Super Mario Bros. developers showcased “Unused Wonder Effects” at GDC 2024

During the development of Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Nintendo had to make some tough decisions and leave behind a multitude of ideas. Fortunately, at this year’s Game Developers Conference, the game’s director, Shiro Mouri, and producer, Takashi Tezuka, shed some light on this fascinating process.

In a series of slides (shared by Chris Kohler of Digital Eclipse), Nintendo’s Mario Wonder team showcased their brainstorming sessions, revealing a plethora of imaginative ideas. These included Mario gracefully surfing the waves, skillfully maneuvering a unicycle, and energetically bouncing around on a pogo stick. Next, we were treated to a series of slides showcasing the “Wonder Effect testing sessions,” giving us a glimpse into the development process. Additionally, we got a sneak peek at some unused Wonder Effects and even had the opportunity to see a prototype level that unfortunately didn’t make it into the final game.

A sizable Mario block was under attack from persistent enemies in the prototype level I played. presenting a succinct overview and a brief video:

“Unused Wonder Effects: Player turns into a giant block Mario and advances while avoiding getting eaten”

We’ve actually come across cut ideas from Super Mario Bros. Wonder before, so this isn’t entirely new information. Takashi Tezuka has previously discussed the team’s extensive prototyping process during development. Interestingly, it seems that there was no strict deadline during the prototype stage. Ultimately, the team ended up with a staggering number of ideas—over 2,000, to be precise. From this extensive pool, they carefully selected and refined the best ones.