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Mad hatter: Super Mario Odyssey producer explains possession mechanic

"When we wanted to create Mario games this time around we wanted to focus on the actions Mario can do and in previous Mario games he was able to get power-ups and new abilities."

Chris Kerr

June 15, 2017

2 Min Read

Hot on the heels of Ubisoft CEO Yves Guilemot, who held an 'ask me anything' session of his own earlier this week, Super Mario Odyssey producer Yoshiaki Koizumi took a break from the hubbub of E3 to answer some of Reddit's most burning questions. 

On the agenda this time around was everything from the game design of Super Mario Odyssey to Koizumi's coffee brewing habits -- it is an ask me anything, after all. 

Sticking with game dev for the time being, Koizumi was asked how the Odyssey team came up with the game's 'possession' mechanic, which sees Mario tap into his inner poltergeist to possess all manner of living creatures (including a T-rex). 

Judging from his response, it seems they wanted to give Mario more agency this time around, rather than have the sprightly plumber rely on collectable power-ups and abilities. 

"So when we wanted to create Mario games this time around we wanted to focus on the actions Mario can do and in previous Mario games he was able to get power-ups and new abilities," wrote Koizumi. 

"But this time around when we were making many different prototypes and changed our approach that found capturing or 'possessing' enemies worked well so we stuck with that."

Settling on a main mechanic wasn't the hardest part of the process, though. Indeed, Koizumi says the biggest challenge was trying to figure out how to craft an open-world Mario game for the modern era. 

"The biggest challenge has been that, since it's 15 years since the last time we made a sandbox style Mario game, it felt completely different and new to come up with ideas that would work there," he continued. "We had a lot of debate to decide if people would accept this kind of playstyle again. That was probably the biggest challenge for us."

Be sure to check out the full Reddit AMA to hear more interesting tales and tidbits, like how Koizumi would possess Miyamoto given half the chance.

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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