If you boot up the enhanced Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions remake this week, you might be surprised to know that a familiar face won't have his cameo this time around.
According to reports, this week's release of the 3DS remake of 2003's Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga won't feature Geno's cameo in the Star 'Stach Smash arcade game like he did in the Game Boy Advance version.
In the original 2003 Superstar Saga, Geno appeared in his doll form to give instructions on how to play the arcade game. In the 3DS version however, he's completely missing with nothing taking his place. Instead, the instructions simply pop-up on screen. You can see the differences below in this video from GameXplain.
Geno is a fan favorite in the Super Mario RPG series. So when news of his absence started circulating after the embargo lifted for Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions, fans grieved for their missing puppet.
A few aesthetical changes were made, like Geno being cut, but Superstar Saga's quality makes it, at the least, the best M&L on 3DS.— AntGhost (@antdude92) October 5, 2017
As part of the RPG line of Mario & Luigi games, the original Superstar Saga included little references to the first Mario RPG, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, which was developed by SquareSoft for the SNES. As a result, Square still owns the rights to characters from the Mario RPG, which might explain his absence in the 3DS remake. The agreement between Nintendo and Square-Enix to use the character's likeness either fell through, or wasn't renewed.
Interestingly enough, Geno was partially available in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Although not a proper character, a costume based on Geno was released for the player's Mii Gunner character as DLC, alongside the DLC fighter Cloud Strife and Midgar battle stage. Presumably the whole set of Square characters came as a result of the deal with Square Enix to get its characters in Smash Bros.
We reached out to Nintendo and Square-Enix for an official statement.