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Super Mario producer speaks

On bringing the series home.

Takashi Tezuka, the director of Super Mario World and producer of New Super Mario Bros., has hinted that the forthcoming DS title is set to be a return to form rather than a radical departure.

Speaking to US magazine Nintendo Power, Tezuka said: "When developing this game, I really had the original Super Mario Bros. in mind. After that game, Mario evolved, of course, but it eventually became more difficult and suited more toward hard-core gamers.

"That wasn't the intention, but that's how the series naturally evolved. I didn't want to continue in that direction. That's not to say this game isn't for hard-core players, but I want to recapture the spirit of the original Super Mario Bros."

Tezuka went on to confirm that old days power-ups such as the super mushroom and fire flower will make an appearance in Super Mario Bros. DS, adding that there are also "quite a few new items."

"There's a mushroom that turns Mario tiny. Another kind of mushroom turns Mario into a giant if you collect three of them. There's also a Koopa Mario; he wears a shell and can slide back and forth like a Koopa to hit enemies. We can't reveal all of the new powerups at this time, however," he said.

Tezuka said you can expect "a lot of replay value," adding that "You won't be able to save your progress from level to level; you'll only be able to save when you reach the next world. So in that way, the game system is designed to challenge the player and encourage replay."

Expect lots of secrets to find, too: " One of the impressions I get is that all of the secrets we hid in the game caused people to talk about it a lot. 'Did you get this hidden item? Did you find the secret way to get to this stage?' - Things like that. I think that's something that helped the game catch on."

Tezuka also said that the game will task you with collecting a certain number of stars to reach the next course, much like you had to do in Super Mario 64. "There are also similarities to Super Mario World in that different branches exist to different levels. By completing some task, you'll open a different branch."

New Super Mario Bros. is out this summer.