Originally meant for internal use, Mario Maker is part tool, part game, enabling you to craft your own 2D Mario levels on a GamePad. You can play it straight, but Nintendo’s sample designs encourage experimentation – one example level features a screen-wide pyramid of flying Goombas, for instance.
You’ve said that Mario Maker was conceived with internal teams in mind. Why did you decide it was suitable for the public, too?
It all started when our internal tool team realised how fun it was to create and play 8bit Super Mario courses using the prototype tool they were making. But we didn’t want to release this tool just as it was as a game, since our job is to provide entertainment. We felt that a game where all you can do is make 8bit Super Mario courses wouldn’t be enough, so we investigated what made the tool team so excited and tried to turn that prototype into a game that’s fun to play.
How were Mario levels made beforehand, if you felt an in-house editor would be useful?
Courses in past Super Mario games have also been developed using special course editors, but on a PC. The difference here is that we were developing a course editor that would work on Wii U. This means that it’s possible to create courses while using the GamePad to quickly and intuitively test how they play.
Will internal teams also use it?
Courses in future 2D Mario games won’t be made using the actual Mario Maker game. However, we will continue developing Mario course editing tools for use on Wii U because of how wonderfully easy they are to use on a GamePad. Mario Maker is essentially a game based on creating; we don’t consider it to be just a course editing tool. The kinds of fun elements included in Mario Maker – setting up enemies piled up like a tower, for instance – aren’t necessary for making actual Mario courses. The editor would need a
“WE WILL NEED TO HAVE A SYSTEM FOR SHARING COURSES ONLINE, ONE THAT’S TAILORED TO MARIO MAKER”
higher level of functionality tailored for the specific game being made, so naturally we will need to continue developing specialised tools.
How are you going to approach players sharing their creations?
Are you concerned it could harm sales of future Mario games? What I most want to achieve with Mario Maker is to stimulate the imagination of the people playing it. I want them to try out their creations – sometimes getting an expected result, [and] other times, something completely different – and then use that experience to come up with even more creative things to try the next time.
In addition to the fun you can have making courses, I’m sure there will be people who want to share the courses they made with others, and also people who want to play on courses made by others. For these users, we will need to have a system for sharing courses online, one that’s tailored to Mario Maker.
I think part of the fun of Mario is how you play and experience a series of courses, with boss battles too, all of which get progressively harder. Mario developers build up the whole world, making sure the different courses all fit well together. I don’t think the overall fun you can have with an entire Mario game is the same as playing a single course made in Mario Maker, and of course future Mario games will include lots of new features… so I don’t think the two will ever be in competition.
Example courses are meant to get you thinking about Mario in different ways, stacking enemies here to be taken out with a single red shell
Currently, you can only switch between the art styles from SuperMarioBros and Wii U launch title SuperMarioBrosU, though more will be ready by launch