After the huge success of Super Mario Odyssey, many fans and journalists speculated that Nintendo might make a direct follow-up. Sequels are rare for 3D Mario games, but it’s not entirely without precedent. Super Mario Galaxy was given a sequel, which suggests it’s possible that Super Mario Odyssey could receive the same treatment. However, in early 2021, Nintendo released an updated port of Super Mario 3D World that included a brand new 3D Mario experience, Bowser’s Fury. Bowser’s Fury took 3D Mario in a new direction, away from Cappy, by bringing back Shines and utilizing elements of Super Mario 3D World. This suggests Nintendo may instead be aiming for Mario’s next 3D adventure to be more similar to this newest iteration of the formula. Where will 3D Mario go next? Do you hope that a new game will be a follow-up to Super Mario Odyssey, Bowser’s Fury, or something completely different?
Ever since Mario burst into 3D with Super Mario 64, the 3D games have continued to break ground for 3D platformers with new and distinctive power-ups, environments, enemies, twists, and challenges. While there have been ports and remasters of the 3D Mario games with updated elements, new games tend to take Mario to new locations and rarely recycle previous power-up items or locations. However, as mentioned, the existence of Super Mario Galaxy 2 lends credence to the idea that Super Mario Odyssey could be revisited.
Super Mario Odyssey took the concept of power-ups and exploded it. By throwing Mario’s hat, Cappy, onto enemies, Mario can capture them and utilize their movesets. While not everything in Super Mario Odyssey is able to be captured in this way, a stunning variety of enemies and objects are, making for some of the most unique and interesting gameplay in 3D Mario history. In addition, tossing the cap provides new movement options for Mario. As the game’s title suggests, the game felt epic and took Mario to all sorts of brand new places, along with some familiar throwbacks. It combined 2D sections in a fun and interesting manner, and provided extra, intense challenges after a player rolls credits. In addition to, if not because of, such innovation, Super Mario Odyssey has sold almost 22 million units, making it the 6th highest selling first party Nintendo game on the Switch. Many people thought Nintendo might add free or paid DLC to give additional areas for Mario to explore in the game, but that never happened, adding fuel to the fire that a sequel might be in the works.
But instead of a sequel, the next 3D Mario game was Bowser’s Fury, a pack-in with the re-release of Super Mario 3D World. Bowser’s Fury took traditional Super Mario power-up items, like the Super Leaf and the Fire Flower, and brought them into an open-world 3D Mario game. The player was free to choose which parts of this world to explore, and the game experimented with a new mechanic in the Giga Bell and kaiju-like battle with Giant Bowser. This short experience showed that a fully open-world 3D Mario game is not only possible, but extremely appealing.
So, as it stands, it seems Nintendo could borrow from either of these recent games to make a new entry, but of course, Nintendo doesn’t have to bring back concepts from just one of these titles. Nintendo could combine the open-world concept of Bowser’s Fury with the capture mechanic from Super Mario Odyssey. In addition, Nintendo might decide to go a completely new route and surprise us with some unexpected curveball in the form of a brand-new adventure for Mario.
Personally, I’m sure I’ll be happy with whatever direction Nintendo takes for the 3D Mario franchise. 3D Mario games are some of my favorite video games of all time, and they rarely, if ever, disappoint me. Bowser’s Fury was a wonderful game, but it was on the short side, and I’m ready to dive into a new full-length game, whatever it is, and wherever it takes Mario.
What about you? Are you hoping that Super Mario Odyssey gets a sequel, or do you have a different vision for the next 3D Mario game? Share your thoughts below or be a part of the discussion on the Boss Rush Discord by scanning the QR code below.