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Super Mario RPG director talks “Sword Mario” and Mario RPG 2

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The Super Mario RPG remake has reminded fans of the original’s timeless charm, and one of its lead developers discussed the possibility of a Super Mario RPG 2.

Since its debut in 1996, the original Super Mario RPG has been held up as one of the best games on the SNES and one of the best turn-based RPGs of its era. While the game was re-released on the Wii and Wii U through the Virtual Console and was included in the Super NES Classic Edition console in 2017, it hasn’t been available on the Nintendo Switch. Spiritual successors like Paper Mario: The Origami King were remastered on the Switch, but the original was left in limbo for some time.

A full-blown remake of the Super Mario RPG landed on the Switch on November 17, and it has gotten fans excited about what else Nintendo might have in store for the title. Director Chihiro Fujioka hinted that this might not be a one-off affair and that a Super Mario RPG 2 could be in the cards.

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Super Mario RPG almost had sword-wielding, horse-riding Mario

The former director of Super Mario RPG revealed that Squaresoft was looking to have a horse-riding, sword-wielding Mario star in Super Mario RPG.

The original Super Mario RPG was a collaborative project between Nintendo and Final Fantasy creators Squaresoft. This is referenced in-game with some boss designs. Fujioka, who worked at Squaresoft during that time in a variety of roles including as director of the original Mario RPG, revealed that the team wanted to incorporate more elements from Squaresoft RPGs. 

“Initially I was thinking of having Mario use magic attacks and use a sword as well…we realized that it doesn’t make sense you know for a character like Mario to be wielding weapons,” Fujioka said.

According to Fujioka, Shigeru Miyamoto didn’t like the idea but it wasn’t actually scrapped until Nintendo and Squaresoft surveyed a number of children at an event on the idea. The survey indicated that the jump-and-throw-fireball approach was more popular, something that Miyamoto was pleased with.

Will there be a Super Mario RPG 2?

Super Mario RPG director Chihiro Fujioka expressed interest in making another Mario RPG.

In an interview with MinnMax, Fujioka stated that he would really like to revisit the Super Mario RPG IP once again, as what might be the final project of his career. He also said that even though he recognizes Mario & Luigi as a cool concept, he would like to make the next game a fully Mario-centric RPG. When probed about story ideas, he said “that is a secret.”

“I think Mario & Luigi is cool, but I would like to go back and create a Mario RPG where you’re only controlling Mario,” Fujioka said.

While Fujioka is interested, there’s no sign that the project has been greenlit. Fujioka also doesn’t actually work for Nintendo, despite working on a slew of games published by Nintendo. The sales of Switch remake might be enough to get Nintendo to consider a Super Mario RPG 2, though.

How well did Super Mario RPG remake sell?

The Super Mario RPG remake sold well, according to numbers published by retailers.

There are no concrete sales numbers yet, but Super Mario RPG Remake was a top-selling title on Amazon US and debuted in sixth on the UK Boxed Charts. It also sold over 300,000 units in its first week in Japan, about half of what Mario Bros. Wonder did despite having comparatively limited marketing behind it. The original Super Mario RPG was only released in Europe in 2008 as a Wii Virtual Console port, which may have played a role in its comparatively low sales.

Depending on the numbers it ultimately pulls, a Super Mario RPG 2 is potentially possible. That said, fans of RPGs starring Mario actually have a lot on their plate regardless. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga was added to the Game Boy Advance app on Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack. A remaster of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is also set for release in 2024 on the Nintendo Switch.

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Written by Mohamed Hassan

Mohamed still treasures his time playing games on the original PlayStation, speedrunning through the Megaman X games and replaying acclaimed role-playing game Chrono Cross countless times. Since then, his love for JRPGs and platformers has only grown and is among the driving forces behind his passion for writing about video games.

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