Newly Translated Interviews Reveal “Serious Debate” Over FLUDD In Super Mario Sunshine

Super Mario Sunshine 1
Image: Nintendo

Shmuplations has translated two interviews from 2002 on the development of the then-upcoming Super Mario Sunshine, and both reveal some rather interesting details about how the game’s FLUDD mechanic, and Mario’s short-sleeved look, came to be (thanks, Time Extension!).

The first of these interviews appeared in Nintendo Dream and is between Mario creator and producer Shigeru Miyamoto, Sunshine’s producer Takashi Tezuka, and the game’s director Yoshiaki Koizumi. The trio discusses the trials and tribulations of getting a unique Mario game onto the GameCube, a system that was still relatively new at the time of the game’s development.

Director Koizumi took inspiration from the GameCube’s ‘L’ and ‘R’ buttons — pressing them in reminded him of “the water pistols I used to play with as a kid”, which is likely where FLUDD originates from. And according to Miyamoto, FLUDD caused Nintendo a bit of concern:

“There was a very serious debate at Nintendo about the FLUDD water tank. Was it really appropriate to make Mario use tools and items like that? I mean, it was ok for Luigi, so… (laughs)”

We agree, Miyamoto! If Luigi can use the Poltergust 3000, then Mario can use FLUDD! Another amusing anecdote around Super Mario Sunshine is about Mario’s new look — Miyamoto says that the team “tried giving him a tank top”, which made the character not look like Mario at all! And Tezuka had reservations in general about changing Mario’s design much but eventually agreed to give him shorter sleeves.

Koizumi wanted FLUDD to pave the way for “more eccentric and unusual action for Mario”, and stated during the interview:

“Miyamoto actually said to us that he wanted the GameCube Mario to be something wild. Still, when I showed him the pump-looking toy thing, I could tell he was worried about where this was all going. In the end, though, the image of Mario doing his job, spraying water everywhere—it’s pretty wild, right?”

FLUDD definitely made for a very different Mario experience with Sunshine, which is often singled out by fans of the Italian plumber. However, the game has a special place in many people’s hearts.

In the second interview, sourced from the GSLA archive (and found around halfway down the page), the trio also revealed they wanted to give Mario a Hawaiian shirt — which you could eventually get after you beat Bowser for the first time. The shirt also made an appearance in Super Mario Odyssey!

But there are even more details on the FLUDD tank in this interview, including the fact that there were originally ten different nozzles for the device! Koizumi reveals that many of these were cut because discovering multiple items and using them felt more like a Zelda game:

“Mario Sunshine has the hover, rocket, and turbo nozzles, but originally there were 10 different types. We just kept adding them whenever we thought of a different situation they could be used in. In the end we whittled it down to just those three though. The reason why, is we felt that the whole playstyle of finding many different items and using them in the right situation was more befitting of a Zelda game.”

The concept of cleaning up in a Mario game may have seemed a bit strange, and the team were wary that this might not have been appealing, which is why the “goop” looks “pretty” — and they even compared some of it to a “chocolate sauce look”.

Despite how unusual FLUDD is, it’s easily become the most iconic part of Super Mario Sunshine, even making an appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series as part of Mario’s attacks. This is still the perfect Mario summer vacation game, and — if you have a Switch — you can at least experience this weird, wonderful adventure through Super Mario 3D All-Stars (if you’re lucky to have a copy!).

What did you think of the FLUDD mechanic? Are you a Super Mario Sunshine fan? Fill up the comments with your thoughts!

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