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Super Mario Origins
Super Mario is among the most epic franchises Nintendo has ever produced. Mario and Luigi have stormed castles, rescued hostages, fought entire war machines single-handedly, and survived the end of the universe. But it's a little hard to have invested in Mario's struggles when he casually rescues Princess Peach every year or so. How do you lend some weight to Mario's story while making things interesting for players again?
One possibility - controversial as it may be - is a reboot or prequel. The game would begin when Mario and Luigi are plumbers, not established heroes of the Mushroom Kingdom. But when they fall into a mysterious pipe network on a job (see the events of the NES Mario Bros) they emerge in a new dimension where laws of physics grant them a John Carter advantage over the Mushroom natives. They quickly become embroiled in a resistance movement seeking to retake the Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser's Dark World.
Yes, I know, reboots are ridiculously overdone when it comes to video games. But short of retiring Super Mario for an entire console generation, there aren't many ways to make the series fresh and exciting again. What's more, Super Mario Origins gives us the opportunity to resurrect ideas from the Super Mario Bros manual that aren't really in the story anymore. For example, did you know Bowser is actually a sorcerer powering his armies through magic? (Necromancy certainly explains why the Dry Bones keep pulling themselves together.) That's not something Nintendo would need to make up - it's right there in the source material.
It's also a great opportunity to resurrect large-scale overworlds players haven't seen since Super Mario Galaxy. Princess Peach's castle in Super Mario 64 felt huge and immersive two decades ago, and somehow we've moved backwards to smaller map screens. Why can't Mario and Luigi explore an entire Mushroom Kingdom, unlocking new courses by repairing pipes along the way. Doing so would make players excited to visit each new environment, and help Super Mario feel like an actual world - not just a repository for Nintendo's latest courses.
This isn't something Mario fans can make for themselves with a Super Mario Maker update. Sooner or later, Nintendo's going to have to take a creative risk if this game - or something like it - will become a reality. We're going to play new Mario games no matter what happens, so Nintendo has nothing to lose and everything to gain in the attempt. How can we have Super Mario Sunshine instead of a game like this?