Over the years, there have been quite a few interesting Nintendo titles cancelled during development. These have included Super Mario 64 2, a full sequel to the N64 classic that got a few levels into development before being scrapped for other things. They’ve included the notorious Project HAMMER, a gritty adventure title stuck in development hell for almost the entire of the Wii’s lifespan. And with everything from Mario Takes America to VB Mario Kart and Donkey Kong Racing ending up on the cutting list, it’s clear the company isn’t afraid to scrap a project when the business logic behind it evaporates or the core experience isn’t that enjoyable to play.
But now it seems the list of intriguing cancelled titles has gotten even longer. Why? Because as Seaman Yoot Saito mentioned at this year’s Reboot Develop convention, Nintendo was also previously working on another interesting title too. Namely, a car-based game for the DS called Mario Motors.
However, this wasn’t any old car-based game. Oh no, despite the name, Mario Motors had nothing to do with Mario Kart, and it was unknown whether racing elements would be included at all.
Instead, the game’s core concept involved building engines, with the player being tasked to sculpt them from blocks in a metal in a way similar to how you’d create a statue from a block of marble. It was meant to be an introduction to how acceleration worked in vehicle engines, as well as a way to get kids to experience what it’d be like to be a vehicle mechanic in an easy to understand way.
Which is quite the creative concept if we do say so ourselves. After all, how many other engine building games can you name?
Any at all?
Probably not to be honest. The core hook behind Mario Motors was something completely unseen outside of it, and in fact one we doubt ever made it into any other video game in history.
Alas, it was never to be, and Mario Motors never moved forward. Why?
Well Saito doesn’t say in the presentation, but the reasoning likely has something to do with the idea itself.
See, as cool as Mario Motors may have potentially been, it was also a very risky one for Nintendo as far as the business viability of the whole concept was concerned. After all, how do you market this sort of game? What’s the audience it’s meant for?
How would Nintendo tie into the other games released around then?
Who knows. It was a creative idea that was unlike anything else seen before it, and at a time where Nintendo saw various risky spinoffs fail to pay off. So, it’s likely they scrapped it simply because of the limited commercial viability of the whole project.
But hey, kudos to them for trying. It was certainly a novel concept, and as the slides below show, it could have introduced quite a few interesting new characters to the Mario universe too.
So yeah, definitely an idea with promise, and one that could come back sometime down the line. After all, with Nintendo Labo and the Switch, anything’s possible!
Still, what do you think of it? Would you have enjoyed playing Mario Motors? Could the game work well with Nintendo Labo or other recent innovations?
Tell us what you think here in the comments or on social media today!
Yoot Saito Worked on Cancelled Mario Motors Game for DS (Destructoid)