According to industry ‘insiders’ Nintendo’s NX will see a new Mario and Pokémon game within six months of its touted March 2017 release date. As with all rumours, this one is best taken with a pinch of salt, but both a new Mario and Pokémon game are reasonable expectations within the NX’s launch window. Both are very popular franchises for Nintendo, so one must assume that the console (whatever it may be) will get at least one new game from each of the series. I wonder what they could both be when they do come.
Mario games are typically very popular, with the latest main entry into the series – Super Mario 3D World has sold an impressive 4.23 million units according to VGChartz as of writing. I don’t particularly expect Nintendo to release a direct sequel to 3D World however. That game used the unique features of the Wii U extremely well, but I don’t see the NX being at all similar to the Wii U. No matter how good the console was, the Wii U didn’t sell. Nintendo would be wise to steer away from the Wii U, at least with its name.
Mario Galaxy used the Wiimote well too. Nintendo like to create games that use the unique features of their consoles, as a way to advertise the console. The Mario games are no different. Depending on what the NX actually is, the new Mario game will take advantage of the hardware and controls. Unless it’s New Super Mario Bros. Nintendo once said that they’d like to release a New Super Mario Bros. game on each of their consoles. There’s nothing wrong with these games, but they don’t excite like the 3D Mario offerings.
If you take a look at what kind of Mario games people have been asking for over the years there have been a few popular answers. Super Mario Galaxy 3 and Super Mario Sunshine HD have been winning the popular vote. I don’t think Super Mario Galaxy 3 is very likely, considering the games were made for the Wii, using the Wiimote rather well. The experience would need to change unless the NX uses the Wiimote. Super Mario Sunshine HD however seems rather likely to me. The Legend of Zelda has seen the paint of the remake brush over it in the last few years. Mario hasn’t seen the same happen to him. Super Mario Sunshine is due a remake by now, surely, and Nintendo could use the game to tide us over until they release a new Mario game.
But just as Super Mario Sunshine is due a remake, so too are we due another New Super Mario Bros. game. The creators of 3D World, Mario Galaxy and Captain Toad have been awfully quiet as of late too. The possibilities are endless, but it all depends on what message Nintendo wants to send with the NX. New Super Mario Bros. NX wouldn’t set the world on fire, just as New Super Mario Bros. U didn’t as a launch game for the Wii U. If they want to show that they’re serious about the NX being a big success, a brand new, 3D Mario adventure will get people excited, shifting more than a few copies of the console and game in the process. A remake of Mario Sunshine would make for a decent middle ground as a launch game, but it would have to come as well as an announcement of another, new Mario game.
A rumoured Mario game could be anything of course, not necessarily a platformer. There were rumours of an NX port of Super Mario Maker, too, but there is much more to Mario than just platforming. It could mean we see a new Mario sports game during the NX’s launch – I’d certainly be up for a sequel to Mario Strikers Charged Football or a new Mario Golf or Tennis. We could even see a new Mario Party, but none of these styles of games will get the console selling in its early days. Mario Kart would.
Each Nintendo console since the SNES has seen an entry into the immensely popular series. Both the DS and 3DS saw a new Mario Kart within a year of their release, and Mario Kart 7 alongside Super Mario 3D Land pushed the 3DS’s sales monumentally. If the NX launched with a new Mario Kart game, sales for the console would start incredibly strongly. Mario Kart would set a precedent for Nintendo’s intent just as much as a new 3D Mario game would, if not more. More than most other Nintendo games, Mario Kart straddles the line between hardcore and casual fans. Everyone likes a bit of the old Mario Kart.
However, by releasing a new Mario Kart so quickly, Nintendo could be in trouble of playing their hand too early. They would be wise to spread their key releases out. This is why I’m leaning on the side of a New Super Mario Bros. NX or Super Mario Sunshine remake to launch in the NX’s launch window. Neither would set the world on fire, but both would be more than worthy of tiding fans over until the likes of a new Mario Kart or 3D Mario title. I’d like to think that a 3D Mario for the NX wouldn’t be too far off, due to the lack of activity from the developers of the recent 3D Mushroom Kingdom outings.
Whatever the NX is, there will undoubtedly be Mario games on it – there always are. Whether we do get one in the console’s launch window is anyone’s guess. More often than not, a Nintendo console will see a new Mario game fairly early on into its life. The new Mario game could be anything, but with a bit of deduction, and a lot of guesswork, I think we’re quite likely to see a remake of Super Mario Sunshine or New Super Mario Bros. NX within six months of the NX’s launch next March.