We've been looking ahead at Nintendo's plans for 2018 a whole lot lately. We've also been as tense as hunted rabbits while listening for possible word of an impending Nintendo Direct presentation in January.
We've speculated about potential new entries in classic series like Smash Bros, The Legend of Zelda series, and Pokémon. But we also want Nintendo to continue building up the innovative ideas it dished out while attempting to kindle some heat for the Wii U. That said, it's time to ask: What's next for Super Mario Maker?
Nintendo's follow-up to Mario Paint on the SNES gives you a wide selection of tools and tiles to build your own Super Mario game with (which earned the game an alternate title on the internet: "Super Mario Build It Your Own Damn Self if You're So Fucking Smart"). There are a few titles on the market that double as game-builders, and Super Mario Maker on Wii U is arguably the finest. Its interface is clean and friendly, it's incredibly easy to use, and sharing levels makes it simple to garner feedback on your work.
But Miiverse is dead, and by extension, so is a vital part of Mario Maker's community. A Nintendo Switch-based follow-up to the Wii U title seems inevitable. Over on the Nintendo subreddit, "Bleus4" even opened a thread asking redditors what they'd like to see in "Super Mario Maker 2." At the time of this writing, the thread's garnered 1024 comments and suggestions, as well as sizable wish-lists.
When you narrow down the noise, many of the wishes boil down to a handful of suggestions:
The #1 want on nearly everyone's Super Mario Maker 2 list seems to be the option to add slopes and hills-the uneven terrain that makes Super Mario Bros 3 so much more interesting and complex than its predecessors. It's a solid wish, but unfortunately, it's not easily granted. "Speaking as a programmer, slopes are WAY more complex than simple blocks," writes redditor KevinCow. "One of the first things I learned when I started making games is that collision gets really complicated really fast when you try to do anything beyond rectangles interacting with rectangles."
Well, if anyone's up for the challenge, it's Nintendo.
Super Mario Maker supports horizontal level-building, but it's lacking for vertical options. Vaulting Mario into the sky isn't an unrealistic wish for Super Mario Maker 2; after all, the high-climbing Doki Doki Panic / Super Mario Bros 2 was built specifically to break away from Super Mario Bros' flat terrain. Vertical levels in Super Mario Maker 2 will also give us a reason to play more with the Propeller Mushroom, which, as redditor josguil notes, "[Doesn't] shine as it should" in Super Mario Maker.
Though text boxes are a popular suggestion for Super Mario Maker 2, they're also a controversial one. When mainline Mario games use text, it's usually to convey very short and simple messages. In fact, when ROM hacking became a thing in the late '90s and early Aughts, people's tendency to attach clumsy, rambling, and sometimes offensive text to classic Mario adventures got old quickly. Just imagine hundreds of thousands of downloadable attempts at edgelord visual novels wherein Mario says the F-word over and over. Now, if Nintendo wants to give us a Super Mario RPG Maker, I'd rethink my position.
A wider range of game style palettes
It's great that Super Mario Maker offers sprites and tile sets from Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros, but we haven't reached the bottom of the well. There's a definite demand for Super Mario Bros 2-style sprites, as well as a demand for enemies that operate on Super Mario Bros 2's unique ruleset (e.g. un-stompable enemies that can only be laid flat by projectiles). If that's too complicated, can we at least gain access to the delightful crayon-scribble style born of Yoshi's Island?
A wider range of costumes / skins
The costumes in Super Mario Maker are tons of fun, but they're also surprisingly limited. Each costume is restricted to 8-bits, and that's a little disappointing. Let these esteemed visitors dress up in 16- and- 32-bits, Nintendo!
More playable characters; not just Mario in Bowser's clothing
In the same vein, we'd love for Super Mario Maker 2 to let us design levels around other Mario characters and their quirks. Costumed Marios are fun, but they're not a replacement for the real article. Let Peach float. Let Bowser stomp. Let Luigi live. As redditor GameOfBugs writes, "No Luigi outside of SMB1 Amiibo costumes [is] practically a war crime."
A music editor
Super Mario Maker is clearly proud of its roots in Mario Paint, so where's its music editor? Long before Super Mario Maker was even thought of, people composed their own chiptunes and clever digital covers of their favorite songs. Now that chiptunes are part of the mainstream music scene, it makes sense to let people dabble in constructing them and create a truly personal Mario experience. It'd be fun and educational!
Local multiplayer options
We've already dabbled in ideas that'd be difficult to program into Super Mario Maker 2, so let's go whole-hog and suggest something truly monstrous: Four-player local co-op. You know, the very same feature that makes New Super Mario Bros Wii and New Super Mario World a lawless Hellscape. Imagine sending your friends and loved ones to their repeated deaths in a candy-colored torture chamber of your own design. Ohhh yes.
A very sensible suggestion from our very own Caty. If Super Mario Maker 2 comes to the Switch, it's probably not going to be a very fun experience without a stylus to use on the touch screen. It's hard to lay down bricks exactly how you want them if you're just using your fat, chunky meat-stick of a finger (well, that's just me speaking from experience).
The ability to make worlds / maps
For me, seeing the Grass Land overworld map for the first time in Super Mario Bros 3 really drilled home how big Super Mario Bros 3 is next to its predecessors. I still think the Mario series' world maps add a lot of personality and charm to each game: I still dig those dancin' palm trees in Desert Land. I want to make maps, Nintendo, even if my ineptitude in game design means they'll lead nowhere at best, and into valleys of flame at worst.