Special Feature: Whatever Happened to Super Mario 64 2?

Introduction:

Growing up, I subscribed to “Nintendo Power” magazine, the official Nintendo magazine in the United States. I began my subscription around the time of the Nintendo 64 launch, and so the issues were filled with details about upcoming games. It was here that I first read that Super Mario 64 2 was in development. The game was never released, but it’s not all bad. Here is what I was able to gather.

As a side-note, I will refer to the game as Super Mario 64 II, after the use of the Roman numeral was used in issue 99 of “Nintendo Power.” It prevents confusion with the title “Super Mario Six-Hundred and Forty-Two.”

The Facts:

In “Nintendo Power” Issue 97 (June 1997), there is a quote: “Shigeru Miyamoto admits to working on […] a sequel to Super Mario 64.” There was no screenshot or further mention of the game in this issue.[1]

“Nintendo Power” Issue 99 (August 1997) featured an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto at E3. The last question the interviewer asks him is, “What can you tell us about […] Super Mario 64 II?” Shigeru Miyamoto answers, “We’re just getting started on the second Super Mario 64 game.”[2]

Though not containing much information on the Mario 64 sequel, “Nintendo Power” celebrated its 100th issue (September 1997) the following month. In the Pak Watch section (the preview section), there was a special list called “The First 100 Nintendo 64 Games.” In the words of “Nintendo Power,” “We’re taking our best stab at […] predicting the first 100 games to be released on the N64.” In the list is Super Mario 64 2, disregarding the previous Roman numeral. [3]

The next source I found with information about Super Mario 64 II is a WordPress.com blog that seems legit. The woman running the site is named “Lindsay (Chewy),” who says, “I enjoy translating Japanese to English.”

On her blog, she translates an article from the Japanese magazine “The 64 Dream” which at the time (December 1997), was celebrating one year in print. It is an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, who worked on Zelda and Mario, and Shigesato Itoi, who worked on Earthbound. At one point in the article, the magazine asks, “Do you feel an attachment to Luigi, too [in addition to Link from Zelda]?”

Miyamoto’s response is, “I certainly do. (laughs) He’s in Mario 64-2, too.” Following is a paragraph about the game. “We’re in the middle of preparing Mario 64-2 for the 64DD. I’d like to take advantage of the 64DD’s ability to store information. As of now, Luigi’s also a full part of the game, but we haven’t started thinking about 2-player gameplay with Mario and Luigi yet. We’ll tackle that once we’ve got the system ironed out – we’ve figured out the processing power issues, so we could do it if we tried. How many Luigi fans do you suppose there are? (Editing Department replies ‘Quite a lot.’) If Luigi’s really that popular, maybe I’ll make a green box for Mario 64-2 (laughs).” [4]

Meanwhile, “Nintendo Power” went silent on Super Mario 64 II for four months after the publication of issue 100. In Issue 104 (January 1998), there were six pages of coverage on Nintendo’s own trade show, Space World, in Japan. Not one of those six pages talked about Super Mario 64 II. [5] However it was still in the issue if you were a subscriber. “Nintendo Power” came with a supplemental magazine for subscribers called “NSider Bonus” with issue 104. The “Ask Dan” section of “NSider Bonus” published an email from a fan that reads, “Will there be [a] sequel [to] Super Mario 64 for Nintendo 64?-FA.” Dan responds, “Super Mario 64 2, [has] been announced, but there [is] no release date yet. Mr. Miyamoto has said that many things that didn’t make it into the first game (such as being able to ride Yoshi) would be in the sequel.” [6]

Ultimately, after January 1998, time progresses, and “Nintendo Power” no longer speaks of Super Mario 64 II. The GameCube gets announced, the Nintendo 64 waned in popularity, and GameCube takes over. An official Nintendo release on the Nintendo 64 of a Super Mario 64 sequel now (GameCube was released in September 2001) seems silly.

More than ten years after Super Mario 64 was released, “Nintendo Dream,” a Japanese magazine, celebrated ten years in print. The magazine allowed IGN (formerly Internet Gaming Network) to publish a page from the tenth anniversary issue. The IGN story went live on August 21st, 2006. It was an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto. The first question asked was about Super Mario 64 2. “Nintendo Dream” asked, “It was being made for the 64DD, correct? You said in an interview (in the September 1997 issue) that Luigi is also in it.” The IGN article says “After a lengthy period of thought, Miyamoto responded with a laugh.” Miyamoto says: “I’m sorry. I’ve forgotten. However, I believe it has become other games.” Nintendo Dream asks, “As in the game systems are being used in other games, right?” Miyamoto then reveals that “from the time that we were originally making Mario 64, Mario and Luigi were moving together. But we couldn’t get it working in the form of a game.” [7]

Pure Speculation:

First, the decision to put a Mario 64 sequel on the 64DD (or 64 Disk Drive) seemed to have happened over time, and not immediately. In Issue 97 (June 1997) of “Nintendo Power,” where the Super Mario 64 sequel was first announced, the same article said “[Shigeru Miyamoto is working on] Mario Paint 64 for the 64DD, [and] SimCity 64 for the 64DD.” [1] If a Super Mario 64 sequel used the drive, it seems the article would have said so. We didn’t hear about the game using the 64DD until six months later, in December 1997. [4]

In Issue 99 of “Nintendo Power” (August 1997),  “Nintendo Power” asks Mr. Miyamoto, “Do you plan on using the Rumble Pak with many other games [other than Star Fox 64]?” Miyamoto says “In Japan, we’re reprogramming […] Super Mario 64 to use the Rumble Pak.” If the Rumble Pak had appeal for the first game, it would make sense for it to be used in a sequel.  But it isn’t fact. [2]

In Issue 99 of “Nintendo Power” [2] and Issue 104 [6], Nintendo Power speaks of Super Mario RPG 2 before Super Mario 64 II, and in the same sentence. This is out of four total mentions, or half of all mentions of Super Mario 64 II in “Nintendo Power.” I can only guess this means the two teams might have been in neighboring offices. When this happens, sometimes creative thinking from one office can flow to another. But I’m only guessing.

Finally, don’t underestimate Shigeru Miyamoto saying, “I think [Mario 64 II] became other games.” If you make good technology or software, there’s good reason to use it more than once. Rumor has it that enemy AI was reused from Star Fox 64 for a boss fight in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. [8] The GameCube game Metroid Prime borrowed it’s physics from the Mario 128 tech demo that was shown when GameCube was announced. [9] If what Miyamoto says is true, we still don’t know what “other games” Super Mario 64 II became.

What is False?

With what little information we have, it’s hard to know what’s true at all.  I think the best I can say is that there is no true sequel to Super Mario 64.  Not the Mario 128 tech demo, not Super Mario Sunshine (which some people may argue strongly in favor of), not even Super Mario 64 DS, which is a remake with added features.

Also, if anyone says they have a screenshot or video of the game, that is a false statement.  That’s the biggest missing puzzle piece in the equation. There is a lot that we can quote, but fans including myself would know a new Mario 64 level if they saw one.

Is There Hope?

Of course, what we’d love to see is the original source material — Mario running around with Luigi — leaked online, as a YouTube video, or something tangible.  But it’s been a long time. It would also likely require someone at Nintendo going rogue for the fans. However, there is a prototype of Pokemon Gold and Silver released this year, from Space World 1997. [10]  Anything is possible.

It would also be nice to get a direct sequel to Super Mario 64. To which I say, these things tend to come full circle.  Remember how exciting it was when New Super Mario Bros. was announced?  It got three sequels as well.  Bringing Super Mario 64 back does seem like a likely candidate, because it is the first truly 3D Mario game.  New Super Mario Bros. was released twenty-one years after the original Super Mario Bros. game.  That means we are one year off — it’s been twenty-two years since the original Super Mario 64 was released.

Nintendo of America has not responded to request for comment.

Sources:

  1. “Nintendo Power”, Issue 97, June 1997. p. 104. “Miyamoto at Work”.
  2. Imamura, Takao; Itoi, Benimaru; Miyamoto, Shigeru, Issue 99, August 1997. “The Game Masters”. “Nintendo Power” pp. 104-105.
  3. “Nintendo Power”, Issue 100, September 1997. pp. 111-112. “The First 100 Nintendo 64 Games”.
  4. Miyamoto, Shigeru; Itoi, Shigesato (December 1997). “A Friendly Discussion Between the “Big 2”. “The 64 Dream” (page number unknown)
  5. “Nintendo Power”, Issue 104, January 1998. pp 34-38 “Nintendo Space World ‘97”.
  6. FA; Owsen, Dan, Issue 104, January 1998. “Ask Dan”. “Nintendo Power: NSider Bonus” p. 16.
  7. IGN.com, August 21st, 2006. “Miyamoto Opens the Vault”. https://www.ign.com/articles/2006/08/21/miyamoto-opens-the-vault
  8. Zeldapedia, “Arwing” page, http://zelda.wikia.com/wiki/Arwing
  9. VGWiki, “Super Mario 128” page, http://videogameresource.wikia.com/wiki/Super_Mario_128
  10. Philips, Tom. May 31st, 2018.“20 years later, fans uncover never-before-seen Pokémon left on the cutting room floor”. EuroGamer, https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2018-05-31-pokemon-designs-leak-from-gold-and-silver-demo
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