Has Mario Party found its Grave?

One year. Two years. Three years. Three years of concerns, questions, and abandoned hope from fans. Three years of neglect and complete silence. Countless forum topics, blogs, and websites all asking the same question, “Where is Mario Party 9?”. Wait… Did you say there are Mario Party Fans?? Yes. Yes, I did. Despite its many flaws, the Mario Party series has a special spot in a lot of our hearts. The memories shared with the Mario Party series are countless. Multiplayer, the main aspect of the game, is what drives us fans into buying the games yearly, and it’s what keeps us striving for more. The series is remembered for it’s great multiplayer and good times shared with friends and family and is the reason we are always anticipating another release.

 

We all know the Mario Party games are developed by both Nintendo and Hudson Soft, right? Well here is something you might not have known. Back in 1998, a year prior to the release of the very first Mario Party, Nintendo and Hudson both started a join venture known as Monegi. Monegi went on to develop Mario Party, Mario Party 2, and the rest of the series’s games. Monegi was never given proper recognition and Mario Party was always credited by Nintendo and Hudson. Interestingly, Monegi was an add-on developer for Mario Golf 64, and also developed Mario Tennis and something known as Neon Genesis Evangelion, both for the Nintendo 64. Mario Party 8 released in May of 2007, with the best sales of any Mario Party to date. Mario Party DS closely followed later in the year with a November release. So what happened and why haven’t we seen a new title since? According to a recent interview from Nintendo of Japan, many of Monegi’s staff, including it’s lead staff, left Monegi in 2007. That means, for the last three years that we have been patiently waiting for a spec of news, the team that worked on the Mario Party series departed shortly after the release of Mario Party DS.

All is not lost. Staff of Monegi, including the lead staff, joined NdCube. What was once another joint venture between Nintendo and the advertising firm Dentsu, NdCube is now a subsidiary of Nintendo and a Japanese developer. They are planning on releasing Wii and DS titles, and one is already known by many of us. Can you guess what that game is? Yeah, that’s right. Wii Party. When first announced the game was ironically titled the “Mario Party killer”, but with the last of Monegi’s staff working on the title, it is truly the only surviving work of Mario Party.

 

So is that it? Is Mario Party truly dead? The team that worked on the Mario Party games is no more and we can’t expect a new entry into the series anytime soon. Wii Party is our last string attached to Mario Party and the only way we will get more is through Wii Party. The success of Wii Party will determine the state of Mario Party. If Wii Party excels in sales, why go back? If sales tank, Nintendo might want to go back to their decade old franchise. Will Hudson ever be in the picture again? My guess, No. Monegi is the past and the series has already been criticized of repetitive gameplay and the overall style of the series. A new developer would work better. Is it possible that Mario Party can be handed over to another developer? It already has. Sort of. While it is not a true Mario Party game, Capcom has already finised and created a Japan only Arcade version of Mario Party 8 back in 2008. Okay, why can’t NdCube just make another Mario Party? They should. That’s probably what we all want. What can we do now? Continue waiting. Wait for the release of Wii Party, wait for the statistics, and wait for more news. Mario Party is still alive through Wii Party and if there is a big enough fanbase, Nintendo will notice and give us fans a chance.

 

 

Sources:

Monegi, Inc. (Translated)

N-sider

Nintendo of Japan Interview (Translated)

Nintendo Everything

 

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Michael Koczwara

Executive Editor and Founder of Mario Party Legacy. Head Administrator at the Mario Party Legacy Forum.

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