Nintendo's Switch reveal included several games likely targeting release on the new console, including a new Mario game that may feature an open world.
Earlier today, Nintendo debuted the Nintendo Switch, the studio’s new home venture into the world of gaming, via a 3-minute trailer. The trailer was mostly intended to show off the functionality of the Switch, which can double as either a home console or mobile handheld with a few slides, but it also included some brief looks at upcoming Switch games. Among them was a new Mario game that, up until now, has only been a rumor.
We know very little about this Mario game at this point, but it’s hard to miss the character amidst all the action. Visually the game looks impressive and far beyond what the franchise has offered before, but obviously nothing about the footage is final. For all we know the gameplay could be a tech demo not unlike the Legend of Zelda CG face-off Nintendo used to hype up the GameCube.
In the pantheon of Nintendo games few mascots stand out as Mario so it only makes sense that the red cap-wearing plumber make an appearance during a console reveal. However, Mario’s appearance during the Switch reveal didn’t feature the traditional amount of fanfare. Instead whatever new Mario game viewers were seeing was not even highlighted as a Mario game.
Obviously that was by design but it also leaves a lot of questions about what this new Mario game might be. Considering it was included with the Nintendo Switch console reveal it seems a safe bet that Nintendo is trying to make it a launch title, but even that might not be the case. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild could easily be the system seller Nintendo needs, and then this Mario could help push additional console sales in the fall.
The bigger question, though, is what this new Mario game will look like. The footage shown in the trailer was likely meant to impress with its visuals, but we couldn’t help noticing the implication this game might be open world. Mario has always had a type of hub world from which players can select levels, but this could be the first game that truly moves Mario into the seamless open world space. Nintendo is already doing a similar thing with Zelda's open world so it isn’t too far fetched to imagine Mario employing a similar route.
Outside that it will be a lot of guessing with Mario, but hopefully Nintendo will have more to say about the title in the months leading up to the launch of the Nintendo Switch. It wouldn’t be a console launch without a Mario so it’s refreshing to see Nintendo’s number 1 mascot make an appearance right out of the gate.
Nintendo Switch releases March 2017.