Super Mario Advance
This series of articles will take a look at the development of Nintendo-published software. These Q&A sessions conducted by Nintendo Online Magazine, and transcribed to English exclusively by N-Sider staff member Anthony JC, come directly from the developers so as to give you a first-hand look at the amount of sweat and blood that goes into Nintendo's most celebrated releases.
Nintendo Co., Ltd Entertainment Analysis & Development
Nintendo Co., Ltd Research & Development 2
Nintendo Co., Ltd Research & Development 2
Q: How did the idea come to develop this title for the Game Boy Advance?
Takashi Tezuka: The Game Boy Color version of Super Mario DX was very popular in the United States. At the same time, why wouldn't we want to accompany the Game Boy Advance launch with the Mario brand in some type of fashion. We decided to recreate Super Mario 2 with some new features for both new game players who never had a chance to play the original, and older game players who for nostalgic reasons would love to play the game again. Development was done in Mr. Suzuki's department with myself and the EAD division supervising the game.
Q: Super Mario Advance is a mix of Super Mario Bros 2 (USA) and Mario Bros.?
Toshiaki Suzuki: Yes. Both were remade and enhanced and combined.
Hiroyuki Kimura: Yes, we weren't satisfied by just porting the Super Mario-All Stars version of Super Mario 2 so we decided to add more features to the game.
Suzuki: But the Game Boy Advance differed from the Super NES in screen size. Therefore, geographical features had to be changed and production had to be done again. So even the parts that look ported, weren't so simple.
Q: How was the development process?
Suzuki: Quite easy. My team was responsible for Super Mario Bros. DX so we used the same programmers, on top of that we had some of the staff of the original Doki Doki Panic now in the R&D2 division, all supervised by Mr. Tezuka and the EAD department.
Q: What changes were made in the graphics department?
Suzuki: Outside of resizing the game, we added several frames of animation, redid and redesigned several backgrounds, added a few short animation sequences, and also redesigned several characters.
Q: Were the characters reworked?
Suzuki: Yes. We actually worked a bit more on Mario, and Luigi. We made their differences more apparent in this.
Tezuka: Mario was almost a useless character in the original.
Kimura: Yes. Please play as Mario now. (smiles)
Q: The multiplayer Mario Bros. Classic was very exciting to many nostalgic Nintendo fans. How did that come about?
Suzuki: On the old Game Boy, when we played against each other via the link cable, each person had to have the same cartridge. Even if the multiplayer mode was fun it was often hard to come by four people with carrying the game at the same time. In many ways, Super Mario Advance was the testing ground for this technology. Still the classic mode is quite fun in multiplayer.
Tezuka: It was also a very nice extra to add.
Q: What was Mr. Tezuka's main input?
Tezuka: My main concern was making sure the games transition from the Super NES resolution to Game Boy Advance resolution worked and did not hurt the game play in anyway. I didn't have to do much, the development team was very aware of what they had to accomplish.
Q: The backgrounds are beautiful.
Kimura: Well there are more colors on screen and we added some very nice scrolling effects, the after image might flow rarely.
Q: Was Mr. Miyamoto's editorial supervision severe?
Suzuki: He was very helpful, but in general development did not call for much of his help.
Tezuka: We are in the same office, so anytime I was checking the latest revision he would briefly co-examine it and we would both discuss it.
Kimura: Mr. Suzuki and R&D2 did a fine job on Super Mario Bros. DX so there wasn't much worry.
Q: An abundance of speech was added?
Tezuka: Just a neat little thing missing in the NES and SNES games. We thought it just added atmosphere.
Q: Also the enemy boss Catherine spoke, I was surprised.
Suzuki: All the bosses have speech in the game.
Q: There are more Mario games on the way?
Suzuki: Yes. I will be taking a break as the director, but our R&D2 staff is enlisted with more Mario remakes.
Tezuka: More Mario games. That is what I like. (smiles)