In an extended interview with GameInformer that was conducted back in E3 2017, Miyamoto commented about how they are always looking to evolve Mario’s 2D art direction to keep the ageing mascot fresh. The mascot’s primary artist back in the day, Yoichi Kotabe’s art style saw a resurgence in recent Mario media and games,
The mascot’s primary artist back in the day, Yoichi Kotabe’s art style saw a resurgence in recent Mario media and games, and Miyamoto commented that even though the art style was referenced every now and then, the character-development team is always hard at work to create new styles for Mario.
GI: We’ve been seeing more of Yoichi Kotabe’s classic Mario art lately in marketing and other places, like the character select screen in Super Mario 3D World. Will we ever see a 2D game made entirely of Kotabe’s art?
Miyamoto: We’re at almost like a turning point. When you look at Mickey Mouse there is the classic Mickey Mouse, and then there is the modern Mickey Mouse and the classic one has a lot of flavor to it and the modern Mickey Mouse looks really great, but it is losing a little bit of the flavor, and that’s something we discuss to make sure we keep that intact as we’re creating characters. And of course the development team for any Mario game may want to use Kotabe’s art, but there is also a character-development team that’s really working hard to create new styles and new work. Once they get more work done, I think more and more of that will be reflected into games.
We did a collaboration recently with Uniqlo where it was a contest for people to send in drawings, and like that we want to continue create and evolve new art styles.
GI: And you feel like the pristine, perfect flavor for 2D Mario is that beautiful, clean Kotabe art?
Miyamoto: I do believe that Mr Kotabe’s art has become kind of a standard within Nintendo, but we definitely want to continue to see if we can evolve that as time goes by.
Miyamoto also commented that when porting older games onto newer hardware like the Nintendo Switch, he would much prefer the development team to customise the games to utilise the Switch’s unique hardware instead of plainly porting the games over.
GI: Nintendo did such a beautiful job for remaking the Nintendo 64 Zelda titles for 3DS. Do you feel like you’d ever want to see an update of Mario 64 as well? Or do you feel that that game visually holds up well?
Miyamoto: We have a version of Mario 64 on the DS, and as you mentioned there are Zelda ports on the 3DS, but rather than focus on trying to remake them, I would rather if we were to think about porting them, focus on more recent titles, but using the unique gameplay elements of the Switch. When you think about the playstyle of the Switch it would be great if I could play all classic games on it.
Overall it was an interesting interview. The full GameInformer interview can be read here.