Severely relax the character restrictions on the Mario series

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Paper Mario...once, it was a home for extensions into the Mario world, creating all new characters or members of past species, building the world. The worlds of those classic three games offered experiences for fans to hold onto, reflect on, and even revisit. Unfortunately, around the time of Paper Mario Sticker Star, something went wrong. Namely, the characters stopped getting creative, being limited to a smaller number. Worse, the only friendly characters were nameless, generic Toads, despite the given restriction allowing all mainline friendly species. This didn’t exactly get any better with the Wii U sequel, which I refuse to even dignify the name of, for repeating and doubling down on Sticker Star’s mistakes, as well as dragging it’s heels on actually addressing the character problem

Things seemed to change with the installment Paper Mario Origami King, which featured a larger number of characters with both a name and unique look, as well as Bobby. However, two new interviews have indicated the restrictions leave much smaller wiggle room than previously thought. In particular, three previously unknown, destructive restrictions have been revealed.

The first, on the website Video Game Chronicle, revealed new Paper Mario species aren’t allowed to resemble or build on mainline species anymore- they must all look completely different from the Mario series. Now let me be one to voice how counter-productive that is to these policies’ purported endgame to focus on Mario- all this does is ironically disjoint the series identity more than if the committee in charge just let Intelligent Systems make new subspecies of mainline species or Mario-inspired species.

The second restriction revealed that mainline species base proportions cannot be changed at all- clothes may be added, but that’s it. That puts an end to characters major and minor like Jolene, Heff T, Goombella, Koops, Bow, and others. This restriction takes much needed variation out of character design. Again- this doesn’t help the brand, but actually hurt it.

The third restriction, translated from Spanish site Lavanguardia - Intelligent Systems cannot bring back characters from the original three Paper Mario games, even if they fit the other restrictions. Do I even need to say why this one can go jump off a cliff? Yes, yes I do. The Paper Mario original characters are as much a part of the Mario family as those from the platformers. While Nintendo keeps insisting they only make new characters for new functions, the simple undeniable fact of the matter is sometimes there’ll be two separate creatures that do the same thing, like birds or dogs or cats or lizards. Nintendo denying the reality of life to this extent is chilling and should not be applauded.

Alone, any one of these unnecessary restrictions would prove an enormous weight. All three at once? They make things stale for no real reason at all, and the ends to keep the brand consistent fail to justify any of the means.

Previously, I made a petition to have Kensuke Tanabe and his inner circle removed from the Paper Mario series. Now, however, I am starting to realize the Super Mario character policies and whomever enforces them (...probably Tanabe, but he’s not saying) are responsible for not just the Paper Mario series’ generification, but the entire Super Mario franchise’s forced unity, making the series more monogamous and repetitive across different brands. This decision, enforced for such a long time, was not a good idea, and I, among signees, strongly believe a different course of action is required. 

To restore the character variety, I and other signees ask Nintendo to overhaul the policies of the Super Mario franchise’s character committee, or whatever organization is deciding all these restrictions, and peeling them back. They are only hurting the franchise in the long run, and must be defanged.

In particular, the signees and I make three requests. One- new species in non-platforming games are allowed to resemble mainline Mario characters again, like what Clubba was to Super Mario Bros 3’s Spike or how Twilight Town’s citizens look like they could live in Mario’s world.

Two- base character models are allowed to be modified to add more differentiation, such as female features for Toads, deformities in Koopa shells, facial features of Goombas, and so on and so fourth.

Three- characters and species from games created before these restrictive policies were put into place are allowed to return as-is for newer games, Paper Mario or not.

Look, Nintendo, Miyamoto, Tanabe- you might think restrictions all the time might be a good thing. What you’ve failed to remember over the years, however, is that it’s restrictions caused by things out of your control, such as budget for consoles, or not getting the rights to use Popeye or retain Geno. Self-inflicted restrictions, however, do not achieve the same results. They only frustrate. Even you, deep down, must have wanted to do things before the Super Mario character restrictions were put into place. By repealing them drastically, it will give the entire brand a new life, which will transfer into all sub-brands, including Paper Mario.

Remember- all a signature costs is time, not money. And when you share, we’ll get there.