How co-op was introduced in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
"When we were talking about designing the game, we compared it to packing a bento box. Because you want to pack everything in but have to figure out the best way to get there."
- Game director Shinya Hiratake speaking to Polygon about Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
When Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker initially launched for the Nintendo Wii U back in 2014, it failed to find its footing, but the developers did discover what players enjoyed the most while porting the title to the 3DS, all thanks to Super Mario Odyssey.
In an interview with Polygon, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker game director Shinya Hiratake discusses how Super Mario Odyssey influenced cooperative play being introduced in the game for the Nintendo Switch.
"When we were creating the game on Wii U, we really thought that that [stereoscopic] 3D would help and enhance this game,” Hayashida explains, “so initially our idea was to port the game to 3DS."
But when the Wii U version couldn't find a wide audience, the team decided to port the game to the 3DS first, before bringing it over to the Switch. They wanted to revisit the idea of letting two people play Captain Toad cooperatively, together.
"While we were porting the game to 3DS, we were also making Super Mario Odyssey," Hayashida says. "When Super Mario Odyssey was being developed, we started to realize that [players really liked] sharing the controls and playing with other people."
"When we were making the Wii U version, we considered putting in a two-player mode — we thought it would be fun, but unfortunately that didn’t make it in. When the Switch launched we thought perhaps there’s a way to share a controller and play with two people, and that’s how things started."
The development team was able to try new things as well, which is a Nintendo staple when it comes to designing mechanics. After all, Captain Toad himself isn't able to jump because of his heavy backpack, resulting in a character tasked with exploring self-contained levels in 3D.
“We wanted to build a sandbox: a small, contained world that has a linear path, and someone that could not jump. By having a main character that couldn’t jump, we thought it would be easier for the player to explore the 3D world," Hayashida explains. "Also, we would be able to contain the world and not make it too big."
The interview was part of a longer discussion surrounding the evolution of Captain Toad and how certain design choices influenced gameplay, so be sure to read that over at Polygon.