Nintendo's Super Mario 3D World owes a lot to Super Mario 3D Land, the similarly titled Nintendo 3DS adventure. Both games send Mario though a series of isolated obstacle course worlds that emphasize the plumber's famed jumping skills and tricky platforming talents. As part of a recent deep dive into the game's development at Edge Online, Chris Schilling recounts how the Land team transitioned into creating World and how the lessons learned during the 3DS game's development period helped influence the Wii U title's direction.
Plans were set in motion after Super Mario Galaxy 2 was completed. “We decided we should make an entirely new title, rather than another in the Galaxy series,” co-director Koichi Hayashida says. “Up until that point, we had only been working on games for the home console, so you might expect that we’d go on to develop a game for Wii U. In fact, we got really interested in creating a 3D Mario game that could be played with the 3D effect of 3DS. That’s why we chose to develop for the handheld system instead. Saying that, though, at that same point we also planned on making a version for Wii U. So, in that sense, you could say the game was in development for over three years.”
Hayashida admits that Nintendo may have had to reconsider its approach had Super Mario 3D Land been a failure. But the critical and commercial success of Mario’s 3DS debut encouraged the company to stay its course. With the help of Nintendo subsidiary 1-Up Studio (formerly known as Brownie Brown, which worked on the likes of Mother 3 and Heroes Of Mana), the largest development team in EAD Tokyo’s history began work on its Wii U spiritual sequel. And with the core concept established at a very early stage, there was plenty of time for experimentation.
And experiment they did! Some of World's most interesting elements came about by accident such as the new Double Cherry power-up that spawns a Mario (or Luigi, or Toad, or Princess Peach) clone that is controlled simultaneously with the original character. The article is packed with peeks behind the curtain and at the cutting room floor along with some exclusive production sketches (some of which you can see became final, finished promotional artwork). I love articles like this and while it left me wanting more, there's plenty to soak up here.