Why Super Mario Odyssey Has No Lives System

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Super Mario Odyssey has no lives system, which is a dramatic break from the norm seeing as it has long been a part of the moustachioed hero’s series.

That was a necessary change thanks to the return to a more open sandbox adventure, with director Kenta Motokura explaining that it would result in requiring multiple points at which players could restart.

“We thought about how a lives system would work in this kind of broad, exploration-focused game,” Motokura explained to Game Informer. “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.”

When Mario tumbles into oblivion players will instead lose coins, to which Motokura added: “The loss of coins does not fulfil the exact same role as the lives system – and we do not think that it needs to be the exact same – but we believe that it does function as a new type of penalty.”

Super Mario Odyssey will release exclusively for Nintendo Switch worldwide on October 27th.

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After starting out with a Yellow Game Boy and a copy of Donkey Kong Land, Alex once hid in his room to play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time one Christmas. Now he shares his thoughts on Nintendo Insider, keeping track of everything to do with Nintendo.

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