Super Mario Galaxy gave gamers a real reason to turn on their Wiis, something different from all the party games that were already showing their age. Super Mario Galaxy 2 showed that Miyamoto and his cadre of developers still had the fight in them to make a sequel worthy of the original’s brilliance that can stand on its own. The Galaxy games took Mario to new heights, and if you don’t think Nintendo is already planning a follow-up of some kind, you've taken one too many star bits to the head. While we await whatever Mario’s future holds, here’s our wish list that we hope gets fulfilled.
Super Mario Universe
Let’s take a quick look at series history, shall we? Mario Bros begat Super Mario Bros. Super Mario begat Super Mario Land. Mario Land begat Mario World. We skip over Mario 64 and Sunshine’s titles, and World begat Galaxy. The titles and the scope for core Mario games continue to grow, and that makes the only natural next step Super Mario Universe.
Not only would the Universe moniker imply that the level size and scale could be grander than the ingenious tiny planetoids that made up Galaxy, but it would also hopefully indicate the universe full of new ideas that game would contain. Both SMGs were so full of many amazing techniques and uses for the Wii Remote, many that could have floated an entire game all by themselves, we’d hope for even more the next go round. What specifically? We don’t know, the devs are the design geniuses here not us, but much of it hinges on how the devs take advantage of the Wii U controller’s screen.
It should be a Wii U launch game
Though we’re not sure exactly when at the moment, Nintendo will be launching the Wii U this year, and the launch line-up is even more unclear. It used to be that not only did Nintendo launch each system with a new Mario title, that game would be built specifically as a showpiece for the new hardware. But after the Gamecube launched with Luigi’s Mansion (a fine game but hardly a genre-redefining system seller), Mario Sunshine wasn’t out until almost a year after the system came out. When the first Galaxy was shown during the E3 premiere of the Wii it seemed like it might be ready for the 2006 launch, but it was ultimately delayed to 2007.
That extra dev time undoubtedly made Galaxy a more polished game, but we miss the impact of having an entirely new Mario adventure to play with on our brand new system. The resulting Mario on Wii U has the potential to be Nintendo’s best launch game since Mario 64. Call us selfish or impatient, but we want it all right from the start, not almost exactly one year after launch, and we hope the Mario team has enough of a head start to make it a reality. Whatever tricks Nintendo has for Wii U, we want those capabilities shown to us first by a fat, mustachioed guy, not Wii U Sports U or whatever.
For the love of God, look at least as good as a PS3 game
At the best of times during Galaxy 2, you could look at the screen and think, “That looks about as good as an average 360 game.” Pretty impressive for the Wii, but that’s as far as it went. Even though Nintendo did its best to finesse the Wii into keeping up graphically with the competition, it just wasn’t enough. Now in this theoretical world we’ve taken you to, where the next Mario game is a launch title on the Wii U, is it too much to ask that the Wii’s successor at the very least pull off graphics equivalent to the best-looking PS3 games?
Since it was first shown, rumors of the Wii U’s power has been all over the place. Some say it’s better than a PS3, others not as capable as a 360. Our greatest fear is that the cost-efficient heads of Nintendo won’t splurge on any expensive tech when staying cheap and manageable paid off so well the previous generation. We hope Nintendo decides to push the envelope, because when we see what the wizards at Nintendo EAD can pull off with two Gamecubes duct taped together, our imagination marvels at what visual feats they could pull off with some real hardware. At the very least, please Nintendo, make it look as good as the last Ratchet game.
Learn some new tricks from Super Mario 3D Land
If the dev team behind 3D Mario titles, Nintendo’s EAD team from Tokyo, works on the next console Mario (we can’t guess why it’d be anyone else), they’ll have more experience to go on than just Galaxy 1 and 2. Last year the team put out their first handheld game, Super Mario 3D Land. As we learned from both playing the game and talk to the director the team learned many new tricks, ones we doubt they’ll ignore in the next Mario.
How will the 3D Land know how be used? First off, despite our hopes for a huge universe of stages, the levels could shift in size and scope as it goes, getting as small and intimate as most 3D Land areas were. That might not work on a TV as well, but if the stages take place on both the TV and the Wii Remote screen, that change in scope could work perfectly. The controller’s screen would also work great with the more fixed camera angles that were used in 3D Land, a technique EAD used wonderfully. Small changes like those could lead to big changes.
Bring back the cape!
For the last 20 years or so we complained, cried, and pleaded for Nintendo to bring back Mario’s adorable Tanooki power-up. The fan favorite power-up seemed all but forgotten by Nintendo, until last year when company president Satoru Iwata revealed the title that would be known as Super Mario 3D Land. Now that that wish has been fulfilled, we’ve already moved on to out next most desired power-up: Mario’s yellow cape from Super Mario World!
The cape has made cameos here and there, most notably in the Smash Bros games as Mario’s reflect move, but not in a core game. Though it might not be as cute as raccoon ears, the cape was better from a gameplay standpoint, as flight controls took more attention than mashing a button as fast as you can. That give and take of gliding with the cape could lend itself to motion controls in a real fun way. Now that we know Nintendo will give us a Tanooki if we ask often enough, perhaps begging for the cape will work too.
More classic stages recreated
Mario fans are probably some of the most nostalgic gamers in history, but when the older games hold up so well, can you blame them? As much as we want a colossal smattering of new ideas in the next console Mario, we hope that the devs look back every once in a while toward the past. We’d love to see classic stages recreated in the next game, and we’re not the least bit worried about their skill at remake that content, because the few times the devs have reached into the back catalogue, it paid off.
Mario Galaxy 2 featured the Throwback Galaxy, a gussied version of an iconic Mario 64 stage, and the gratifying recreation was filled with little winks and nudges for longtime fans. 3D Land also featured more than a few homages to past Marios, so why not keep it going with other clever recreations of stages past? We don’t want something on the scale of Sonic Generations, but a few more tribute stages wouldn’t hurt. In fact, recreations of classic levels would work great with our next entry…
Nintendo has already begun dipping its foot in the DLC pool on the 3DS, which is probably just practice for Wii U. Galaxy 2 was originally planned as Galaxy 1.5, a collection of some new levels with a lot of reused content. Eventually that idea matured into a full sequel, but in that wait between games, wouldn’t it have been nice to get some of those new levels via download? It’s not an open world game, so just adding one new galaxy to the list of available ones would have been simpler, and would allow the developers to keep tinkering post-release, which might make it easier for them to put out the game at the Wii U launch.
Just think of the possibilities: perhaps a new super-tough level pack to challenge the most hardcore that have beaten the main game. But why stop at new levels, why not add new power-ups, even retro-power-ups? Just imagine if you could call down Koribo’s shoe or even the Donkey Kong mallet. Potentially game-breaking to be sure, but they’d be some great post-game silliness. Here’s hoping Nintendo’s future internet plans can at least be equal to what the 360 could do in 2005.
In our minds the perfect core Mario experience is solitary. Just you and the plumber hopping along every single platform put in your way. And New Super Mario Bros Wii proved that perils of co-op Mario gaming, but if the next generation of gaming simply demands online co-op in every game, and not just the relaxed co-op of the previous Galaxy games, then we suppose we’ll get used to the idea. However, we’re going to exclude Luigi from being a teammate, as it’s too obvious and he’d play too similarly to Mario, though we are thinking of someone green.
Yoshi’s addition to Galaxy 2 was perfectly done, and he played far better than he did in Sunshine. And since the green dino has proven in the past that he can platform with or without Mario, why not have the co-op be based around those two working together? Not only will it still work as a standard platformer, but it will make teamwork very important when it’s key to Mario riding Yoshi to complete a level. It would be a real change of pace from your standard two player platformer and play up the strengths of Mario and Yoshi together.
What do you want to see?
You've seen what we're dreaming of for the next console Mario game, but what about you? If you were in charge of the next Mario title, what would you include?
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