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Media & Entertainment

Universal Studios Japan bets $545m on Super Nintendo World

Osaka's Hollywood theme park intends to open attraction before Tokyo Olympics

Executives at Universal Studios Japan expect the theme park's next big draw to be a mustachioed Italian plumber. (Photo by Maho Obata) 

OSAKA -- The operator of Universal Studios Japan is making its biggest investment ever, 60 billion yen ($545 million), in Mario-themed attractions that will open this summer, with the Nintendo franchise expected to be its next big draw.

Super Nintendo World, a collaboration with the iconic Japanese game maker, will be composed of attractions and restaurants featuring characters including the mustachioed Italian plumber and the dinosaur Yoshi. Plans are for the zone to debut before the Tokyo Olympics, which start on July 24.

The new area will submerge wristband-wearing, smartphone-toting guests into Mario's world. The wristbands will help guests collect coins, just like in the games, and the smartphones will keep track of the coins and allow guests to compete against one another.

"The time has come to deliver a surprising experience together with Nintendo which brings innovation to communities," said Jean Louis Bonnier, USJ's chief executive.

The 60 billion yen investment surpasses the amount used to create the "Harry Potter" zone in 2014. That took 45 billion yen, now the second largest project since USJ opened in 2001.

USJ also unveiled a new slogan, "No Limit!" The exclamation is meant to convey the hope that the park's attractions and events can help guests to break out of their shells. It replaces, "Bringing you the best of the world."

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