Super Mario Bros. Wonder scrapped a “tsundere commentary” feature that was popular during playtesting

Elephant Mario jumping
(Image credit: Nintendo)

It turns out that Super Mario Bros. Wonder had a “live commentary” feature during its development that would have matched players’ actions as they progressed through the 2D platformer’s levels, with the option to switch the generic default voice to “tsundere commentary”. However, it didn't make the final cut.

During the third part of Nintendo’s official Ask the Developer interview for Super Mario Bros. Wonder, which was published yesterday (October 18), game director Shiro Mouri revealed that the idea for a live commentary feature was first proposed by producer Takashi Tezuka. 

“We actually spent about six months seriously developing live commentary,” game designer Koichi Hayashida explained. “We tried adding voices to match the player's actions. Even though we'd added various voices, questions like, ‘Who’s doing this commentary?’ started to pop up amongst the team. Something about it just didn’t feel right.”

Mouri continued: “Even the team was evenly split between those in favor and those against. The default voice was very generic, like a newscaster, but you had the option to switch it to a tsundere commentary. [...] In fact, according to our play test records, quite a few people were switching to the tsundere commentary.”

For those unfamiliar, ‘tsundere’ is a Japanese term that can be used to describe a person or character who appears to be harsh on the outside, but occasionally shows a softer, more affectionate side. Think of characters who might say, “it’s not like I like you or anything”, and you’re on the right track. It’s quite a popular character trope in a number of anime series, but imagining it featuring in a Mario game like that sounds wild.

In the end, the commentary idea was scrapped almost entirely, since it would have been an enormous undertaking even to create the different voice variations. However, the idea still lives on in the form of Wonder’s Talking Flowers, which say various phrases and hints to Mario and his friends as they explore the side-scrolling levels. Mouri believes that this is “a version of live commentary that fits the world of Mario”. 

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is set to release exclusively on Nintendo Switch tomorrow (October 20). In TRG’s review, I gave the game five out of five stars, praising its satisfying secrets, gorgeous colorful visuals, and its exciting, varied levels. 

If you’re looking for more games to play, be sure to check out our roundup of the best Nintendo Switch games available to play right now. You can also keep up with the rest of the year’s releases with our handy list of upcoming games.

Catherine Lewis
News Writer, TechRadar Gaming

Catherine is a News Writer for TechRadar Gaming. Armed with a journalism degree from The University of Sheffield, she was sucked into the games media industry after spending far too much time on her university newspaper writing about Pokémon and cool indie games, and realising that was a very cool job, actually. She previously spent 19 months working at GAMINGbible as a full-time journalist. She loves all things Nintendo, and will never stop talking about Xenoblade Chronicles.