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Why Paper Mario: The Origami King Means More Than You Realized

The recent announcement of Paper Mario: The Origami King was an exciting moment for Super Mario fans. The Paper Mario series is a favorite among fans of Nintendo's adventurous plumber and his friends. The first game continues to be a fan favorite for taking the formula of Super Mario RPG and adding the unique 2D visual style that has become a hallmark of the Paper Mario franchise. At the time of its release, GameSpot said, "Not only is Paper Mario a tender bit of nostalgia to anyone who misses the good old days, but it is also a shining example of what Nintendo does best."

However, there may be more reasons to be excited than simply the return of a beloved spin-off series. The announcement of The Origami King lends credence to several other rumors we've heard in recent months. 

As we've reported previously, this year marks the 35th anniversary of the Super Mario Bros. franchise. As such, it has been rumored that Nintendo is planning to celebrate the anniversary in a big way. One of the most frequent rumors we've heard is that Nintendo is putting together a remastered collection of multiple classic Mario games, such as Super Mario GalaxySuper Mario Sunshine and Super Mario 64. Another one of the rumors was that a new Paper Mario game was to be released this year.

Well, in the months since we heard that rumor, fans have seemingly received confirmation of remasters of both Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario 64 being in the works. And now, obviously, we know that there's a new Paper Mario game on its way. 

There are other reasons to believe that Paper Mario: The Origami King is just the start of something bigger. For instance, the very nature of The Origami King's announcement has also been praised. Rather than making a big to-do over the game's reveal with a Nintendo Direct or some other large build-up, Nintendo announced The Origami King almost casually. 

As Digital Trends' Lisa Marie Zegarra put it, "for Paper Mario, Nintendo ditched the Direct entirely. It's a strategy the Japanese game company has used periodically, but it remains a smart one nonetheless. This straightforward approach leaves Nintendo free to focus on what actually matters: Making games people love."

This is a great point, and it lends further credence to the idea that Paper Mario may indeed simply be one part of Nintendo's larger plan for this year. 

Nintendo and Sega are both celebrating major milestones for their flagship characters this year. Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog, which Sega has promised to celebrate in style. In the build up to Sonic's 30th birthday, Sega has made smaller announcements and releases to mark the occasion. Among these is the release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Nintendo Switch, a port that notably reinstated Knuckles the Echidna as a playable character. Also, let us not forget that Sonic the Hedgehog also starred in a wildly popular movie earlier this year. Much like the rumors surrounding a Mario HD collection, there have been rumblings of a massive Sonic game collection of some kind being currently in the works. 

While many video game companies have seen setbacks in their production and marketing schedules due to the coronavirus outbreak, it appears that the Mario celebration is more or less on track. As mentioned previously, we know for sure that remasters of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine are in the pipeline (no pun intended), but some of the other details we have heard have yet to be corroborated. Still, the confirmation of the new Paper Mario installment seems to be pretty close to a confirmation of the rumors we've heard in the past.

Super Mario Sunshine was subject to something of a lukewarm reception when it was first released. However, in the years since, the game has gone on to become beloved by Super Mario fans for just how outside of the box its gameplay mechanics are when compared to the rest of the series. In fact, the game was one of the subjects of an interesting mod a few months ago called Super Mario Sunshine 64. As the title would imply, that mod was a mash-up of the first few stages of Super Mario Sunshine with the graphics engine of Super Mario 64. The results are a nostalgic dream come true, albeit one that is a little too brief.

In other words, it feels like the time is right for these remastered collections. It would certainly be a great way for Nintendo to celebrate 35 years of Mario. Paper Mario: The Origami King is coming up fast and will be released in July, so hopefully we will hear something more definitive regarding these remasters in the coming months.