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Both the Mario and Legend of Zelda franchises are experiencing some of their highest points ever in recent years. The Legend of Zelda has reached more fans than ever thanks to the innovations and direction of both Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, while Mario has reached a new level of success thanks to The Super Mario Bros. movie. These moments would be feathers in the cap for any franchise, but it’s that much more impressive when talking about IP that have been around for decades.

Nintendo has been working on Mario and Zelda content for over 40 years now, and they continue to breath new life into both. While there’s no specific formula that guarantees success, Nintendo thinks they’ve come up with some direction and methodology to keep both Mario and Zelda relevant in pop culture.

In an interview with Game Informer, Nintendo’s Takashi Tezuka spoke about Mario’s longevity and success, attributing it to a focus on fun, great dev tools, and input from new team members.

“When we’re creating every individual course, we just keep iterating, we keep looking, working on it until we believe that it’s interesting; if it’s interesting to play or fun to play, it’s because someone made it fun to play. A major characteristic of side-scrolling 2D games is that you can still make changes to the course during the final stage of development. Of course, this cannot be achieved without excellent course editing tools. I think it’s important to have tenacity and continue to strive for improvement until the very end, referencing feedback from focus groups.

When looking at creating a new Mario title, we actually went ahead and brought in a lot of younger people into our staff. There are people who hadn’t made a Super Mario game before; they’re our target audience. They’re, of course, developers, but they’re also people who enjoy playing games, and so they wanted to create something that they themselves would enjoy as gamers.

We never, ever, ever ignore the feedback that we get from our new staff members. And when I present an idea myself, they really are quite honest in saying, ‘Yeah, I don’t like that,’ or ‘I do like that.’ I think that’s a really beneficial environment that we have.”

[Nintendo's Takashi Tezuka]

Over on the Zelda side of things, Nintendo’s Eiji Aonuma says that not giving up on ideas and an overall tenacity from the team helps keep Zelda fresh.

“When it comes to Nintendo’s development, I think we have a bit of tenacity with the ideas that we come up with. This is something I think Mr. Miyamoto has said in the past, but when you have an idea and try to make it work, and it doesn’t work out, you don’t give up on that idea. Instead, just wait for the right opportunity to arrive. Those ideas – and I think this is true of our developer – stick around in their heads; they keep them with them as they continue in their work. When those pile up, and the right opportunity presents itself, we find the opportunity to implement those ideas.”

[Nintendo's Eiji Aonuma]

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Comments (2)

steeldiver

9M ago

They don't make any other games, so of course they are relevant.


frenchfryguy

9M ago

It sure would be nice if they decided to make the Wario Land, Star Fox and Punch-Out!! series relevant again.