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Miyamoto Says He's Solved Co-op Issue In Mario Galaxy 60

Posted by Zonk
from the itsa-me dept.
In the fourth volume of the ongoing series of interviews between Nintendo's Iwata and the Mario Galaxy team, design legend Shigeru Miyamoto puts forth the opinion that he thinks he's nailed two-player Mario. That opinion is bolstered by Japanese sales figures, which shows the plumber doing quite well for his umpteenth outing. "Miyamoto: 'For every game I worked on, there were always times when I would keep discussing the issue of two-player simultaneous gameplay, and the staff also became conscious of the challenge, so every development team kept trying hard to solve it too. Though I think that might also have been because they thought if they didn't deal with it first, I'd come in and ask how it was coming along for sure! (laughs).'" Via Kotaku.
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Miyamoto Says He's Solved Co-op Issue In Mario Galaxy

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  • Wow, two different articles from the same department, that's like a record considering most of the time we get the same article from two different departments! Seriously* I've heard of companies that seem constantly undergoing a reorg, but Slashdot's restructuring is just ridiculous!

    *I'm as serious as there is a lack of sarcasm in this sentence.
  • From what I've seen in other stories/previews/reviews, the CoStar mode is not activated just by someone picking up the second controller when someone else is playing. Presumably, because otherwise, a "power player" would just tape a second wiimote to the first, then always play that way, enabling super-jumps and thwomp-freezing all the time. It has to be played as a separate game mode... don't know if it's all special maps, or how much is available in CoStar mode.

    Certainly not the perfect Co-op gameplay f
    • I take it you've never had a sib walk in an "Oops, I pulled out the power/controller plug" or start messing with the TV remote control while you were playing? I figured that'd be a pretty big reason not to include pickup and play Co-op.

      During the initial stages of development, we'd made it so that the person assisting the main player was able to do things like shake the Wii Remote to make Mario spin or make him jump by pressing A, but we ended up taking those features out because it lent itself to negative play and made play difficult.

    • by rabiddeity (941737) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @08:03PM (#21288443) Homepage
      Incorrect. By default it DOES in fact let someone else pick up a second wiimote and jump right in while someone else is playing, no special configuration required and no special levels. For super jumps the cursor has to be pointed right at Mario to super jump, and right at an enemy to freeze it (when the camera moves, player 2 has to follow the enemy or it becomes unfrozen). Sorry, but unless you have three hands nobody is going to be cheating on this one. And some enemies, such as thwomps and bosses, can't be frozen, so it's a gimmick of limited utility anyway. The real power players will be doing perfect 90 degree turn side jumps, crazy long jumps that take them across the level, and avoiding or killing every enemy regardless. Expect to see some crazy speedrun videos on YouTube.

      I bought it the day it came out here in Japan and have played through about 100 stars so far. About half of those were with a friend in the room assisting. It works so well because the assist doesn't make it game-breakingly easy and it's never necessary to have the assists, but it still makes a big difference to have someone helping out on some of the levels. The purple coin challenge for one later level comes to mind, where cannonballs are being shot out at Mario while he's standing on a moving platform and trying to collect special coins. Player 2 can freeze the cannonballs as they come out-- when done correctly it makes the level a bit easier but still very challenging, but if the projectiles are frozen at the wrong time it actually makes the level HARDER. What I do like about it is how I can invite people over to play who may not be very good at 3D platformers, and make the game a little bit easier for them (and thus a bit more fun). I think it also offsets the anxiety of having other people watch you play, and laughing at your screw-ups. That's really intimidating for many people.

      What I think Miyamoto was saying was that his team developed a form of co-op that doesn't change the core mechanics of the game. You don't have two players running around the screen, fighting over the camera and interfering with each other, but they're still working together and playing the same game. That deserves quite a bit of praise, because in practice it really works quite well.
  • by aichpvee (631243) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @06:31PM (#21287417) Journal
    Nothing to do with the linked interview, but the summary implies, ridiculously, that the sales number of Mario Galaxy (by all accounts one of the greatest games ever produced) in Japan has a direct relationship to the "co-op" play. I guarantee that it has NOTHING to do with this. Just as many people would be buying this game if it had no co-op whatsoever. Maybe there are a ton of people really enjoying the co-op experience, but there is nothing even to suggest that people are playing it co-op from the sales figures alone, nor that the sales figures are being driven by the feature.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I didn't buy Halo PC.. because it wasn't Co-Op.

      So yea, it's not Mario Galaxy, but I think you're wrong. I think the Co-Op playability is great, and yes, the game would've sold strongly without it, but I think it is doing even better with it.

      Yet you make the sweeping guarantee that it has "NOTHING" to do with it. By the way, even if a feature improves sales by only 5-10%, that is still a direct relationship, albeit one of a certain proportion which is less than 100%, which incidentally is a number no singl
      • by aichpvee (631243)
        Halo is a crappy game, the co-op being about the only redeeming feature, though obviously Bungie does not make it fun to hang out with your friends. And, yes, I'll stand by that guarantee. No one who has bought, is buying, or will buy Mario Galaxy would have passed it up if it did not have the limited co-op play that it does. Perhaps some, or maybe even a lot, will enjoy it more for the feature, but none of them bought it for that reason.

        What you "think" to be the case has nothing to do with what the cas
        • by Zalminen (658870) on Friday November 09, 2007 @06:23AM (#21292543)
          The Mario Galaxy co-op is exactly what I've been hoping for.

          This kind of co-op has at least 3 advantages:
          1. When I'm playing, my wife can just come, grab the second wiimote and join in. Then if the baby wakes up, she can just leave.
          2. Playing the star doesn't require that much skill. Even someone new to gaming can easily be of help.
          3. When playing with the star, you can effectively teach & help the other player. This means I have a much greater chance of getting my wife to actually play the game as the first player.

          The co-op game might not be for everyone, but for me it turned Mario Galaxy from a probable purchase into a must-have. And I'm probably not alone in this.
        • Well, where to start. You come out of the gate saying Halo is a crappy game, when pretty much the entire world disagrees with you on some level. Isn't there a word for that?

          What you "think" to be the case has nothing to do with what the case happens to be, and lacking any evidence (even anecdotal) to the contrary it can safely be assumed and stated that the co-op has had no effect on the sales of the game.

          No. What you "think" to be the case has nothing to do with what the case happens to be, which is tha

    • I tend to agree: Initial sales probably aren't helped by co-op. However, additional sales will definitely get a boost from the mode. This is why the Wii sells so well: If you have friends over, they can have fun playing Wii Sports within seconds, even if they have no clue about the game. Co-op mode makes Mario viral like Wii Sports; it's easy to hook others on the game.
    • by DJ-Dodger (169589)
      It has at least a minor effect on sales. I didn't pre-order Mario Galaxy until the news came out about co-op. I don't have much time for single player games - generally I'd rather have people over to visit than sit by myself with the Wii and a single player game (I bought Twilight Princess at launch and I'm still less than halfway through). Co-op and multiplayer games, however, I play all the time with my friends. I didn't buy Metroid Prime 3 because it didn't have co-op or multi-player. I would have d
    • Not to mention....

      New Super Mario Bros sells 900,000 in the first week and lacks Co-Op.
      Super Mario Galaxy sells 250,000 in the first week and has Co-Op.

      Seems crazy to conclude that Galaxy is getting a whole bunch of extra sales for the Co-Op feature (which I had barely even heard about in the previews, incidentally) when its launch is less impressive than previous Mario games.
  • This has to be the most content-free article in a while. All this boils down to is:

    A two player mode is hard to come up with.
    We thought about it.
    We like what we came up with.

    I can't believe they took a whole article to say that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by usul294 (1163169)
      Its not out yet, but I remember when I was beating Mario Sunshine people liked to just sit and watch. Now they are a bit more involved in a pretty mindless and easy capacity. Doesn't hurt me in hard levels, and makes it a bit more fun for a wingmate who wants to watch. Sounds good to me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by fractoid (1076465)
      Players one and two
      We think you will like to play
      With your two players
  • by lpangelrob (714473) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @07:06PM (#21287805)

    Miyamoto: Anyway, we had a lot of people play the game, and we observed them, had them write about their impressions, things like that. I analysed those reports as I read them, noting things like how people might have written "It was fun," but they didn't look like they were having fun...

    As an Asian, I would just like to note that that is so Asian...

  • by FlyByPC (841016) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @07:20PM (#21287967) Homepage
    Didn't Gauntlet [wikipedia.org] have four-way cooperative playing a looong time ago?

    (To this day, I still sometimes catch myself thinking: "Wizard needs food -- badly.")
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2007 @09:55PM (#21289467)
      Yes, Gauntlet was certainly the first Mario game with co-op.
      • Actually wasn't the original Mario Bros. the first Mario game with co-op play? We have finally come full circle.
        • by Night Goat (18437) *
          I think the first Mario Bros. game had the two players competing for higher scores. It wasn't really cooperative play.
    • I don't remember there being a pointing device to aid the first player. But then I am guessing you didn't RTFA.
      • by FlyByPC (841016)

        I don't remember there being a pointing device to aid the first player. But then I am guessing you didn't RTFA.
        More like just didn't grok TFA (not a huge platformer fan, so I haven't played Mario in ages.)
    • Didn't Gauntlet have four-way cooperative playing a looong time ago?

      Ugh. Playing Gauntlet with TWO players was camera hell.

      -:sigma.SB

    • by cmburns69 (169686)
      Yellow Wizard needs food - badly.

      Yellow Wizard is about to die.

      Red Warrior shot the food.

      Yellow Wizard: Aaaaaah.

  • Two players... playing at once! I've SOLVED it!
    • by Goaway (82658)
      Wow, we have a master game designer in the house!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jaktar (975138)
      Go and try to play the original Contra with two players. Then you'll see how poorly a 2 player simultaneous game can be. I know it's not the worst 2 player game, but I think it gets the idea across.
      • Re:So... what? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Endymion (12816) <slashdot...org@@@thoughtnoise...net> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @08:45PM (#21288903) Homepage Journal
        what kind of crack are you smoking?!

        The original Contra is one of the definitive two-player co-op games!

        While they expanded on it and made it a lot better in later Contra games (Contra III: The Alien Wars and Contra: Shattered Soldier being good examples), Contra 1 was still the one that started it all.

        The only potential issue was the waterfall level where you had to make sure you didn't scroll-off your partner, but that was really just one level where it was a problem. The game was designed to be two-player. One player gets spread and keeps the screen clear of little enemies, and the other gets laser and goes straight for the main goals. When you get the teamwork down, the game flows amazingly smooth.
        • by pla (258480)
          One player gets spread

          ...Game over.



          One player with rapid/spread could play basically forever, beating Red Falcon over and over and over without ever losing a life (since the difficulty doesn't appear to change each time).

          I must have beat that sucker at least 20 times in a row on one guy, once upon a time, only stopping because I got bored rather than actually dying. Two player? Completely unneccesary.
          • by Endymion (12816)
            Completely unneccesary.

            It's not necessary, it's just that it's fun. The game has an obvious design that is pointed towards 2-player. Sure, it's not a difficult game, but so what?

            All the Contra games are great when you get into a two-player "rhythm". It's one of the only games where the teamwork actually helps you run through it easier, if you do it right. (yes, that's going from "easy" to "really easy", but again, so what?)

            If you want hard, go get an "S" on Shattered Soldier
  • Fav 2 player (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Joker1980 (891225) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @08:09PM (#21288499)
    To this day i still love the 2 player mode in Toejam and Earl
  • Lots and lots... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Paul_Hindt (1129979) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @09:49PM (#21289423) Homepage
    of games have successful 2-Player Cooperative modes. Contra, Double Dragon, Toejam & Earl, Gauntlet, Final Fight...the upcoming game Army of 2 is specifically designed to be played ONLY as a co-op game, and if you don't have a buddy to play with it throws a bot in there to duke it out with you. The whole game is designed so that 2 players are required to make it through the levels.
  • Is it really doing well? It seems that depends on who's presenting the facts. If you google, "mario galaxy sales", you get links that have different interpretations of the facts. But most of them are using words like, "lackluster", "unimpressive" and "flies low".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LKM (227954)
      250'000 in its first week in Japan alone would be great for any game, but this is a Mario game, so expectations were even higher. Of course, it's only been three actual days of sales; the next few weeks will show whether Galaxy ends up a "Super Mario Sunshine" or a "New Super Mario Bros."

      If sales drop in the next week, it's a failure. If they increase, it might end up a success.

      It's also important to see how the Wii is doing. It only added about 10'000 to the sales numbers in Japan last week. People expecte
      • People expected Galaxy to move more Wiis.

        If there are any Wiis available to be moved, that is.

        We're just about a week short of the one-year anniversary of the Wii's launch in the Americas, and I have STILL NEVER SEEN THE CONSOLE IN STOCK.

        Granted, I'm not one of those people who loiters in EBGames every day during my lunch break in hopes of snagging a box right off the pallet, but I am a casual gamer doing casual game shopping. Why buy a copy of Galaxy if I still can't obtain the console to play it on?
    • by Ang31us (1132361)
      Dude, the game does not officially release until Sunday and the reviews are GLOWING! [ign.com] I want it NOW!
  • Super Mario War. What more is there to say. Up to four/eight (depending on version) player co-op/battle/all-out-war, with Mario, great fun. Probably completely illegal and will be shut down as soon as Nintendo spot it but you can't get better.

    Who cares about rescuing Peach when you can just stomp on people's heads in teams?
    • by entmike (469980)
      Pick up Super Smash Brothers.
      • Pick up Super Smash Brothers.

        Or, for that matter, New Super Mario Bros (for DS). I believe it's only 2-player and no online play, but the multiplayer is surprisingly addictive. It's basically what the parent describes - Mario v Luigi, duking it out. In the case of DS Mario, it's for stars, but the point remains that you get to fireball, stomp, shell, etc your enemy. It's *great* fun.
        -Trillian
  • design legend Shigeru Miyamoto puts forth the opinion that he thinks he's nailed two-player Mario.

    That's just *so* wrong!
  • For those that really read the article you already know this is more than 2P co-op that has been done in the past. It allows two people that are experienced to really blow through levels, also it allows veteran gamers to help non veteran gamers play and an apprentice mode type setting. I personally agree with the 'wife story' mentioned already and even more so with parents that want to play with their kids rather than put them in front of a console so they don't have to parent them.

    SMG is the showfloor g

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