So, Nintendo will be releasing two New Super Mario Bros. games in the same year. That kind of statement would lead one (read: me) to believe that Nintendo would have to make the levels all bland and samey to speed up development time. Apparently, that wasn’t the case.
Nintendo recently discussed how they handled the development duties. Most of the developers with more experience in the 2D Mario games were sent to work on the Wii U iteration while a few experienced developers hosted a “Mario Cram School” for other Nintendo staff to participate in. The purpose of this was to teach other Nintendo staff members how to design Mario stages. Some of the new members even gave some new ideas for the game.
One of the ideas that ended up in the game was having one stage be an on-rails running level where you just control Mario’s jumps, which draws similarities to BIT.TRIP RUNNER and Jetpack Joyride. Other ideas that ended up in the game were the ability to play 2-player co-op levels and the emphasis on collecting as many coins as possible to reach a goal of one million.
When I first heard about both of the New Super Mario Bros. games, I originally thought that they were both going to be another exercise in Nintendo being lazy by banking on nostalgia and adding pointless gimmicks to make a crapload of money. While that still seems to be the case with the Wii U version, the 3DS version seems to be taking a few interesting directions. In fact, I’m almost looking forward to New Super Mario Bros. 2. Maybe Nintendo should try this “Cram School” program with certain other franchises that hardly innovate (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon_(video_game_series)).
Source (http://www NULL.siliconera NULL.com/2012/07/24/new-super-mario-bros-2-developers-attended-mario-cram-school/)