WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY. The game is best-experienced firsthand, (seriously, go play it!) and so readers view this article at their own risk. Now, without further ado, let’s-a-go!
The 3D Mario series has traditionally been extremely imaginative. From tropical islands to outer space, Mario has been there and done that. In fact, unlike the 2D series which always had sequential follow-ups, no direct sequel had ever been made to a 3D Mario game prior to the Wii. Super Mario 64 was a wholly original genre pioneer for 3D platforming, Super Mario Sunshine went to a brand new vacation paradise and introduced water physics to the series with the robotic FLUDD machine, and Galaxy went into space in order to provide gravity mechanics like nothing else in the series.
What We Want to See in Super Mario Odyssey 2
That all changed when in 2010, Super Mario Galaxy 2 was released. Rather than doing something totally out of the blue on a new console as 3D Mario always had before, Mario returned to space on the Wii for a second outing. He visited a ton of new planets and the game was still extremely creative and well-liked, but it was a true, direct sequel to Galaxy, which in itself was a new concept for the series that opened up new possibilities. As a matter of fact, the next 3D Mario game to be released (Super Mario 3D Land for the 3DS) also got a direct sequel in the form of Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U.
Because of this and the near-perfect reception of the original, speculation is already building that there might just be a Super Mario Odyssey 2 making its way to the Switch at some point. If this does happen, we have some ideas as to what should be included in the sequel to this gaming masterpiece.
The most obvious answer is more of what worked the first time around. Everything that was done right in Odyssey (and there was a lot done right) should be expanded upon in a follow-up. More kingdoms, more Power Moons, more captures, more bosses, more outfits, more catchy music, more, more, more. This may seem like a tall order, but remember that at one point had you told a Mario fan that Odyssey would have 999 Power Moons in it, they would’ve most likely laughed in your face. Yet, here we are, still plugging away trying to find that last gosh darn MacGuffin in every world.
One particular ‘more’ that deserves some special focus though is characters. The Mario series has never been known for particularly deep characterizations, but what it may lack in depth it makes up for in charm. Seeing Toadette and Donkey Kong make their first appearances in a main series 3D game was fun, and the return of minor characters like Poochie, Dorrie, and Klepto was as surprising as it was joyous. Pauline’s appearance was especially well-received as the beloved mayor of New Donk City, Mario’s surreal take on the real world New York City. It would be nice to see a sequel take this even further. Luigi was an obvious absence in Odyssey in all but a costume reference, but characters like Wario, Daisy, and Waluigi who have never been put into the main series 3D Mario game before would be really cool to come across as well. The Mario cast is beyond vast, so there’d be no shortage of characters to choose from.
Plus, let’s be honest, we all need more Yoshi too. His brief cameo in the Mushroom Kingdom and the Culmina Crater has him controlling better in 3D than he ever has even in his own games with tongue-based parkour. That’s something that can and should be expanded upon just like Galaxy 2 put a greater focus on Mario’s dino buddy than past 3D games did. We’d love a solo Bowser game too, but that’s probably best saved for a spinoff.
Expansion of Mario lore
Speaking of expansion, Odyssey’s core theme of discovery made for some really awesome new worlds, but in a sequel, it might be fun to see the new kingdoms mixed in with previous locations in the series, revisited but transformed. Exploring Isle Delfino, Rosalina’s Observatory, or Sarasaland in the form of the more wide open 3D sandbox worlds of Odyssey could be a blast, and the Mushroom Kingdom proved that this concept could work with its appearance in the original’s post-game. They could even bring in some material from the spinoffs, like Diamond City from Warioware, the Beanbean Kingdom from Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga, or one of the mansions from Luigi’s Mansion. Maybe take inspiration from a board from Mario Party or one of the gorgeous tracks from Mario Kart 8. The possibilities really are endless, and that’s part of what makes the idea of an Odyssey sequel so enticing.
What was more than just the base locations visited in Odyssey though was the way they were developed. For a Mario game especially, there was quite a lot of world-building and subtle storytelling involved. This took place on two levels: On the first level was the grand adventure that acted as the main story of the game, and took Mario from getting stomped on Bowser’s airship all the way to finally triumphing on the moon. The other level was what took place in the background behind the main tale, and provided the details that colored in each kingdom that Mario and his new hat pal Cappy traveled to. Each kingdom had its own currency, industries, natives, and attractions that made the places feel not just like video game obstacle courses, but like real worlds of their own.
This kind of development was neat and it showed that as simple as it is, Mario’s lore shows promise to be interesting without getting in the way of its gameplay when taken seriously. In fact, if anything the gameplay was enhanced by the addition of new details by providing fun explanations for why the places Mario went to were the way they were, making the whole surreal landscape feel more believable even if it was a land made of food, and providing more of a motivation for the player to do something. Sure, it’s fun enough climbing a big pink mountain by flinging yourself up the face of it using a bunch of fork people and swimming through the lava as a sentient fireball, but when the locals’ most prized stew is at stake (no pun intended) there’s an extra dimension of the drive there that would not be present otherwise.
There’s no shortage of more obvious story hooks, either. First and foremost, Mario’s proposal failed spectacularly at the end of Odyssey, and without many resolutions given afterward. Exploring the relationship between him and Peach could prove interesting, and maybe she could even be playable as a second character using Tiara as her own tossable weapon. Perhaps this could coincide with a 3D World-Esque fully cooperative experience. It’d be nice to see that actually end in the iconic couple tying the knot finally this time as well, thus busting the series’ longstanding status quo of vague dating wide open and setting up for narratives that are more interesting than the same kidnapping plot ad infinitum.
Other questions remain, too. What was up with the Lord of Thunder and his Ruined Kingdom? What will become of the Broodals now that their business is ruined? How exactly did Captain Toad end up getting to all of those perilous places and then finding his way home anyway? All mysteries for the ages, ripe for solving.
Ramp up the difficulty
Beyond even the big content and narrative details, smaller changes could improve a sequel through refinement rather than revolution. Galaxy 2 was a tad more challenging than the original, so perhaps Super Mario Odyssey 2 could be a step up in difficulty as well. Maybe the physics could be loosened slightly to provide a little more of the freedom of movement that Sunshine allowed for, but not so much as to become uncontrollable.
More could be done with Mario’s new rolling move so that the wonderful feeling of cruising down a slope in ball form could be felt more often and in new ways. More of the challenges and bosses could take place within the main parts of the world rather than taking the player away from the main world to a side area for a smoother, more integrated feeling within the kingdoms. Speaking of which, perhaps the boundaries of the worlds could be more organic this time, with fewer sheer drop-offs and more logical transitions like tall trees blocking the way, for instance. All of these things would be more about tinkering with the established formula than they would be about rewriting it, but they’d all make a positive impact.
And there you have it, take on what to hope for in a potential Super Mario Odyssey 2. How did we do? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.