Why Nintendo kept the new Mario from Super Mario Bros. Wonder a secret

For almost 30 years, actor Charles Martinet was the voice of Nintendo’s most famous character: Mario. He also lent vocals for Luigi, Wario and others. When Nintendo confirmed in August that Martinet had essentially stepped away from the role, fans were fixated on who would voice “Mama Mia” in the next game in the franchise. Super Mario Bros Wonder.

In any other game, interest in a character’s voice would be outsized, but in this game it meant fans were poring over you One second clip Before the game’s release, Mario says “Wonder” to find out Martinet’s involvement.

Mario and Martinet have been inextricably linked since his first role in a spin-off of the educational game. Mario teaches typingin 1994, and the better known ones Super Mario 64 in 1996. For older fans, Martinet is the voice of their childhood. He is both an advocate for his character and a paid actor; He was the focus of countless press articles, panels and interviews about the role of his life – a role that he would have liked to have continued until, in his own words, he had taken on the role fell dead. When the news came that he would be leaving Mario behind, two questions arose: Why break up a relationship that was clearly mutually beneficial? And who could replace an actor so beloved by fans?

At the time, Nintendo had no intention of answering this question. declining to provide details, even if outlets like IGN are committed entire investigation to find out who can now call themselves the beloved plumber. According to Doug Bowser, president of Nintendo of America, the company wanted players to “discover and be surprised” by Mario’s new voice Wonder. Some couldn’t wait; Dataminer The credits have been leaked (hardly a hot catch for most games) after getting your hands on a demo.

On October 13th, fans got their answer. “Incredibly proud to have given voice to Mario and Luigi Super Mario Bros Wonder“, voice actor Kevin Afghani posted on X without further ado. “Thanks to Nintendo for inviting me to the Flower Kingdom!” Afghani is no newcomer, with credits like Genshin Impact And Dragon Ball R&Rbut his household name recognition hardly matches that of Martinet or Chris Pratt, who voiced Mario in this year’s animated film.

Afghani’s smaller profile might explain the lack of a red carpet rollout, but perhaps the biggest part of this mystery wasn’t who the new Mario would be. That’s why Nintendo was so quiet about it. In WonderMario sticks with the usual exclamations – “Wahoo!” – so it’s not like it’s a new voice calling for a revolt in the streets. Why the secrecy?

“What’s most important to us is how people react to the gaming experience – be it the art style, be it a character’s voice or something else,” Bowser told WIRED last week. “We want people to enjoy the gaming experience, and if they like the voice behind the gaming experience… that’s the most important thing for us, not necessarily the highlight.” [Mario’s actor].”

Nevertheless, Afghani is not just a voice, but The The voice of the character Nintendo chose as its mascot headlines films and fills theme parks. His transition into the role is a significant event after Martinet moved away from the character.

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