Super Mario Galaxy 2 for the Wii has released in some parts of the world (Japan and North America), and as with any blockbuster first-party Nintendo title, Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata is determined to grill developers involved in the project to find out about their experiences creating the game.
None other than Nintendo’s own Shigeru Miyamoto is featured in the latest edition of this interview series (entitled “Iwata Asks”), where the superstar designer talks about the development of Super Mario Galaxy 2, how the project began and how lessons learned during the creation of other games helped inform decisions on this new title.
During the interview, however, Miyamoto makes a curious statement regarding the place of story in a Mario game ‒ specifically, that Mario games may not need or require stories or movies – and continues to chime on this point until he reveals what it is he’s getting at.
When talking about his collaboration with another Mario designer, Yoshiaki Koizumi, Miyamoto felt his ideologies regarding the place of story in a Mario game was different to his, saying:
“When making the first Super Mario Galaxy, I had said Mario games didn’t need a story or movies, but before I knew it, there were quite a few movies and a substantial amount of story. When it comes to movies, you can pretty much stick them in at the end of development.”
So during the development of Super Mario Galaxy 2, Miyamoto tried to get these story elements cut back, but they kept creeping back in. Finally Miyamoto had a discussion with Koizuma and finally realised something:
“But talking over fundamental issues like Koizumi-san’s views on the importance of story,” said Miyamoto, “the function of stories in games and what kind of a game Mario is, I learned something important.
“I realized that whether it’s story or movies, it’s not about whether we need them or don’t need them. What’s most important is that the game resonates.”
Miyamoto then goes on to explain what this resonance means to him as a designer, and what it may mean to players. Simply put, ‘resonance’ in a videogame means that something in the game world or gameplay is ‘connecting’ with the player, and is consistent and inviting for people to interact with and engage.
If something about a game resonates with players, Miyamoto theorises, then it doesn’t matter whether or not you include story in your game.
You can read through Miyamoto’s official explanation in the latest edition of Satoru Iwata’s Iwata Asks interviews, this time discussing Super Mario Galaxy 2.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 only releases in Europe and South Africa on June 11th this year, so while we wait, you can have a good browse through El33tonline’s previous coverage of the game for bunches of screenshots, in-game footage and extra information.