Back on February 5, 2001, Nintendo launched the first Mario-focused RPG on the Nintendo 64 in North America, Paper Mario. It still followed the typical formula for Mario games, as in saving Princess Peach from King Bowser, but this series took the blueprint and ran in a one of a kind direction. What Intelligent Games was able to create turned into five more titles following in its predecessor’s footsteps up until 2020.
Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door was released in 2004 on the GameCube. Super Paper Mario launched three years after on the Wii. Paper Mario: Sticker Star was the first handheld Paper Mario title on the Nintendo 3DS.
Color Splash and The Origami King followed suit in 2016 and 2020 respectively. Every title didn’t stray too far from the formula of the original game, but Nintendo’s direction for The Origami King proved why changing systems, such as its battle mechanic, is necessary for every title.
Happy 20th Anniversary to Paper Mario! What's your favorite Paper Mario memory over the years? pic.twitter.com/3mGPgeLh9e
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) February 5, 2021
After two decades and six games, Nintendo has a successful franchise involving Mario and company. It doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Back in August 2020, Paper Mario: The Origami King producer and game director revealed that Intelligent Games has total creative control over the franchise, following the launch of Sticker Star. This should calm the minds of the gaming community in terms of where the franchise takes off from this point in time.
A new game in the Paper Mario series is not anticipated for quite some time unless Nintendo has something up its sleeve. The Origami King did quite well, scoring an 80 on Metacritic. As the franchise evolved over the previous two decades, one constant remained in the equation. Paper Mario sealed its place in Nintendo lore and gave way for Mario RPGs to thrive.