Super Mario Odyssey represents something of a return to form for Nintendo, at least in theory. Billing the game as the franchise’s first sandbox style game of exploration since Super Mario Sunshine, the title will see Mario moving away from the more linear games that he’s been appearing in over recent years, such as the Super Mario Galaxy series, and Super Mario 3D World.
Fans are getting pretty excited for this title, with Nintendo boasting that it’ll offer up multiple large game worlds, plenty of platforming, and the chance to take a main console Mario game on the go thanks to the Nintendo Switch’s dual functionality as a home console and a portable handheld.
While not much is known about the game just yet, Nintendo has given us enough to start speculating about what we’ll see in the finished game, and if the existing footage from trailers is any indication of what the finished game will be like, Super Mario Odyssey will feature plenty of fun content for both old and new fans of the series. Interested? Then here is Every Update You Need To Know About Super Mario Odyssey!
16 It’s The First Big Switch Exclusive
The Nintendo Switch is proving to be a pretty successful little console for Nintendo. With well over a million units already sold (by comparison, the Wii U sold just thirteen million in total during its entire lifespan), the Switch is increasingly looking like a decent contender for those who want big, immersive games that they can take with them on the go.
But while The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild stands strong at the top of the Switch games sales chart, plenty of existing Nintendo customers have chosen to pick the game up on Wii U instead, either because they’re not yet in a position to buy a brand new console, or because they want to try and justify their Wii U purchase.
Super Mario Odyssey will be the first major Switch exclusive, and Nintendo’s hoping that it’ll grab those fans that are still making use of their Wii U, as well as bringing back lapsed customers who previously played Mario games, but who weren’t impressed by the company’s two-screened console.
15 It’s a Return to Mario’s Open World 3D Roots
Super Mario 64 was one of the defining games of early 3D, polygonal consoles. The game proved to the world that platformers could work in a 3D space, and its size and scope, as well as its approach to taking 2D characters into a new dimension, were pivotal in inspiring many 3D games that have come since.
Particularly significant was that Super Mario 64 and its successor, Super Mario Sunshine, abandoned the traditional linear game path of the franchise’s 2D titles for large, open world levels, with plenty of secrets and treasures to discover throughout each stage.
After a few years of level-based 3D games, the Mario franchise is now returning to a more open, sandbox style adventure. This, Nintendo hopes, will bring back fans of the Nintendo 64 and GameCube games which defined 3D platformers, and will encourage new fans who are eager to play games filled with exploration and inventive puzzle solving.
14 It Features a Group of New Rabbit Villains
While Bowser shows up in Super Mario Odyssey’s trailer, he’s not alone. Instead of being accompanied by his standard Koopalings, Bowser appears to have joined forces with a new group of rabbits, who, it’s probably safe to assume, will act as unique bosses for various worlds within the game.
Rabbits have long been an important part of Mario games, from Super Mario 64 wherein the player needs to hunt down and catch a rabbit named MIPS in the basement of Peach’s castle in order to gain an all-important power star.
These new rabbits, though, bear more of a resemblance to Nabbit, an antagonist who first appeared in New Super Mario Bros U, and who will attempt to steal the player’s rewards and power-up items. Nabbit has shown up in a variety of Mario titles since, including Super Smash Bros and Mario Party 10. Considering how often this character shows up, it seems that someone at Nintendo is fond of his design, and it’s likely that these new rabbit bosses will be connected in some way to Nabbit.
13 It’s the Biggest Mario Game to Date
Nintendo has two key kinds of gaming experiences that they’re pushing with the Switch. On the one hand, the console is designed for casual, spontaneous multiplayer fun, with players able to take a game and a pair of controllers with them everywhere they go. On the other hand, the single-player Switch experiences are designed to let players enter vast open worlds that take months to explore in full.
Breath of the Wild is just the first sprawling open world game that the Switch will see. Nintendo has worked with Bethesda to get the classic sandbox title Skyrim on the new device, and it’ll be arriving some time in the next year.
Super Mario Odyssey also plays a part in this plan. The game’s design is based around exploring large levels that are filled with Easter Eggs and treats, and players will be able to spend hours learning every aspect of the game’s geography to uncover as many hidden secrets as possible.
In this way, Odyssey has been developed with very much the same creative direction as Breath of the Wild, suggesting that gamers will soon have the chance to play large, sprawling open worlds that cater to Mario’s unique playstyle.
12 Mario Has New Hat Abilities
In aiding the 3D open world design in Super Mario Odyssey, everyone’s favorite portly Italian video game plumber has gained a new set of talents for the game. Now, in addition to being able to run, jump, ground-pound, and wall grab, Mario is able to use his hat to give his jumps a little extra boost.
Now able to throw his hat a short distance before it returns, like a boomerang, to his outstretched arm, Mario is able to use his iconic headwear to bash enemies from a distance. This turns Super Mario Oyssey into a kind of pseudo-shooter, allowing Mario to take care of his enemies from a safe distance without needing to worry about being bumped into by a Goomba or a Koopa.
Even more impressive, though, is Mario’s newfound ability which allows him to jump onto his hat while it’s in the air, using it as a makeshift platform from which he can then jump again to extend the reach of his horizontal travel. This is useful in the game’s open worlds, as it means that Mario can now jump to access platforms or to cross larger gaps that he wouldn’t be able to make his way across in previous games.
11 Levels are Tall as Well as Wide
Mario games have always been about platforming, and jumping from ledge to ledge with precision in order to explore a game further. In Donkey Kong, Mario (then called Jumpman) primarily progresses upwards, rather than sideways, in order to follow an enraged ape up the side of a construction site.
With Super Mario Bros, Nintendo’s mascot finds himself travelling from left to right, rather than upwards, and he rushes to reach the level’s goal. While he still leaps up and over platforms, a lot of his verticality from the original Donkey Kong has been sacrificed.
Now, though, with Super Mario Odyssey, levels are built to be tall as well as wide. New Donk City, a large, sprawling urban area complete with skyscrapers and building sites, allows Mario to travel upwards, exploring the nooks and crannies of rooftops in a similar way to the far more technically limited Donkey Kong. Here’s hoping he doesn’t run afoul of any flaming barrels while up there!
10 New Donk City is an Easter Egg Hunter’s Dream
Yes, the main city in Super Mario Odyssey is called New Donk City, and it certainly lives up to its name, by being filled with neat references to Mario’s past games, in particular, those that feature a large, angry monkey.
While fans were a little put off at first upon seeing New Donk City, with its realistically proportioned humans alongside the obvious cartoon character that is Mario, eager-eyed viewers soon began to spot that the trailer for Odyssey contains plenty of little nods to Donkey Kong – more than just the name of the city itself.
Street signs and store names contain references to Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, Candy Kong, Cranky Kong, and others, all characters from Rare’s Donkey Kong Country series of games, which Nintendo now produces in-house.
It seems that, with this city, Nintendo wants to give their longtime fans an opportunity to go out, find hidden clues, and spot references to previous games that might be big and obvious, or alternatively, tiny little Easter Eggs that require some exploration in order to discover.
9 Mario’s Hat is Alive
Not much is known at this point as to how Mario’s hat will factor into the game. It seems that, in addition to being useful as a new throwing weapon and platform jump booster, Mario’s hat is also alive.
The very end of the announcement trailer for the game shows a bit pair of colorful eyes opening at the brim of the hat, as Mario looks up in seeming astonishment. From the looks of things, this new character will act as a companion to Mario throughout the game, providing the magic by which he is able to throw and regain his cap, as well as serving the plot in some way.
This isn’t the first time a famous Nintendo character has teamed up with a piece of sentient headwear in order to save the day. In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap for the Game Boy Advance, Link’s hat, Ezlo, plays the common role of sidekick companion character, giving Link hints about what he should be doing next, and aiding by shrinking Link to a tiny size for certain segments in the game.
It's likely that this new hat character will play a similar role in Super Mario Odyssey¸ giving Mario hints as to where to go next, as well as providing a neat and efficient way to jump across gaps and defeat enemies.
8 Different Levels Have Unique Artstyles
Perhaps the most striking thing about Super Mario Odyssey that can be seen in the trailer is the variety of different design aesthetics that are present in the game.
New Donk City feels realistic and believable, with human characters that have believable proportions (making Mario look all the more unusual by comparison). Other lands, such as a Mexican town, feature more color, and characters that are every bit as cartoonish as Mario himself, looking more like the traditional kind of creatures that populate Mario games. Finally, one world seems to feature a more abstract, low-poly world filled with jagged edges and colorful shapes that aren’t trying quite as hard to look believable.
These different levels may suggest that Mario will be traveling between disconnected worlds, each of which have their own unique designs and appearances. This hopefully means that there’ll be something for everyone in the upcoming game, as Mario journeys across a variety of levels and enjoys spectacularly distinct game environments.
7 Levels Are Based on Real World Locations
For the most part in its history, the Super Mario franchise has avoided too many references to the real world. Back at the start of his gaming career, Mario was occasionally tied to a loose backstory involving working as a plumber in Brooklyn, before being sucked down a warp pipe into the Mushroom Kingdom. Whether this is still canon or not is anyone’s guess, but players may be about to see some more believable, grounded world designs.
In addition to New Donk City, a world that’s clearly inspired by New York City, there’s a dusty Mexican town for Mario to explore, and a world that looks an awful lot like the Egyptian pyramids. This continues a trend which started with Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U, in which Mario and his friends visit real world locations – in the racing game, it’s a stylized version of San Francisco, complete with trams, a harbor, and plenty of hills.
It seems that Nintendo is increasingly placing Mario in places that resemble the real world (with a peculiar fondness for the North American continent). How far this new trend will go in Odyssey remains to be seen.
6 Bowser is Trying to Marry Peach
While Nintendo’s designers are clearly trying to do some new and innovative things with Super Mario Odyssey, it’s pretty clear that there’s a specific line that the team aren’t willing to cross. Mario’s world may be bigger and more expansive, and he might gain new powers to face off against novel enemies, but if there’s one thing that’s at the heart of every core Mario title, it’s a damsel in distress.
Up to his old tricks, Bowser has decided to kidnap Princess Peach in an attempt to claim her as his possession. It’s up to Mario to rescue the Princess before Bowser can forcibly marry the heir to the Mushroom Kingdom, for whatever nefarious purpose.
Bowser’s swanky morning suit isn’t just for the sake of looking spiffy at the wedding ceremony – the trailer shows that he’s able to throw his top hat as a weapon, just like Mario. No doubt this will lead to a tense battle between the pair as they show off their respective hat tossing abilities in the field of combat.
5 Mario Has a Hat-Shaped Spaceship
Building upon the lore from the popular Super Mario Galaxy games for the Wii, the trailer for Super Mario Odyssey shows Mario travelling from world to world in a custom spaceship. This time around, fittingly for the general theme of gameplay, this spaceship is shaped like a top hat.
This might suggest that Mario and Bowser’s hats are both aliens of some kind – creatures who coincidentally look like headwear and who don’t mind behind thrown around by the people they’re sitting on. If this is the case, it’s possible to think of Mario in this game as receiving karmic retribution for all the times he’s ridden his friend Yoshi. Now, finally, the tables have turned, and Mario is the noble steed to a sentient hat alien.
Whatever the point of the relationship between the two, it’s clear that, unlike Breath of the Wild with its large, seamlessly connected game world, Odyssey is split up into chunks, with Mario’s hat spaceship acting as a hub from which he can select a level. It’s a far cry from Peach’s castle in Super Mario 64 or Isle Delfino in Super Mario Sunshine, but this is likely because of the size of the new game, and the number of different worlds within the game.
4 Vegetable Throwing is Back in Fashion
Any serious Nintendo fan will eagerly tell you that the English language Super Mario Bros 2 is a completely different game to Super Mario Bros 2 in Japan. The game, which features Mario and his friends plucking vegetables from the ground to throw at enemies, was originally titled Doki Doki Panic in Japan, and came with an Arabian Nights theme.
The mechanic of throwing vegetables hasn’t returned in any serious fashion since Super Mario Bros USA (as the game is known in Japan), but footage from the trailer shows Mario carrying a large turnip above his head, seemingly aiming to throw it into a boiling soup pot.
It’s unclear whether this means that, in one or more levels, Mario will be throwing veggies like in Super Mario Bros 2. This might be the case, although it’s just as likely that this is a set piece designed for a specific mission within the game. Whatever’s up, though, Mario will be able to pick up and throw some vegetables at one point in Super Mario Odyssey.
3 There are Loads of New Enemies
A team of shady-looking rabbits aren’t the only new enemies that Mario will face in this game. In addition to the return of classic foes, Mario will also go up against a whole host of new opponents, including tiny tanks that fire projectiles at the plumber.
The inclusion of these bad guys makes sense – after all, with Mario able to use his hat as a projectile, it’s logical that he’ll also have to face enemies with similar long-range weapons. This does, however, dramatically change the way that the game plays, as it’s less about getting up close and personal with potential threats, and more about strategically eliminating opponents from a safe distance while they’re facing the wrong way and are unable to respond in kind.
The new enemies also mean that the game’s larger world won’t feel like simply more of the same. In a similar way to how the SNES game Super Mario World builds a larger game out of a new and interesting enemies, Super Mario Odyssey will introduce novel threats to make the game’s larger scope feel justified.
2 It’ll Be Out in Time for Christmas
Make no mistake about this: Nintendo wants Super Mario Odyssey to be this year’s big holiday hit.
It might seem strange to launch a new console like the Switch in March instead of during the busier retail period of the year, but it seems that Nintendo has made this decision deliberately, and could be holding back on releasing Super Mario Odyssey until they feel enough of their die hard fans have already bought the system.
When December rolls around, Nintendo are expecting Switch consoles, alongside this new game in their star Mario franchise, to sell tremendously well. This will be good news both for those who already have a Switch, and for those who will pick one up specifically for Odyssey.
The more units Nintendo can sell between now and Christmas, the more demand there will be for games on the console, and the more third party developers will get involved with the Switch. Super Mario Odyssey is part of Nintendo’s big strategy to win Christmas 2017 with the must-have gift, and at this point, it seems like there’s a good chance they might achieve their goals.
Super Mario Odyssey is designed as more than just a game for hardcore fans. While longtime Nintendo customers will get something special out of the game’s many hidden Easter Eggs, references, and throwbacks to older games, this new expansive sandbox platformer is similarly designed for players who’ve never tried anything in the series before.
With large open worlds, plenty of fresh new ideas, and classic Super Mario platforming, Nintendo is preparing a game that will no doubt make a lot of people very happy. What’s going to be most interesting, though, is being able to use the Switch’s portability to take these large levels out and about on the go, making the handheld/console hybrid more accessible, and helping this Mario title to potentially become the most widely played of all the games in the franchise.
There’s no way yet of knowing whether Super Mario Odyssey will live up to fan expectations. Making another title that’s as popular and enjoyable as Super Mario 64 is a tall order, but considering the new lease on life that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has given Nintendo, there’s a good chance that the company is up to the challenge.