This year has had many wild rumors and claims about Nintendo, yet another one has just been added to the pile. Twitter user Sharito742 claims that they have gotten a hot tip that SquareEnix and Nintendo are teaming up for a sequel to Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Supposedly, Nintendo will bring the original Super Mario RPG to Switch Online, and once they do so, they will announce Super Mario RPG 2. As per their standard practice, Nintendo and SquareEnix have refused to comment on this rumor.
Usually, a rumor like this wouldn’t be worth reporting. It doesn’t contain a lot of information and is entirely unverified. Sharito742 doesn’t have a track-record with leaks. And honestly, this rumor has a very “My Uncle Who Works at Nintendo said” feel to it. Except with the sudden stealth drops, it genuinely feels all bets are off in terms of what Nintendo could release.
That being said, is this plausible at all?
The Case Against Super Mario RPG 2
Again, this is a completely unverified rumor from an anonymous source with no track record. At first glance, I’m inclined to dismiss this rumor out of hand. While it’s certainly not impossible for someone to have gotten a hot tip from somewhere, this one sounds too good to be true. Especially in the wake of dissatisfaction with Paper Mario: The Origami King.
The story of the original game was very self-contained and tied up nicely. There weren’t that much in the way of dangling plot threads that need tying up. Nintendo also has two other Mario RPG series: the Mario and Luigi series and the Paper Mario series. While both of these series have their roots in Legend of the Seven Stars, they have evolved into different things, unique in their own right, and well-beloved by their respective fans. Bringing back a SquareEnix developed Mario RPG would seem redundant at first glance.
SquareEnix and Nintendo are not the Squaresoft and Nintendo of the Nineties. In the heyday of the NES and SNES, Square and Nintendo had a very close relationship, bringing us many amazing games. But due to conflicts over censorship issues and technical limitations, Squaresoft and Enix were both pretty quick to jump onto the Playstation bandwagon when the PSX was first getting released. Nintendo didn’t appreciate that with the mammoth success that Final Fantasy VII brought to that platform. While SquareEnix has since released things on Nintendo platforms, they don’t seem as close as they once were.
The Case For Super Mario RPG 2
All of these factors would lead you to toss this rumor into the “Nope” pile pretty conclusively. But could there be more to it? Well, let’s put on our tinfoil hats for a minute and take a second look.
Nintendo had two RPG series for the iconic Italian plumber, the futures of both are in jeopardy. Last year, Alpha Dreams, the developer behind the Mario and Luigi series, closed its doors for financial reasons. This certainly doesn’t mean the series is dead, but this causes drastic shake-ups to the series itself.
As for Paper Mario, series producer, Kensuke Tanabe, has repeatedly stated that their team was deliberately trying to get away from RPG mechanics. Originally, this was because Mario and Luigi existed, and Nintendo wanted a way to differentiate the two series. With Mario and Luigi’s future in doubt, that explanation holds less water than it once did.
In the wake of Origami King‘s release, there have been many complaints about how the series still isn’t returning to its RPG roots. Tanabe has stated that he has heard these complaints and has chosen to go down a different path. While it would be impossible to pander to every Paper Mario fan out there, it seems odd that a producer would publicly take the stance of going against most of the fans.
Perhaps Tanabe knows something that Nintendo has up their sleeve, and he is trying to keep Paper Mario unique and appeal to a different crowd. That thing could be a Super Mario RPG sequel.
While SquareEnix and Nintendo aren’t exclusive partners anymore, we have seen evidence that they are getting friendlier towards each other. For example, we’ve gained Cloud in Smash Bros., which always struck me as odd, given that Cloud is one of the most triumphant examples of how the PSX trounced the N64’s console sales back in the ’90s. But perhaps it was a way of quietly showing us gamers that Nintendo and Square had extended an olive branch and were willing to work together on bigger and better things.
It certainly seems valid in the Switch era. While SquareEnix has been no stranger to releasing its games to multiple platforms, they have been releasing more big-name games on Nintendo first. One of the notable ones was Octopath Traveler. It was exclusive to the Nintendo Switch for about a year before getting a release to Windows. Although Dragon Quest XI was not released on the Switch first, the Definitive Edition was.
At the end of the day, Super Mario RPG 2 sounds too good to be true. There isn’t much evidence in either direction, but the case for it requires making a lot of assumptions.
However, I would be happy to be wrong. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was one of my first Eastern RPG experiences and is a classic. 2020 has been a year of unpredictability. Who knows? Perhaps this is yet another one of those weird rumors that, against all odds, winds up being true.
Whether this one winds up being real or fiction, you can be assured that I will definitely be keeping an eye on this story as it develops.