For the last week intense speculation has swirled around a leaked image of Nintendo’s E3 booth that features something called Mario Maker. As of today’s E3 livestream, Nintendo has confirmed that it is indeed real, and it looks like a lot of fun.
Mario Maker will provide you with a menu full of classic Mario sprites that you can drag and drop onto a grid to remix and create new levels. It appears that you will be able to seamlessly switch between building and playing, allowing for on-the-fly tweaking and iteration to accelerate your design process.
You will also have the option to jump back and forth between the 8-bit graphics of the original Super Mario Bros. and the 3D rendered New Super Mario Bros. Wii U, depending on how nostalgic you’re feeling at any given moment. Nothing is yet known about the meta-options for what you can do with your creations, but presumably Nintendo will follow the model of something like LittleBigPlanet wherein users can share and rate each other’s work in a growing marketplace of fan-made content.
The original Super Mario Bros.‘s levels have deeply informed all subsequent video game design — you only need to peruse any list of new and upcoming indie games to see our enduring obsession with the platforming genre that Shigeru Miyamoto’s masterpiece kicked off. It is thus only appropriate in this new era of player-generated and -shared content that Mario be used as the foundation for this kind of game design toolbox. World 1-1 is generally the first thing that anyone replicates when given a game design tool set, so it will be interesting to see where fans go when that is already their starting point.
Mario Maker will be coming to the Wii U and 3DS at some point in 2015.