In a 4Gamer interview, Nintendo producer Takashi Tezuka and Lego Japan representative Atsushi Hasegawa came together to talk about the concepts and development behind the first product that is a collaboration between the two companies: the upcoming Lego Super Mario series sets.
Here are the highlights:
4Gamer: Lego has created many collaborative products before, but can you please tell us about the big differences between this line and the others?
Atsushi Hasegawa, Lego Japan representative: The Lego Group has collaborated with many companies up until this point, releasing new products that both kids and adults are able to enjoy. With Lego Super Mario, we have worked together with Nintendo to develop new products that not only let you play the Mario game via Lego, but also provide a new way to play thanks to the inclusion of light sensors, gyro sensors, and other hi-tech features. Lego Mario will read the codes built into the course, the colors, the movements, and the angles at which it is being held, and you’ll be able to enjoy seeing Mario’s various reactions and collect coins like in the games.
The fact that kids are able to use their creativity to create their own courses is another big appeal. This is a new form of play not seen in other Lego products, and I am confident this will become a toy many children will enjoy.
4Gamer: What areas gave you trouble when trying to combine the idea and design of Lego blocks with the gameplay of Super Mario?
Takashi Tezuka, Nintendo Producer: First, we spent a long time examining the size and design of the Lego Mario figure. Additionally, while Lego Mario will react based on the color sensor and take action based on what is read, it is unable to read actions such as Mario’s traditional action of hitting blocks from below. The changes to the game design based on the Lego Super Mario hardware, such as stepping on blocks counting as hitting them from below, was something that was discussed back and forth between The Lego Company and Nintendo.
While it was very much taxing work, I felt it was a fun time
4Gamer: How did the idea to bring in digital technology come about? What sorts of discussions, regarding design and gameplay, did the two companies have during its development?
Tezuka: First, this is a Lego product. Expanding children’s imaginations while having them build with blocks was important, and it was The Lego Group who first decided on supporting this main concept by bringing in digital technology. As such, regarding the gameplay, we did take inspiration from the video games, but the main priority was to have children feel that building the block creations was fun. Playing through the courses you create can be used as a reference for what to create next, and the ideal scenario for Lego Super Mario is for children to have fun and feel like they want to create even more courses.
4Gamer: What sorts of people do you hope will appreciate the product, and how would you like the product to be received by them? Also, please tell us how you hope to further expand on this partnership in the future.
Hasegawa: We hope to bring Lego Super Mario to not only children who enjoy Lego products, but also expand to a new audience untapped by Lego up until now. We hope that players will be able to express their unlimited creativity by creating their own courses and enjoying the toys, thanks to the fantastic world of Super Mario. Through this splendid collaboration with Nintendo for Lego Super Mario, we hope that as many kids as possible will be able to have fun with Lego.
Tezuka: Usually, when you begin building with blocks, you have an image of an animal, a vehicle, or other things in mind. Lego Super Mario courses do not have a predetermined shape, and I will be happy if people really get creative and build out the courses they have in mind. You can use the set with regular Lego blocks, and it’s even possible to combine it with books, chairs, desks, and other items to transform your entire room into a Mario course. Even young children who aren’t very well-versed in video games can enjoy the world of Mario in this manner.
Lego blocks are a product that have an even longer history than video games, and we believe that Lego Super Mario will become a product like that which will continue to exist in history going forward.
All of the Lego Mario sets will launch on August 1, 2020. You need the base Lego Super Mario: Adventures with Mario Starter Course kit to use any of the expansions. A Lego NES will also be available and work together with Lego Mario.