Mobile gaming isn't the future of Mario, says his creator

Good morning, New Donk City.
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Mario fans can rest easy as his creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, weighs in on the plumber's future in mobile gaming.

Mario has had a healthy presence on Nintendo Switch and it seems like that's not going to change. In an interview with Variety amidst the release of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Miyamoto spoke on his experience with mobile gaming and Mario's place within it.

"Mobile apps will not be the primary path of future Mario games," Miyamoto states unequivocally in the interview.

He added: "The intuitiveness of the control is a part of the gaming experience. When we explored the opportunity of making Mario games for the mobile phone — which is a more common, generic device — it was challenging to determine what that game should be."

Super Mario Odyssey

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Here, Miyamoto is referring to his experience developing Super Mario Run, a 2016 mobile game that applied the plumber's platforming gameplay to the touchscreen. While fun in its own right, Super Mario Run ended up resembling countless games in the 'endless runner' genre, a popular game style on Android and iOS devices.

One of Miyamoto's core philosophies, one that's clear to see in the mainline Mario series, is to offer gameplay experiences you won't quite get anywhere else. When you analyze the differences between Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Odyssey, each becomes instantly recognizable thanks to their gameplay styles and aesthetics.

Mobile gaming doesn't quite offer that same level of freedom. There's only so much you can achieve with a touchscreen, to the point where several of the best mobile games settle on tried-and-true formulae, instead drawing in audiences with free-to-play business models and unique art styles.

The future of Mario

Mario does science

(Image credit: Future)

The future of the Mario series is simultaneously predictable and mysterious. For instance, we'll certainly be getting sequels to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and the plumber's various sport and party outings. But we never quite know what to expect when it comes to his platforming escapades.

Console is where Nintendo can flex its creative muscle, and that's rarely more apparent than the delightful Super Mario Odyssey; its enemy possession mechanic evolving each stage in bizarrely creative ways. While one of the earliest, it remains one of the best Nintendo Switch games six years on.

There's also the fact that many of Nintendo's mobile outings simply haven't stood the test of time. I'm staunchly against digital-only games being pulled from stores, and Nintendo's been no stranger to this practice. Mobile games like Dragalia Lost and Dr. Mario World have since bit the dust, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Mario Kart Tour and Fire Emblem Heroes meet this fate a few years down the line.

Whatever comes next for Mario's mainline series is almost sure to delight fans. I can't say if the next Mario game will bookend the Switch's library, or launch with a brand new console like the Nintendo Switch Pro. But either way, it's at least somewhat reassuring that Nintendo is likely hard at work on Mario's next big adventure.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.