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Nintendo is changing a lot of things about the Mario formula in upcoming Switch exclusive, Super Mario Odyssey. Heck, they're even removing something from the game that's been around since the very beginning; the "Game Over" screen.
Over on the Mario Odyssey Japanese Twitter page, Nintendo recently posted a tweet that explains the "Game Over" screen has been axed from the upcoming game. The translation doesn't really explain why Nintendo has made that move, though we've got a couple of theories of our own.
As for what happens when Mario takes one too many hits, the screen simply fades to black, he loses some coins and then gets dropped back into play at the closest checkpoint. The trick here is that means you will never see a "Game Over." Instead, you'll simply keep losing coins until there are none left. If you are totally out of coins, you'll just warp back to the checkpoint at no cost.
So why is Nintendo doing this? Our main theory is that the life system is an antiquated relic and Nintendo has finally realized that it has no business being in modern games. Back in the day, games had lives to create an added sense of difficulty. This was based on the arcade mentality that it would add an extra limit to how far players could get, forcing them to pump more quarters into a machine. Also, if your game isn't massive to begin with, things like life counters prevent players from getting through what content is available too quickly.
It makes sense to have those kinds of limits in certain games, but many have held for some time now that it makes zero sense to include in an adventure/platformer like Mario Odyssey. We know that the game is going to be very big, so there's no need to pad that out with a false addition to difficulty. Also, nowadays, "Game Over" typically means you get set back a little ways in the game, not zipped back to the very beginning. So what's the point?
Still, failing should not be met with zero consequences, so we like the idea of having a death cost coins in Odyssey. Coins are actually useful in the upcoming Switch game, used to buy cosmetic items, upgrades and the like. In other words, you'll actually have a great reason to collect coins in Odyssey, and losing some of them is a suitable penalty for failing. At no point will you have to worry that missing a tricky jump or running into an unseen enemy will mean the end of the game for you. It would also make sense if the number of coins you end the game with is a sort of bragging right so, again, players are encouraged to stay alive but not harshly penalized if they fail.