Mario Strikers: Battle League is set to release on Nintendo Switch later this year, offering the next evolution in the soccer series. From what Nintendo has shown of the game thus far, it seems to be mostly in keeping with what we've seen from the series since it first debuted on the Nintendo GameCube. However, it seems that the original game nearly went in a much different direction! In an interview with GameXplain, Super Mario Strikers director Mike Inglehart revealed that the team at Next Level Games was originally planning to make the game a platformer that incorporated soccer elements!
"Funny enough when we went through the initial prototype, we ended up making a platforming style of soccer game, so we actually tried to make something that instinctually fit the eastern market, and that's not what they wanted. So they said, 'Scrap that, start again', and I think we just focused too narrow and tried to make again something that they wanted. They didn't give us too many clues. They just said 'Mario soccer' to see where we would go. We went in the wrong area," laughed Inglehart.
"It's really hard to describe since it was such a strange experience, but there were two goals that were kind of, if I remember correctly, nestled inside of castles. You could kind of… to dribble the ball Mario and Luigi would get up on the ball – like a circus animal – and kind of roll it under their feet. It didn't resemble soccer at all. Soccer was maybe the means to the end, but it was just a weird concoction of trying to fit in what we thought they were looking for on top of a sport, and we had to flip that upside down when we actually got the feedback and put soccer first and lair Mario on second."
The first Super Mario Strikers released in 2005, so Inglehart's memories of the first build are understandably foggy. However, the director went on to explain that players would have to kick the ball at Goombas. After taking them all out, the castle doors would open up, allowing players to kick the ball inside.
It's really interesting to think about what could have been! Clearly, things worked out for the best, and Next Level Games was able to deliver an experience that struck a chord with players. Hopefully, the developer will find similar success with Mario Strikers: Battle League when it releases on Nintendo Switch on June 10th!
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[H/T: Nintendo Everything]