Then what the heck is New Donk City?
Super Mario Odyssey has been pitched as Mario’s first return to a fully open-world 3D adventure since 2002’s Super Mario Sunshine, and most fans and reporters assumed the New Donk City area Nintendo has showcased would serve as the game’s hub world. That, however, is not the case — the game has no hub world.
“Mario flies between the kingdoms in his ship called the Odyssey,” Producer Yoshiaki Koizumi said during a Gamescom livestream last week. “You choose a location on the globe, and you can travel there directly. So in this game, there’s actually no central hub world like for example Peach’s Castle in Super Mario 64 or Delfino Plaza in Super Mario Sunshine.”
This is a surprising revelation that suggests Odyssey is more a series of partitioned-off open-world levels than a true open-world game. Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, the series’ two open-world games, may have functioned that way too, but they were both also featured central open hub areas in the forms of the aforementioned Peach’s Castle and Delfino Plaza, respectively.
And while the Super Mario Galaxy games weren’t traditional open-world titles, they still featured smaller hub worlds in the form of the Comet Observatory and the Starship Mario. Even the completely linear Super Mario 3D World featured a hub in the vein of Super Mario 3’s.
The urban New Donk City setting had previously appeared to fill the hub world role in Super Mario Odyssey, as it looked like a large, open area with a distinctive look that set it apart from the game’s other kingdoms. But Koizumi’s statement seems to invalidate that assumption, and it’s now unclear if New Donk City is itself a kingdom that Mario must sail to in the Odyssey.
Super Mario Odyssey launches October 27 on Nintendo Switch.