The Super Mario Odyssey Trailer Raises Many Questions
A thoughtful and robust look at some of Super Mario Odyssey's more pressing questions.
Like a feather, the Nintendo Switch has made its graceful decent into the hands of video game fans across the world. In the week or so since the system's debut, players have been hungrily devouring The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the system's biggest and most ambitious game so far. For many, though, the Switch won't truly feel like a new Nintendo console until it plays host to a new Mario game.
Enter Super Mario Odyssey, the forthcoming effort featuring everyone's favorite plumber. Much like with Link, Mario's latest adventure is vastly different from what fans have seen from the series so far, and its trailer poses many questions that don't yet have specific answers. Wonderment doesn't count for much without exploration, so in celebration of Mario day, we're going to actively explore everything we know (and some things we don't) about Super Mario Odyssey.
Where Does Super Mario Odyssey Take Place?
This is one of the biggest questions regarding Mario's upcoming adventure. Even though the game's trailer shows us many locations that look to be fairly-standard Mario fare — desert cities, grassy caves, lush forests, and perplexing platformer-inspired arenas — one particular location in game, New Donk City, looks to be directly inspired by Manhattan.
What's even more curious is the role that New Donk City is set to play in the game. Is it a hub world, or is it just another stop in Mario's journey? While those answers aren't exactly clear, some details seem to point to New Donk City being a side world within the Mario universe: a local business called Crazy Cap is advertised, which certainly seems to tie into Mario's newfound hat skills (which are elaborated upon later.) The game's trailer seems to open up at the corner of Dixie Street and what appears to be Cranky Road, with a nearby display advertising Diddy's Mart — all of which are Donkey Kong Country references. Additionally, the pedestrian lights show as yellow boxes with prominent question marks, same as players would find in any Super Mario game.
With such references as those, it'd be easy to view New Donk City as just another world in the Mario universe. What if it isn't, though? If Mario is actually visiting Earth — albeit some sort of alternate-present version of Earth — further questions must be raised, and in particular, questions of Mario's origins.
Is Mario Human?
Like all things in life, this is a question of perspective. If Mario has actually landed on Earth — our Earth — then to us, supposing we relate to the humans seen in-game, he would be an alien. Even if he's a figure of imagination or of fiction made reality, his otherworldly origins would still technically make him an alien. Seeing as how players are in control of Mario, though, and assuming that they're living this adventure vicariously through Mario, then he shouldn't be considered alien. If anything, the game's humans would be the aliens. However, if Mario isn't an alien, and he doesn't dress or move or even reflect light in the same manner as everyone in Super Mario Odyssey's version of Earth, this raises another question: is Mario a human?
We assume he always has been human, largely because he's bipedal and walks upright and has opposable thumbs and immaculately-styled facial hair. He does, however, consume magical vegetables and fungi that grant him what could be called superpowers, and throughout all of his adventures he's demonstrated what could only be called immortality. The question of Mario's life is really a question of Mario's origins, and the question of Mario's origins has never quite been so thoughtfully considered because, before now, there was no firm point of comparison. And it may be that there still isn't; it may be that New Donk City is some sort of reality-warping juxtaposition of a corrupted world within the Mushroom Kingdom. Maybe the city isn't meant to be representative of Earth at all; maybe Mario dives into New Donk City in much the same way we dive into Mario's digital adventures. Until Odyssey comes out, or until someone asks Nintendo some very pointed questions, we'll have no way of knowing where Mario fits into our human understanding of terrestrial life.
How Does The Ship Fit Into The Game?
One thing does seem pretty clear from the Super Mario Odyssey trailer: Mario travels between worlds using some sort of hat-shaped tugboat/airship thing. It has a spotlight, a sail, a porthole, and perhaps most curious of all, a globe. It also seems to be fueled by a magical under-mounted propeller system that somehow manages to pump out exhaust fumes in a manner reminiscent of steam engines.
Still, this ship seems to be Mario's primary mode of transportation across the universe, as its first reveal in the trailer bridges the gap between New Donk City and the other worlds found within the game. Strangely, however, Mario's first stop appears to be a city set in a desert with glass-like crystals protruding from the ground, and the first building Mario encounters on that desert world appears to be a Crazy Cap store, same as those advertised in New Donk City. With that in mind, it may be that the ship in Super Mario Odyssey is simply a spacecraft, and all the stops along the way are within the Super Mario galaxy (see what I did there?); if that isn't the case, though, it may be that the ship traverses space and time, or even dips between parallel universes.
Is Mario's Hat Sentient?
There's no question that Mario has been imbued with new skills made possible through his signature hat. The trailer shows Mario using his cranial accessory as both a weapon and a tool, particularly one used to jump across large gaps. However, the trailer ends on a rather pointed note, with the cap sprouting a pair of eyes where the M patch usually resides. Those eyes are particularly prominent within just about every image of the game's logo, too. Clearly Mario's hat is meant to be more than just a tool, but as for what all its capable of — including hosting life — we still have more questions than answers.
When Is The Game Set To Release? What Will It Cost?
Unfortunately, Nintendo hasn't yet provided a firm release date for Super Mario Odyssey, though they have stated that players can expect the game to drop sometime around the 2017 holiday season. It's also unlikely that the game will go for anything less than $60, which is about average for not only for triple-A titles, but for most bigger games we've seen on the Switch so far.
Got any burning questions about Super Mario Odyssey you'd like to see explored? If so, leave us a comment below.