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Super Mario RPG 2: Why We Never Got A Sequel

On July 17, 2020, Nintendo released the latest entry in its Paper Mario RPG line of games, Paper Mario: The Origami King. While the Paper Mario franchise has endured since the Nintendo 64, it wasn't Nintendo's first stab at a Mario-themed RPG. If you own a Super Nintendo or SNES Classic, you probably played Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, which marks the first time Mario participated in turn-based battles.


Many fans of Super Mario RPG hoped Nintendo would produce a sequel, and the company was ready to deliver. During Space World 97, Nintendo showed off canned footage of a Super Mario RPG 2. Fans waited for more developments, but their patience never paid off. The Super Mario RPG line was superseded by franchises such as Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi , and Super Mario RPG 2 never surfaced.

Why did Nintendo show off a promising sequel and then pull the plug? The answer might surprise you.

Super Mario RPG 2 may have morphed into Paper Mario

If you were lucky enough to visit the Space World 97 expo and saw Super Mario RPG 2's footage firsthand — or dug up screenshots on the internet — you might have noticed its "2D cut-out figures placed in a 3D environment" aesthetic is almost identical to Paper Mario's artstyle. Coincidence? Maybe not.


The running theory is that legal troubles with Square, as well as the failure of the Nintendo 64 Disc Drive (64DD for short) resulted in a shift in project direction. What was supposed to be Super Mario RPG 2 eventually morphed into Paper Mario. Now, the 64DD's failure is well-documented, but the rivalry between Nintendo and Sony sparked by Final Fantasy 7 might be to blame for Super Mario RPG 2's cancellation.

While Square had previously published Final Fantasy 1-6 on Nintendo's console, Square went with Sony's new PlayStation — which only existed because Nintendo backed out of a deal to co-produce a CD-based console with Sony — for Final Fantasy 7. Nintendo didn't take kindly to Square's decision. According to President of Square Tomoyuki Takechi and Vice President of Square USA Shinichiro Kajitani, Nintendo allegedly refused to talk to Square for five years, and Square employees couldn't enter Nintendo's offices for 10 years.


While no one has said anything definitive, this complete shutdown of communication might have caused the possible legal troubles that resulted in Super Mario RPG 2's demise and subsequent revival as Paper Mario.