MEET THE DEVELOPER
What makes Mario Run
The game's director takes us behind the scenes.
Super Mario Run
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Nintendo's Super Mario games have captivated players around the world with their imaginative play since 1985. Last year's Super Mario Run brought the beloved franchise to the App Store with its intuitive one-handed controls and inventive platforming challenges.
The core Mario team have worked together for more than 30 years, and know a thing or two about game design. Together, Shigeru Miyamoto, Toshihiko Nakago and Takashi Tezuka have created some of the most influential and globally adored videogames ever made. But they’re still humble about it all: “If we were a rock band, we’d have disbanded long ago,” director Tezuka says with a chuckle.
So, how does a team with this much history consistently create games that are so fun and engaging?
“After working together for 30 years, our sense of what’s good and what’s bad in terms of quality is in sync,” explains Tezuka. The three pioneers say they have a creative process that consistently works: it starts with prototypes of all kinds. Many of them go nowhere, but eventually after countless hours of tests, something clicks. And then the team dives into development for real.
That approach helped the Mario team consistently deliver experiences that they describe as having ‘Mario-ness’. Super Mario Run is no exception.
“We always made sure players felt a sense of accomplishment based on how well they played,” Tezuka explains. “We don't want to just give players a task to complete. Mario is fun because there are discoveries along the way. We believe that the players are more creative than we are, and it's their creativity that makes our games fun.”
Those who play Super Mario Run will sense that ‘Mario-ness’, as well as Nintendo's effort to appeal to a broader audience. The game combines the depth of a traditional Mario game but adds a new autorunning mechanic designed to assist novice players. That helps new players experience that sense of accomplishment that only real pros could in previous games.
With the 3.0 update, Super Mario Run is even more accessible. In the new Remix 10 mode, players frantically zip through 10 bite-sized levels in random sequences that change with each try. You can fail a level with no penalty – you'll proceed to the next level no matter what and won't need to start the stage over. When you stop worrying about failure, the focus becomes more about your quick reactions to the different obstacles.
“We wanted players to better appreciate the tempo of Super Mario Run and play the game carefree. We wanted each encounter to feel spontaneous and unique,” says Tezuka.
Perhaps it's the team's kindness toward players that shapes the core Mario experience – the sense of achievement, the wonder of discovery, and the joy of overcoming challenges. Mario has always seamlessly delivered these positive feelings, and Super Mario Run is filled with Nintendo's hope to deliver that joy to more players than ever.