News Article

Feature: Wario is Missing?

Posted by Philip J Reed

Mario returns with an uncharacteristic greed

When Nintendo announced New Super Mario Bros. 2, reactions were certainly mixed. Many greeted the news with immediate excitement and anticipation, whereas others were less enthusiastic about what they felt to be underwhelming news of a predictable sequel. Whichever side of the argument you fall on, though, it's safe to conclude that New Super Mario Bros. 2 is going to be a major sales success for Nintendo.

One thing, however, struck us at Nintendo Life as being somewhat, well, uncharacteristic. Take a look at this informative New Super Mario Bros. 2 trailer that we posted last week, below. We've already seen that Mario is once again battling his way through Bowser's minions, as enticingly as ever, but this trailer in particular elevates and draws attention to what has always been a secondary goal: collecting coins.

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Dating back to the original Mario Bros., coins have been bonus items in practically every Mario game. They typically add to your total score, and Super Mario Bros. introduced the concept of earning an extra life every time you gathered 100 of them. It's hard-written into Mario's DNA by this point: collecting coins is good.

That trailer, however, seems to suggest that collecting coins is of paramount importance in this game: after all, you'd be hard-pressed to take a few seconds of that footage and not find it swimming in gold. Instead of dotting the landscape or tracing the way to the goal, coins are now everywhere. Enemies throw them, powerups generate them, and Mario even produces them from a box he wears on his head. They rain from the sky, they come out of walls, and they absolutely dominate Mario's attention: our little Italian friend has always loved his coinage, but since when has it been such a lusty obsession?

It's difficult not to draw parallels between the money-grubbing Mario in this trailer and his sometime-nemesis Wario. After all, isn't it Wario who is typically portrayed as the lucre hound?

It's difficult not to draw parallels between the money-grubbing Mario in this trailer and his sometime-nemesis Wario. After all, isn't it Wario who is typically portrayed as the lucre hound? We may not yet know the intricacies or reasons behind this coin chasing, but Mario's ambitions are typically more selfless than this shameless accumulation of personal wealth: it's Wario who should be looting landscapes, leaving Mario to rise to the tasks demanded of a real hero.

So what happened here? Was New Super Mario Bros. 2 originally the concept for a game starring Wario? It would certainly seem to be more tailored toward his characterization: the visual presentation is pure side-scrolling Mario goodness, but the greed seems to fit his porkier rival a lot better.

Consider the powerups highlighted in this trailer. While we're used to Mario gaining new abilities with every outing, we're also used to those abilities being put toward offensive, defensive or explorational use; here they are all used to generate cash. We see gold rings that turn all enemies into gold, providing additional coins for defeating them in this state. We see golden koopa shells leave behind long trails of coins when they are kicked, and golden lakitus that hurl them down from above. We see a block that spits out coins as long as Mario wears it on his head, which did appear in Super Mario 3D Land, though it seems to be far more generous this time around. We also see a golden fire flower that allows him to turn walls and obstacles into gold with his projectiles. Is it just us, or do these seem more like Wario-style corruptions of classic Mario tropes, rather than the next step in Mario's evolution? As the trailer's narrator proclaims, "this time around, it's all about the coins": let's just hope Mario doesn't accumulate enough of them to retire on a private island before he rescues Peach.

All of this, plus the stated goal of collecting one million coins, screams to us of a Wario plot; yet Wario is nowhere to be found. What happened? It's actually reminding us of an issue we raised a few months ago: is Nintendo over-reliant on Mario? Don't get us wrong; we love our jumping, stomping, mustachioed spaghetti-bag, but wouldn't this be an ideal time to hand the spotlight over to poor Wario?

It hasn't always been this way. Wario's starred in his own series of successful platformers, including Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 on Game Boy and Virtual Boy Wario Land, which is commonly considered to be the strongest game in the entire Virtual Boy library — faint praise if there ever was any, we know. Lately, however, Nintendo seems to relegate him to rounding out the roster in sports games, and playing host to various collections of mini-games. Here, after all, is the perfect chance to plug him naturally into a high-profile core Mario game but, instead, he's nowhere to be seen.

So what do you think? Is the plot of New Super Mario Bros. 2 a reappropriated Wario adventure, or is it just coincidental? Surely someone at Nintendo, at some point in the development of this game, must have said, "don't we already have a different character that would fit here?"

Don't get us wrong; any time we spend with Mario is time well spent, but it's curious that his latest adventure may see him embodying the worst characteristics of his villains. At this rate, New Super Mario Bros. 3 will be a quest to kidnap Peach before Bowser can stop him; nobody wants to see that.

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User Comments (81)



Kirk said:

It does seem like this game would be far better suited for Wario, and that was basically the first thought I had too, but you just know it wouldn't sell a twentieth of the units if Wario were the star over Mario. Nintendo is just doing what makes most sense for them in this case and I can't really blame them in this case.

I do however think they should have had Yoshi as the main star in Kirby's Epic Yarn, and it probably would have actually sold more too, because I just think his whole grabbing things with his tongue would have suited that games basic gameplay and control much better, as well as his changing into different forms, like the mole digger as seen in Yoshi's Island, and even the whole stitched look that of the game would have linked in with the visual style Yoshi's Story game too. The collecting of jems could have also just been the collecting of lots of fruits like in Yoshi's Story too. That however is a different debate.



chewytapeworm said:

There's more coins in the trailers alone than any of the old Wario Land games. Wario would be in dreamland, just let him go wreak havoc Nintendo!



Geonjaha said:

Mario has to do everything better than everybody. He's the best tennis, golf, basketball player, runs as fast as sonic, and apparently can collect coins better than Wario. No problems though - I'm no fan of the warioland series.



C-Olimar said:

When you complete NSMB2 with all star coins ond golden flags Mario pulls a mask off and reveals that he is actually Wario in disguise. Then Luigi pulls a mask off and reveals that he is actually Waluigi. And he is getting his own game. And he will be in Smash Bros. 4. And DLC for Mario Kart 7. And all upcoming Nintendo game have been delayed so the developers have time to work Waluigi into their games.



Knuckles said:

I have 2 thought on Wario in this game.
1. This is less likely, but still a possibility. DLC
2. Unlockable Character for collecting the million coins/saving the princess.



Nintendoro said:

Wario Land 2 would be nice. We only get mario these days, but there is also Wario, Waluigi.... There is much more to the Mushroom kingdom than just Mario land, isn't it?



Shworange said:

Mario and Luigi had an unfortunate mishap involving a fire flower. This led to Princess Peach's castle being burnt to the ground. Peach is pissed. Now the Mario bros must raise enough coin to build a new castle. Bowser are of course stopping at nothing to hamper Mario's efforts. And the game ensues. You heard it here first.



Raylax said:

Super Mario Bros 2 (NES): Mario hijacks a game originally designed for a different character.
New Super Mario Bros 2: Mario hijacks a game originally designed for a different character?



TheDreamingHawk said:

I hope wario at least appears in some form. We need him!

And I swear, if the plot is to just save Peach, I will be upset



CerealKiller528 said:

I don't see how this is all going to work out. And the fact that you have lives in this game makes no sense since you would easily rack up 50 lives in one level.



Rect_Pola said:

Yeah, using Wario makes more sense. But an importance in gathering wealth wasn't strickly Wario's turf. Luigi's Mansion also featured several wallet boosting tasks for a "how-well-you-did" end goal.




SPOILERS at the end of the game we find out that it is actually Wario in disguise as Mario. SPOILERS END



JohnDoe123 said:

I'd much rather see another Wario Land game instead of this. Nintendo's just going with what sells.



Emaan said:

At least give Mario a proper motive for collecting all of these coins. Such as Bowser holding Princess Peach for ransom and demanding 1 million coins. Sounds plausible, and it makes Mario seem like more of a hero and not just greedy. This didn't have to be a full on Wario game. They easily could have included Wario as a character, maybe instead of Bowser for once, yet they didn't. Because doing something different and new would be out of character for the "New" Super Mario Bros. games.



accc said:

Re: "Virtual Boy Wario Land, which is commonly considered to be the strongest game in the entire Virtual Boy library — faint praise if there ever was any, we know."

Actually, most of the games that came out for the Virtual Boy were quite good. It's just that the hardware was so painful to use, it was impossible to enjoy playing them in their original form. If they were released on the 3DS Virtual Console, people would finally be able to appreciate just how high in quality many of them were.



Kyloctopus said:

Nintendo is trying to add a new concept to Mario that feels natural to add to NSMB like co-op in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and the block feature in New Super Mario Bros U. Getting coins are something people have been doing for years. I think Mario has the right to mix things up. If anything, you guys at NL should be accusing Kirby's games, being similar to Mario's, with the idea of eating a certain object, turns Kirby into a powerful form.



Bensei said:

I don't think this was planned as a Wario-Game, I just think they completely forgot Wario could star in a Jump'n'Run.

However, it would be really awesome if Wario was an unlockable character in this Game :3



C-Olimar said:

There are 6 Wario Land games:
Wario Land 1-4 (various)
Virtual Boy Wario Land (VB)
The Shake Dimension (Wii)

Plus Wario World on the Gamecube.



TruenoGT said:

Money talks and so do Mario games. Not saying this is what happened here, but see also Kirby's Epic Yarn and Star Fox Adventures for games where a more sell-able mascot usurped the original concept.



R-L-A-George said:

Wario as DLC I guess, people did point out its probably should of been a Wario game. It would be interesting.



Tasuki said:

Maybe this time around Mario has to pay a ransom to Bowser to get Peach back.



NintendoR0CK3T said:

I was rather surprised when I heard that Wario wasn't gonna make an appearance! But I bet Nintendo will surprise us... :3



Pokefanmum82 said:

who says that wario isn't in this game? honestly i don't see what the big deal is, you guys get mad when they do the same old thing, now here we have a new motivation for mario and yet you still complain. if you don't like the way this game is going then don't buy the game. it's as simple as that. i, for one, have this game pre-ordered and can't wait to get my hands on this game.



eleven59 said:

And yes bring back donkey kong and wario as enemies teamed up with bowser and co!!

@22 how about "New super wario brothers"



hYdeks said:

great read!

I never played a Wario game, but the one for the Wii has tempted my interest



Aqueous said:

Might have been a Wario game, though the lack of puzzles, makes me think if it was, they changed it quickly



OdnetninAges said:

Does it really matter THAT much? You probably need a million coins to get to the final world or something. And how the hell does a gameplay element affect a character who has little to no characteristics at all? These "features" really piss me off.



NintyMan said:


This game doesn't even have to be all about Wario, just give him some kind of role! He could easily be a secret, unlockable character after you collect a million coins. I would hope that Nintendo is keeping all of this a secret until we play the game and discover that Wario has been in it all along. They never did rule it out after all. Unfortunately, I'm not going to hold my breath.

I have no doubt that this game will be fun and I will enjoy it, but it would be a truly missed opportunity to shake things up more. This reminds me of Koizumi saying that they shouldn't shake up the predictable plot of Bowser kidnapping Peach. Maybe Bowser is doing a ransom deal, but I just don't know. This is starting to concern me that Nintendo isn't willing to change even a few things. They don't have to change the gameplay, but little things like the story shouldn't be a game-changer, and Mario games aren't known for big plots outside RPGS anyway. They wouldn't have to make it epic; just something different.

Someone at some point must've brought up during development that Wario seems like a good character to be in this game. I would be interested to see what Miyamoto, Tezuka, or any of the top Mario developers would've said if they decided to cut him out. They almost treat Wario like a character who's outside the mainstream. He has his own sub-universe like Donkey Kong, but he could fit right in with the Mario games if the circumstances allow it. The time couldn't be more ripe than now.



Radixxs said:

Mario sells. This was a game designed for a cash-in. Wario doesn't have the instant recognition and marketing power.



ATDI said:

Wario controls nothing like Mario. You either want a Wario Land or a Super Mario Bros. Simple as that. Ready to move on.



MitchVogel said:

My guess is that Bowser is holding peach for ransom and that's why Mario needs all those coins. On the other hand, I haven't seen anything that says Bowser is even in this game, there's only the koopalings! Perhaps Wario is the one holding Peach for ransom...



Koos said:

These are just the regular coins that Mario always collects sometimes in time challenges and under duress. It is not treasure that Wario collects. Mario's coins have no real monetary value. They are just the regular challenge with mire focus now.



MeloMan said:

Now that you mention it, my dream of Super Wario Bros. could've finally been realized... missed opportunity, I think. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around how this game will play... is simply about "gather 1 million coins" in order to beat the game or, you need so many coins to get to another world anyway, etc.?



NintyMan said:

Maybe if we were adamant about it enough, Nintendo might make DLC levels inspired by Wario. I'm just getting ideas here, but how could Wario hurt the Mario platforming brand? He was even in Super Mario 64 DS!

It'll be interesting to see if this gets mentioned in a future Iwata Asks about the game. I'm sure they just had to think about him.



DarkKirby said:

Hey, Mario is constantly trying to court Princess Peach. She's a Princess, she's got expensive tastes, Mario needs that coin.



NintendoLee said:

Yeah it does seem like the shake dimension in that you need to collect coins (in that game you had to collect a certain amount to move on).



pixelman said:

The apparent greed element bothers me too. I keep hoping that Wario will show up at some point and demand a million coins as ransom for Peach or something. There needs to be some kind of honorable motive behind it all — otherwise it's just kind of sickening. If a plot element like that does exist then it's kind of strange that Nintendo is hiding it. The game's packaging and marketing isn't exactly painting Mario in the best of lights.

Of course I'm going to buy the game and have fun just playing it regardless, haha.



lanabanana said:

Well maybe he's just trying to impress the princess by collecting one million coins...



sinalefa said:

People say here Mario is not greedy and he should not lust over coins. Unless he is only looking for six golden coins, it seems.

It is not Mario who lusts for coins but us controlling him. This game appeals to that more than any other Mario before it. I for one am glad that they are focusing on something different this time.

Besides, this does not exclude getting a Wario game later on.



Bane said:

Maybe the DLC for this game might contain some sorta mini boss battles with Wario or be able to play as Wario or something along those lines. Maybe



Luffymcduck said:

Wario should be in this game in some form. Maybe... Bowser is actually Wario in discuise.



CowLaunch said:

That Nintendo have overlooked Wario in this game, and instead continued his awful mini-game series with Game & Wario is indicative of the direction Nintendo is going in.

I can't see Nintendo taking risks like Yoshi's Island Super Mario World 2, or Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 anymore.



MarkyVigoroth said:

I hope that they are purposefully keeping Wario a secret, eventually revealing him later on when the game is made.
If that is not the case... "yell" at Nintendoo.



Fuzzy said:

This game looks and plays like a Mario game, so I'm happy he's the antagonist. But this seems like a game where Wario should be involved somewhere, probably as the antagonist. Though I'm sure using Mario and Bowser is more so a business decision that anything else, using Wario could have opened up some more original ideas, both story- and gameplay-wise.

Though I would love to see another Wario Land game, but I prefer the hand drawn style of Shake It more. New game please.



RetroGBHippie92 said:

I would actually like nintendo to make Wario World a series, maybe remake the first for 3DS and then make a sequel, man I've always wanted a 3D Wario game and but I can't even play the gamecube game because I don't have one.



Kage_88 said:

@54 - That is awesome! Old Simpsons FTW.

I've always thought Wario was a great character - simply because he's a darker Nintendo creation who doesn't care about anyone but himself.

Game & Wario will be great, I'm sure, but I would LOVE to see a new 2D Wario platformer that apes the art style of Rayman Legends. Maybe a Wii U sequel to Shake Dimension?

Oh, and there's Nintendo's greatest crime of all...

Waluigi still hasn't got his own game!!! Waaahhhh!!!



Bobhobob said:

Bowser hasn't been shown in this game at all...
Wario is holding Peach for ransom (1 Million Coins) and he hired the Koopalings to do his dirty work. Then, after you rescue the Princess, she unlocks the gates to 8 MORE SPECIAL WORLDS (like in SM3DL) that are so difficult and infuriating that you NEED ALL THE LIVES YOU COLLECTED BY GETTING 1 MILLION COINS and you complete the first world. Then a cutscene is shown where Mario and Luigi are taken hostage by Bowser, and You play as Wario and Waluigi for the next 7 special worlds. Once you beat Bowser, you can play as Mario, Luigi, Wario or Waluigi for any level, including DLC and Coin Rush!



WaxxyOne said:

I don't understand this article at all. I think you're reading way too much into things. Sure, Wario is a good character in his own right and he certainly is greedy, but his style of game is completely different from Mario's (and personally I like the latter better). This game might have a lot of coins, but they've been around since Super Mario Bros. on the NES, and everything else that makes this a Mario game — the enemies, the level design, the pacing and control style and the overall feel of the game — screams Mario. If you seriously think that all it takes to make a Wario game is to add coins and replace the sprite of the main character, I think you're deluding yourselves.

I think rather than this being a retooled Wario game, they simply asked early in the development "What can we add to a new Mario game to give it a unique feel?" and the answer was "A whole ton of coins and a new game mode that challenges players to collect them in the shortest time possible." Wario might have come up at some point of the game's development, surely, but to claim that this looks like a Wario game taken over by Mario is completely unfounded.



BulbasaurusRex said:

Who says Wario isn't in the game? He could be a secret boss or somehow behind all of the golden power-ups and enemies.



Moonhillwat said:

Reads article

Yeah, I'll have some cheese with that whine.

Also, not once did I think of Wario when I first saw the trailers of NSMB 2. I always try collecting as many coins as I can in Mario games anyways, so this is a dream come true for me.



Lyndexer said:

I would love to see another Wario series! It would be great to have 2 player and play as Waluigi.



gundam00 said:

YES! Super Wario Bros w/ Wario and Waluigi who have to rescue Pirate Princess Apricot from the Mushroom Convent!

Take some chances Nintendo!!!



Pupito said:

The missed opportunity here is not that Mario and Luigi are the playable characters but that Wario is NOT the villain. The had an opportunity here to differentiate this title even further from NSMBU by making Wario the villain and they totally whiffed on a no brainer. That being said, I hope they continue on with the coin rush DLC because I think its excellent, and hopefully they'll have a Wario themed pack complete with an End Boss.

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