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The Super Mario Galaxy 2 Mystery That Remains Unsolved Today

If you ever played a Super Mario game, you're used to the brightly-colored animation, cute characters, and fun gameplay suitable for any member of your family. But if you're a long-time Nintendo fan, you also know that it isn't all that unusual to encounter some unsettling, even creepy game elements that seem a touch out of place for Nintendo's core audience. In fact, these aspects are probably all the more scary for being found in such child-oriented games.


This legacy has continued for years, and the Super Mario franchise is no exception. In 2010's Super Mario Galaxy 2, gamers noticed some shadowy figures in the Shiverburn and Grandmaster Galaxies. There have been many theories about them, but, like many video game mysteries, the truth remains elusive. Nintendo continues to be tight-lipped about the imposing silhouettes, but here's what fans have pieced together so far.

The Hell Valley Sky Trees

A few years after Super Mario Galaxy 2 released, fans pointed out these strange figures in Shiverburn Galaxy. Once you go into first-person camera mode and look around, you can view the top of the cliffs and see them. You'll note three ambiguous silhouettes, not animated, just standing there as part of the background. Because they aren't part of the gameplay, you can go anywhere in Shiverburn Galaxy and it'll seem like they're following you.


Naturally, someone went digging into the game's data source to learn more and allegedly discovered "HellValleySkyTree," the texture for these creepy beings. And that's what the beings have been called ever since. 

The hacker also found that the sky model in that region is called "BeyondHellValleySky," which appears nowhere else in the game. This provided even more mystery fodder for curious fans, and there have been plenty of theories put forth to explain the presence of the Hell Valley Sky Trees in two different galaxies and their purpose in Super Mario Galaxy 2.

Unconfirmed fan theories

With no official word available on what the Hell Valley Sky Trees actually are, fan theories abound. Some think they are some version of Shroobs intended to foreshadow a game development that hasn't happened yet. Some gamers point to a snippet of a letter sent to Luma that reads: "There are many kindhearted people out there watching you." Is this a reference to the Hell Valley Sky Trees?


One fan, speculating on a Nintendo Life forum thread, believes that the objective of that Super Mario Galaxy 2 level changed. When that happened, the developers simply hid the original references to the goal instead of taking it out completely.

Another interesting theory from Geek Remix points out that Hell Valley is the Americanized translation of the name of a real-life Japanese park that features geothermal vents and plenty of snow. The channel claims this could be the inspiration for the Shiverburn Galaxy. Meanwhile, the Sky Trees themselves could be either representations of the monkeys that live in the real Hell Valley, or representations of Kodama, Japanese tree spirits (like the ones seen in Princess Mononoke).


Although there's no way of verifying these ideas, they are certainly fun to think about. Maybe one of them will even turn out to be true someday.