In the latest issue of Nintendo Power, New Super Mario Bros. producer and Mario veteran Takashi Tezuka has some interesting things to say about the upcoming game in interview format. Here's some of his more interesting commentary:
When developing this game, I really had the original Super Mario Bros. in mind. After that game, Mario evolved, of course, but it eventually became more difficult and suited more toward hard-core gamers. That wasn't the intention, but that's how the series naturally evolved. I didn't want to continue in that direction. That's not to say this game isn't for hard-core players, but I want to recapture the spirit of the original Super Mario Bros.
In addition to the standard Super Mushroom, Fire Flower and those kinds of things, there are quite a few new items. There's a mushroom that turns Mario tiny. Another kind of mushroom turns Mario into a giant if you collect three of them. There's also a Koopa Mario; he wears a shell and can slide back and forth like a Koopa to hit enemies. We can't reveal all of the new powerups at this time, however.
On replay value:
The gameplay itself has a lot of replay value, I think. In addition, you won't be able to save your progress from level to level; you'll only be able to save when you reach the next world. So in that way, the game system is designed to challenge the player and encourage replay. Also, remember how in Super Mario 64 you needed to collect a certain number of stars to reach the next course? We're doing something similar to that. There are also similarities to Super Mario World in that different branches exist to different levels. By completing some task, you'll open a different branch.
On Mario striking a chord with gamers:
One of the impressions I get is that all of the secrets we hid in the game caused people to talk about it a lot. "Did you get this hidden item? Did you find the secret way to get to this stage?" — things like that. I think that's something that helped the game catch on.
New Super Mario Bros. is slated for a May 7 release in North America. We're currently tearing every word we get about the title apart over in our forum thread celebrating two new Mario-universe platformers in the space of three months, The Princess and the Plumber.