Nintendo Nintendo Switch

Super Mario Odyssey Director States That Lives Are ‘Not Absolutely Necessary’

We’ve heard before that Super Mario Odyssey on the Nintendo Switch won’t punish gamers with the traditional Game Over screen. If you do die you just lose some coins. Game Informer recently had the opportunity to chat to Super Mario Odyssey director Kenta Motokura who explained why they made this interesting change to the game.

We thought about how a lives system would work in this kind of broad, exploration-focused game. In this sort of game, there would be a lot of different restart points. We decided not to use the lives system because it was not an element that was absolutely necessary. We also thought that it would affect some users’ desire to play because, while users who are good at the game would rarely see the (game over) screen that comes up when Mario runs out of lives, inexperienced users would probably end up seeing it frequently.

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  1. Lives are really only remnants of Arcade games were they’d make a Lives system that required the player to fork over money to get more Lives to continue playing.

    I say this is a good move for Nintendo as people aren’t really happy with modern Live Systems like in Freemium games which pretty much beg you to pay up for more goes, example, Candy Crush.

    1. I never seen someone who is so bad playing Mario games and get the game over screen.

      I got the gameover screen because I decide to suicide as many times as possible.

  2. I do generally agree that the concept of having lives is not mandatory and also has just been implemented before to achieve something specific and that it doesn’t need to be implemented forever especially if the goal is something different.

    It’s especially the idea of having lives in general, that actually didn’t make the games more frustrating for casuals, but for core players, as it barely felt like an achievement to run around with 99 lives and never see the Game Over screen and in general this whole system might come from a time when we had to insert a coin to get like 5 lives and continue playing.

    BUT getting rid of it could easily end up in the lack of any challenge at all. So it will be heavily depending on how and for what audience the levels are designed.

    I just finished Steamworld Dig 2 where you lose your progress & ressources after dying. Which is totally fine and punishing enough to feel tension when progressing through hard sections. If you really lose coins in Mario’s Odyssey, then better give those coins a role that’s more important than in the past. In the last Mario games, coins were just there for nostalgia. But looks like they have some different role with those shops in Odyssey already, so I’m interested in how it plays out.

  3. Since Super Mario World the only time I’ve ever seen a Game Over screen in a Mario game is when I’m attempting a really hard level in Sunshine or the Galaxy games, and that’s partially because those games don’t save your number of lives. So I’d load a save and start with 5 lives and head to, say, Grandmaster Galaxy and they’re gone in a few minutes. Otherwise, this change has little effect on how I play the games.

    I did like in NSMB Wii that Mario would lose his hat when you reached 99 lives, but that’s rendered moot by all the outfits in this game.

      1. Why should someone write a comment and not like that comment? Is there an unwritten internet rule that you may only write comments that you dislike yourself?

    1. Also, reminds me of Sonic the Hedgehog games where you lose rings. Surprise no one made the comparison.

            1. Yes. Some. and now i am wondering how many of these “some” will be on this mario Because the mario 3d world on wii u …was a joke in terms of challenge. well the unlockable stages from collecting everything..was not easy…All i want is an option to make the game have a hard mode difficulty option. like Botw got. ..even as a god damn dlc i dont care.

      1. So I guess you hate Cuphead then…. I’m sorry, but a game can still be challenging even without a Live System as Cuphead is difficult as hell but doesn’t have a live system.
        Dark Souls doesn’t have a Live System and it’s difficult.

        Sorry, but I’m afraid you just dun goof’d

  4. I am understand but the 1-UP mushroom is now obsolete :( … We shall never see it anymore… And there will be ZERO challenge to this game as far as I can tell lol

  5. Makes perfect sense because the lives never really made it harder for experienced players, but it did for inexperienced players, which is a kind of backwards way of doing game design.

  6. ||Exactly, Xbot lives are irrelevant and must be sent to the void as soon as possible for the dominion of purity…||

  7. Well then I hope the game is challenging in a different way then- there has to be SOME kind of punishment for screwing up, and if it’s just losing a bunch of coins that honestly, from what we’ve seen so far, don’t really do much outside of buying arbitrary cosmetics, then where’s the downside?

    This could be like, and I hate to mention this one, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric where, if you lost all your rings and died in a boss fight, you come right back in with 20 rings and don’t even lose your progress in the fight! You cold get down to having to hit ’em one more time, die, respawn, land that hit and win. No challenge, no punishment for messing up. I can’t agree with that.

  8. King Kalas X3 {I only buy exclusives that interest me on Switch. For everything else that interests me, there is PS4.} says:

    Still not sure about this drastic change to a Mario game. I guess we’ll see if this was a great decision or not soon enough.

    1. Honestly this is great for speed runners when you see it from there point and it won’t discourage beginners and new comers that are just coming into the Mario series, it’s a main factor when making a game that’s it’s playable for everyone, but it still has challenge for hard core mario fans and it does I seen some odyssey footage but I don’t want to spoil it for you since you don’t want to know spoilers Nintendo has only been showing off the easier parts, youtubers have found different section in worlds and everything

  9. In games like this I see it this way.

    You died? Start at spawn area for level.

    You get game over? Knocked to hub world instead of level beginning.

    Doesn’t make sense, right? Good decision on em.

  10. Lives in 3D mario really have never done anything… like it makes sense in 2D mario, u lose ur checkpoint, in sonic you lose a checkpoint, in donkey Kong u lose a checkpoint… it’s a very 2D platformers and arcade concept. Now look at big open world adventure games and just any adventure game in general. Zelda has no lives since zelda 2 (granted it’s a different type of game) the point I’m trykng to make is that an open wielded mario doesn’t need lives…

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