When Super Mario Odyssey was originally announced for the Switch with a jubilant and colorful reveal trailer, fans were incredibly excited for the new game starring the Big N’s main mascot, but they also had concerns regarding the decision to put Mario in such a realistic setting as New Donk City. As it so happens, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto recently admitted during an interview that he too had worries about the realism of the virtual city conflicting with the game’s overall design.
While speaking with IGN about Super Mario Odyssey, Miyamoto said that the idea of Mario gallivanting around New Donk City – that is, an environment meant to resemble New York with a semi-lifelike population of actual human beings – was a challenge to accept at first. However, the long-time game designer eventually wound up viewing it as a concept that seemed right in the end, explaining that it was a good fit for the forthcoming title.
“I was worried about how players would react to being in a world where Mario is this tall and normal people are a little bit taller. Or the fact that people don’t get mad at Mario when he’s jumping up and down all over the place. But with all that said, I think I realized that the character Pauline has already existed, and the idea of this game taking place in the city worked out really well. And so we ran with it.”
As it so happens, Miyamoto ultimately determined that putting the cartoon plumber in a such a true-to-life environment as New Donk City actually aligned with some of his design philosophies in regards to how he approaches the creation of Mario games. With Super Mario Odyssey allowing the Nintendo mascot to free roam a steel and concrete metropolis that’s new to him, Miyamoto believes an important progression is being made, as he explains by saying, “Fundamentally, I think that it’s ideal if we can get old characters to do new things.”
Although it is somewhat odd to see Mario and his magical hat cavort around an industrialized and commercial city alongside relatively normal-looking human beings, when one considers the panoply of outlandish, fantastical, and downright bizarre environments in which the platforming protagonist has been placed, Mario in New Donk City is simply a different flavor of strange. Plus, with the game having taken top honors by winning Best in Show at the E3 2017 Game Critics Awards, it seems as traveling to New Donk City with the character will be an odyssey worth taking.
Super Mario Odyssey is set to launch on October 27, 2017 for Nintendo Switch.