This year, Nintendo will release two 2D Mario games—New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Nintendo 3DS and New Super Mario Bros. U for the Wii U. Since both games were being developed in parallel, the company needed to figure out how to divide up their staff between the two.
The way development panned out was, developers with experience creating 2D Mario games were set to work on New Super Mario Bros. U for the Wii U. In the meantime, Takashi Tezuka, who’s been involved with the Mario games right from the NES days, set up “Mario Cram School” sessions for other Nintendo staff to attend.
The purpose of these, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata reveals, was to teach staff from Nintendo’s other departments to design Mario stages. Things worked out such that, of the entire development team, only two members—the director and art director—had longtime experience working on 2D Mario games.
The new blood on the development team resulted in new ideas like stages that took place at night time for a change (above) and “Dash Mario” stages, which put Mario on rails, and all you can do is control when he jumps (below).
Other ideas that ended up in the final game were suggested by Tezuka. Including 2-player co-op and the ability to collect 1 million coins in total were both requests that came from him.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 will be released on August 19th in North America.