Posted by Evolve on Oct 18, 2018 | In: General News
The Mario franchise is incredibly expansive. It, of course, started off with the main games, and then in the SNES era, it grew to Mario Kart. But then, in the N64 era, something happened, Mario started making a lot of sports games. Aside from Mario Kart 64, there was Mario Tennis, Mario Golf, Mario Party (which was basically a party sports games), and this set a trend for generations to come. The problem wasn't the variety, it was the quality. For every Mario Superstar Baseball and Mario Strikers, there were a bunch of poorer titles that just didn't match up. So, with the Nintendo Switch, the Big N made sure that quality was the important thing, and thus, Mario Tennis Aces was born.
This Mario sports title focused not just on the gameplay and the style but making sure that it was a compelling experience no matter what mode you were playing. One of the big ways they did this was that for the first time in a Mario Sports game, there was a dedicated story mode. An even bigger surprise though was that the story mode focused on Luigi, and not Mario.
Apparently, this was developer Camelot's plan all along, for the president of the studio, Hiroyuki Takahashi noted this in an interview with Nintendo Dream:"I wanted the story to have an element of surprise to it! I’d eventually conclude that having Luigi – who’s usually stuck in his brother’s shadow – fill a larger role would be surprising enough!"
This is ironic in numerous ways, not the least of which is that Luigi's solo series, Luigi's Mansion, has been confirmed to be getting a third title on the Nintendo Switch. So having this be in the world before that announcement was pretty timely.
Takahashi also noted that he felt it would be hard writing Mario for this story, but when it came to Luigi, there was a little more leeway. This and the interesting plot of the story mode itself was very unique to him. More than that though, he wanted to make sure the tone of the game was set via the opening cinematic. Which succeeded in spelling out his vision for the game.
He also acknowledged that the classic "Mario saves Peach from Bowser" was a bit overdone, and so he wanted to do something different, something that required sports to solve everything. Thus, the story developed from there. However, he made sure that the gameplay was not sacrificed in order to make the story big and grand, he fought to keep a balance between the two so that nothing would be lost in between.
Mario Tennis Aces did have some issues when it released, but the buildup and hype for the game were so well done that it sold over 1 million copies on the Nintendo Switch within its first week, and has continued to well both physically and digitally. This could mean that more Mario sports titles on the Switch could be coming. As long as they maintain the quality and depth that Aces has (and will continue to get via DLC and updates), similar sales should follow.