Super Mario Run is all the talk of Nintendo as the company takes its talents to iOS and Android for the very first time. Shigeru Miyamoto is no stranger to game development, but even he had to teach himself a few new tricks for Mario and his latest game.

Sitting down with IGN, the legendary developer spelled out a few of his new ideas. One of these is a competitive mode in which Mario can races against other players’ best runs.

We’ve obviously had the ability to race against people in Mario Kart and with Mario Maker you’re able to share your course with people around the world. In this game, what you’re able to do is you’re able to choose an opponent from a list of people, and you’ll see people you don’t know, players from around the world, and the people on the list will be relatively matched to your skill level. But then you’ll also see within the list the faces of people that you absolutely do know who are your friends, and so you can choose who you want to compete against.

In terms of the level design, Miyamoto had to really wrap his brain around the idea of creating level components that will be shared between the single player and battle mode.

So one of the things that we’re doing is, as you play through each individual level in the world tour, then those components of those levels will appear in the battle mode. In the battle mode, they’re arranged in a way that becomes endless in battle mode, so you can keep running through until times runs out. That’s one of the areas that’s a little bit different this time and we’re putting a lot of effort into that right now.

The biggest challenge of all? Breaking away from traditional Mario games and creating something that it able to stand on its own as a unique experience.

I think first what we’ve done is create a Mario game that’s very distinct from what we’ve done in the past and what’s available on home consoles. And so that I think is great because it’s its own unique style of Mario play designed for mobile devices that I think will be great for people who haven’t played Mario up until now.

So really the hope is that through this we’ll be able to reach a much broader audience and turn them into Mario players and then be able to offer them a next step with Mario on our own platforms. I think in terms of something from a development standpoint that we’ve learned, there hasn’t been a whole lot of new discovery there other than maybe the fact that we were surprisingly happy to see how playable Mario is in a vertical video format.

Super Mario Run will be available this coming December on iOS, and Android will eventually be getting the game as well.