Paper Mario May Continue to Stray From its RPG Roots

What’s Next for Mario?

Over Mario’s long history we’ve seen the characters turn up in countless genres. From the traditional platformers to racing to sport, and even to survival horror in the Luigi’s Mansion series.

The Paper Mario series began as a traditional RPG series, but in recent entries for the Wii U and Nintendo Switch the games have proven more divisive, straying from the RPG formula and focusing more on action and accessibility.

The latest entry- Paper Mario: The Origami King- follows in this tradition. There’s still RPG elements, but rather than traditional turn-based combat, for example, we instead get a ring-based combat system.

Despite the divisive combat system, the recent games have still received a level of critical praise typical for the Mario games.

What’s next for Mario? Well, the producer doesn’t seem to know. During a recent interview with Eurogamer Germany Kensuke Tanabe, who first took over producing duties in 2007’s Super Paper Mario, had this to say:

“When developing Paper Mario: Sticker Star, one of our goals was to move away a bit from the traditional RPG style. Nintendo has another RPG series starring Mario and we wanted to distance ourselves from it by making an adventure game with a focus on solving puzzles.

“Even though we’ve stuck to that decision so far, we haven’t decided yet whether or not we will keep doing so in the future. Personally speaking, I want to keep developing Paper Mario games that are both innovative and unique.”

The new direction may not be something everyone likes, but innovation has been a staple for the Mario franchise since its inception. At this point a return to the series’ roots might be a refreshing change but, as Tanabe said, there’s already another Mario RPG series.

Ultimately, we won’t know about the gameplay or combat system of a future Paper Mario game until a much later date but, whether or not it does return to the series’ roots as a turn-based RPG, we can expect the series to continue the innovation that’s made Mario a household name.

What’s your favorite Mario game, and why is it Super Mario 64? Let us know!