Weekly Poll: The Destruction Of Olympus
Capcom Officially Reveals Enker, Punk, And Ballade For Mega Man 10

Hub World Out, Map Screen In For Super Mario Galaxy 2

Comet Observatory Fans of Nintendo's Super Mario Galaxy hoping for a return visit to Rosalina's Comet Observatory in the upcoming sequel are about to have their wishes dashed as Game Informer confirms that Super Mario Galaxy 2 will do away with the hub world format and replace it with an old fashioned 2D map screen as seen in New Super Mario Bros. Wii.  Is this a natural development progression or a casualization of a top core title?  Shigeru Miyamoto himself puts it in perspective:

"You can think of it in terms of something similar to Super Mario World or New Super Mario Bros. Wii, where you will have a rather convenient map to navigate.  We want players to focus on the joy of the action instead of getting to each game course. We wanted to make it as accessible as possible and as easy as possible for the players. Also because we’re going to incorporate a number of different stars and conquering all the stars is going to be one of the most challenging missions for the player, we want them to understand as easy as possible where they should go next and which places they should go back to in order to get access to the remaining stars."

I do enjoy a solid hub world because I like to take my time to poke around a quiet level at my own pace to search for elusive secrets, but I can handle a map screen as long as the stages themselves make up for the exclusion.  Running around Princess Peach's castle and Delfino Square in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine respectively are very strong, fond memories that overshadow the primary stages themselves in some cases, but when I think back on Super Mario Galaxy, it's not the Comet Observatory that I most remember.  Maybe the development team is on to something here if they're unable or unwilling to build a memorable hub world.  Then again, by cutting development of a hub world, the team can either 1) spend more time creating extra action stages or 2) finish the game sooner than expected, hence the rapidly approaching May release date.