Earlier this week, Nintendo and LEGO revealed a brand new line of LEGO sets based on the Super Mario franchise.
In an interview with The Brothers Brick, Digital Design Lead for LEGO Super Mario Jonathan Bennink spoke about the origins of the project and its unique concept.
I’ve been working on this project for four years, but about a half a year before that, leaders from both LEGO and Nintendo met up to talk about what we could do together and where our core competencies lie. We decided early on that we wanted to leverage what both parties are good at. For LEGO, that’s of course the brick, being creative and using your imagination. For Nintendo, it is seamless interactivity and innovation. We wanted to make sure that when LEGO and Nintendo come together, those two big brands with lots of fans, that we do it justice.
About half a year into the project we made this first prototype of an interactive Mario figure. I hope one day we get to share this with the world because I think it would be quite interesting for people to know where it came from and how it evolved. But it was basically just a tiny little brick, maybe four modules high with a screen and speakers that we put a cap on and paint red. Once we put the cap on, we were all like, “Yeah, that’s Mario!” and we instantly fell in love with him as an interactive LEGO character.
But we didn’t know exactly what to do with him and how to make the most of the functionality. For that, we worked with Nintendo and play-tested with kids for quite a few iterations until we solidified the idea of building levels. Essentially, you can’t go wrong building levels but certain combinations and tricks will make the level better and get more coins from it. Building levels was probably the biggest revelation of the project because that is really where the core LEGO play comes in. Everything is happening in the bricks, and it’s about coming up with ideas for levels and building anything that you want with the technology and interactivity that Nintendo is known for infused in it from the beginning.
Although fans had originally theorized that the sets would have some form of Switch connectivity, Bennink confirmed that this unfortunately would not be the case.
I unfortunately can’t talk about the battery or updates, though we’ll be releasing that information in the future. I also can’t tell you what it connects to, but I can tell you that it doesn’t connect to the Switch. It doesn’t connect to the Nintendo hardware platforms. This is because we wanted to keep the experiences very separate. LEGO Mario is not a video game. Kids are basically role-playing a video game with the sets by building levels, but it doesn’t go into a Nintendo game, for instance. So there’s a very clear separation between those, but I can’t comment on anything that it can connect to just yet.
Finally, when asked about whether LEGO was planning to create other lines based on different Nintendo IPs, Bennink had this to say:
Again, I can’t go into any specifics here, but I can say that we haven’t worked for four years to release just one wave of products. We hope to have a long and fruitful relationship with Nintendo and their IPs, and we are really looking forward to working with them on a longer-term. They have a lot of very exciting IPs that we might do or might not do.
LEGO Super Mario is planned to launch later this year in 2020.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments