Now, this is more like it. During his Game Developer's Conference 2011 Keynote this morning, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata at long last delivered the news that so many Nintendo faithful have been waiting to hear: a new Super Mario game is in development for the 3DS, and it's under the direction of the Super Mario Galaxy team.
Super Mario took the number one spot on Game Rant's list of the Top 5 Unannounced 3DS Games, so it's fantastic to have the title's existence confirmed. No specifics were offered on Mario's 3DS debut during Iwata's speech, and Nintendo's President had very little to say on the subject for now, noting:
"You may wonder what this indicates. We will reveal this at E3 this year."
Nintendo was ever so slightly more forthcoming about the game in their official press release:
"The announced 3D Super Mario game will feature traditional Mario game play and will fulfill the dream of Nintendo video game designer (and Mario creator) Shigeru Miyamoto to bring true depth and distance into the game's mechanics."
A small gallery of screens from the game was shown to the gathered audience, and the look of them unmistakably calls back to Super Mario 64, which seems entirely appropriate. Super Mario 64 was the first ever 3D polygonal platformer, and even today its influence can be felt in nearly every such game released. Now that technology is allowing for the display of three dimensional graphics, it seems fitting that Nintendo's iconic plumber will once again show developers the way forward.
Thinking back to first playing Super Mario 64, I'm struck by how difficult it could be to navigate 3D space in the game. Granted, graphics and control technology, not to mention in-game cameras, have grown by leaps and bounds since that time, but I can't help but be a bit nervous about how Mario in actual (well, simulated) 3D will play. How difficult will it be to land on the platforms pictured in those screens? Will gamers simply turn off the 3D effect and play the game in 2D?
That would be a shame. Super Mario 3DS has a shot at defining what 3D games can be, and Nintendo's track record at making good on these sorts of ambitious promises -- its ability to subvert expectations and exceed limitations -- is quite literally peerless. The success or failure of Super Mario 3DS may well be inexorably tied to the fortunes of the 3DS itself. I only wish the game could be available as part of the 3DS launch lineup.
Let's hear it, Ranters: what are your expectations for Super Mario 3DS? Is this the game that will ultimately get you to buy a 3DS?