Nintendo's amazing new franchise was almost another Super Mario game

Nintendo’s got a new game franchise and it’s a delight. The game is called “Splatoon,” and it looks like this:

Beyond just being a rad game, “Splatoon” is the first new franchise for a major Nintendo platform in over a decade. And it almost wasn’t. It was almost yet another game from Nintendo starring everyone’s favourite Italian plumber, Super Mario.

The man behind Mario, Donkey Kong, and myriad other gaming classics, Shigeru Miyamoto, told Edge Magazine as much in August 2014:

There were heated debates over who the main player character should be. Whether it should be Mario, or a squid. When we talked about the possibility of it being Mario, of course we could think of the advantages: anybody would be willing to touch it as soon as we announced that we had the new Mario game. But at the same time, we had some worries. If it were Mario, we wouldn’t be able to create any new IP.

Thankfully, cooler heads won out and Super Mario — despite being beloved — was given some time off in Nintendo’s new game. And that was the right decision: Nintendo can’t lean on Mario for everything, and the characters in “Splatoon” are memorable in their own right. Just look at these player-created characters:

More importantly, characters like the Squid Sisters (pictured below) might never have made it into the game. Instead of two lady squids named “Callie” and “Marie” (get it? cali-mari?), that could be two goofy Toads!

Instead, Nintendo took a risk and it paid off bigtime. And that’s what we’d call “staying fresh.”

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