During E3, Game Informer sat down with Super Mario Maker director Yosuke Oshino and producer Takashi Tezuka to learn more about the game. The name change was discussed, as well as influences behind the game’s development, and the potential for a “Zelda Maker“.
In the past year since Super Mario Maker was first shown at E3 2014, the game has been packed with more features. The game has been “powered up,” so the addition of Super to the title is only fitting — much in the same way Mario starts out a level small, but gets powered up with Mushrooms and items as he progresses. A more technical reason behind the name change is to avoid confusion. Oshino and Tezuka wanted to prevent the assumption that Super Mario Maker is a game for creating all kinds of Mario games. Instead, it allows players to create new levels in only four particular Super Mario games.
The Wii U Gamepad has allowed for this type of game to come to life. The console’s stylus and touch screen is perfect for creating side-scrolling video game levels. In fact, Super Mario Maker began as a tool Nintendo’s internal team developed to help the game developers make such levels. “When I saw them having fun with the tool, and it was simple enough for them to make courses, I saw the potential,” Tezuka explained, adding, “When they proposed we make a gameplay experience out of it, I agreed. It was such a great idea.” The tool’s capabilities were combined with Tezuka’s original plans for a Mario Paint game, resulting in the final product.
“When I saw them having fun with the tool […] I saw the potential.”
But is there a chance the Legend of Zelda franchise will benefit from this type of game? After all, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is largely a side-scrolling game; a design choice that, coupled with the game’s difficulty, has made Zelda II a divisive installment among fans. In addition, the original Legend of Zelda, and many of the handheld installments, feature overworlds and dungeons that are displayed one square at a time; potentially allowing for the creation of new areas piece by piece.
When the question of a potential “Zelda Maker” was put forth, Tezuka said it “might be a challenge to make.” While he was pleased with the idea that fans would be interested in such a game, he admitted Super Mario Maker was a “challenge in itself.” Undoubtedly a franchise such as The Legend of Zelda, which in ways has changed more than Super Mario over the years, would be more difficult to pull off in a Maker-style game with as much success.
Super Mario Maker will be releasing internationally on September 11, 2015 for the Wii U.