Preview of Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble – Bringing back the monkey ball in 2024

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    Last month, I had the opportunity to play Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble, the first all-new entry in the Super Monkey Ball (SMB) franchise in over a decade. When I went into the demo, skeptical that the series, which experienced its best years in the early-to-mid 2000s, might feel like a modern experience in 2024, I noticed improvements in gameplay, single-player levels, and more. Emerged from a design-inspired demo. , and the game’s approach to multiplayer (you can read my full preview here).

    Shortly after the preview, I had the opportunity to dig deeper into Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble with several of the developers behind the Ryu Ga Gotoku franchise, which isn’t about Japanese organized crime, to find out what the team has been up to. How did the modernization work? franchise while staying true to its roots.

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    Recently, we’ve received a few remakes and remasters, but no new entries for several years. Why did the franchise take such a long break?

    Nobuhiro Suzuki, Producer: We believe this is the result of a combination of factors. Whether it was due to development resources being focused on other major titles, creators leaving the company, sales numbers, and more, the SMB development line disappeared and there was a time when production stopped. However, after releasing two remakes of Super Monkey Ball Blitz HD in 2019 and Super Monkey Ball Mania in 2021, and receiving positive feedback from our fans, we have launched a completely new title, Super Monkey Ball decided to release Rumble. We hope fans are excited to play this first all-new entry in over a decade!

    With this unique position in mind, what were the main objectives of the Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble?

    NS: After the release of these two remakes, Banana Blitz HD and Banana Mania, we aim to firmly establish the revival of the SMB franchise with this completely new title. To that end, we set out to create a new entry that strongly inherits or captures the best qualities of past SMB titles while adding 16-player online battles, improved game and character designs, and more. Feel like a brand new game with New characters and stories.

    With such a large gap between the last all-new, non-remake/remaster release, were there any updates to design and gameplay best practices that needed to be applied to this latest entry to ensure that Does it feel modern in 2024?

    Daisuke Takahata, Director: Based on the data we’ve pulled, such as the number of people who have cleared each world of Banana Mania and comments from various playtests, we’ve updated the game with a level of challenge that new players (as well as long-time fans) will enjoy. Compared to past titles, the difficulty level of the initial worlds is now lighter (in previous games, things were much harder from the start). We’ve also made it so that when you boot up the game for the first time, you’ll be taken to a tutorial that will help you learn how to play the game and use the controls. The same goes for the camera, where we’ve made some small adjustments to the default settings to help things feel smoother. Players will also be able to tweak these settings in the options menu, which we think longtime fans will appreciate.

    The physics in Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble look good. How did the team go about overhauling the physics, and how did you know you got them right?

    To Jack, Programmer: The physics of Banana Rumble are actually based on those in Banana Mania, which was heavily based on the physics of the original GameCube version. We made special adjustments to the previous game to make the movement workable as a remake, but thanks to fan comments, we were made aware of some elements that caused this unnatural behavior due to physics. can contribute. Banana Mania. With Banana Rumble being a new entry in the series and having its own new stages, this meant that this time around, we were able to focus on making movement feel easier and more intuitive.

    Additionally, the physics system is heavily parameterized, meaning that designers can make adjustments to various parts of it on the fly. With internal testing occurring at least once a week during development, changes were made incrementally and whenever needed. We knew we had it right when anyone could pick it up and instantly be able to roll out like a pro.

    Why was SpinDash such an important inclusion in this entry? What do you think it adds the most to the experience?

    NS: In creating this brand new game, we wanted to incorporate the right techniques that would provide users with a wide range of play and challenge. Also, to implement 16-player battles, we needed something that really emphasized the user’s technique so they could dominate the competition. As a result, Spin Dash was implemented. Although Spin Dash is easy to perform, we believe it adds a lot to the game. For beginners, it’s an exhilarating factor that allows them to sprint and jump over obstacles, and for advanced players, it can serve as a way to find shortcuts and reach targets faster. . We are very happy with how the players are responding to it.

    This question might be better asked of the localization team, but with the Super Monkey Ball franchise relying so heavily on banana-related puns and wordplay, did the team ever consider calling it “Peel Out” instead of “Spin Dash”? what

    NS: To be honest, we didn’t think about it at all. [Laughs] We wanted to make it easy for users to understand just by looking at the name, so we simply made it “Spin Dash”.

    When creating levels in Adventure Mode, what factors should be considered to create an effective stage?

    Yukio Oda, Designer: As for “which elements”, our main idea is to integrate “different elements” in a complex and effective way. For example, if we break a stage into smaller pieces, you can see that “path” includes different elements such as “thickness,” “curve,” “slope,” “running path.” etc. Depending on how these parts are combined, the stage can be easy or difficult, interesting or boring. The Monkey Ball team has a lot of expertise in these collections, accumulated over the years with the series, and we always want to build on that knowledge to create an exciting stage. But the first step in creating a single stage starts with the inspiration of the stage designer.

    How does the team balance fun with challenge when designing stages?

    Yo: Stages created by our stage designers are regularly tested by dozens of people inside and outside the team. Not only do we take a variety of feedback, but we also analyze data such as clear rates and percentage of times, and we’re constantly making adjustments to make the steps even better. We are also well aware that the Monkey Ball series stands out for its contrast between very easy stages and extremely difficult stages. Sometimes, even if a playtester finds out that a stage is considered “too hard”, there are cases when we just leave it as it is. However, we are always pleasantly surprised when, after the launch, we see users uploading videos of how they managed to complete the most difficult steps with ease.

    The stages I played were fun and sometimes over-the-top, but they were only in the first two worlds. How should players expect challenges in Adventure Mode?

    DT: We’re glad you enjoyed the early stages of the game! As we announced, Banana Rumble’s adventure mode features 200 new stages, all spread across different worlds. Final World, in particular, has a variety of exciting moves for players, which will prove challenging even for fans who started with the previous titles. Stay tuned for an “extremely wild” challenge!

    Can you talk to me about the process of designing battle modes? They put such fun twists on the Super Monkey Ball formula, and I’ve always found the minigames/side modes to be just as enjoyable as the main adventure mode.

    Yo: Thank you very much! When it came to Battle Mode’s game design, we paid close attention to how “control” and “sense of speed” were expressed during gameplay, as these are key features of the series. We also took care to ensure that the skills that players have learned and improved playing through Adventure Mode can also be used in Battle Mode. One of the key features of this game is its emphasis on “ease of understanding” – basically, we made sure not to overcomplicate the rules while adding any twists and turns, so that the player can play on their own. can enjoy

    Where would you like to see the Super Monkey Ball franchise develop from here? Do you think there’s room for multiple releases in a shorter time window than we’ve seen in recent times?

    NS: First, as a core premise, we will continue the fun and originality that the SMB series is known for, and ensure that SMB fans thoroughly enjoy their time with it. can be On top of that, we want to develop the series to a level that offers something that includes a variety of exciting new ways to play that are completely unique to Sega. With the support of our players, we are confident that we will be able to release new games on a regular basis. We would really appreciate everyone’s support for Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble and the Super Monkey Ball series!


    Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble is coming to Switch on June 25. To learn more about the upcoming series revival, head over here to read our full, hands-on impressions.

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