GDC 07: Super Mario Galaxy Updated Impressions

Shiggy drops a new trailer of Super Mario Galaxy at the GDC Nintendo keynote address, and we've got the details.

When legendary Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto speaks, everyone listens. In the case of the 2007 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, "everyone" included a packed house of game producers, developers, engineers, executives, and press folks all hanging on the words of the man behind Donkey Kong, Mario, and so many other classic Nintendo franchises. While Miyamoto's keynote address mainly focused on the values that both he and Nintendo hold dear when developing games, he did give us and the attendants a look at the upcoming Super Mario Galaxy for Nintendo Wii, debuting later this year.

Before showing off the new trailer of the game, Miyamoto talked about a common question he receives from fans of the Mario series: Whatever happened to Mario 128, the follow-up to the famous Super Mario 64? Miyamoto confessed that, though he's been asked that question many times over the years, he's never been quite sure how to answer it. After all, as he puts it, the original Mario 128 demo at Spaceworld in 2000 was meant merely as a demonstration to illustrate the power of the GameCube. More interestingly, however, Miyamoto pointed out that, in a way, people have already played Mario 128 in the form of Pikmin. This game utilized a key concept from Mario 128, which had a large numbers of characters working independently of one another. Another aspect of Mario 128's gameplay, the concept of walking on 3D spheres, has made the leap to Super Mario Galaxy. And from the look of the trailer Miyamoto introduced, it will be a crucial element to how Mario moves around the world.

The trailer began showing Mario floating in space around one of his familiar magic stars, then went directly to a montage of Mario leaping and flying in an interstellar setting that featured planetoid-like objects floating in space. The planetoids were varied in shape; some were shaped like eggs, others were more oddly shaped and featured rocky outcroppings or grassy knolls; still another looked as if it were carved from wood. From the looks of things, each will have its own inherent challenges as Mario makes the leap from one to the next. On one, Mario had to dodge boulders rolling in concentric circles; in another, Mario was being chased by huge caterpillar-like critters intent on doing him harm.

How Mario moves from one chunk of land to the next seems to be a key component to the gameplay as well. By running into specially designated stars, Mario could blast from one planetoid to the next. It seems like these stars are the main way to travel great distances and, as you move through the level, it looks like previously opened paths between planets are indicated by a line connecting their "jump stars," which could be handy for backtracking through levels or finding secret areas. These jump stars aren't the only way to get around, however. On one planetoid, we saw Mario ride a quickly growing vine to access a level just above him. On another, while walking on a huge applelike planet, Mario butt-dropped on a lever, which caused a gigantic worm to exit the apple and connect to another level. From there, Mario ran up the body of the alien-looking worm to access the next planetoid. In another portion of the trailer, Mario wasn't flying through space but rather floating in a protective bubble that you will only be able to control in a limited way. To move Mario in his bubble, you point a star-shaped icon with your Wii Remote from one destination to the next, hoping to avoid obstacles (such as solar flares), which will pop your protective bubble.

Mario will be blasting off into outer space in Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii.

Miyamoto's reference to walking on spheres showed up several times in the trailer, with Mario walking "upside down" (if that has any meaning in outer space) and on the side of objects as he made his way around the planetoids. It seems like Mario will be able to "stick" to the planetoids he lands on, and part of the game's challenge will be in consistently reorienting yourself to Mario's new position and perspective.

Beyond the traveling and the unique perspectives, much of Super Mario Galaxy looks like standard Mario action. You'll still encounter plenty of enemies to battle with (or avoid depending on the circumstances), including one big guy hatching out of a dinosaur egg that looked like a cross between Godzilla and Petey Piranha from Super Mario Sunshine. There also looked to be an underwater level full of massive sea creatures trying to gobble Mario up. And, naturally, there were a whole mess of gold stars to collect.

Except for the outer-space-theme elements, such as the occasional geodesic-dome-looking structure and what appears to be UFOs to hop on, the look to Super Mario Galaxy will be instantly familiar to fans. The character and enemy designs are especially familiar, though the lighting effects are more intricate than we've seen before, particularly as Mario soars through the cosmos. The huge planets that form the backdrop of the levels add a nice sense of scale to the action.

It would have been nice to have a full-scale demonstration of a playable version of Galaxy guided by Miyamoto but, for now, the trailer will have to do. Miyamoto did say the game will be released later this year, and we'll be bringing you more updates on the game in the coming months.

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Discussion

260 comments
ColdK
ColdK

Honestly what was wrong with Sunshine it was just as good as mario 64 to me the freedom the flips and the only thing missing was the physical combat and added a lot more freedom come on yoshi was actually in the game im gonna get this game the second it ships

lola162
lola162

Bless your hearts, Nintendo! Now THESE kinds of games are the reasons we sit like couch potatoes in front of our TV's for hours on end...and I must say, the graphics are stunning and amazingly vivid! I enjoyed playing Sunshine but I believe that this will be a Mario adventure to remember! I'm going to reserve it very soon!

Psiphor
Psiphor

Did anyone else see IGN's Wii Homepage... On there right now is a link to the latest UK Wii release dates and (I can't believe this) Super Mario Galaxy is slated for UK release on 1st June 07 !??? Must be wrong... That would be too awesome... Before USA and Japan?! They also slate Metroid Prime 3 as 27th September 07 !? What's going on... We in Europe are usually the poor relations? Must be wrong?

NND1
NND1

I am glad I got a Wii Last Year.... This game Lookz FriKKen' Tight.... I guess paper mario will have to do until this comes out ...

Cesarspalace
Cesarspalace

this game looks cool but when is the exact release date on the game?

Saxmachine09
Saxmachine09

whoa whoa whoa, stealthopsx. fludd may not have been the greatest idea, but it defintely wasn't the main problem in that game. point your finger at the camera first.

StealthOpsX
StealthOpsX

The Inclusion of FLUDD was the dumbest addition to the Mario universe. It didn't add any freedoms. It added frustration and hindrance. If Galaxies can successfully pull off the new platforming while keeping the player's freedoms of movement that were paramount in Super Mario 64, then the upcoming title will be destined for greatness.

AnFangs_Endes
AnFangs_Endes

:( we don't get to keep FLUDD? meh, who needs water in space..., unless he got stuck and could use the escape of water to propel himself!

manolobrown2
manolobrown2

This looks to be one of the better mario games in recent years

GunGriffin
GunGriffin

OH yeah! first full game I will get for my Wii when I get one! Mario rocks!

og8440
og8440

This looks pretty cool. Has anyone else noticed a "Nights" influence from seeing the video? Seeing Mario flying around all over the place reminded me of Nights into Dreams.

Brother_Boney
Brother_Boney

I have tried the demo and it was very promising. The game is actually much more fun than you would expect by watching the trailers. The boss fights in the demo were something never before seen in Mario adventures. The concept of jumping from asteroid to asteroid seems a bit strange at first but once you get it, it's just great. The challenge changes constantly, which seems to be one of the key aspects of gameplay here. This will be the first Mario-game for me that I buy near its launch.

Thor1981
Thor1981

It's like Mario meets Prey with all of the different orientations! Cool.

silver_brow
silver_brow

Yikes. My girlfriend is not going to be too happy about this style of Mario. She didn;t like Mario 64 and frankly I think the 3D Mario is no where near as good as the side-scroller Mario games. Hopefully the next mario release will be more true to the mario universe.

VG_Executioner
VG_Executioner

Hmm.....Is the first quater of the about getting him into space?

black_ice23
black_ice23

thats a really good looking game, i like the visuals i can't wait to buy it as soon as a can find a wii to buy that is, damn 5 months later and the wii is still sold out , they must be doing something right, but frustrating on my side when u cant find one, much dissapointment

cyborg100000
cyborg100000

Mario was good on nintendo 64, it got really tedious to play mario games by the time sunshine came out on gamecube, same with sonic the hedgechog. Maybe i'm just bored with platformers as they are on of the most basic genres out at the moment, or maybe i'm sick of mario. nintendo really needs to release some fresh new games instead of stuff like wii sports, red steel, mario, sonic. It's like gamecube all over again.

KingKoop
KingKoop

Mario should stop losing those stars!!! This is the reason I bought my Wii, I want it now :(

PelekotansDream
PelekotansDream

The graphics are really nice, this game proves that it is possible to have very nice looking games. There already are, but this proves it even more.

narutoquest
narutoquest

Looks interesting. I dont know which to get first, this or super paper mario. Hell, ill get them at the same time

EverAB
EverAB

I don't know why people say Sunshine sucks. Seriously, it WAS a good fun game. Just cause it wasn't groundbraking or the second coming of christ doest make it any less than what it is, a good game. I loved the tropical feel to it. I really want to see someone play this, just to see what its like.

Camble
Camble

That's sick, and not at all mildly intriguing.

MkII_Templars
MkII_Templars

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Poodishplayer
Poodishplayer

I never did care much for mario. Mario 64 was good at best, but I had more fun playing games like quest and rayman. Sunshine sucked. This game looks good (graphics) but also looks boring (gameplay). I think it will get a little mundane after a couple hours of hopping from star to star. And the trailer was mediocre. Super Smash Bros. Brawl will blow this out of the water. But I certainly hope this is a good game. It has a high chance in my books at beating Mario 64 (which was mundane, but kinda fun)

sonofashrub
sonofashrub

this is crazy. I'm not sure how it'd work, but it's crazy. I just want to watch someone play it.

JustWiicredible
JustWiicredible

I hope this is as good as Mario 64. IMO one of the best games ever peroid. In other words Nintendo are going to have to improve on perfection. We will have to wait and see

mario564
mario564

i hope this game dose a level to level kinda stuff like smb 4 NES.

MasterAsh42
MasterAsh42

This game looks better every time I see it. . . Simply magical.

Dr_Feelgood
Dr_Feelgood

Being an old school gamer, I would have liked to see something more traditional along the lines of Mario 64. You know, Mario exploring the lands of the Mushroom Kingdom, etc. Still, this game does look quite good and I am going to keep an open mind about it.

jdukes247
jdukes247

where is the new mariokart thats going to be great

f4t4lfury
f4t4lfury

No, no I really don't know what you are saying.

Pangamaster
Pangamaster

THIS GAME IS GOING TO BE dop if ya know what i am saying ( Peach on 360 would be better u know with 1080i YA KNOW WHAT I AM SAYING )

shadowrulez
shadowrulez

This is looking great, I missed Super Mario 64 and only got to play it on ds, so i am looking foward to this one.

NND1
NND1

Mario is BACK... That Video was AwEsOmE!!!! And mario 64 Set new standards...

jsambeckwith
jsambeckwith

What tk1080 said - but with the added comment to point out that we shouldn't even acknowledge SagevMansaw because he's clearly a massive racist.

chaoticg
chaoticg

Yeah! what tk1080 said. also Japanese designers come up with new ideas that might make us say "thats stupid" but prove us wrong.

tk1080
tk1080

SagevMansaw: Whats wrong with a japanese guy making a game with an italian guy? look at MGS, thats got an american guy in it and (oh my! god forbid!!).... its not made by Americans!!! think before you post random stupid comments. And not playing mario anymore as a result of being "too old" just makes you look small minded, you dont even know if the game is good/bad and you are condemning it. On the other hand, i think Mario Galaxy look ace!

joeyacevedo
joeyacevedo

Looks fun, but simple. I hope there is more to this game than just jumping from planet to planet doing some little tasks. I guess I'll find out when it comes out. Personally I'd rather see a MarioKart.

DarthSidious3
DarthSidious3

so stoked.....looks great.........Miyamoto seems to know his stuff. Good on him, Thanks Miyamoto.

SagevMansaw
SagevMansaw

Looks like dumb attempts to modernize mario.. Everyone knows what Mario is supposed to be.. Growing up with Mario for the NES was great and the super nintendo versions were good to.. My passion for Mario ended around luigi's mansion.. (after mario 64 cause mario 64 was sick) I just don't think i can play another Mario game made recently, it's just sickening.. And now that i think about it really hard.. why the HECK is a asian guy making a game with an italian character?! wtf has anyone thought about that?

lhardwick692
lhardwick692

well you think that this game..which was from what i understand--was supposed to be a launch title..you think after a year late this is going to be a good game..lets hope so..as it looks now places are saying it is due to be released 11\01\07 and thats if it gets released then

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

diablobasher if you don't like Mario 64 you will not like this game...sorry! :( wtf is wrong with you!!

sun_spirit
sun_spirit

Close to Mario 64 here, that was an awesome game! :-D So many games... So much time to wait! Argh!

diablobasher
diablobasher

Looks cool, but i was so dissapointed with Mario 64, and Mario Sunshine, that i might wait a whil before i buy this (Yeah yeah yeah, whatever, im allowed to dislike Mario 64 if i want to, but i really hates sunshine)