True, there’s already been a post devoted to my wishlist for New Super Mario Bros 3DS. But as anyone who read it should have figured out, the list was very much a best case scenario, what the game would have if by some miracle Nintendo gave us the perfect 2D Mario game.
Unfortunately, Nintendo isn’t a perfect company, and the New Super Mario Bros games were certainly not perfect games, having shown signs of less effort being invested in them than the 3D ones and with some questionable design decisions (more so in the DS original than the Wii one).
So here’s a realistic list of things I think Nintendo will have in the next 2D Mario game. And by realistic, I mean that if this list turns out to be completely wrong I will be shocked.
1. It will be a New Super Mario Bros game
Because the last two 2D Mario platformers have been New Super Mario Bros games, and it seems Nintendo is desperate to keep using the brand for everything and anything (note how the visual stylings and general theme of these games is now running through the 3D games, Mario Kart and even Paper Mario). I assume Nintendo will do the same for the upcoming 2D game. Maybe they’ll call it New Super Mario World, maybe not, but I fully expect them to keep using the brand simply because of customer confidence and brand recognition.
2. A Super Mario World theme will run throughout and Reznor will return
Look at past history a few minutes, there’s gradually been more and more ‘retro’ elements reintroduced as the series has moved on, whether in the 2D games or the 3D ones. New Super Mario Bros introduced flagpoles and the general 2D concept, Super Mario Galaxy airships and Magikoopas. New Super Mario Bros Wii brought back the Koopalings and Yoshi, Super Mario Galaxy 2 Hammer Bros and Super Mario 3D Land Boom Boom.
The general pattern is that near enough every single 2D Mario platformer element that fans have wanted have made a return, so by process of elimination only Reznor, Chargin’ Chuck and Fishin’ Boo are really left as far as enemies go.
Not that these are the only things they could bring back. The Hammer Suit, the Cape and the P Balloon are also left, and given the general pattern of bringing back one classic power up per Mario game, I think one of those seems likely to be in this game as well. Probably either the Cape or Hammer Suit really, they’re much better things to use to advertise than the P Balloon with its memories of the dreaded Tubular.
Although… is this a good thing? I’m not sure. Reznor would make a nice boss for a few fortresses or maybe a single castle, but given Nintendo’s tendencies of cramming the new ‘boss character’ of the moment in nigh on every single level with a boss in it, do we really want to fight Reznor seven times?
The Super Mario World theme in general seems to be another given, since they’ve practically beaten the Super Mario Bros 3 horse to death by now, and it’ll be a cold day in hell before Nintendo ever thinks to revisit Super Mario Bros 2 or the Lost Levels.
3. There will be no plot whatsoever
Well, look at the Mario games ever since Sunshine and you’ll notice Nintendo have slowed toned down the amount of story ever since. Galaxy had some, New Super Mario Bros DS and Wii had an almost pathetic excuse plot, Galaxy 2 had no real story and Mario 3D Land had a short cut scene at the start and postcards before each world.
Based on this general pattern, I estimate Miyamoto will come up with an incredibly basic, almost jokily written ‘story’ that plays out in about ten seconds and pretty much says Princess Peach has been kidnapped again. Don’t expect more than that.
4. The secret world will have a point, and the game might have more than one of them
This is because over time, the trend in Mario games has been to have more secret levels and more worlds in general. Have a look:
- New Super Mario Bros: No secret world
- Super Mario Galaxy: Some sort of proto secret world (the three trial galaxies and the Grand Finale Galaxy
- New Super Mario Bros Wii: A secret world, not true last level
- Super Mario Galaxy 2: A secret world, a true last level challenge (Grandmaster Galaxy/The Perfect Run)
- Super Mario 3D Land: Eight secret worlds, new bosses, Luigi captured, true last level (world S8 Crown)
With that move towards more secret levels and the possible Super Mario World inspiration this next game might have, I honestly see multiple secret worlds worth of levels being a given, and maybe even some kind of effect they have on the main world. Look at the Special World in Super Mario World and how beating it changed the overworld from summer to autumn. That seems like the sort of thing which this 2D Mario game might do once you’ve beaten the secret levels/worlds.
On the other hand, perhaps this time it’ll turn out the secret levels have an even bigger purpose to serve? Maybe as the true end to the game with a new final boss? Because that’s arguably what Super Mario 3D Land had them shaping up to be before we found out ther wasn’t a special world equivalent to Bowser’s Castle. Perhaps it’ll turn out the real final boss battle with Bowser is in the last secret level and the fake final boss is the one found in world 8’s Bowser’s Castle level. That would be a good idea.
There’s also another interesting thing I think might be true of this game’s worlds, and that’s that they may not be themed like the New Super Mario Bros ones. Maybe they won’t even have those cliched level themes like ‘grass land’ or ‘desert land’ or ‘ice land’ at all, like how Super Mario 3D Land just had random levels in each world.
5. Bowser will be giant in the final boss battle
Seems to be a given in recent Mario games. New Super Mario Bros Wii did it, Super Princess Peach did it, Yoshi’s Island DS did it and Super Mario Galaxy 2 did it. Now look at most of those games again, and note a general connection between them.
That almost all the ones with giant Bowser are 2D games. Making the main antagonist into a giant standing in the background or chasing the protagonist down a corridor is pretty much Nintendo’s default design for final bosses in 2D platformers, isn’t it?
6. There will be multiplayer?
Not 100% sure about this, but given how well received it was in New Super Mario Bros Wii, I can totally see Nintendo putting it in the next 2D Mario game on 3DS as well. Maybe they’ll even make it so you can play multiplayer with people online too, seeing as the 3DS is hardly the best ‘party’ type console.
If we’re really lucky they’ll scrap the Toads too and put Wario and Waluigi in, seeing as its their second try, Miyamoto’s not so heavily involved any more and the usage of those two as filer characters was one of the more criticised elements of New Super Mario Bros Wii.
So those are my predictions, and I’d go far enough to say each of them has about a 70% chance of being accurate at minimum. But what do you think?