"The more years that have passed, the gap between advanced and first-time players has become wider."
- Shigeru Miyamoto
It's not easy to balance a game properly, particularly when you have a wide audience. This is a struggle that Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo's creative lead, has to deal with. Older Mario games presented a significant challenge; newer ones must be more forgiving.
These quotes come from a new GamesTM interview as transcribed by Nintendo Everything.
Here's the problem in a nutshell, per Miyamoto:
"Sometimes I even hear from the testing team, ‘You’re destroying the fun,’ but on the other hand, the flipside is you hear the first-time players saying ‘If I can’t clear a level it’s not fun for me. If I can’t complete a game it’s not fun for me.’"
The divide between advanced and novice players is large, and it's something the company tries to address mainly in the form of multiple routes through levels and optional challenges, an issue examined in this design article on "Subjective Difficulty."