A portion of a massively detailed Game Informer interview with Shigeru Miyamoto…
GI: Is there a particular reason behind that decision (of doing away with a hub in SMG2)? Did you want people to be able to get into the action faster?
SM: We want players to focus on the joy of the action instead of getting to each game course. We wanted to make it as accessible as possible and as easy as possible for the players. Also because we’re going to incorporate a number of different stars and conquering all the stars is going to be one of the most challenging missions for the player, we want them to understand as easy as possible where they should go next and which places they should go back to in order to get access to the remaining stars. Also, for this time around we are incorporating the starship in order to navigate around the different planets, and the map is actually catering to the need to make access as easy as possible.
GI: Speaking of difficulty, we’ve heard that the game is tougher overall than Super Mario Galaxy 1. Is that true?
SM: Exactly. The game has been developed and designed so that those who have conquered the prequel, Super Mario Galaxy 1, can feel as if it’s a continuation from the ending of that first game. In other words, the difficulty level is set in that kind of sense, so that it’s more difficult for the beginner, and especially more difficult for the beginner who has never played the first game. I believe that there are a lot of things that they have to learn in the first one. Anybody can start Super Mario Galaxy 1 and Super Mario Galaxy 2 and conquer the first world very quickly. Just to elaborate, in case someone thinks, “OK, this is going to be very difficult,” that’s simply one aspect. It’s not all true about Super Mario Galaxy 2. We are also putting in an enormous effort to make an accessible game that is easy to play when it comes to the intriguing gameplay control mechanisms. We are putting a lot of effort into making it as easy to manipulate as possible. In other words, yes, it is a challenging game, and it is worthwhile to challenge yourself with Super Mario Galaxy 2. For fans of action games and hardcore gamers, it’s a challenging enough game, but we’re trying to make an easy to control mechanism as possible.
GI: For players who are seeking that extra challenge, you have harder bonus levels. Can you talk about how they are made more difficult?
SM: Well, ordinarily, just to go to the end you’re supposed to obtain 70 stars, which is already challenging but not very difficult. If you’re really trying to get all the stars, you’re supposed to go to someplace extra. Those extra places are very challenging. When I say challenging, I mean as long as you can conquer them it’s going to give you a great sense of satisfaction and entertainment. In the end, we are going to have more than 240 stars for you to obtain, and we think it’s going to be challenging for any and all gamers.
GI: Have you come to a decision as to whether or not to include Super Guide in Super Mario Galaxy 2 for players who might not be as skilled?
I don’t know if we can call it Super Guide or not, but we are thinking about incorporating something similar to that. That is not going to be included in all the courses, but rather for the limited amount of the area within somewhere in order for you to be able to obtain 70 stars. We want to try to get rid of some of the hardship that novice players may encounter. We are going to implement something similar to the Super Guide. In addition, we are going to once again have the assist play. It’s not exactly a multiplayer mode, but as with Super Mario Galaxy 1, somebody else is going to be able to aid the main player. For this time around, the role of the support player is going to be more important and more helpful in order for the main player to conquer the stage. Also, for the support player we understand that their sense of involvement is going to be much more so they can enjoy being more involved than in the first game.
GI: In the past you’ve talked about your concerns with violent content in games. I’m curious to hear your opinions on the current gaming landscape.
SM: My thinking about the game industry has not changed so much. Even in the past I have never criticized how many people have been making violent video games. My only concern was if everybody was trying to make similar, excessively violent games, that’s not good. That’s why I was always saying that there are a number of ways to entertain people and we’ve been opting to take other ways than using excessive violence to entertain people. Once again, I have never criticized the games per se, and when I look around the current situation nothing so drastic has changed, except that not everybody is trying to take the same approach. They’re trying to make something new. One thing I have to notice is that a lot of the games are trying to focus just upon the visual and audio experiences that people are going to be able to have rather than how people can experience the game as if they are inside the game. It’s actually a good thing for people to be entertained with such performances with beautiful and dramatic graphics and sound, but to me it’s more important to be able to make people feel as if they’re within the game and they are the ones who are controlling everything out of their will. Take Mario Galaxy, for example. While I’m trying to complete the development of the game, I’m more interested in applying my energies into a game that is going to let the player think for themselves what they really want to do.