Nintendo is the last “Golden Age” video game company that still primarily focuses on games developed in-house specifically for its own consoles. While the Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox console families largely share custody of the majority of major gaming brands like Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty and others, fans of classic Nintendo franchises, like Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Kirby, Metroid, and Pokemon are still required to own the latest Nintendo consoles in order to play them. And while cryptic rumors have suggested the venerable Japanese electronics giant’s next device, The NX, might somehow interface with rival consoles, fans hoping to one day visit Hyrule or The Mushroom Kingdom on a Playstation or Xbox aren’t likely to see their wish granted any time soon.
At least not officially. Nintendo’s menagerie remains so iconic that it’s seldom long before any new game with “modding” capabilities gets put to use remaking this or that legendary hero or famous level; and now one enterprising digital-builder has recreated Princess Peach’s castle in the unlikely realm of Halo 5: Guardians.
The map, achieved using Halo 5’s extensive “Forge” building tools, was revealed on Reddit by a user named Bearskopff. It faithfully recreates the iconic exterior of the castle first seen by gamers in 1997’s Super Mario 64, the groundbreaking title that presented the Super Mario Bros universe in 3D for the first time. The building, moat, and immediate castle grounds have all been reconstructed to exacting detail, including each brick being its own object individually crafted in Forge and the surfaces being made to mimic the cartoon-like style of an early Nintendo 64 title by employing the creation tool’s “baked lighting” capabilities. While Bearskopff reportedly wanted to recreate the entire surrounding area of the original game, Forge maps are still limited to only 1,024 individual objects.
Debuting as one of the flagship titles on the Xbox One, Halo 5: Guardians received mixed reviews for its continuations of the Halo mythos, but high praise for its gameplay, graphics, and robust Forge tools — which fans have been using to create both stunning original maps and tributes to classic scenarios from movies and other popular games. Along with Peach’s castle, Bearskopff is also responsible for recreations of The Empire Strikes Back’s “Battle of Hoth,” Shadow Moses Island from Metal Gear Solid and The Millennium Falcon. Other users have used the tools to create everything from Bioshock’s Rapture to the alien caverns of Metroid — the popular Nintendo franchise ironically often compared to Halo as both feature heavily-armed protagonists battling aliens in suits of powered armor.
The “real” Peach’s castle, along with the Princess herself and the rest of the Super Mario Bros recurring cast, have not been seen in “open” 3D since the Super Mario Galaxy games on the original Wii, though Peach herself appeared as a playable character in the fixed-camera 3D platformer Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U in 2013. With rumors continuing to swirl that Nintendo will launch an ambitious new hardware venture in 2016, many fans anticipate that the legendary series — arguably the most well-known and popular gaming franchise in the history of the medium — might finally return to full 3D gameplay; though as with most prospective Nintendo ventures there has been no solid confirmation of what might be in the works.
Recently, Nintendo’s current CEO intimated the company was moving to become more open to cross-promoting and licensing its characters for film, television and theme parks, a move which some believe could prefigure Mario (and perhaps Peach and her castle) returning to movie screens for the first time since a disastrous live-action feature film in 1993. The most recent incarnation of the series, the RPG adventure Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, debuted on January 22 on the Nintendo 3DS platform.
Screen Rant will keep you updated on the goings-on at Nintendo as news is made available.