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Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aimé on the evolution of Super Mario Odyssey



From the outside, at least, Nintendo is a study in contradictions, at once devoted to the constant development of new gaming experiences, while remaining deferential and staunchly loyal to its past. Fittingly, the gaming giant’s American president Reggie Fils-Aimé references its longtime executives and creative forces with great reverence, quoting predecessors several times over the course of our half-hour-long conversation ahead of the launch of Super Mario Odyssey.

The game has been out for a day now, and the results from the gaming press have been everything the company could have dreamt of. In a review posted on Thursday, Devin called it an “embarrassment of riches,” echoing its currently near perfect 97 on Metacritic. The tent-pole title was a bit of a glaring omission when it launched in March, a fact due in part to Nintendo’s decision to get it just right.

“We were fortunate that Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild was far along in its development,” explains Fils-Aimé. It could be that anchor title from a day-one launch perspective. And then to have Super Mario Odyssey as the key game going into the holiday. It was, on one hand, quite well planned. But the other piece is that it always comes down to the development schedule.”

The executive pauses to paraphrase a quote from Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, which goes, “A delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever.” By all accounts, Mario Odyssey certainly isn’t the latter. And while Nintendo may have gotten some pushback from the press for its decision to delay the product, a Zelda-fueled launch gave the company exactly the boost it needed, coming off the prolonged stumble of the Wii U. And the result is in the game play.