According to a flurry of Monday morning reports, Super Mario is coming back in 2020 in a huge way. And it’s mostly about reliving the Nintendo mascot’s 3D era on Nintendo Switch.
The first rumor domino to fall came from VGC, which pushed forward with a report suggesting “most of Super Mario’s 35-year back catalog” would arrive on Nintendo Switch by the end of 2020, according to “multiple sources.” Nintendo had originally planned to make a physical event out of the announcement during this summer’s E3, VGC reported, but E3 2020 was canceled earlier this month in the wake of organizational woes and coronavirus concerns.
VGC was able to report on one specific game coming to Nintendo Switch, but it wasn’t a remaster. Instead, VGC suggested that the Paper Mario action-RPG series would receive a new entry in 2020.
Soon after, Eurogamer and Gematsu pushed their own reports and named games, also citing “multiple sources.” Eurogamer came forward suggesting Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D World would receive proper re-releases, while Gematsu added Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine to the list of expected re-releases. Most classic 3D Mario games have never received a retail or Virtual Console re-release treatment, with Super Mario 64 and its DS remake as exceptions, while the majority of Mario’s 2D exploits are currently available on Switch’s NES and SNES archives, available to paying Nintendo Switch Online subscribers.
Due to the limited nature of these rumors, we’re left wondering exactly what shape these classic Mario games will arrive in. Eurogamer alleges that Super Mario 3D World will launch with “an array of new levels,” but these could either be brand-new or adapted from the similar, 3DS-only entry Super Mario 3D Land (or both). Meanwhile, both Gematsu and Eurogamer mention “high-definition remasters” for older games in the list, but it’s unclear whether these will simply up-res existing assets or include any wholly new content (textures, character models, visual effects).
We’ve already seen what Super Mario Galaxy could look like on Nintendo Switch thanks to a 2018 China-only port of the game for the Nvidia Shield platform; that system’s hardware is nearly identical to Nintendo Switch. That classic game’s newer version mostly looks identical to its Wii predecessor, save a resolution bump, but it also benefits from a complete controller revision—meaning, no more Wii-mote waggle. We hope Nintendo considers the same control tweak for a Switch port.
All of this news makes a certain corporate-synergy sense in 2020, as VGC points to Nintendo’s interest in promoting its relationship with Universal Studios. A series of Super Mario World attractions are set to open at various Universal Studios theme parks (exactly when is unclear, however), while the Super Mario feature-length, CGI film has remained under a veil of secrecy since its 2017 reveal. (Its last release estimate was “2022.”) A huge summer 2020 announcement slew of Switch games would be a great moment for Nintendo and Universal to show more of those properties off. (By then, we hope Lego’s Super Mario series will have launched, as well.)
When asked to comment on Monday’s reports, a Nintendo representative replied via email: “We have nothing to announce on that topic.”
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