him a Fire Flower. This was something that was in the original Super Mario Bros. and was something designed by Mr. Nakago, a staff member here at NCL. He was somewhat persistent about making sure this was implemented in Super Mario Maker as well—going so far as to say, "It just wouldn't be Super Mario without it."
Additionally, it seems that this update's features were picked due to how easily they could be added in to the game. As for whether or not we'll be getting more updates in the future, Tezuka was hesitant to commit to anything.
Tezuka: We see user requests come from a variety of different sources. Unfortunately, a lot of those ideas would take a lot of resources or time to implement. With this update, we were able to select things that we were able to add quickly. But in the end, we're not able to implement all of those things.
We do expect to hear continued requests from the community and the player base, and one of our biggest goals is to get as many people as possible to enjoy Mario Maker. We definitely want to fulfill these requests, but we can't promise anything at this time.
A question also arose around whether or not there would be "Maker" games for other franchises. While they were enthusiastic about the idea, it seems that this isn't really being considered.
Tezuka: The concept for this game really started with Mario and the kinds of actions you do in Mario games, and we felt the Mario series was really well-suited to a game of this type. During development, we did hear opinions like, "Wow, a Zelda Maker or something like that would be a great idea!" But, in thinking about it, it didn't seem like something that would be quite as easy to make or to play.
Yamashita: As a player and a user of Super Mario Maker myself, I have a lot of ideas and would love to see them all made. But as a developer of the game, I definitely have the same opinion as Mr. Tezuka. While a lot of these ideas are really appealing, the idea of implementing them and making sure they're fun to play is a real challenge.
That said, also speaking as a developer, taking on difficult challenges like that has an appeal all its own!
What do you think? Will there ever be an official Zelda Maker? What do you think of the update so far? Share your thoughts in the comments below.