The latest Nintendo Direct to air took many gamers by surprise with the announcement of a Super Mario RPG remake even its original director did not anticipate. Working on the original 1996 game as well as many Mario & Luigi installations, Japanese game designer Chihiro Fujioka said he was pleasantly surprised by the news. He also indicated he would not be involved in the upcoming remake.
From the forecast return of Detective Pikachu to a Sonic multiplayer comeback, last month’s Nintendo Direct came with a string of exciting plans for Nintendo Switch owners. But little did fans of the Japanese publisher expect the announcement of a retro Mario game that had remained exclusive to Japan and North America so far.
The final Mario game to hit the Super NES, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was the first venture into role-playing territory in the franchise history. And a faithful recreation of this cult classic is scheduled for release on Nintendo’s handheld device on November 17.
One inquisitive YouTuber took to Twitter to ask Chihiro Fujioka whether he would be part of that project. While he denied his involvement, the game’s original director said he was both “surprised and pleased” with this unexpected news. Earlier this year, Fujioka had expressed his interest in creating a Mario RPG sequel as his final work.
Meanwhile, nostalgic fans of the original and newcomers to that cult title can look forward to getting their hands on an updated version next November. Praised for its engaging humour and graphics, despite a somewhat lacklustre battle system, Super Mario RPG marked a departure from the standard platformer formula of its predecessors.
A massive commercial success in Japan and the United States, the first Mario RPG established the benchmark for spiritual successors, such as the Paper Mario and the Mario & Luigi series. This fan-favourite entry even made its way onto reader-selected lists of all-time best games on specialised web outlets like IGN and video game magazines like Electronic Gaming Monthly. For all its enduring legacy, though, it took Nintendo nearly two decades to plan for a global release.
Mario fans worldwide will soon venture into a colourful world alongside a team of extraordinary heroes to save the Star Road and prevent the formidable Forgeroi gang from wreaking havoc. Bringing back iconic characters like Mario, Peach, and Bowser, the remake of that cult RPG will also see the return of original protagonists Mallow and Geno. Better still, enhanced graphics and new cinematic scenes will add even more flair to this role-playing game tailored for all types of gaming enthusiasts.
Players will be able to initiate turn-based battles where they control up to three characters, switching between impactful attacks and protection from enemy assaults. The game’s many explorable environments also hold a few secrets for players to unveil.
Hidden treasure chests are scattered throughout the map, while defeating designated enemies might open the way to hidden areas such as the Grate Guy’s Casino. This secret area boasts a blackjack minigame and a slot machine, which have become staples of most Mario entries. For all their wackiness and fun, though, Mario casino minigames may fall a bit short for avid gamers.
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While every Super Mario RPG hidden location and Easter Egg may or may not return in this year’s remake, fans can only speculate on the special items and cameos that will pop up throughout the game.
And even though the original creative team will not return in full, the game’s composer Yoko Shimomura has already confirmed she put all her heart into rearranging her original songs to please both long-time fans and those playing for the first time.
While November is just around the corner, expectant fans may bide their time revisiting their favourite Mario instalments or watching the record-breaking Super Mario Bros. movie. Titled Super Mario Bros. Wonder, a new entry in the saga is also slated for release in late October.