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Super Mario Sunshine 2: Will we ever get a sequel?

Believe it or not, it has been a full 18 years since Super Mario Sunshine was released for the GameCube. The 3D platformer featured everyone's favorite little Italian plumber as he worked his way through Isle Delfino trying to clear his name after Bowser Jr., posing as a Shadow Mario, stole the Shine Sprites and covered the area in toxic slime.

Super Mario Sunshine distinguished itself from other Mario games with unusual gameplay thanks to the use of the FLUDD water blaster to clean up the island. Nintendo producer Takashi Tezuka said at the time, "We were working on a concept of gameplay using a water pump. After some trial-and-error we decided to apply it to the Mario franchise." Its resort-like setting on a dolphin-shaped island also set it apart. The game is known for its lively charm, beautiful graphics, and sheer fun.

Although it had a slow start and its appearance on the GameCube limited its audience (both its predecessor, the Nintendo 64, and its successor, the Nintendo Wii, sold better), Super Mario Sunshine eventually became a well-loved game. It has now sold 6.31 million copies and places consistently on lists of fan-favorite Mario titles.

If you check out comment threads and other online sources there's a definitely yearning out there for more of this title. So, why has there never been a follow-up to Super Mario Sunshine?

The demand for Super Mario Sunshine 2 definitely exists

Over the years, The desire for more Super Mario Sunshine has manifested in different ways. For example, there have been previous reports of Super Mario Sunshine 2 already. One listing on the Fantendo Fandom site details a sequel that was earmarked to release in 2014 for a console system that obviously never materialized called the Nintendo Comet. This game, subtitled Return to Delfino, was expected to include eight new courses and take some cues from Super Mario Galaxy. Um, sure.

And in 2020, some modders mashed Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine into a playable retro project. Super Mario Sunshine 64 allows players to re-experience the first three levels.

Nintendo hasn't been above teasing fans, either. In a Twitter post from summer 2019, the company posted an image of Mario, looking as though he's enjoying a tropical vacation, with a caption that said, "No matter where your summer odyssey took you, we hope it was filled with sunshine!" A-ha! Two games hinted at in one post? You can imagine the excitement, which hasn't yet turned into any official news.

A Super Mario Sunshine remaster is coming

Nintendo has made big plans for Mario's 35th anniversary in 2020. VGC reported this includes the release of remastered versions of old classics. Games rumored to receive this treatment are Super Mario 64 from 1996, Super Mario Galaxy from 2007, and Super Mario Sunshine. For fans who haven't played these games in many years, this is good news. It'll allow a new generation of gamers to discover (or re-discover) several of the great Mario games of the past.

Nintendo has also announced, more officially, the release of a new Super Mario game for the Switch: Paper Mario: The Origami King. So there's definitely life in the brand, and these games will be a welcome addition to the Nintendo lineup. There are plenty of Mario games available right now for the Switch, but many are re-releases from previous generations like New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, or don't really satisfy the itch for a traditional Mario platformer (not that anyone should complain about the availability of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe).

The odds aren't good for Super Mario Sunshine 2

When it comes to actually reasoning out whether or not Nintendo might release Super Mario Sunshine 2, most industry watchers aren't too optimistic. They point to the fact that even the creators didn't appear too terribly thrilled about the game's mechanics, which weren't created for a specific Mario game in the first place. Also, Super Mario Sunshine didn't sell all that well, comparatively. The fun of spraying water at graffiti doesn't really have the same appeal as capturing enemies or bouncing off planets, as in Super Mario Galaxy. It's more likely that Super Mario Odyssey might be chosen for the sequel treatment.

Besides, it's not as if players will ever see a dearth of Super Mario games. When it comes to specific "franchises" featuring Nintendo's mascot, they've always been part of a holistic body of work not limited to its numbered subsets of games. Super Mario Sunshine was considered the successor to Super Mario 64, for example. So while fans may not see Super Mario Sunshine anytime soon, it's a sure bet that great Super Mario games are not far off into the future, and he'll always be a mainstay of the Nintendo brand.