Bringing back a beloved classic is all the rage nowadays. Be it a forgotten title that needs more attention or a famous game that hasn’t been available for some time, remakes and remasters give players a chance to experience a past title for the first time. It also lets long-time fans play the game again, albeit with a new twist or enhanced gameplay. And Super Mario RPG is the latest title getting such a remake.
Announced at this summer’s Nintendo Direct, this classic title developed by Square Enix and published by Nintendo has been a hot candidate for a remake. Fans have wanted a sequel to this game for ages. Now that it’s been long enough, those who played it just want it back in the limelight.
The trailer came as a surprising but joyous announcement for longtime SMRPG fans. As a full remake of a beloved spin-off, fans are hopeful that Nintendo will deliver on an experience that honors the original. With revised gameplay, a full HD-3D art style, and the same story, the Super Mario RPG remake is poised to dazzle us once again.
This title is set to launch on Nov. 17 exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. Before it launches, here’s everything you need to know about this classic RPG remake.
The history of Super Mario RPG
It can’t be understated how big of a deal Super Mario RPG was in the ’90s. Square Enix and Nintendo had been great allies during the early part of the decade. Nintendo’s consoles were the home of the Final Fantasy series and several other Square titles until the end of the SNES era. Although Square later jumped to the PlayStation ship, it had one big title left in store: Super Mario RPG.
This was the first time Mario stepped foot into the realm of RPGs, having already started his kart-racing, doctoring, and artistry side careers by this point. A full-blown RPG was a daunting task, but Square Enix was more than up to the challenge.
Released in 1996, Super Mario RPG gained positive reviews and was financially successful, even with the burgeoning Nintendo 64 fresh in people’s minds. Talks of a sequel eventually faded once Square Enix moved to the PlayStation. However, Intelligent Systems and AlphaDream later took up the mantle, leading to the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series, respectively.
Despite almost fading into obscurity (for the mainstream, at least), SMRPG fans have kept the game alive. They’ve wanted a follow-up to the game for years. It’s no wonder why Geno was one of the most-requested fighters for Super Smash Bros. Although Nintendo kept quiet on the game for years, the reveal of the Super Mario RPG remake assured fans that they haven’t forgotten about their SNES classic.
Beware the forest’s mushrooms
The Super Mario RPG remake follows the same story as the original game. It’s doubtful that Nintendo will deviate from the original story, except possibly some small changes in the script or additional side content.
In a twist that will shock absolutely no one, the game begins with Bowser kidnapping Princess Peach. Yet in the midst of rescuing her, Mario is rattled by the invasion of the Smithy Gang, villains intent on taking over the Mushroom Kingdom and taking control of Star Road, the place where wishes come from. Mario sets off on his journey to gather the seven Star Pieces, which will help him repair Star Road for good.
Along the way, he encounters a few companions that join him on his quest. Mallow, a “tadpole” mage with something to prove, and Geno, a Star Spirit inhabiting the body of a child’s doll, are two new characters that become vital allies. Along the way, Princess Peach and even Bowser become essential party members. This team of five will stop at nothing to push the Smithy Gang out of the Mushroom Kingdom.
Strap on your boots once again
At its foundation, the gameplay appears more or less the same as the original title. Super Mario RPG gives you traditional turn-based battles with a Mario twist, incorporating Mario’s jumping and special moves from games past. With the full 3D engine, though, it’s possible for battles and cutscenes to have far more flair and action in their camera shots. So classic moments will be rendered a little more cinematically.
Action Commands are the biggest returning feature, which the SNES game pioneered. By hitting the A button in various ways during a special attack, your party members can enhance their power. You can also use Action Commands to defend against enemy attacks by timing your button presses right. It’ll be well-familiar to you if you’ve played any other Mario RPG.
One of the more interesting changes to the gameplay is the addition of a gauge that builds up as you perform Action Commands. This gauge, apparently called the Action Gauge, works best with chained attacks and can apparently be used when it’s filled up. We don’t know the exact function of this yet, but it’s possible that this will be tied to special moves or provides your party with an in-battle boost.
It should be noted that Chihiro Fujioka, the director of the original game, is not returning for the remake. Apparently, he was surprised at the remake’s announcement, but is pleased with the results so far.
3D art, retro feel
The iconic look of Super Mario RPG was going to be difficult to replicate in 3D. Its pre-rendered graphics and isometric view are emblematic of the era, but also give this game a distinct look. With the benefit of modern technology, of course, this art style isn’t cutting-edge. So how would Nintendo render a remake of this game with Nintendo Switch hardware?
As it turns out, it’s a simple transition. The game features a full 3D look in its character models and environments. But everything looks very small and cute, almost as if it’s the original 3D renders polished up and made to move around. Considering how much that original art style adds to SMRPG’s charm, completely overhauling the graphics would’ve been a poor idea.
Just as iconic as the graphics, however, is the soundtrack. Yoko Shimamura is a composer well-known to RPG fans, and her bouncy and energetic compositions for SMRPG are some of the best in the series. Shimamura is returning to re-arrange her soundtrack for the remake, so if nothing else, the game will sound the part.
When is the Super Mario RPG remake coming out?
We won’t have to wait much longer for the Super Mario RPG remake. This game, developed and published by Nintendo, launches on November 17, 2023 for the Nintendo Switch. Pre-order information isn’t available yet, though we know the game will cost $59.99 USD.
Given the up-in-the-air state of Mario’s other RPG series, this remake will hopefully serve as the start of a second wave of role-playing Mario titles. If nothing else, the success of the Mario movie and the announcement of Super Mario Bros. Wonder shows that the Mario name is still going strong. Although, of course, that was never really in doubt.
What do you think of the Super Mario RPG remake? What other classic Mario spin-offs are you hoping get the remake treatment? Let us know!