Edit: This article is now mostly incorrect, since evidence of DLC was not found in Super Mario Party after all. An explanation can be found in our correction article here.
As many people have lamented, Super Mario Party hasn’t exactly got much attention from Nintendo since its release in October 2018. Indeed, despite its heavy marketing and high level of sales, the game has mostly gone ignored as far as updates are concerned, with DLC being non existent and even things like bug fixes being extremely thin on the ground.
It’s a strange situation to be honest, and one which seems to make little sense given the focus given to titles like ARMS, Splatoon 2 and Mario Tennis Aces throughout their lifetime.
However, thanks to some datamining work from a user known as Ziella and their associate justcamtro, it seems like that may not have been the original intention for the game. In fact, the code itself has quite a few references to DLC in it, complete with talk of a season pass and multiple DLC packs! Here are code pictures showing what we mean:
As you can tell, there’s clear ambition shown there. There are references to functions like Core_GetStreamingInstallDLCStatus, as well as things like ‘SeasonPass’ and ‘DLC1’, indicating the game may have originally been planned to get a full blown Smash Bros Ultimate style Fighter Pass at some point in its development.
So what happened? How did we go from these crazy ambitious plans for entire seasons worth of DLC to… nothing at all?
Well, we can’t be 100% sure here, but our best guess is that Nintendo thought a sequel was the better option financially.
Think about it. What do you think usually makes more cash for a video game creator? A $20-40 season pass, or a $60 sequel?
In most cases, probably the latter. There are exceptions (usually when the game is multiplayer focused and puts a premium on customisation and microtransactions), but for Nintendo games especially, it’s usually sequels that make money. Forget Breath of the Wild’s DLC, it’s the sequel that’s gonna make the big bucks. Same with Super Mario Odyssey 2 (which is basically inevitable at this point), and any Pokemon sequels. Hell, why do you think Game Freak has generally avoided DLC in exchange for third games and sequels? Yeah.
However, Nintendo can’t do the whole sequel thing every time, and especially not every year. It takes far longer than that to make a new Zelda game (Majora’s Mask excepted). Same goes for Mario, Smash Bros, Pokemon, etc.
So the DLC exists to keep interest going in the meantime, and make use of an existing game that’s not getting a sequel for a while. It keeps the hype going during the downtime between installments.
But that’s not the case with Super Mario Party. Mario Party is basically a yearly franchise at this point, and sequels are pretty quick to make all round. They reuse the same engine and assets, use much of the same content, and the only real things people need to see in them are new mini games and boards. That’s it.
Hence it’s quite likely Nintendo realised that Super Mario Party’s DLC resources would be better spent on a sequel in 2019 or so. May as well give ’em Super Mario Party 2 rather than prop up a party game everyone’ll done with soon enough.
End result: one cancelled season pass, likely in exchange for a new Mario Party game in its place.
However, the unused content in the game actually doesn’t end with the DLC. No, quite a few other intriguing things have seemingly been datamined from the game too.
Such as a screenshot showing an entirely unused board. Here it is:
As you can see, it appears to be a city themed board taking inspiration from Super Mario Odyssey. It’s clearly in an early stage in the screenshot above (note the untextured buildings in the background), but it’s got a neat theme and concept none the less.
And it really makes you wonder what the original plans for it were. Personally, we’d theorise it’s one of the following three things:
1. A scrapped New Donk City board that was planned at one point, possibly along with Pauline or other Odyssey content
2. An early version of Kamek’s Tantalising Tower before the final setup was conceived
3. Or perhaps a tropical city area taking inspiration from both Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Odyssey
With the likelihood of each decreasing sharply as you go down the list.
Yet even with these possibilities, many questions are left open here.
Such as how early in the game’s development the board was scrapped.
Whether the ‘test’ related username meant it wasn’t planned for the final game at all.
Or even whether the board was truly scrapped at all.
Because let’s face it, previews for Mario Party boards are likely one of the easiest things to add into a game, and teasers for upcoming content are often let in games before the release of the content they’re related too.
After all, look at Super Mario Odyssey’s hint art and costumes. Or Mario Tennis’ character names.
They were all added long before they came into use.
And that makes us wonder if the same thing is true here too. Whether perhaps, just perhaps…
This board may have been intended for the season pass at one point. Perhaps even the first one that Nintendo would release for the game during its round of updates.
It’s a stretch we know, but hey, not many teasers about unused boards exist in this game, and there’s quite a bit of precedent in previous Nintendo Switch titles.
So the possibility has to be taken into consideration none the less.
Regardless of its use though, the design looks interesting enough, and entirely welcome in a game as lacking in content as Super Mario Party is. So here’s hoping it makes it into a future game in the series, perhaps along with a proper round of DLC like this game was sorely lacking.
That way, we might finally get the fully featured, fleshed out, traditional Mario Party game we’ve been wanting for all these years.
Still, what are your thoughts on it?
Are you disappointed to hear that Super Mario Party’s post launch support got cancelled in favour of a sequel? Do you wish that board we showed above made it into the game in some form?
And what do you think a Mario Party season pass would have in it anyway?
Tell us your thoughts on the matter in the comments below, or over on the Gaming Latest forums today!
- Ziella on Twitter (VG Resource Staffer, Dataminer)
- justcamtro on Discord