Super Mario Odyssey is looking to be a tent-pole game in the Mario series and likely competing with Breath of the Wild (and other titles) for Game of the Year awards. It’s doing that as a true to form 3D platformer, a genre that once was essentially king of the video game kingdom. These days, 3D platformers are far and few between – and even less so if you want to talk about high quality ones.
In many ways, the genre itself has fallen by the wayside. A recent attempt to bring it back in Yooka-Laylee was considered decent by most pundits, but far from the greatness the genre once enjoyed. Super Mario Odyssey, meanwhile, is changing the game. Here is what the producer of the game had to say when asked about the state of the genre:
Game Informer: I’m curious, 3D platformers used to be a really big genre, but not a lot of companies are making games like this anymore. Why do you think that is? Do you think this is a particularly hard type of game to make?
Koizumi: It’s not, I don’t think, that they’re necessarily hard to make. Honestly, I’d love to hear the answer to that question if anyone has a really thought-out version, because I’m not sure I know myself.
Like Koizumi, I too wonder what really lead the great fall of 3D platformers and why they can’t seem to make a huge comeback. Mario has been able to avoid the fall off with excellent titles like Mario Galaxy and now Odyssey, but the rest of the industry hasn’t been able to keep up. Oh, I mentioned Breath of the Wild earlier. It turns out, the game is pushing Odyssey to be the best version of itself:
Game Informer: Are there any specific lessons from Breath of the Wild’s success that have come forward for Super Mario Odyssey?
Koizumi: Well, certainly as the overall software producer, I had a role in the Breath of the Wild development, and so there are a lot of things bouncing around that we take away as interesting ideas from one game project that could be used on another. Perhaps, just a coincidence of really good timing, both of these games ended up with a really high degree of player freedom. Ever since the Famicom (NES) era, Zelda and Mario have been growing up side-by-side. They share a lot of the same roots and as such, the way that they encounter and express their themes is quite similar. If there’s any influence of one on the other, I think it’s fundamental, it’s almost on the DNA level.
Motokura: In a good way, Breath of the Wild is sort of an action game rival to Super Mario Odyssey. I guess you could say that they push each other to new heights.
You can check out the rest of this interview at Game Informer. It includes a few other interesting tidbits, like drawing inspiration (and including references) from the series past.