Look, we all want a direct sequel to Mario 64, it would be glorious. There is no doubt about that. But what exactly would that look like? How about I “paint” you a picture of an idea I had. (eh, see what I did there)
You start in the Mushroom Kingdom in the court yard to Princess Peach’s castle. But instead of going into the castle you explore around a bit and find another building around back. That building is The Royal Mushroom Kingdom Museum (name patent pending). Why a museum you ask? Well you know a world with such a “colorful” heritage such as the Mushroom Kingdom MUST have a museum to document many great moments in its history as well as to showcase the kingdoms many creative (toads probably) minds.
Mario walks into the museum and what do you find? Paintings/worlds a la 64. But there is a difference. Remember that Van Gogh-isq stage in NSMBU? Of course you do, it was the one area where you really feel the game getting creative and really thinking outside the box. Well what if some paintings in the museum were similar to famous works of art. Like that level in NSMBU or could you image a Picasso themed level or M.C. Escher? That shizz would be cra…sorry. Not all levels would be rip offs of famous painting of course, there would be original ones and maybe even some that are levels from other Mario games. You could throw in a couple of 8bit inspired levels maybe even a modern interpretation of different levels in the Mario series. I know if I was a Toad artist and I heard/saw of a marvelous Italian plumber saving our kingdom from a giant monster that kidnapped our princess it would be something I would want to document it in my own works of art, but with my individual take on what I heard/saw. This could make the levels feel familiar but also different.
The levels themselves would probably play just like Mario 64 in the fact that you would look for X number of stars and would really focus on exploration and reliability. The bottom line is that a premise like this would really allow for creative level design, something that would be vital in keeping the formula fresh.
Oh and one more thing. Say you’re looking at the last painting or at least you think it’s the last painting. Mario jumps in and it starts with what you (the player) thinks is the final boss battle with Bowser. All of a sudden Bowser unzips his own skin and it’s really King Boo in a costume and traps Mario in the painting. All of a sudden the lights go out and the museum becomes haunted…..(see where I’m going with this) BAM Luigi steps up to take out all the ghosts (Luigi’s mansion style) and save his bro from the painting.
I hope my explanation makes sense. I am trying to write this frantically at work on the company dime. Let me know what you guys think? What would you add to this idea? Does this sound like something that would be a cool or am I totally out to lunch?