The Charm Of Yarn And The Reception Of Yoshi's New Island With Woolly World's Producer
Takashi Tezuka has been with Nintendo since the mid-eighties with important credits on many of Nintendo's most memorable games. He has director and designer credits for games like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Link's Awakening, and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. He also served as producer on games like Animal Crossing and Mario Kart: Double Dash, and is heavily involved in the upcoming Super Mario Maker. We got a chance to speak with him briefly about the upcoming Yoshi's Woolly World (he's a producer on that, too) about Nintendo's love of yarn, whether or not Yoshi's Island is a Mario game, and how the reception of Yoshi's New Island for 3DS is influencing Woolly World.
Game Informer: Is there a fear there will be confusion between Kirby's Epic Yarn and Yoshi's Woolly World?
Takashi Tezuka: No, we're not really worried about this being seen as like a sequel or something, because honestly, we didn't create Woolly World as a way to create an Epic Yarn sequel – it was just an idea we had. The idea of creating a Yoshi platformer came first, and then we thought that it might be interested to see his world represented with yarn.
So, the yarn theme is just a coincidence?
No, it's not a coincidence. We were aware of the work that Good-Feel did with Epic Yarn, and we thought it looked amazing. We weren't trying to create a Yoshi version of that. We just thought, "They're good at doing textures and things – what can they do for us?" So we asked Good-Feel to create a Yoshi experience.
Were you surprised by the reception of Yoshi's New Island?
There was one thought I had after Yoshi's New Island, and that's that Yoshi fans span many different groups, and that includes some hardcore gamers. When I set off to create this game, I knew Yoshi's Woolly World had to appeal to both sets of groups. So while the graphics are adorable and of course kids are going to like it, I know that people who love the classic Yoshi gameplay style and challenge are going to be looking for that, too. So that was my goal from the start – to incorporate both. With that in mind, we created two different modes: Classic mode and mellow mode.
There is a debate among fans regarding whether Yoshi's Island is part of the Mario franchise, which you were a director on. Do you consider Yoshi's Island for the Super Nintendo a standalone franchise? Or is it Super Mario World 2? [We also asked Shigeru Miyamoto this question in in 2012]
I consider it as part of the Mario series.
Why was the Super Mario World 2 prefix used? Was there an argument over its inclusion? Or was everyone happy to embrace it?
That was so long ago that I don't fully remember. I don't think I made that decision alone – I don't think I could have. When that game debuted, I wanted people to understand that Yoshi was part of the Mario world, and that be conveyed whether through title or gameplay. To me, it's part of the Mario series, but today's Yoshi games? They've changed from those origins, so I think it's okay to think of Yoshi living in in his own universe. You can think of it separately from Mario's world.