Iwata Asks Miyamoto About Super Mario Galaxy 2
Sequel originally referred to as Mario Galaxy 1.5.
With three weeks left until Super Mario Galaxy 2's release, it's about time for an Iwata Asks column for the game. That column appeared today. In the hot seat opposite Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata was Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto.
The conversation began with Iwata pointing out that Mario's history has tended to see one 3D Mario per console. He asked Miyamoto if having a second 3D Mario on Wii made him feel how he felt when releasing Majora's Mask as N64's second Zelda game to follow Ocarina of Time. This was indeed the case.
Majora's Mask was meant to make use of the 3D framework of Ocarina of Time. The reason for this, explained Miyamoto, is that when you make a new game, you spend a full year working just on player movements. After having spent a lot of energy making a good play control system, they felt it would be a waste to just make some stages and end it.
For Mario Galaxy 2, they looked back at the sphere-based design of the original and noticed many things -- areas where they felt they hadn't fully utilized the qualities of the sphere-based design. They felt that they could make something more interesting by adding new tricks and gimmicks to the stages even if they used the same stage formation.
They started development on 2 by using the same stage formations as part 1. At this point, the game was referred to as "Mario Galaxy 1.5." This was to keep the staff from trying too hard. However, as development progressed, the staff felt that they could make the game even more interesting if they had new stage formations. Before they new it, over 90 percent of the courses were new, and it was difficult to see where the old stage layouts were.
The original plan was to make the game in one year, similar to their development time target for Majora's Mask. However, they ended up taking two-and-a-half years. Iwata noted here that because they didn't have to take that one year to refine the player movement, the full development time was spent exclusively on stage creation and tuning.
The interview also featured a discussion of some of the "support" features that served as the content of today's official site update.
The "Hint Television," a television that's placed throughout the stages and offers play tips, addresses a dilemma they always face when making a Mario game: how do you explain the controls and actions to new players without annoying Mario veterans. There are a lot of tutorials in Galaxy 2, but they're in the form of the Hint Televisions, so you those played the original will be able to skip through them.
Miyamoto also noted here that the game starts off "at full acceleration" and feels like it's more difficult than the original -- so difficult that he shouts out and slams his table when playing by himself late at night (Iwata responded that he'd like to see this).
Regarding the bonus DVD that's being included for beginner players, Miyamoto revealed that this was Iwata's idea. The high quality play footage that's included on the DVD is that of the development staff, said Iwata.
Miyamoto also encouraged players to try out the game's two player component (details on that here). The "assist play" that was first featured in the original Mario Galaxy has been strengthened, leading to some big advantages for those who play as two.
Elsewhere in the interview, Miyamoto revealed an unexpected area of his involvement in Mario Galaxy 2's develoment. Apparently, Miyamoto worked on text editing for the game, something he hadn't done since Mario 64. He said he found this to be extremely enjoyable, but he's sure he caused trouble to the development staff.
There's a lot more to the interview than just this, particularly some insights into past 3D Mario games. With Galaxy 2's release being a simultaneous worldwide one, we can hopefully expect a full English translation of the column shortly.