Nintendo defends rapid release of new Mario games

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 Wii. And now, we're on track to have three Mario games in two years. Has Nintendo diluted the brand?

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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."

From The Chatty

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    June 27, 2013 11:30 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Nintendo defends rapid release of new Mario games.

    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 Wii. And now, we're on track to have three Mario games in two years. Has Nintendo diluted the brand?

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      June 27, 2013 11:54 AM

      Crazy that only 6 years were in between 64 and Sunshine. Without looking it up I would have guessed like 15

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      June 27, 2013 12:09 PM

      Other than the Wii having 2 mainline Mario games, nothing's changed. 'New' and '3D World' are like 'Kart' and 'Golf'.

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        June 27, 2013 12:13 PM

        To me it is just Nintendo carrying shovelware on a household name like mario. I am sure it's very hard to create a game like mario galaxy but the semi 3d/2d side scrollers are just piggy backing popular names and they know they will sell

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          June 27, 2013 12:15 PM

          The closest they've come to 'shovelware with Mario on it' are the old Camelot developed games (IMO). NSMBWiiU is really thoughtfully put together.

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            June 27, 2013 12:26 PM

            NSMBWiiU is awesome!!! Best overworld map, and definitely best of the series. Nintendo outdid themselves here.

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          June 27, 2013 1:51 PM

          Shovelware? The only game I haven't cared for was NSMB2 on the 3DS. The others are great.

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          June 27, 2013 2:15 PM

          For what it's worth, I agree with you.

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      June 27, 2013 1:23 PM

      Personally, I think that the time span between the ones listed in the first paragraph doesn't recount the history of Super Mario.

      Let's not forget the original 3 Super Mario Bros, which were released in a span of 3 years. I don't think Nintendo is diluting the brand at all. In fact, I think they're back on par with what was expected, which was releasing one about every 2 years.

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      June 27, 2013 2:03 PM

      They showed the voice actor who's done Mario for 23 years on Conan's E3 segment. That guy is probably happy.

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      June 27, 2013 2:20 PM

      I'm so torn on the tiny release window that separates Mario games these days. I think longer waits benefit Zelda games. Zelda games tell epic stories over dozens of hours, and I feel players need at least 3 years to really appreciate what each game offers. Five years separated Link's Awakening on Game Boy and Ocarina of Time on N64. That felt right; by the time November 1998 rolled around, gamers were frothing to return to Hyrule. (Ocarina was intended for release earlier, but delays held it back, and all for the better.)

      Mario games are different. I like the idea of Nintendo releasing new installments for each system every year or two. Mario keeps players coming back to Nintendo. Each new game moves consoles, and Nintendo knows that. At the same time, Nintendo released the 3 NES Mario games within 4-5 years, but each one looked so different. Mario 2 was originally a different game in the U.S.--a factor that made it more fun than the Japanese Mario 2, which was more an expansion pack for the first game). Mario 2's unique origins notwithstanding, even as a kid I didn't feel like I was playing the same game multiple times. Each Mario contained the same tight controls and feel as the original, but added in new graphics, power-ups, music, and world structures.

      That design rule carried over to the Super NES, GameCube, and Wii iterations of Mario. Super Mario 64 carried over familiar Mario elements like jumping and flying, but repurposed them specifically for 3D gameplay. Mario Sunshine carried over Mario 64's best features, but dared to go in a different direction. Same thing with Mario Galaxy: familiar gameplay elements turned on their heads in a gravity-free playground.

      As much as I love the New Super Mario games, I don't get excited over the announcement of a new one. They all look the same, sound the same, feel the same. Don't get me wrong: they're great games, the cream of the 2D platforming crop. However, I think Nintendo should pull back just a bit to reimagine Mario's look and feel the way they did during the transitions from NES, to Super NES, to N64 and beyond.

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      June 27, 2013 2:22 PM

      No, they have to. They need a constant stream of recognizable titles, since that "not developing for WiiU" statement shook them up. That was both EA and Ubi, right?

      anyway, per nintendo, the WiiU has 109 titles.

      http://www.nintendo.com/games/gameGuide

      So yes, they NEED to pump out mario and zelda and metroid and the usuals as fast as possible.

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      June 27, 2013 7:32 PM

      Mario 1 - 3, Super Mario World, are better games and still much more fun than the newest Mario releases. The new games lack the special touch that the original 2D games had.

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      June 27, 2013 7:58 PM

      Well this is a manufactured controversy if I've ever seen one. Slow news day I suppose?

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      June 27, 2013 8:10 PM

      Nintendo has the right idea with mario

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      June 27, 2013 8:49 PM

      I think their arguments are justified only when they also on the side make some new idea or IPs (usually one leads to the other)

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      June 28, 2013 12:46 AM

      Quantity over Quality? Sure. Sounds like a perfect plan. Except for people who like good games obviously, but who cares about those fuckers right?

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      June 28, 2013 8:36 AM

      50 million call of duty and halo and other fps games come out every year for the past 8 years: fine

      a few mario games get released in close proximity: WHAT IS THIS!!!!!!!!

      cool article

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        June 28, 2013 5:31 PM

        Right? I'll always go back to Nintendo no matter what.

        Sure they use the same damn characters in a lot of there games over the years but at least most of the characters are likeable. And it helps that the games they're put into are good as well....

        The only games that need to evolve in their library are Legend of Zelda and F-Zero.

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      September 1, 2013 11:53 PM

      I think Nintendo has good idea of Mario games. Not always same characters, do you know the latest Nintendo fighting series Super Smash Bros ha new heroes Animal Crossing Villager and Mega Man ? There are awesome <a href="http://www.gameseverytime.com/mario-games"> free mario games online</a> to have much fun with.