Mario games used to be big events. Six years separated Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. Four years separated Gamecube's lone Mario game with New Super Mario Bros for 3DS. And now, with the upcoming release of Super Mario 3D World, we're on track to have three Mario games in two years. Has Nintendo diluted the brand?
"We think we're putting out the right number of Mario games based on what fans are asking for, based on what our own developers' creative visions are," Nintendo of America senior director of corporate communications Charlie Scibetta said. "The key to that is as long as there's innovation is occurring within the gameplay, as long as there's new features, then marrying the characters and the IPs that people love is the right call from our standpoint."
So, what is the so-called innovation of Mario 3D World, I quizzed.
"If you look at something like Super Mario 3D World, the gameplay on that one that I find really cool is those transparent warp points. Usually you used to go into one and pop out the other, and that was the end of the gameplay experience. Now, there's a whole dynamic there where you can navigate in there, try to avoid enemies, try to get a better advantage. You could theoretically make a whole new game with those kind of gameplay dynamics," Scibetta argued.
Instead of making so many Mario games, wouldn't Nintendo be better served coming up with new IP? "If we didn't put Mario on it, then it would just seem like a new IP," Scibetta said. "Because there's those new gameplay dynamics like that, we think there's the innovation there that will keep people interested and keep the Mario brand fresh."
"You could call all the games that we're making here new IP in the sense that they're new gameplay experiences. They just happen to also have the IP that people associate with."