Super Mario RPG remake is coming to Switch in October, and the SNES classic is finally going to get the love it deserves.

Super Mario RPG Is Finally Getting the Love It Deserves

Nintendo is remaking Super Mario RPG, and all is right in the world. The reveal of the new take on the SNES classic during the recent Nintendo Direct was a wonderful surprise, especially given the tendency Nintendo has to seemingly forget about its joint production with Square. And while there are still some lingering questions leading up to its November 17, 2023 release on Nintendo Switch, I’m just happy that Super Mario RPG is finally getting the love it deserves.

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For me, Super Mario RPG was the swan song of the SNES. It was released in May 1996, just a few months before the September launch of the Nintendo 64 and Super Mario 64. I feel like that close proximity to such a revolutionary game caused it to be overlooked at the time, despite it pairing two of the most beloved developers of that generation. That said, it felt like the end of an era between the two, as Square famously jumped ship to the PlayStation due to its desire to evolve the Final Fantasy series and the rest of its library on Sony’s fancy new CD-based console.

That severing of the relationship lasted quite a while, and though the two obviously have mended things and gone on to have a great partnership – just look at how many Square Enix games are featured in nearly every single Nintendo Direct – Super Mario RPG seems to be the game that got left by the wayside. Over time, other SNES RPG classics like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, and EarthBound have felt like they’ve been part of the conversation much more than Mario RPG.

Super Mario RPG remake is coming to Switch in October, and the SNES classic is finally going to get the love it deserves.

While it got a Virtual Console release on both Wii and Wii U, it never made its way to any of Nintendo’s handhelds and has been notably absent from the SNES Online library on Switch. In the time following Super Mario RPG, Nintendo moved on with the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi franchises. And while some of those are stone-cold classics – I really dug 2020’s The Origami King, and seriously Nintendo, port Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door to Switch ASAP – none of them have matched the highs I felt playing Super Mario RPG. And I’m thrilled that an entire new generation will get to experience the weird, creative, and entertaining journey in the upcoming remake.

One of the things about Super Mario RPG that still shines all these years later is its fantastic cast of both Mario regulars and wonderful new characters. Being able to have Peach and Bowser join your party felt like a revelation back in 1996, only matched by how great newcomers Geno and Mallow were. The Pinocchio-esque doll brought to life and the sentient cloud who could control the weather with his emotions felt right at home alongside the familiar faces, and it’s a bummer Nintendo hasn’t used them more in the decades since, aside from some small Smash cameos.

It was also the beginning of the trend to have the writing in Mario role-playing games be actually funny and charming. Particularly memorable are Bowser’s redemption arc and the A+ sicko that was Booster. Can’t wait for a new generation to discover just how weird that dude is.

As great as the characters, world, and story are, they’d be meaningless without a good battle system. And thankfully, Super Mario RPG’s introduction of the timing feature on all regular attacks, special moves, and defensive chances gave the entire thing a sense of life and energy that kept me engaged in every single encounter. This was especially memorable in the game’s excellent boss battles, which ranged from slapstick comedy to encounters with Final Fantasy-like gods.

Super Mario RPG remake is coming to Switch in October, and the SNES classic is finally going to get the love it deserves.

An interesting question that’s still unanswered is how much, if any, involvement Square Enix has in the remake. That said, the game’s original composer Yoko Shimomura confirmed that she’s returning to work on the arrangement for the remake, which is fantastic news. Super Mario RPG’s music doesn’t sound like anything else in the Mario universe, but it lends such a phenomenal sense of adventure to the places Mario and company journey to throughout the game, especially the excellent battle themes. Side note, Shimomura’s work on Live A Live, Parasite Eve, and the Kingdom Hearts series makes her an absolute all-timer when it comes to video game composers. Can’t wait to see what she has in store with the new arrangements.

While Square’s involvement is still in question, some of the changes that folks spotted in the trailer make it clear that the remake is being handled with care and reverence for the original. And though much of the trailer looked like a 1:1 remake of the original game, battles now have a new percentage meter in the bottom-left corner of the screen. I have no idea what that might be – possibly a new team-based special attack that occurs when it reaches 100%? We know that there are going to be new cinematics, as shown off in the trailer, but we’ll have to wait and see what other new changes or additions Nintendo might have added leading up to its November release.

The Super Mario RPG remake shows that Nintendo Switch is aging gracefully in its 7th year of life. 2023 has already seen Octopath Traveler II and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Pikmin 4 is on the horizon in July, and Super Mario Bros. Wonder is coming in October. Few consoles in history have managed to keep this momentum this long into their life, and though Nintendo’s next-generation hardware is clearly coming sooner rather than later, the old hybrid console still has some fight left in it.


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Author
Marty Sliva
Marty Sliva was the Deputy Editor of The Escapist. He's been writing and hosting videos about games, movies, television, and popular culture since 2011, and was with The Escapist from 2019 until 2023. In a perfect world, he'd be covering Zelda, Persona, and the hit TV series Lost on a daily basis.