Originally called Super Mario RPG 2 until some legal red tape got in the way, when Nintendo finally decided to give Mario another RPG adventure years later, Square was deeply involved with Sony, so Nintendo instead had an internal team craft a totally new world and scenario. Intelligent Systems took over development, a smart choice as that team worked on the incredible strategy games Advance Wars and Fire Emblem. The developers used their expertise to adapt many of the techniques and choices of SMRPG, giving the game a visual overhaul and a slew of new tricks.
Instead of going with the original’s “cutting edge” look, Paper Mario purposefully used flat and cartoony characters to populate its colorful world. It gave the whole game a more playful air, and thanks to an outstanding script, it was even funnier than its cheeky predecessor. Mario's set of teammates was smaller than before, but were much more useful in and out of fights, thanks to their unique attributes that helped him explore papery environments. Additionally, Mario’s pals each had distinctly funny personalities thanks to the aforementioned stellar writing, which continues to be one of the best traits for the Paper Mario series. Moreover, while not on your team, the captive Peach was playable during chapter interludes, sneaking around her occupied castle Solid Snake-style. In fact, the game was filled with little moments like those that bucked RPG traditions, proving the game was out to blaze its own trail.