Nintendo has always been very protective of Mario and the usual cast of characters associated with their star franchise. It’s not all that outlandish at this point for the company. Over the years, we’ve seen Nintendo go to court, file cease and desists, and more to keep modifications of most of its IPs restricted. Apparently, some of these strict and protective attitudes are in play inside the company too. Recently, the Paper Mario: The Origami King developers revealed a bit of some apparent rules and restrictions on character design within the Mario universe.
It was on July 16, 2020 that Paper Mario: The Origami King Producer Kensuke Tanabe revealed to Video Game Chronicle just a touch of the standards that go into designing new characters for a Paper Mario game such as the Origami Twins, Olly and Olivia.
“Since Paper Mario: Sticker Star, it’s no longer possible to modify Mario characters or to create original characters that touch on the Mario universe,” Tanabe explained. “That means that if we aren’t using Mario characters for bosses, we need to create original characters with designs that don’t involve the Mario universe at all, like we’ve done with Olly and the stationery bosses.”
It’s a hefty restriction for sure, and likely means that fan favorite characters such as those found in previous games - characters like Goombella, the Yoshi kid Great Gonzales Jr., Admiral Bobbery, Koops, Kooper, and Bow, just to name a few - might not fly under Nintendo’s current rules. Every character would more likely have to be like Vivian, Flavio, Hooktail, Lord Crump, and the Origami Twins.
It’s not such a bad thing, forcing a bit of originality into the character design, but it is a bit of a shame that we won’t get to see more interesting twists on the various usual characters we’ve seen throughout the earlier end of the Paper Mario series. Tanabe also expressed hope that perhaps the originality and personality of the new characters they create will shine through and make a lasting impression on players.
“I hope that the origami siblings in Paper Mario: The Origami King will stay in players’ memories, even if they do only end up appearing in this title,” Tanabe concluded.