Yoshi is one of the most iconic characters in the Super Mario Bros. universe and a staple in the games since Super Mario World on Super Nintendo. With Super Mario Maker serving as a celebration of the series (launching just in time for the 30th anniversary of the franchise), including Mario's dinosaur friend seems like a no-brainer, but Yoshi almost didn't make the cut.
Speaking in an interview with Japanese publication Nintendo Dream, producer Takashi Tezuka and director Yosuke Oshino discussed some of the challenges they faced in developing Super Mario Maker. As it turns out, adding Yoshi proved problematic for the team, but Tezuka was "quite pushy" about the team getting it done.
Oshino: We decided to put in characteristic actions like Raccoon Mario, Caped Mario and Propeller Mario during the first phases of development. But Yoshi had much controversy…
Tezuka: I was a bit pushy in requesting to have Yoshi. There were reasons like being responsible for the Wii U game Yoshi’s Woolly World, wanting to use the Yoshi amiibo, and wanting to have some kind of collaboration as it is also Yoshi’s 25th anniversary.
Oshino: But adding Yoshi was complicated, so we discussed what should we do. In Super Mario World, you couldn’t enter a Ghost House with Yoshi for example. As you can freely arrange things in this title, there were many occasions in which it was required to think about how to apply things that you couldn’t do in the original game, like whether or not Yoshi can step on a Boo and what Yoshi can eat and what he can’t.
The development team also found it challenging (and even thought it not possible) to add in checkpoint flags, but they found a way to get it done because the fans demanded it.