Once Nintendo started converting some of its classic Nintendo 64 titles such as Star Fox 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time into stereoscopic 3D for play on the Nintendo 3DS, many people started to assume that the N64's flagship title, Super Mario 64, had to be in line for similar treatment. After all, who wouldn't want to romp through Big Boo's Haunt and Lethal Lava Land in glorious 3D (oh, and the Princess's secret slide!)? Calm your expectations though; while releasing a Super Mario 64 3D seems like a natural move, Nintendo has abandoned the idea. Game Informer had the opportunity to speak with the director of Super Mario 3D Land, Koichi Hayashida, and got to the bottom of this issue.
I saw during your GDC 2012 presentation that you used levels from Mario 64 to test out the 3DS’ stereoscopic 3D. Fans were really excited by Super Mario Galaxy 2’s Mario 64 tribute level, Throwback Galaxy. Would you ever consider a 3D Super Mario 64 remake?
That early test that we did on the Mario 64 level when we were beginning development of Super Mario 3D Land was actually just to see how that game might play with stereoscopic 3D. What we figured out very quickly was that that way the levels were all designed was going to create so many stereo window violations – where an object would come in between Mario and the camera – that we knew we were going to need a different approach. So at the very least, we did rule out a remake of Super Mario 64 in stereoscopic view on the Nintendo 3DS.
Goodness knows I'd love to see Super Mario 64 3D (or, better yet, Super Mario 64 DS 3D with all of the extra content from 2004's handheld release included), but if the technology just can't handle the game's iconic camera system, then it's just not meant to be. Considering the nature of the stereo window violation in this example, I wonder how many other N64 titles are off the table when it comes to 3D remakes. That console's library was packed with action platformers that imitated Super Mario 64 (most of which came from Rareware, come to think of it, so they're off the table for different reasons). Perhaps it's just as well though. Without as many classic titles to fall back on for quick 3D remakes, Nintendo will have to continue to encourage new creations and ideas.