It’s almost hard to believe that Super Mario Odyssey will be released in a few short months. The game was only properly revealed in January, and after a strong E3 showing in June, it will see its worldwide release in October. For a major Mario title, that’s a pretty quick time in between reveal and release. Yet, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the game. We know of its primary “capture” mechanic, which allows Mario to take control of enemies, objects and NPCs via his hat. We know that Mario is collecting Power Moons instead of Power Stars, and that every stage also plays into the overarching plot of Bowser trying to force Princess Peach into marrying him. And we know that Mario will be traversing a wide variety of different worlds, from big cities inhabited by realistic humans to psychedelic food-themed worlds.
One other thing we know of is that Odyssey is playing up Mario’s history in a way that perhaps no Mario game has done before. Many of the hats and costumes Mario finds along his adventure are references to the plumbers more obscure appearances, and for the first time, Mario’s original girlfriend, Pauline, appears in a proper Super Mario adventure.
This got me to thinking of what other kinds of ‘Kingdoms’ (Odyssey’s name for its various worlds) could we see show up? The aforementioned big city (hilariously named “New Donk City”) is where Pauline serves as mayor, and where the shops and street names allude to the Donkey Kong series. But what if that’s just the tip of the iceberg? What if there are more Kingdoms in Odyssey that pay tribute to Mario’s long history in one way or another?
Here are five such kingdoms I’d like to see in Super Mario Odyssey. Now, I’m really just spitballing/geeking out here, so I don’t expect to see them show up. But it would be so awesome and – considering some of the Kingdoms already revealed – not entirely impossible for them to make an appearance in some form.
The following five Kingdoms all represent a part of Mario’s history (or even that of its spinoffs) to some degree. Though seeing them literally realized would be awesome beyond words, they could also simply be implied homages to the series’ history (like how New Donk City’s street names and shops reference Donkey Kong Country).
Anyway, before I ramble any longer, let’s get to the Kingdom ideas!
I make it no secret that I love Super Mario RPG. It’s my favorite RPG of all time, and one of the greatest Mario games ever. I am constantly hoping for Nintendo to either (somehow) make a proper sequel to it, or at the very least get the rights to its original characters from Square-Enix so that they can appear in other Mario games.
Well, Square has never been the most friendly of developers, so neither of those are likely to happen. However, Nintendo is well aware of Super Mario RPG’s high standing among Mario fans. They made it a big deal when it was brought to the Wii Virtual Console, did the same when it made its way to the Wii U Virtual Console, and are including it as one of the 21 games in the upcoming SNES Classic Edition. They even managed to get the permission for the likeness of the Geno character for use in Super Smash Bros. (which they then wasted on a stupid Mii Fighter costume, thus crushing my hopes and dreams. Sakurai, you bastard!).
Anyway, my point is that, although a literal world based on that of Super Mario RPG and its characters is unlikely, Nintendo could at least pull a New Donk-style world out of its hat that references the legendary game.
Imagine if Super Mario Odyssey included a level with a traditionally RPG-like setting, like a high-fantasy world. Since every Kingdom in Odyssey has its own unique inhabitants (like the humans of New Donk City or the Fork-people of the food world), maybe the citizens here could resemble old-school RPG sprites, with big heads and eyes, and fancy wardrobes. Or maybe they could all resemble RPG-style monsters or knights, or resemble a more anime style of character design.
The world could play up all kinds of RPG tropes with its quests for Power Moons. But most importantly, Nintendo could squeeze in some Super Mario RPG references in one way or another. Perhaps the areas of the world could contain the names of Super Mario RPG’s characters, or Mario could receive a hat and outfit that resembles Geno or something.
As much as I would love a literal Super Mario RPG-themed world, I would definitely settle for this. At this point, any time Nintendo is able to reference Super Mario RPG is a wonderful thing… except for Mii Fighter costumes.
Likelihood of showing up: I can dream, can’t I?
The Beanbean Kingdom
Although none of the subsequent Mario RPGs have quite matched the fun and tone of the original, they’ve still provided some great games in their own right. Among the best of the lot is Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.
The first game in the Mario & Luigi series saw the plumbing brothers traveling to the Beanbean Kingdom, the neighboring land to the Mushroom Kingdom, where everything is off-the-wall and bizarre, even by Mario series’ standards.
Well, the great thing here is that this Kingdom, while perhaps not likely to happen, is actually pretty reasonable to imagine being in the game. For one thing, the Mario & Luigi games are developed by a subsidiary Nintendo studio, so there’s no legal roadblocks like there would be with Square-Enix. But as a bonus, Nintendo is releasing a remake of Superstar Saga for the 3DS the same month as Odyssey. Wouldn’t that be a great way to re-introduce this side of the Mario series’, re-releasing the title that introduced the Beanbean to the world for a new generation on the 3DS, and then featuring that world in a whole new light through a 3D Mario platformer?
The Beanbean Kingdom already has its inhabitants ready in the form of the Beanish (bean people, in contrast to the series’ usual mushroom people). And the world as a whole could pay loving tribute to Superstar Saga, and the Mario & Luigi series as a whole.
Come on, you know you’d love to see Fawful in full HD, 3D goodness.
Likelihood of showing up: Not going to happen, but it also doesn’t seem impossible at this point.
This one’s an interesting case because, while on one hand it seems more obvious since it’s based on two of Mario’s most acclaimed adventures which fall under the series’ core entries, it also seems like Odyssey is really enjoying referencing the obscure and esoteric.
Still, the Super Mario Galaxy titles speak for themselves, and considering they introduced one of the series’ best and most popular characters in Rosalina, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine that Nintendo would want to bring her back in some capacity. After all, Rosalina was the secret unlockable character in Super Mario 3D World, so Nintendo is clearly happy with the idea of bringing her back to the main series (just please keep Daisy far, far away from the main series. She’s dreadful).
Obviously, the Galaxy Kingdom would use an outer space theme, and include Lumas as the locals. And since many fans have been clamoring for a Super Mario Galaxy 3, maybe this level could give them the next best thing, and include level structure similar to that found in the Galaxy games.
Now, at the same time, I know that Super Mario Odyssey is its own thing, so perhaps this idea is too literal in recreating the Super Mario Galaxy games, but there are other ways to go about it as well. Maybe you could be on one planet area similar in size to New Donk City, or some kind of space station. It could still use the more open-world gameplay of Odyssey, but bring in different levels of gravity to the equation, making for platforming segments unique to the rest of the game.
It’s certainly less obscure of an homage than what Odyssey is already showing, but I’m sure no one would complain if Odyssey decided to pull a little Galaxy out of its hat.
Likelihood of showing up: Certainly not impossible, but not likely.
Okay, here’s a weird one, because as far as we know, this might already be in the game (to an extent). Odyssey’s E3 trailer revealed the “Cascade Kingdom,” which is themed around dinosaurs. As we all know, Yoshi is his own kind of dinosaur. Though from what we’ve seen, the dinosaurs of the Cascade Kingdom are far more realistic than the cartoonish Yoshi (please don’t give me the “but they don’t have feathers” argument. I mean realistic in terms of the art direction of a video game, not more recent scientific findings). But perhaps Yoshi could still show up in the Cascade Kingdom, similar to how the cartoonish Mario interacts with more realistic humans in New Donk City.
If that isn’t the case, however, it would be great to see a Kingdom themed around Yoshi’s sub-series of games. Back in 2015, Shigeru Miyamoto finally confirmed that the original Yoshi’s Island is indeed part of the main Mario series, but that subsequent Yoshi games kind of exist in their own bubble. Well, what we brought things full circle, and had an all-out Mario game like Odyssey feature a level based on Yoshi’s Island?
Seeing as each level of Super Mario Odyssey seems to either bring a change in visuals or art style, a world that recreates the storybook-like visuals of Yoshi’s Island wouldn’t be out of place. Obviously the locals would be Yoshis (including some rideable ones!), and many enemies that, up to this point, have only been featured in Yoshi’s games can finally make their way into the core Mario series.
Just think about it, back in Yoshi’s Island, Mario was just a baby. So maybe in this Yoshi’s Island-themed stage, we could even meet some elderly Yoshi’s who remember their early adventures alongside Mario. If nothing else, it would be a sweet nostalgia trip.
Likelihood of showing up: Not very likely, unless the Yoshi series is implied through the Cascade Kingdom.
Okay, okay, let me explain myself on this one. I hate it when fans try to find some bizarre connections between different works (like that totally BS “Pixar Universe theory”), so this idea isn’t a literal crossover between the Mario series and Nintendo’s other franchises, but what if there were an entire Kingdom in Mario Odyssey that alluded to Nintendo’s peerless resume of franchises?
Again, I wouldn’t want to see Nintendo going the complete crossover route and have Mario interacting with Link and Samus and whatnot. But what if there were a level that featured elements taken from such series?
For example, the stage could have a dungeon in the center of it, and although the core gameplay would remain the same to the rest of Odyssey, the inner workings of the dungeon could be built around puzzles and culminate in a boss fight, and feature some of Zelda’s iconic sound effects (think of the Zelda tribute level in Super Mario 3D Land, but cranked to 11). And then perhaps you could also explore an underground labyrinth with explorative elements pulled from Metroid. Maybe there could be an area where you have to complete rapid-fire challenges a la WarioWare and, for the hell of it, why not feature a go karting section and bring the fun of Mario Kart to a Mario platformer?
Perhaps the local residents would dress in familiar garb (green tunics, for example), and Mario could even get a few outfits based on other Nintendo characters. Imagine Mario with Samus-like armor!
I don’t know what Nintendo would call such a kingdom, but it would be a fun idea to have all these Mario challenges that take inspiration from Nintendo’s wide array of franchises. I mean, at one point both Donkey Kong and the Pikmin were going to be in Super Mario Galaxy 2, so Nintendo is at least a little interested in such concepts.
Likelihood of showing up: Not happening, but I think it’s safe to say Odyssey will feature several Nintendo references anyway.
And there you go. Those are five Kingdoms I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing in Super Mario Odyssey. Yeah, the game is probably finished at this point and Nintendo’s just working at the polish ahead of release, so of course I’m just throwing out a baseless wish-list of sorts. But I think these kinds of things are fun. Using one’s imagination to think of the possibilities of a game is always a silly little endeavor, but one that perhaps gets us more invested in the medium we love.
I really don’t expect any of these ideas to show up in any real capacity in Super Mario Odyssey (save for the Yoshi and Galaxy references), but seeing as Odyssey is paying such deep homage to the series’ history, I just thought I’d have a go and write the kinds of ideas I’d like to see Nintendo revisit. I have an active imagination, so sue me.
Whether or not Super Mario Odyssey panders to my wants is superfluous, though. Let’s hope by the time it rolls around in October, that Super Mario Odyssey ends up being the Mario game we all want to play.