OPINION: The Future of the Mario RPG genre

Mario and Luigi, they’re up to something.

Role-Playing Games in any genre usually have one great thing in common: long lasting gameplay which can take large amounts of hours away from a person’s life (not that it’s a bad thing for us who game). It’s true for both the Western and Japanese RPG titles, as they have proven to be one of the genres that keep us playing for long periods of time. Mario RPG titles however, seem to lack the complexity and length of other rivaling (or not) games of the same genre, and I feel like it’s time to push it forward. Though Mario RPG titles are known to be fun, engaging and great experiences, one can’t help but wonder what else could be done with the genre in its entirety for the future?

They’re always getting into the oddest issues in RPG’s.

Paper Mario, and Mario & Luigi, we can agree that these are great Mario titles in a genre many just didn’t believe would lead to great success (considering what we’ve seen of Mario previously). Paper Mario on the N64 sure proved that wrong by becoming critically successful on multiple levels. Not to the extent of Super Mario 64 or other games before it, but it basically proved that RPG’s in this style could very much work hand in hand. Super Mario RPG – Legend of the Seven Stars technically was the first RPG Mario title, and was a great game to start of the genre for Mario games; however it was developed by Square (now merged with Enix to form Square Enix) and though I would love to see them work on something like this, it likely not going to happen.

Mario, always prepared for the action.

Both Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi demonstrate the potential which Mario-styled games have. However, they aren’t very complex and are quite simple to complete for the most part. Their stories are nice and creative, as they have introduced things to the Mario franchise which we’ve never seen before, but they aren’t long-lasting games. Sure there’s a lot to do compared to the other Mario titles, but I don’t necessarily consider them “long”. At the very least, they are mid-sized games. With Paper Mario: Sticker Star coming to the Nintendo 3DS, it seems like one shouldn’t expect a complex game with long completion times.

We shouldn’t expect a game with much evolution among the Paper Mario titles….not that this one would be bad or anything. I mean c’mon, Stickers!!!

RPG Mario titles need to venture off the road commonly traveled on by the plumber himself. Whether it’s a 2D or 3D title, Mario just needs to expand, and what better way of expanding than in the RPG genre. The Paper Mario series is already “sticking” (hah) to its traditional roots for now on (for what it seems), so we shouldn’t expect much out of that with regards to expanding. Now Mario & Luigi, that could expand into something more than what it has started off with.

The Wii U would be a great candidate for the next Mario & Luigi title. The combination of its great power exceeding 7th Generation consoles alongside the possibly innovative GamePad leads to newer gaming experiences. If this were to happen, I would certainly hope for the title to not be in top-down view like the first 3 were on the GameBoy Advance and Nintendo DS. Yes, I know. It’ll be odd to see the Mario & Luigi games in 3D since we’ve never witnessed them in that fashion. Just like it was odd to see Mario enter the 3D world for the first time in Super Mario 64, it’ll have a similar impact for the fans in this case.

Mario in 3D was new and felt rather odd. Well, we all have gotten used to it, so seeing the Mario & Luigi series enter the 3D realm shouldn’t be much of an issue.

With 25GB Optical Game Discs, the Wii U system games can hold large amounts of data per layer (dual-layered discs will hold more). There’s plenty of room for putting in nice high quality textures, and never-before seen content in a Mario-themed game. I wouldn’t expect the levels of realism to be photo-realistic considering what we’ve seen of the Mushroom Kingdom, but as long as it surpasses the form of realism both Galaxy games had, I’ll be happy with it (as will the rest of the people, hopefully). Mario & Luigi as a 3D RPG would still work in a similar fashion to how the first three were, but of course in 3D. You’ll be walking about in the Mushroom Kingdom as Mario along with Luigi, but you’ll also be able to switch among each of them to control. Battles could remain being turn-based (I find turn-based battles in 3D rather odd though), however I would suggest them to be more like how Xenoblade Chronicles is, where the characters all are able to use their abilities to attack the enemy without the need to wait for the other to make a move. Of course, Alphadream (Mario & Luigi developers) will need to come up with a clever way of pulling this off in terms of the game. Obviously Mario and Luigi won’t have weapons, swords nor items as means of regular attacks in the way the characters do in Xenoblade (or will they….). The items like Fire Flowers, Koopa Shells should still be usable in this situation whenever one finds regular attacks like jumps or hammers ineffective. Numerous healing manners like Mushrooms or status improvements should still remain aswell as it could greatly affect the playing field in battle.

Don’t you worry, you’ll still be allowed to burn enemies up with this….hopefully.

Extend the lengths of these games. Leave plenty for someone to do during and even after the end of the story. There are so many games which don’t allow the character to continue on from where the end of the story left off. The games simply return the player to where they saved the game before the final boss. Either way, this means side missions or non-story-related quests. There are Toads, Koopas, Goomba’s and even Human’s living in the Mushroom Kingdom, and I’m sure they could use some help with something. You may have an archeologist Koopa in a place of ruins that you just so happen to pass by, who requires some aid. You may even be given a reward of some kind after completing the task. Or maybe you have a female being looking for her lost son in a forest which you must help find. Of course, you’ll receive a reward for helping out. Side-quests definitely improve the long-lasting re-playability for people since they may lead to interesting rewards which can aid you in the main story. Or simply, it could help you with difficult side-bosses which are a pain to defeat sometimes.

For all you know, someone may have wandered off into a forest, and you must find them. Non-story related of course. You might even find some useful items around aswell.

If Nintendo won’t decide to create a 3D RPG Mario title, then how about take a previous 2D top-down view RPG and magically make the next game of the series become full 3D. Just like how Paper Mario came for the first time on a handheld, the Mario & Luigi series could for the first time enter the home console arena. What do you think? Is it a good idea for the Mario & Luigi series to make its appearance for the first time on a home console? Should it be in 3D in ways like how I described? Or should it remain 2D as it always has been?

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