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Development of the Super Mario Galaxy series

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YoshiakiKoizumi

Yoshiaki Koizumi, the original game's director and sequel's producer.

The development of Super Mario Galaxy began after the completion of the GameCube video game Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, presumably sometime in 2005. The developer, Nintendo EAD Tokyo, was asked by Shigeru Miyamoto to develop the new major Nintendo game. One of the team members suggested they make the next Mario game, and Miyamoto whole-heartedly agreed. The developer, while new, consisted of some veteran video game designer. The director, Yoshiaki Koizumi, had previously worked on games such as Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, and Super Mario Sunshine as director or co-director.

Super Mario Galaxy was officially announced during E3 of 2006, though the night before images of the game and the logo were released without Nintendo's permission. Speculation began on what this game was going to deliver, and their questions were answered the next day. The game was planned to be released within the Wii's launch window, though they were forced to move the release date to November 2007 - a year after the Wii was launched. This wasn't particularly surprising considering Nintendo's tendency to delay their prominent titles. Upon release, the game sold well, much more than Super Mario Sunshine, and had excessively long legs, appearing in the top 50 for years.

Yoshiaki Koizumi was the game's director. A director has many roles and must focus on all aspects of the game design. He explained that he didn't know if his way of directing was the same at different companies or even within EAD, though during the creation of Galaxy he had to design, plan, and make sure the game was fun. Shigeru Miyamoto has said that if a game is bad, it's ultimately the director's responsibility.

In 2009, during Nintendo's E3 2009 presentation, Cammie Dunnaway announced a direct sequel to Super Mario Galaxy aptly titled Super Mario Galaxy 2. This was the first console game since Super Mario Bros. 3 (or Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island) to have a direct sequel, and the first 3D Mario game. The game would retain the basic premise of the original while adding many new additions such as Yoshi, a drill item, and new suits. It was first released on May 23, 2010 in North America.

Pre-Galaxy

Super Mario 64

Mario64star

SuperMario 64's star collecting mechanic was used in Super Mario Galaxy.

Super Mario 64 clearly played a large role in the influence of Super Mario Galaxy. Being part of the same series, this is not surprising. The whole concept of collecting stars originated from this game, and was used in Super Mario Sunshine (which, rather than stars, used Shine Sprites). The game featured a primary hub world from which all of the other levels are connected. The hub world, Princess Peach's Castle, was itself used in the beginning and end of Super Mario Galaxy, which likewise featured a hub world (the Comet Observatory). Super Mario 64 was directed by Shigeru Miyamoto and co-directed by Takashi Tezuka and Yoshiaki Koizumi. Yoshiaki went on to direct Super Mario Sunshine and, of course, Super Mario Galaxy. Shigeru Miyamoto played a large role as well as the concept creator and producer. Takashi Tezuka, while still one of the general managers of all of Nintendo's EAD divisions, didn't play a role in the development of Super Mario Galaxy.

Yoshiaki Koizumi created Mario's 3D model and programmed a few of the actions to make sure it felt new and unlike anything gamers have ever experienced before. He explained that Miyamoto, who led the project, had numerous of clear and sometimes unclear demands. Once during development at 2 AM when everyone excluding Koizumi and Miyamoto had left Miyamoto couldn't express his desires for Mario's motions while swimming so he acted them out by pretending to swim on his chair so that Koizumi could understand exactly what he was talking about. Koizumi explained that one of the most appealing things to work on in 3D games is the camera. Introduced in Super Mario 64, it was impressive for its time though is dated by today's standards, Sunshine's camera was accordingly 4 times better, and Galaxy nearly perfected the camera controls.


Super Mario 128

Mario128

Image of the tech-demo.

Super Mario 128 was a game that was shown before the GameCube's launch to show the console's capabilities. Many thought that the game would be the title for the next game in the series, though ultimately they opted for Super Mario Sunshine. People within Nintendo promised that Super Mario 128 was still coming, and many expected it to be a last hurrah for the GameCube, though that role was essentially taken by The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Little is known about Super Mario 128 other than its immense importance on four of Nintendo's video games, including Pikmin, Metroid Prime, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and of course Super Mario Galaxy.

Mario1282

Image showing more of the UFO-shaped planetoid.

The name of Super Mario 128 was coined by Miyamoto in an interview held by Nintendo Power in early 1997. He used it referring to a sequel to Super Mario 64, which had revolutionized video games thanks to its camera, 3D perspective, and use of the innovative joystick. The name was possibly given due to 64+64 equaling 128.

In 2000 Nintendo showcased Super Mario 128 as a tech demo for the GameCube. In it, they showed the power of the GameCube by having 128 characters (all Mario) moving on the screen at once. The characters were moving underneath the UFO like platform indicating that it was a planetoid like structure with its own noteworthy gravity. The next year Nintendo announced that Super Mario Sunshine was going to be the first Mario game for the GameCube, and that Mario 128 was, while being put on the shelf, going to be implemented in other video games. The first game was Pikmin, which incorporated the idea of having many characters on the screen at once. The physics technology used in the game was put into Metroid Prime, while sphere walking found its way in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Super Mario Galaxy, however, was the game that was influenced by it the most. The physics and sphere walking, two of the most prominent features in Galaxy, were both used in the game.

Interestingly, Koizumi, director of Galaxy, directed this tech demo as well.

Super Mario Galaxy

Business

Rumors and speculation

Speculation regarding the game was very common on the internet prior to the game being formally announced at E3. Before the name of the game was announced, people commonly referred to it as Super Mario 128, Super Mario Revolution, and Super Mario Wii. It was unknown when the game would be announced, and whenever an event where Shigeru Miyamoto would appear was planned, people desperately hoped that he would show the game off. For example, on December 2 of 2005 fans hoped that Miyamoto would announce the game at Ritsumeikan University since he was planned to have a speech there, though as expected no announcements regarding any games were revealed, and the speech was devoted exclusively to the development of games.

Announcement and public appearances

ReggieGalaxy

Reggie showcasing Galaxy during E3 2007.

The game was officially announced during the Nintendo press conference of 2006 at E3 in May. Nintendo had said on the record that a new Mario game was being developed for a Nintendo console, though virtually nothing was known about the title. During the press conference, Super Mario Galaxy was revealed subsequently after Miyamoto revealed titles such as Excite Trucks and Wii Music, among other games. Galaxy was accompanied by applause, though it was unfortunately mixed in with a bunch of other titles so it didn't get as much screen time as some other games such as Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. During the event, Miyamoto announced that the game would be released within six months of the Wii launch, and game producer Shimizu thought that they'd be able to do it, but this was not the case. The tension was so intense to get the game done, though they had to make sure that it was of the utmost quality. Shimizu stated that if Super Mario Galaxy hadn't received good reviews, they thought that they may close down the Tokyo office.

During the next E3 (in 2007), Reggie Fils-Aime revealed a new video of the game and announced its American launch date (November 12, 2007). Also revealed during the conference was Mario's Bee Suit, which would become one unarguably the best known suit in the game.

Launch, reception and sales

BuzzMario

Mario and Buzz Aldrin.

The game was confirmed by Nintendo to be released in Japan before America, Europe, and everywhere else. During the final months of 2006, after the Wii had launched in America, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime confirmed that the game would probably launch during the same period next year, and his expectations were correct. At GDC in 2007 Miyamoto also confirmed that players would be able to play the game in its entirety in 2007, while at E3 that year Reggie confirmed its American launch date to be November 12, 2007 and November 16, 2007 in Europe, after which there were no delays. Months before the game was released, rumors started popping up stating that people who reserved the game would receive a limited edition silver coin with Mario and a Luma on it. This proved to be true, though only for Americans who pre-ordered the game at a select few retailers.

MarioNintendoWorld

Mario and a fan at the Nintendo World launch.

A few days before being released, Nintendo held a photo session which had the second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, posing with a man in a Mario costume due to the game's space theme. At the Nintendo World Store in New York City, Nintendo of America held a launch party at night that featured DJ's, velcro walls, bungee runs, trivia sessions, an in-store laser light show, a photo-op with a man in a Mario costume, and 250 Wiis for customers to purchase, along with of course the video game. Thousands of people attended the event in the freezing cold, waiting to get their hands on Super Mario Galaxy at midnight. Demos were stationed outside for people to play while they listened to the DJ and chatted with fellow Nintendo fans. A minute before the game launched at midnight, the DJ held a countdown and the thousands outside excitedly joined in. Insanity ensued at the end of the countdown and the hoards of people lined up to get their copy of the game.

Amsterdam

Recreation of "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima".

Four days later, those across the pond in Europe got to experience the game. Mario and Luigi voice actor Charles Martinet left America to celebrate the launch in London. In Amsterdam Nintendo held a photo shoot of Mario and a group of astronauts recreating the classic "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima" image.

During the launch of the game, Prima Guides published a strategy guide for it. Two versions were released, with the Collector's Edition featuring 16 extra pages that had concept art and a complete star check list. In Japan a strategy guide was also published that featured the concept art at the back with developers explaining some of the artwork that was included.

Before being released multiple review outlets reviewed the game. Reception was immensely positive. The first review to come out was from Famitsu, who rewarded it with a 38/40 (10,10, 9, 9). Before its release in America, critics were equally, if not more, positive about the game. IGN gave the game a 9.7/10 (both America and Australia). Said IGN: "One of the greatest platformers I have ever played, Wii's best game, and an absolute must-own experience. And to me, this odd trek through space really does feel like the true sequel to "Mario 64.". Reviewers who gave the game a perfect score include the likes of GamePro, Eurogamer, GameSpy, Yahoo Games, G4TV (XPlay), Play Magazine, Edge, and various others. GameTrailers, Game Informer, and Electronic Gaming Monthly all gave the game an 9.8/10, while 1up, GameSpot, and Nintendo Power all rewarded it with a 9.5/10. The game was so utterly popular that the worst score the game received according to MobyGames and GameRankings was a still fantastic 9/10. For a few weeks after the game's release, Super Mario Galaxy was the highest rated game of all time on GameRankings.com, though it soon dropped to second and later third, with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time being number one and the PS3 version of Grand Theft Auto IV number two.

Oddly, despite the fact that the game had a whopping 700,000 pre-orders in Japan, only about 256,000 copies were sold in Japan during its first week. The game sold many more in the Americas and Europe, and also was the number one seller for video games on Amazon for three straight weeks. In its first week of sale worldwide, it apparently sold 500,000 copies, which is to-date the best first week for any Mario title. Currently it is the fourth best selling Wii video game of all time, with 7.66 million copies sold to date. Surprisingly Mario Kart Wii has surpassed it, as have New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Wii Play and Wii Sports. Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Wii Fit trail close behind it.

Production and design

The beginning and Miyamoto's involvement

Major staff
Koizumi
Director: Koizumi Yoshiaki
TakaoShimizu
Producer: Takao Shimizu
MiyamotoGalaxy
Producer: Shigeru Miyamoto
KoichiHayashida
Level director: Koichi Hayashida

In 2005 after Donkey Kong Jungle Beat was completed by Yoshiaki and his team in Tokyo, Miyamoto went down to Tokyo to discuss what their next project would be. Some of the team wanted to create a new game that was new, though Miyamoto, looking disappointed, said that he had wished they would make a game from one of Nintendo's already developed franchises. One of the younger members on the team then enthusiastically suggested that the team make the next Mario game. Miyamoto liked the idea, and the fact that the co-director of Super Mario 64 and director of Super Mario Sunshine (Yoshiaki) was on the team, it would mean the project would go more smoothly than it would if an outsider was on the team.

The team in Tokyo made the Super Mario Revolutions idea which outlined their overall goals (more on that in the "Spherical worlds" section). Koizumi explained that he viewed himself as a cook showing his team a recipe for a dish to create. his team, however, felt that they would never be able to create what he was asking, despite Miyamoto saying that it looked good. So, Koizumi decided to gather a group of a few key staff members so that they could, for three months, make a prototype of what he was thinking so that he could show it to the rest of his staff. It was during this time that he officially decided to make the game in outer space due to it being the only appropriate place for planets with their own gravity to be. So, they created a prototype that even included gravity. When this project was finished, the rest of the team had a clear view of what they were looking to create.

Koizumi took his cook analogy further, explaining that he sent him samples of what they have created, and Miyamoto would send responses explaining what they could do better. And eventually Miyamoto came down to Tokyo, which he explained as a restaurant, so that he could test every thing they've implemented in the game. Miyamoto explained that these test sessions were very nerve racking for him since he felt that if he performed bad, the rest of the team would be wondering why someone who couldn't play games were giving them tips on how to make them.

Regarding Miyamoto, Iwata said that he only asked Miyamoto to do one thing, which was to only do what he was capable of doing, and to make sure that the game would best represent what the Wii was all about. Even then, Miyamoto would work on days when no one else was, sending e-mails to producer asking him to change certain aspects. Shimizu said that it felt as if Miyamoto, despite being hundreds of miles away, was in Tokyo with the team. He also explained that Miyamoto would occasionally come down to Tokyo despite them having a program set up so that people at NCL could play it in Kyoto.

Koizumi said that there were multiple times when he and Miyamoto disagreed on points. Sometimes they would go with what Koizumi said, though other times they went with Miyamoto. It seems as if Miyamoto usually got his way, once telling Koizumi to "trust what the old guy says!" when they were working on a game long before Galaxy. While he was aggravated that he didn't get his way, he found himself using the same words when talking with the younger members of the team of Galaxy.

Shimizu stated that during development, he acted as a "sickness sensor". Many Japanese people, according to Shimizu, get motion sickness when camera angles are constantly changing and when they make the angles extravagant. He said that Miyamoto wouldn't listen to him when he said that he would get sick after Miyamoto said that they needed to make the angles more fantastic, though that when the play tester said they got sick, he told them that he'll fix it. Regarding play testers, the developers and Iwata explain that there was an astonishing amount of them to make sure that the game they were developing was of the highest quality available.

Spherical worlds

Galaxy30

An example of a spherical planet from Galaxy.

Nintendo EAD Tokyo made a spec sheet that they titled Super Mario Revolutions, named after the Nintendo Revolution (codename of the Wii). In it the team described the idea of a spherical world that Nintendo explored but barely touched on in the Super Mario 128 tech demo. He said that in a regular 3D playing field, you may be able to walk quite a long way though there will always be a wall that will halt your progress and make you turn around. Doing that will cause the camera to switch the direction and mess the player up, though in this concept the idea was to allow Mario to go around the entire sphere, meaning no restrictions on where the player can go and no camera alterations that would cause the player to mess up. He said that the play field he created would never end and thus the player wouldn't need to constantly adjust the camera, a criticized point that was made regarding Super Mario Sunshine.

DoshinGiant

Miyamoto originally proposed the spherical plan to be used in Doshin the Giant, though it was not implemented.

Koizumi did have doubts regarding the idea. He said that Mario 128 was a bit more doable since the planetoid was in the shape of a flying saucer, while in Galaxy they were planning on using more spherical planets (coupled with other oddly shaped objects, including ones that were in the shape of a flying saucer). He explained that in order to make spherical planets that could freely be roamed by Mario, the team would be required to possess a high level of technical abilities. Though, at the same time, he felt that his team would love to overcome this most challenging task. Mr. Hayashida, one of the game's designers, said that he was one of the few who were positive from the start. He always like the idea of a spherical playing field since its unveiling in 2000 at Nintendo World, and always thought that one day he'd tackle the concept. However, knowing that Mario was a jumping based game, he had the feeling that it would be a bad match, which is why the team came up with the spin mechanic.

Simizu, another of the game's designers, explained that he was very negative when he heard about it. He didn't feel like the team, who had worked previously on the 2D Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, would be able to create this title when they had such a hard time with that game. He explained that after the project was approved, the programming assignment would be given to him, and, in his words, he "felt a real sense of danger". Knowing he was getting into a job that was rather complicated, he said that he "fought against it with all my might".

Shirai, the planet designer, was anticipating working on the various different spherical fields that would be featured in the game. He said that he wasn't reduced to just creating planets, but rather various types of objects in space, so ideas came out at a steady pace. He explained that he had obscure ideas such as planets that resemble apples and ice cream. Koizumi explained that many of the planets are based on food because of their wide appeal. Because of this you'll find peanuts, watermelons, candy, pancakes and more. He says that he uses food while describing things a lot, such as in Super Mario Sunshine he described to his designers that he wanted the goop to look like Chocolate Syrup. Shirai said that when the designers came up with intriguing ideas, they would quickly jolt them down and stick it on the wall.

Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, stated that Miyamoto had told him about the spherical idea before Mario 128 was even released. He said that he didn't quite understand how having spherical worlds would improve the gameplay and how the game would benefit from it. Though as the game started to take form, he began to see Miyamoto's vision and understood it. Koizumi felt the same way, and didn't know if making spheres would be worth the astonishing amount of effort that it would require from the team. He continued, saying that this was probably the mutual thought from many of the team members in Tokyo. He said that despite this, Miyamoto was determined to make sure that it would happen. Miyamoto wanted to implement this idea in previous games, such as Doshin the Giant (a game released only in Europe and Japan). When the developers of that game informed Miyamoto that it was too far in development to include it, he was disappointed but determined to one day add it in a game. When the new Mario started development, this was the perfect opportunity.

Satoru Iwata explained that in the Mario world, it's okay to have strangely shaped objects as planets, opposed to the world of The Legend of Zelda where showing a planet in the shape of an apple would feel out of place. Shirari explained that they even though they have a planet in the shape of Yoshi's head, it never feels out of place. Hayashida explained that, although this may be the case, he was still worried and had to get permission from Shigeru Miyamoto to do this.

Mario's moves

Mario's basic moves remain the same as they were in previous games, such as jumping and ducking and such. Though the developers have added a few new moves. One such move is the spin, which is performed by swinging the Wii Remote. Koizumi always thought it was too challenging to jump on a character in a 3D space compared to 2D platform. Thus with the spin you are able to knock a character out and then jump on it. Originally spinning was done by rotating the joystick on the Nunchuk, though it proved to be a bit of a challenge, so they switched it to swinging the Wii Remote, which according to Koizumi was more intuitive. There are many advantages that spinning has over jumping, especially on the spherical based stages, where its much more challenging to jump on enemies. Thus, on these stages the run and spin are the most prominent actions, though on the stages where it's a bit more flat, the jump is used more. Koizumi explained that if there wasn't any jumping, it certainly wouldn't be a Mario game at all.

Shimizu said that originally the player could spin as long as they wanted by constantly shaking the Wii Remote. The developers in Tokyo didn't see the fault in this, though Miyamoto saw that it became too easy to simply defeat enemies by constantly spinning, so he proposed that after you spin, a small pause is initiated so that you'll have to face the enemies' attacks. But, after doing this, the developers were required to change the balance of all the enemies and even the bosses because of this slight alteration that Miyamoto did. Koizumi explained that thanks to him, however, they were able to tighten the everything better.

Co-op mode

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has said that he is a supporter of co-op modes and is a strong believer in them. This was the first game in the series since Mario Bros. on arcades to have a cooperative mode, though it was completely different. Apparently the developers of previous Mario games have tried to come up with ways in which a cooperative mode would work, though until now they hadn't thought of anything worthwhile. Super Mario 64 DS seemed extremely close to reaching this goal, though in the end it was scrapped. When someone hears co-op, they automatically imagine two characters on the screen at once, though this is not the case with Galaxy. Instead, one player will control Mario and the other will control the pointer on the screen. The person who controls the pointer will be able to shoot starbits and even stop enemies in their tracks. The co-star mode is basically for beginners who are afraid to get into the action alone.

The developers of the game were trying to make it so that both players have equal abilities, though this wasn't working out as well as they had hoped. Miyamoto then reportedly sorted things out, giving them suggestions such as giving the player abilities that they wouldn't normally have in the first player mode (such as stopping boulders and Bullet Bills. He also said to draw a clear line between the single and multiplayer mode. Before co-op was fully decided, Mario could stop boulders and Bullet Bills in their path in single mode, though this was removed to create that balance that he was referring to.

Music and sound

The music of the game was headed by Mahito Yokota, who had previously worked on Donkey Kong Jungle Beat and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Series veteran Koji Kondo, who had worked on the series since Super Mario Bros., worked on this game to make sure the sound team in Tokyo would have the essence of Mario in their songs, and also composed four of the game's main themes.

The game is known as the first in the series to feature a live orchestra, which wasn't easy accomplishing. After Yokota was assigned to the project, he constantly asked Miyamoto for an orchestra until he would finally agree to do one. There were many problems with having an orchestra. It was expensive and the developers weren't certain that it would fit with the rhythm of a Mario game. Though even when they simply streamed the music along with the gameplay (without synchronizing it), it felt natural and helped with the overall rhythm of the game rather than having the opposite effect which they were worried about.

SuperMarioGalaxyOST

The official soundtrack of Super Mario Galaxy.

The orchestra had around 50 members, and was credited as the "Mario Galaxy Orchestra" in the game's ending credits and in the soundtrack's pamphlet. Before recording, Miyamoto told them that over 10 million people would listen to the songs that they had performed,and according to him they were quite impressed and excited. Yokota noted that at first the orchestra wasn't very good because they were performing songs that they had never heard before. After a few recordings, though, he explained that they improved greatly and that it took very few tries to get each song right. Yokota said that Miyamoto told him that it was hard to get the budget approved for an orchestra, and that he was expecting a lot to come from it. In the interview he said that it put a lot of pressure on him.

Yokota said that when composing Mario music, he was trying to come to a conclusion as to what the "Essence of Mario" music is, and concluded that it was Latin music, noticing that many famous Mario songs use Latin instruments. When he asked Kondo about that, he told him that he never really thought about the essence being Latin. But he continued on making the main theme for the game using Latin instruments with a blend of space themes as well. The director approved of it, though when he approached Koji Kondo he said that it was no good. Yokota said that since he was so convinced that it was a good piece, he thought of quitting his job. Though Kondo gave him encouraging words that would ultimately help him create the beautiful songs that are in the game today. Said Kondo: "Yokota-san, if somewhere in your mind you have an image that Mario is cute, please get rid of it."

He realized his mistake of trying to make the music sound "cute", so he had to rethink his plan. He had to realize that the game should include an epic composition made by a large orchestra. So he got back to work despite feeling depressed. Unfortunately for him the song he created to be the theme was excluded from the game altogether. He said that for the next three months he agonized on making music for the game.

To get a clear direction on where to go, he got three music clips together, each having a different theme, and brought them all to Shigeru Miyamoto to listen to. He didn't tell him who composed which song, and would let him decide which was the best direction. He ultimately chose the theme for Good Egg Galaxy, which was devoid of tropical themes and drums that the series is commonly known for. Little did Miyamoto know that he actually chose the song that was composed by Koji Kondo. This confirmed to him that Koji Kondo knew a lot about what Mario music should sound like. The song was used when the game was revealed at E3.

Masafumi Kawamura was the sound director and programmer. One of his goals in the game was to include sound effects that sync with the music. For example, in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, he had created a system that when Link battles and slashes with the sword, the sounds that are emitted sound as if they were actually part of the song, while in Donkey Kong Jungle Beat it would occur every time the player would make Donkey Kong jump. For Galaxy, he programmed it so that when Mario launches from a Star Launcher, a harp plays at the exact moment that its supposed to, with the program delaying it for split seconds just so that it plays in tune with the background music.

Early on, the developers were tempted to using the Wii Remote's speaker a lot, though found that it became distracting so they reduced the amount of sounds that were emitted from it. Things such as Mario hitting enemies and collecting Star Bits were used for the Wii Remote's speaker. For the Star Bits, they made it so that when you collect it, you'll hear it first on the television set then on the Wii Remote speaker so that it feels like the Star Bit is going into your hands. They explained that they were devoted to making shaking the Wii Remote fun to do because of the sounds that were created on screen when you did so, like making Mario spin.

Sound designer Kawamura explained that he put a lot of work on the file selection screen when it comes to sound effects, and that the Pull Star noises made them go through a lot of trial and error. Koji Kondo explained that the final sound they came up with was well received because of its distinct space like feel.

Kawamura, his team and a professional engineer worked for three days on the sound balance, which would normally take one day to do. To balance the sound, they would have to adjust the volume of the music and the sound effects. For example, during some of the songs there are sparkly effects, and when the player collects a Star Bit, a similar yet different sound effect is made. To make a more powerful impression when you collect a Star Bit, they toned down the sparkly portions of the songs a bit.

Characters

The main playable character was always destined to be Mario. This is the case with every major game within the series. One thing that critics argued about the 3D games is that it was disappointing that Mario's brother Luigi wasn't playable (in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine). In Super Mario 64 DS for the Nintendo DS, the developers included four playable characters (Mario, Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario), though this was merely a remake of Super Mario 64 for a handheld. When Super Mario Galaxy was released, it wasn't apparent that there were going to be more than one playable characters, though after finding all 120 stars, it was revealed that Luigi could be unlocked. Luigi is controlled differently, and is a bit more floaty than Mario (similar to his appearance in Super Mario Bros. 2. According to the game's director, many of his employees urged him to make Luigi unlockable earlier on because it was too challenging to unlock him, though Koizumi said that he wanted there to be a reason to collect all 120 stars, and that this would be a better reward than the negligible ones featured in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine.

Super Mario Galaxy contained a lot of suits, more-so than any other 3D Mario game. One of the most popular was the Bee Suit. The Bee Suit was thought of by a female member of the cast who explained she wanted a Bee Suit after being asked what costume she would want the most for the game. Koizumi, the director, had a big smile on his face and demanded that they made a stage specifically for the Bee Suit. In its initial stages, the Bee Suit was supposed to be a curse and his actions were originally going to be limited. Players would feel like they should get rid of the curse, which made them frustrated, so they removed that thought and made it a costume you obtained by collecting a certain Mushroom.

The Spring Suit was made when the director asked one of the designers to make a suit that would make Mario continuously jump without stopping. There were multiple ideas, and the one currently used was decided upon after long debates. When the Boo Suit was decided, Shirari thought about how they could make a stage that would make use of the costume, and eventually came to the conclusion to make one that's similar to the world of Luigi's Mansion.

The Fire Suit made its triumphant return to the series and the introduction to the Ice Suit was very satisfying among gamers, though some wondered why the two suits were timed. The director of the game explained that the suits felt a little too powerful, especially the Fire Suit which allows you to dispatch enemies from far away. Regarding the Ice Suit, it would take away the risk of running over potentially dangerous water, because if the player could wear the suit forever, they wouldn't have to quickly figure out what to do, which makes the game less exciting.

Princess Peach was going inevitably going to be featured in the game. It was revealed alongside the game's announcement that she was kidnapped by a villainous creature who took her into outerspace. It wasn't revealed until much later that the antagonist in question was Bowser, though it was easily guessed. According to the director, Bowser was meant to be much more menacing this time around, having an epic boss battle with intense music in the background. Bowser Jr. was add to reflect his appearance in New Super Mario Bros.. The director added that the Koopalings weren't included because they just didn't fit anywhere and because Bowser Jr. was already in the game.

When asked why Yoshi wasn't included in the game, the director explained that they had ideas for him, though his basic action of fluttering to allow Mario to stay in the air for a bit longer was already taken by Mario's Bee Suit. In lieu of Yoshi as a playable character, however, they did include a wooden planet in the shape of Yoshi's head and a planet that looks exactly like a Yoshi Egg. However, Yoshi is present in the game's sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

Business

Launch, sales and reception

Prior to the game's launch, Charles Martinet, voice of Mario, Luigi, and other Mario characters, visited Spain to hype the launch of the game. There he explained (in Spanish) the history of how he became Mario's voice and his years in Spain. Following a demo of the title, Martinet posed with fans of the franchise and alongside a costumed Mario.

A day before the game was released in North America, Nintendo of America sent out invites to a select amount of Club Nintendo members who had reached platinum status to join them at Nintendo World Store for a pre-launch party. Like the Spanish event, Charles Martinet made a special appearance alongside a costumed Mario. Visitors were given goodie bags that featured special, Super Mario Galaxy 2 styled items such as space food. People who competed and won in the trivia games were given special Nintendo World memorabilia and $30-40 gift cards to the people who correctly answered the harder questions.

Production and design

Typically each console since the Nintendo 64 had received one 3D Mario video game. The Nintendo 64 had Super Mario 64, the GameCube had Super Mario Sunshine, and it was thought that the Wii would have Super Mario Galaxy. It should be noted, however, that sequels for both Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine were at once planned for both of their consoles. The names of the games went under various titles ranging from Super Mario 64 2 and Super Mario 128. Even when the Revolution was announced, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime claimed that Miyamoto's team was working hard on the GameCube sequel to Sunshine, which at the time was being referred to be the tentative title of Super Mario 128. So with that, it appears that Nintendo never intentionally released only one 3D Mario game per system. The fact that they were doing it for the first time reminded series creator Shigeru Miyamoto of when they were developing The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask for the Nintendo 64, which succeeded The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (on the same system).

Before they started to create the sequel, Koizumi revealed that a lot of the staff didn't have the thought of "let's do this" when they heard Miyamoto's request to develop a sequel. Koizumi then decided to have a meeting where people discussed their feelings on the first games, but decided it would be best to focus on the positives. Koizumi felt it would appropriate if he let the other employees talk while he himself would remain silent during the discussion. When the team started development on Super Mario Galaxy 2, they were actually referring to it by a completely different name: Super Mario Galaxy 1.5. The original intention was to just expand a little bit on the original game without trying "too hard" (Miyamoto), but as development progressed they ultimately came to the conclusion to make a full fledged sequel. The team's initial goal was to create the game within a year like Majora's Mask, but as they started to develop new ideas it ended up taking them two and a half years instead. The assumed that they would only have to take a year because Mario's movement was perfected in the original and needed very little tweaking.

The Japanese, European and Australian version of Super Mario Galaxy 2 comes with a bonus DVD that can be played in a DVD player. Satoru Iwata openly admitted that he fully realized the irony in the fact that you couldn't play it on the Wii. The DVD showcases the staff playing Super Mario Galaxy 2 and is intended to assist those who are afraid to make the transition from a 2D game like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which had just come out half a year prior to this game, to a 3D game like Super Mario Galaxy 2. Many players, in Japan especially, supposedly thought that playing in a 3D environment was too challenging, which resulted in this DVD. Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed that the idea for the DVD was Satoru Iwata's.

Yoshi

During the meetings mentioned above, much of the staff felt like they had done all they could with the Super Mario Galaxy concept, including the game's new director Koichi Hayashida, the level designer for Super Mario Galaxy who had done very little directing in his lifetime (he was, however, the director of the Famicom video game Joy Mecha Fight). According to them, the first thing they decided to put into the game was Yoshi. Yoshi was originally going to be in Super Mario Galaxy, but Koizumi explained that they felt that they had already put too much stuff in that game and that if he were in it, he would probably only be featured in one stage. Hayashida revealed that after Yoshi was decided on, the morale of him and the employees was much better.

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