Speaking to Eurogamer, Shiro Mouri explained that the company’s latest Mario game is an attempt to recapture the feeling of mystery that the original Super Mario Bros gave in 1985.
Mouri, who was previously programming lead on The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and programming director on New Super Mario Bros U, said: “In terms of the concept for creating a new Mario, we came up with the concept of mystery and secrets.”
He went on to explain that items such as power-ups and warp pipes were surprises to players of the original Super Mario Bros, but that they’re just standard elements of the series today.
“As we were developing more and more side-scrolling Mario games, the challenge became that these kinds of secrets and surprises were more and more normalised to players,” he said.
“So I thought it’d be important to create a side-scrolling Mario that really fit the day and age that we live in now. You need to try harder to try and surprise these players.”
The solution is the Wonder Flower, an item that appears in every stage and transforms each one in a completely different way, be that making pipes bend and shuffle along the ground, transforming the art style or turning Mario into a Goomba.
In a separate interview with Wired, Mouri explained that the development team originally came up with the idea of an item that warped players to a different area each time, but that producer Takashi Tezuka asked him: “If you’re still just going to warp to a different area, it’s still the same. Why don’t you just change where you are right now?”
The entire development team was then pooled, “regardless of what part of the game they were working on or how many years they’ve been working at Nintendo”, for ideas on potential effects the Wonder Flower could have.
According to Mouri, “the number of ideas we got was probably over a thousand, 2000 ideas”, which were then whittled down and selected for inclusion in the game.
Super Mario Bros Wonder was showcased on Thursday in the latest Nintendo Direct presentation. The live stream shed more light on the game’s roster, power-ups and online system ahead of its release for Nintendo Switch on October 20.