Super Mario 128 and Super Mario 64 2 Explained
Re-posted on Feb 9, 2019 - An excellent report originally written by SM128C's former assistant webmaster TW on August 1, 2003 looking back at the hoopla regarding Super Mario 64 2 and Super Mario 128 - neither of which ever came to fruition.
"What comes next? Super Mario 128? Actually, that's what I want to do... (laughs)."
- Shigeru Miyamoto, January 1997
A Sequel to the greatest game of 1996?
April 1996: A revolution in Video gaming. Super Mario 64 was released on the unsuspecting Japanese public, and over the next year over the rest of the world. This game was praised all over as it was a revolution in gaming. Yes, there had been 3D games produced before, but not one so smooth, colourful and genuinely fun to play. Unfortunately for the rest of the N64's life no further Mario games of a similar style were released on the Nintendo 64 system. We had several games featuring Mario such as Mario Kart 64, the three Paper Mario games, and Golf and Tennis, only the RPG Paper Mario provided a genuine Mario Adventure game.
Through all this there was the very real possibility of a "Super Mario 64 II" - why not create a sequel to what, was then one of the greatest games of all time? This was probably being produced behind closed doors inside Nintendo EAD supervised by the 'god of gaming', Shigeru Miyamoto. Real rumors of this game began after his 1997 'joke' about Mario 128 and a conformation by Shigsy himself in two interviews in 1998, in June and November.
"It was left on my desk in the middle of development. It's a matter of priorities. Once we get down to working on the game, I think it will be finished fairly quickly. We already prepared the sequel like Yoshi's Story. But we are emphasizing our effort toward an unaccountable game or a game that we have to build from ground zero. "
- Shigeru Miyamoto when asked about Mario 64 II, June 1998
So does "Super Mario 128" Actually exist?
In this last quote Miyamoto talks about that [in 1998] he is building a new game from the ground up; and it is not a simple sequel like Yoshi's Story was to Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. When it re-surfaced in November 1998, Miyamoto mentioned that it would be put back to a new game system, which became later known as "Project Dolphin".
"Well, for over a year now at my desk, a prototype program of Luigi and Mario has been running on my monitor. We've been thinking about the game, and it may be something that could work on a completely new game system. "
- Shigeru Miyamoto on Mario 64 II, November 1998
It is entirely possible Miyamoto may be referring to Super Mario Sunshine in many of these quotes here, but as we all know, Luigi was not in Super Mario Sunshine so it seems implausible. In Super Mario 128, we may see a return of the "Mario Brothers" that has been emphasised with the selectable Luigi Character in the Super Mario Advance Series of ports. To finally prove that another Mario project exists, we can see this quote from Miyamoto after E3.
"In the case of Mario obviously we were doing work on the Mario 128 demo that we were showing at Spaceworld, and separately we were doing work on experiments that we made into Mario Sunshine.."
- Shigeru Miyamoto, May 2003
A more mature Mario
"I'd like people to think that the new Mario for Dolphin is something that they've never seen before. That's what I'm thinking about right now. I think I can make an entirely new game experience, and if I can't do it, some other game designer will. I'd like to make a new Mario game that appeals to everyone, full of interesting new ideas. If it turns out that Mario doesn't really fit into the type of game I want, I wouldn't mind using Zelda as the basis of the new game."
- Shigeru Miyamoto, January 2000
In this new world of gaming, "post-GTA3" as one analyst put it recently, the Mario franchise itself does not seem to make the waves it did many years ago. Super Mario Sunshine was well received, but on the face of it seems a childish game to the uneducated - bright colours, a water pack gun etc. Super Mario Sunshine did not seem to travel far from the Super Mario 64 formula; it may even seem like it has taken a step back with shorter levels, and many of the shines relying on tedious blue coin collecting. I must also criticise the easiness of the final boss fight, with (spoiler) a mere three ground pounds taking the "in-bath" Bowser down.
Miyamoto talked in January 2000 about how he wanted to create a whole new gaming experience for the next Mario game. Super Mario Sunshine did not seem to be this whole new experience, as I said before it seems to be "SM64-lite with pretty graphics". Miyamoto said he wishes to create "a new Mario game that appeals to everyone, full of interesting new ideas." - and I believe this is what Super Mario 128 will be about, a new Mario experience.
In June 2003 a rumour surfaced that "Apparently, it was decided not to show [Mario 128] at the recent E3 because Mario 128 contains new ideas so innovative that Nintendo wants to keep them secret until the game gets closer to completion." Hopefully this proves true, and Nintendo will provide the definitive Mario experience that people want, and can appeal to everyone.
"Talking now about Mario 128, we haven't come to the specific point yet where we have determined how the Mario character will look. I don't plan to create any shockwaves - I'm just always thinking about making perfect gameplay "
- Shigeru Miyamoto, February 2003
Miyamoto says he does not wish to create any shockwaves with the Mario character in this pre-E3 statement. At E3 Nintendo stated that 'Mario will never start shooting hookers' - so no deliberate attempts to be Mature will be used. However it is possible Miyamoto may take Mario down the Zelda route (as he stated in a 2000 interview) for Mario 128 for its styling; as he said he wishes to create a Mario experience which appeals to everyone - putting Mario in a more dynamic environment would really help the franchise, away from the "all done before" features of Isle Delfino. One of the largest problems with Super Mario Sunshine was its lack of diversity (done brilliantly in Super Mario 64) and hopefully there will be a return to this
"As for Mario Sunshine, it would be very easy to take the Sunshine engine and create a sequel to that but really right now what we're focussing on is what really is fun, and how can we take that and find a way to make it accessible to a much broader audience."
- Shigeru Miyamoto, May 2003
If all goes well, this game should be released before the next-generation system is out, as recently it has been said that in-house development times have been shortened. From what has been said and rumoured by Miyamoto and other sources; Super Mario 128 (or whatever the final name may be) should deliver the experience that perhaps should have been along with the launch of the GameCube. A new, innovative (like Super Mario 64), fun (like the 2D Mario games) and appealing experience. Let us all hope they pull it off.