Super Mario Strikers Originally Started Out As A Platformer


Yes, we still can’t believe we’re getting a new one—Mario Strikers game this year with Mario Strikers: Battle League. Pinch us. Or maybe just whistle next to us to make sure we wake up from this dream.

Rekindling interest in the Mario football game series, GameXplain, I recently spoke with Mike Inglehart, formerly of Next Level Games, the studio behind the great football franchise, along with Punch-Out!! And Luigi’s Mansion 3. While the full interview has yet to be released, the snippets we’ve seen give us a brief behind-the-scenes look at the original Super Mario Strikers on the GameCube.

It turns out that the game was not originally conceived as a full-fledged football match. Inglehart says that during the prototype stage, the developers were trying to create a football platform game:

“Funny enough, when we went through the initial prototype, we ended up making a platformer-style football game, so we were really trying to make something that would instinctively suit the eastern market, which is not what they wanted. What, let’s start again,” and I think we just focused too narrowly and tried again to do what they wanted. They didn’t give us too many clues. They just said “Mario football” to see where we would go in the wrong area.”

Sounds interesting, but how would you jump with a ball? Appy’s keepers? Headlines? It looks like Next Level had the wrong goal. In the same interview, Inglehart also talked about the gameplay of this Mario Strikers prototype, which involved kicking the ball against the goombas and goalposts in Peach’s castle and standing on the ball itself to move around:

“It’s really hard to describe as it was such a strange experience, but there were two goals that were sort of, if I remember correctly, nestled inside castles. The ball-like a circus animal – and, as it were, they roll it under their feet. It didn’t feel like football at all. Football was a means to an end, but it was just a weird mixture of trying to fit in with what we thought they were looking for on top of the sport. We had to turn it on its head when we really got feedback and put football first and Mario second.”

We’re not sure if the princess would have thought of hosting a football match in her castle, but it looks like the team admitted that, as fun as the idea sounded, it was a clunky house halfway between a platformer and a beautiful game when Nintendo really wanted a sports game about Mario. Everything worked out in the end!

You can watch all interviews below.

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