Well now, that looks awesome.
Ever since Nintendo and Universal Studios Japan announced their partnership in 2015, writing about the project has been sort of tricky. The two parties have coyly kept many of the details under wraps, so should we call it the Nintendo attraction? Ride? Area?
So it’s extremely satisfying that the video game developer and theme park are finally giving us some solid information. Coming on the heels of November’s reveal that the partnership would also materialize as new attractions in Universal Studios’ California and Florida parks, Universal Studios Japan has now let it be known that the expanded section of the facilities will be officially known as Super Nintendo World. Even better, there’s finally concept artwork that gives us an idea of the awesome scale we can expect when Super Nintendo World is ready to receive visitors.
While the area’s overall purpose s to bring the settings and characters of Nintendo games into the real world, the focus is clearly going to be on the Super Mario franchise. The concept art shows Princess Peach’s castle in the foreground and across the plaza is a a multi-tiered grassy mountain that looks exactly like the sort of thing you’d see in the first level of a Mario game, complete with a stage-ending flagpole at the very top (we’d better be able to jump on that thing, Universal Studios Japan). There’s also a second, more sinister-looking castle visible farther off in the distance. The gate is shaped like a monstrous, draconian face, and there’s a black flag on the battlement, both of which suggest it’s supposed to be the lair of Mario’s nemesis Bowser (though if you’re a diehard Legend of Zelda fan, you can still keep your fingers crossed while hoping that it’s actually a Hyrulian fortress).
Universal Studios promises that the area’s structures will house interactive areas, shops, restaurants, and “unprecedented” rides and attractions making use of cutting-edge technology. We’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out exactly what makes them so special, though, as Universal Studios Japan’s Super Nintendo World won’t open until sometime prior to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with the American parks’ opening sometime after Japan’s. So for now, we’ll just have to pore over the concept artwork, just like kids of the 8-bit era used to do with screenshots of upcoming games in their issues of Nintendo Power.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s just happy being called Super Nintendo World doesn’t mean everything is decorated in shades of gray and purple.