Odyssey Game Director Shares the ‘Why’ of Ditching Lives

Kenta Motokura explains in his latest interview

Super Mario Odyssey should look and feel familiar to fans of Mario’s past 3D-platformer adventures. But there are a few things gamers might be surprised to find missing.


One of the major changes Super Mario Odyssey makes to the 3D platformer is the removal of the lives system. Instead of a death taking a point away from a life counter, the designers of Odyssey chose to forego the game over. Dying in Odyssey now merely means losing coins; which can be used to purchase items at shops; and respawning at the last checkpoint.

In a recent interview featured in this month’s Game Informer, game director Kenta Motokura described the rationale behind this decision:

“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.”

[via nintendoeverything]

If one has kept up with Odyssey news, one might also remember that the game has no home world. Peach’s Castle in Super Mario 64 and Mario’s face-ship in Super Mario Galaxy 2, the closest we get to an example of this in Odyssey is, well, the Odyssey. But the new ship is simply a means of getting around, as Motokura describes the game as having “a lot of different restart points.”


The removal of the home world and the lives system should be an interesting new way to play Mario. It’s clear the designers are aiming for a streamlined experience; hopefully everything translates into more time spent playing the game.

Stay tuned for more Super Mario Odyssey news. And in the meantime, maybe check out the new gameplay that was released yesterday!

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