What will the Next Mario Party Look Like?

Mario Party has been everyone’s go-to game to play with friends on the couch ever since 1998. We’ve been fortunate to have numerous games released during the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube’s lifetime. A whole generation grew up with competitive and chaotic minigames. 

The Wii and Wii U slowed down the number of titles while trying to experiment with changing the gameplay. For a while, fans longed for a return to form along with some other overdue updates. Online play was one of the heavily requested features. 

Like many franchises on the current Switch hybrid console, reception and sales have been good to great for the Mario Party series. As of this past June, Super Mario Party had dominated the market. The game came out in 2018 and has sold over 18 million copies. These numbers made it one of the highest sellers on the Switch. 

The second Mario Party on the Switch was released almost a year ago. Mario Party Superstars has sold over 5 million copies as of this past February. Although it is not the colossal 18 million from the franchise record holder Super Mario Party, Superstars is still one of the top sellers for the series. 

Not only have the two switch games raked in the cash but each has been better received by the longtime fans. Superstars launched with online multiplayer and brought back classic boards. Along with the minigames from the whole series, the traditional gameplay that has not been used since the Wii’s Mario Party 8 returned. 

Reverting to gameplay that has been established in the late 90s might seem like a downgrade. However, millions have grown fond of the traditional rules and missed the old Mario Party style. It’d be like changing the rules of Monopoly after several years.

Mixing in the old gameplay with welcomed additions like online play, the Mario Party series has arguably never been in a better position. The retro titles have become trendy videos on the internet. The clips feature players testing their friendship in surprisingly competitive games. 

Mario Party Games on Switch

The positive reaction to Superstars has led to many YouTubers producing entertaining content. TheRunawayGuys and Alpharad are showcasing how Mario Party can still bring out the best or worse in your pals. 

Superstars has been out for almost a year. Depending on how much one has played it they might be ready for something new. Surely there will be another Mario Party, but how or what can we expect from a sequel

If this were long ago in the distant 2000s a sequel could be expected almost every year on the Gamecube. Yearly sequels are still a well-practiced business model. Just look at Call of Duty or NBA2K. Nintendo, especially during the Switch’s lifetime, has changed its strategies. There are a number of options for what they can do with the series. 

If there is one complaint that the past two Mario titles have had is that the selection of boards is a bit small. Recent Nintendo multiplayer games have either had support through free updates like Splatoon or paid downloadable content like Mario Kart 8 (which is still getting new tracks through 2023). 

Shortly after Super Mario Party launched and the sales numbers were larger than expected, fans assumed that the small number of boards could be remedied with updates. Free or not, the large install base was ripe for paid DLC. 

Years passed and no new boards or other updates were added. People were about ready to move when just last year a surprise patch was added to Super Mario Party. In April last year, an update to have fully online multiplayer for the main board games was added after years of asking. 

Super Mario Party Online Update

The timing was odd, but with this first update, fans regained hope. More boards could be on the way and quality-of-life updates could be added. Online multiplayer became essential, especially during the pandemic. Even though the game has been out for years already, it was appreciated by the gaming community

Just a few months later, Nintendo announced in their summer Direct Mario Party news. Interestingly, it was not the kind that was expected. A sequel called Mario Party Superstars was revealed and it was bringing back the classic gameplay along with N64 boards. 

This announcement was exactly what some fans wanted. But why bother updating the old game right before the new one drops? News that Superstars would launch with online multiplayer confirmed that the update to Super Mario Party was perhaps a test for the feature. 

Jump ahead to the present-day and Mario Party Superstars is at the same crossroad. There is room for more content from the N64 trilogy that did not make the initial cut. The game is begging for DLC packs of boards that weren’t included from the original three games. Fans eagerly await any news regardless if it is updates or a new game reveal. 

The most recent Nintendo Direct that aired on September 13 had a ton of news. We heard about the release of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, a new Fire Emblem, and the confirmation that Pikmin 4 is real. 

One of the more peculiar news drops was the announcement that Mario Party, Mario Party 2, and Mario Party 3 will be added to the Nintendo 64 lineup for Switch Online. That means anyone who is subscribed under the Expansion Pack plan for Nintendo Switch Online will have free access to play the three games. 

What’s neat about the Switch Online games is that any game that had multiplayer can be played online with friends. So that means the whole N64 trilogy can be played online. If only GameCube games, including its iteration of Mario Party, can be preserved online then that would be awesome! 

As great as this news might be for Mario partiers the move is a little strange. One could suggest that rather than making the three games free to subscribers that Nintendo could find a way to repurpose the content not featured in Superstars. 

Nintendo could release a paid or free update featuring a new board from each game or even a new sequel. Unless new minigames or any missing minigames are available I would think that an update would be more likely. 

It is not to say that Nintendo might still do just that. Just because users will be able to play the N64 games doesn’t mean they still can’t use them. Similar to how Nintendo added online play to Super Mario Party shortly before Mario Party Superstars unveiling, this could be a test to see what customers want. 

Observing the reactions and seeing how people play the N64 trilogy could give Nintendo insight as to what to do next. 

Whether we get more nostalgic-based content or brand new games, it has been a blast to get friends together and play some Mario Party on the Switch. 

Is Mario Party your go-to Switch party game? Which entry in the series did you play the most with friends? Join the conversation in the comment section.

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