GDC Talk Reveals Unused Mario Wonder Concepts

GDC Talk Reveals Unused Mario Wonder Concepts

With dozens of new enemies, themes and Wonder Effects, Super Mario Bros Wonder has to be one of the most original Mario games in years. After all, where else can you dodge singing Piranha Plants, dance through a Ninji disco and get into an opera themed chase scene within the space of 3 levels?

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Nowhere, that’s where, and that’s only a taste of the insanity this game has in store.

But did you know there were even more crazy ideas planned at one point? That during its development, the team came up with over 2000 unique ideas for wonder effects that could be used in the game?

Yep, thanks to a Game Developers’ Conference about the title and its development, we now have some very interesting insights into not only the design process here, but some of the incredible ideas that never made it into the final game.

Here’s a thread with a whole host of them by journalist and writer Chris Kohler:

And another by Digital Trends’ Giovanni Colantonio:

As you can see, there’s a lot to take in here. Starting with some of the concepts from this brainstorming slide…

Mario Wonder Brainstorming Session Slide (GDC)

Which include various vehicles Mario would have used for Wonder Effects. Yep, in addition to transformations and stage gimmicks, vehicles and alternate modes of transport were considered for certain effects too. These included a surfboard which he could have used to ride waves in the background, stilts and a unicycle to ride on, and even a vaguely Scrooge McDuck/Cranky Kong style pogo stick.

There’s also a weird Yoshi set up too, where the transformed Mario would have to avoid getting eaten by various Yoshis for whatever reason. Presumably, this would work a bit like the Maw-Maw level’s Goomba transformation, where your new form makes you vulnerable to a foe you’d otherwise have no issues with. Except perhaps with a setup that acted more like a survival challenge than a platforming level.

Meanwhile the Wonder Effects slide has a few neat ones of its own. You’ve obviously got the Bulrush Stampede and Tall Mario gimmicks which made it into the final game, but there also appear to be giant Goomba riding and rising shaker themed setups too, along with the aforementioned surfboard one.

Wonder Effect Concepts (GDC Slide)

Various Wonder Effect concepts from the GDC presentation

But the most interesting cut ideas isn’t any of these ones. No, it’s the giant blockhead Mario one.

Since with that effect, Mario gets a giant head made of blocks that the Gnawshers try to eat through. Apparently, you’d die if they ate all the blocks, meaning the setup involved around trying to keep your huge screen filling noggin away from them as much as possible.

It was a very funny looking gimmick for sure, and one we personally wish had made it into the final game… but we’re not surprised it was cut nonetheless.

Either way, those are some of the ideas cut from Super Mario Bros Wonder, as shared at GDC this year. So, what do you think about them? Are there any unused Wonder Effects you wish had made it into the final game?

What other games would you like to see GDC presentations for in future?

Leave your thoughts on these questions and more in the comments below, on social media, or over on our Discord server today!


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