In a recent interview with VGC Nintendo’s Kensuke Tanabe has explained that since the disappointing Paper Mario: Sticker Star on the Nintendo 3DS it is “no longer possible” to modify Mario characters, or to create original characters that are from the Super Mario universe. Here’s what Mr. Tanabe told the publication:
Mario is famous for its iconic cast of villains. Can you talk about the new villain in this game and how you design a character to stand alongside all-time greats like Bowser and Kamek?
Tanabe: Since Paper Mario: Sticker Star, it’s no longer possible to modify Mario characters or to create original characters that touch on the Mario universe. That means that if we aren’t using Mario characters for bosses, we need to create original characters with designs that don’t involve the Mario universe at all, like we’ve done with Olly and the stationery bosses.
Whether a character becomes an all-time hit or not isn’t up to us on the development side; I think it’s more the case that characters that fans truly accept naturally end up that way. I hope that the origami siblings in Paper Mario: The Origami King will stay in players’ memories, even if they do only end up appearing in this title.