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Prerelease:Paper Mario

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This page details prerelease information and/or media for Paper Mario.

To do:

This is still a massive work in progress, but the important dates and references have been added.

Paper Mario began as a sequel to Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars under the name Super Mario RPG 2. Over the course of development, it shifted to a standalone title with a notably different art style.

The game's development lasted four years. Factors such as Square (the developer of Super Mario RPG) focusing on the PlayStation and the game's shift from the Nintendo 64DD to cartridge format didn't help matters. However, the final game was well-received and spawned a new sub-series of Mario games.

Development Timeline


  • November: Super Mario RPG 2 is mentioned in a pre-Shoshinkai interview with UK gaming magazine MAXIMUM.


  • March: A recruitment flier for Nintendo programmers is published in the Weekly Famitsu magazine. The flier mentions that developers are needed for a Mario RPG.
  • July: Super Mario RPG 2 is listed as an upcoming Nintendo 64 title in multiple gaming magazines.


  • March 5: Naohiko Aoyama submits a rough image of 3D models with 2D backgrounds and characters, which would become the basis for the game's art style.
  • April: Super Mario RPG 2 is revealed to be a Nintendo 64DD game.
  • August: In an interview with Nintendo Power, Shigeru Miyamoto states that a team of 20 people are working on Super Mario RPG 2 with a projected release date of 1998.
  • November: Super Mario RPG 2 is shown at Nintendo Space World '97.


  • January: Miyamoto states that the game is expected to release in 1999.
  • May: The game is shown at E3 under the title Super Mario Adventure.
  • August: The game is shown at Nintendo Space World '99. It is stated to be 50% complete with a projected Japanese release date of January 2000.


  • May: The English name is changed to Paper Mario, with a North American release date of December 26.
  • August 11: Mario Story is released in Japan.
  • September 22: The North American release date is pushed back to the first quarter of 2001.


  • February 5: Paper Mario is released in North America.
  • October 5: Paper Mario is released in Europe.


Plans for a sequel to Super Mario RPG were underway even before the initial game was released. In a pre-Shoshinkai interview with UK gaming magazine MAXIMUM, Nintendo's Yoshio Hongo offhandedly mentioned that Square was considering a sequel for the Nintendo 64.

"Well, now. At his announcement of new projects, the President of Square was talking about an Ultra 64 Mario RPG 2 with Nintendo...but at that moment this is not a reality."

- Yoshio Hongo[1]

However, Square chose to develop games for the PlayStation instead, due to the storage capacity of CD-ROMs. In February 1996, Square announced that Final Fantasy VII would be released on the PlayStation, marking the company's shift towards Sony. This left Nintendo in search for a new developer for Super Mario RPG 2.



In March 1996, a recruitment flier for Nintendo developers was published in Japan's Weekly Famitsu magazine. The flier mentioned that staff members were needed for a Mario RPG sequel. The advertisement was mentioned in various Western publications, such as the North American Nintendo Power magazine and German Video Games magazine, in their May and June 1996 issues. [2] [3]

Cacti may speak Japanese, but do they speak it well?
...But does it make sense?
The translations on this page need to be proofread. If you are fluent enough in this language, please make any corrections necessary!
Notes: Possibly also check the transcription for (further) errors.
"Forget you, Square! We're gonna make our own Super Team! With blackjack! And hookers! In fact, forget the team!"
Japanese Translation
スーパーゲーム(マリオRPGの第2作)をつくるためのスーパーチームを結成するにあたってスーパースタッフを募集します。 WE ARE RECRUITING SUPER STAFF MEMBERS TO FORM A SUPER TEAM THAT WILL MAKE A SUPER GAME (the second Mario RPG)
まず、あらかじめおことわりしておきますが、残念ながら「未経験者」および「アルバイト採用希望者」のご応募は、今回、ご遠慮ください(どんなに未知の才能があっても、熱意や根性があっても、です)。つくるゲームは、既に決定しています。スーパーファミコンで登場した「マリオRPG」の新作です。NINTENDO®64対応のゲームソフトになります。これより先は、新しいスーパーチームで、決めていくことになります。採用、即、実作業にはいるというわけで、かなりの実力と実績を持った方でないと、難しいと考えています。応募していただきたい人材は、次の4つの職種の方々です。 Firstly, we regret to state in advance that those lacking in experience, as well as those searching for part-time employment, should refrain from applying at this time (no matter how much enthusiasm, tenacity, or heretofore-unknown talent you possess). The game in question has already been determined: it is a follow-up to "Mario RPG", which was released on the Super Famicom. It will be for the Nintendo® 64 system. From this point, we have decided to proceed with an all-new Super Team. As the candidate is to start immediately on proper work, we believe it will be difficult unless they are considerably skilled and accomplished. These are the four positions we would like candidates to apply for:
① プログラマー。 自分の能力を表現するにふさわしいもの(プログラムのソースリストまたはソースファイル等)を送ってください。応募作品のジャンルは問いません。 1. PROGRAMMER: Send an appropriate sample that represents your abilities (such as a source code listing, source files, etc.). The nature of the submitted program is irrelevant.
② デザイナーおよびCGデザイナー。 自信のある作品を5点以内(使用媒体不問)を、ⓐ作成環境 ⓑ作成期間を明記のうえ、ビデオテープか写真のかたちで送ってください。 2. ARTIST (2D AND 3D): Send video or photos of up to five of your best pieces (in any medium), specifying A. the circumstances and B. the time frame of their creation.
③ ディレクター、プランナー。 基本的に、論文(長さは自由です)を提出していただきます。テーマは「ゲーム作りで大切なこと」、です。さらに、自分の企画力をPRできるもの(企画書でも、作品でも)を添えて、送ってください。 3. DIRECTOR/DESIGNER: You will essentially submit an essay (of any length) on the most important aspect(s) of game development. Furthermore, you should also submit a document (such as a written proposal or other work) that provides a demonstration of your planning ability.
④ サウンドデザイナー、コンポーザー。 自信のある作品を5曲以内。作成環境と作成期間を明記して、デモテープにして送ってください。スコアやロムでなく、必ずカセットテープのかたちでお願いします。 4. SOUND DESIGNER/COMPOSER: Send a demo tape of up to five of your best tracks, specifying the circumstances and time frame of their creation. This must be in cassette form; please do not submit music sheets or ROMs.
なお、どの職種をご希望の方も、8ミリフィルム、旧型パソコンなどの特殊なメディア、および郵送の困難なものでの応募は無効です。 Please note that submissions created on non-standard media such as 8mm film or old-style computers, or items that are difficult to mail will not be accepted for any position.
募集の締切りは、1996年5月15日(消印有効)です。応募資格は、20歳以上のゲームソフトの制作およびCGの制作経験者。勤務地は、京都、東京、山梨のいずれかでご希望に応じます。また、就労条件については、任天堂本社規定を基礎にして、厚遇します。 The deadline for recruitment is May 15, 1996 (with valid postmark). Candidate must be an experienced game development or CGI professional over the age of 20. Work location will be any you prefer from Kyoto, Tokyo, or Yamanashi. Additionally, the working conditions will be generous, in accordance with Nintendo HQ regulations.
応募に必要なもの。 ①履歴書(写真貼付) ②参加作品歴と、その業務歴(①作品名 ②各作品ごとの担当職種〈役割〉 ③自己分担の割合〈パーセンテージで表記〉) ③作品(各職種によって提出形式が異になります) ※応募の秘密は厳守します。また、電話でのお問いあわせはお断りいたします。 ※書類審査の後に、面接の日時をご連絡いたしますので、確実な連絡先を記入してください。 Requirements for application:

1. Resumé (with photo attached)
2. List of projects you were involved in and your experience on them (1. Name of the project 2. The role you served on it 3. What share of the work you did (as a percentage))
3. Work sample(s) (the method of submission for this will differ depending on position)

  • Applications will be kept strictly confidential. Telephone enquiries are not permitted.
  • After we review your documentation, we may contact you for an interview, so please provide reliable contact information.
チームで応募をして独立をお考えの方は、相談に応じますので、そのむね明記のうえ代表者名で応募してください。 For team applicants thinking of going independent, we can discuss this with you, so please indicate such and apply under the name of your representative.
応募書類・作品の宛先は、 〠605 京都市東山区福稲上高松町60番地 任天堂株式会社 人事本部 Send applications and work samples to:

Nintendo Co., Ltd. HR Division
60 Kamitakamatsu-cho, Fukuine,
Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605


Super Mario RPG 2 was officially listed as an upcoming Nintendo 64 game in Nintendo Power and several other gaming magazines. [4]



After Intelligent Systems was chosen to make a sequel to Super Mario RPG, the team had issues figuring out how to make the game thematically different from the main series Mario games. The team tried to use polygons, but the idea was rejected. The team broke into three groups that worked in parallel to create sample models. Naohiko Aoyama, a new employee at the time, ended up creating a rough image during his downtime that involved 3D models but looked like a picture book transplanted into a video game with paper-thin 2D backgrounds and characters. Aoyama conceived of this art style by going against the trend of realistic 3D graphics; instead, he thought it would be interesting to use the 3D capabilities of the N64 to further emphasize a 2D game. [5] [6]

Aoyama's proposal is titled Mario RPG 64. It's unknown if this was simply an internal name, or a tentative title for the game (in a similar vein as Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64).


Several gaming magazines, such as Gamefan and the UK's Nintendo Magazine, reveal that Super Mario RPG 2 is a Nintendo 64DD game. [7][8]


Shigeru Miyamoto briefly spoke of the game's development in an interview with Nintendo Power, giving a projected release date of 1998.

" Super Mario RPG 64 has a team of around 20 people working on it now and it should be done by the end of next year."

- Shigeru Miyamoto[9]

(The name Super Mario RPG 64 was given by the Nintendo Power interviewer, and hasn't appeared anywhere else.)


Space World 1997

Consoles Coverage

At the convention, a build was shown off featuring an art style very different from the final game's, such as Mario having more pronounced eyes before being changed to plain black dots. It was covered in the January 1998 issue of Consoles, a French gaming magazine. [10] [11]

Prerelease PaperMario ConsolesMagScan SpaceWorld1997.png

Officially announced, the new episode of the RPG featuring the little plumber will release in 1998 on DD64.
While the first Super Mario RPG was developed by Square, this new episode is now in the hands of Nintendo. We're immediately impressed by the technical level of how the game is coded. The game looks 2D, but is actually 3D. All the on-screen elements are as flat as paper (à la Parapa on Playstation). When they move, they act like paper in the wind! The effect is stellar and gives a new aesthetic to the game. We don't know much about the story yet, but our plumber will be once again living a difficult and exciting quest. A lot of people found that the game seemed to be aimed towards children. It is early to jump to this conclusion because Miyamoto promised a RPG as big as Yoshi. The overall pastel effect gives a very childish look to product of high technicality. And if the sprites can bend like pieces of paper, they twist and contort in every way. An effect that was already experimented on the stage select screen in Yoshi's Story. It seems to be possible to rotate the background. We're waiting for the game with a badly contained impatience, especially since in early '98, Nintendo should reveal the innovations of this Mario RPG 2, holding to the DD64 support.

You have a bad feeling about this forest? Be careful!
Mario's long time friends are also part of this adventure.
The star world will lead you to new, never seen before lands.
Some of the classic Mario bosses are recognizable.
2D Mario evolves in his completely 3D house.


Several gaming outlets compared the art style to PaRappa the Rapper. In an interview with IGN, Miyamoto compared the game's art style to the picture book art style of Yoshi's Story, and stated that Super Mario RPG 2 would be aimed at beginners.[12]

Nintendomania VHS

Footage of Paper Mario appears in this VHS about Spaceworld 1997, primarily at the 9 min and 21 second mark of the video. The build is seemingly the same one seen at Spaceworld 1997 - a couple of screenshots match up. It shows just how different this build is compared to later ones.

To do:
Many differences to be listed
  • At 9:33 is the earliest known line of text from this game, from one of the smiling trees in the proto-Forever Forest:
Japanese Translation
[こ]こは おまえたちの くるところじゃねー This isn't somewhere you should be!
This only seems to be a passing comment and not part of a conversation, as Mario just jumps and carries on.



Early Build

This build more closely resembles the final game. [10][13] The art style is further along, with Mario looking almost identical to his appearance in the final game. Partners are present for the first time, with Goombario and a generic Koopa Troopa being the only two shown.

Overworld The HUD in both screenshots is significantly different from the one in the final:

  • On the upper left is an empty yellow square. In battles, this seems to indicate the current action Mario is taking.
  • To the right of the square is a heart, which likely indicates Mario's HP, as it's larger and resembles hearts from the final in one of the screenshots.
  • Underneath is the set of actions Mario can take. In order: Jump, Hammer, Item, and an unknown glove icon.
Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario GoombaVillage.jpg PM64 final GoombaVillage.png

Mario in Goomba Village with the Koopa Troopa partner. Nearby is Goombaria, as well as the Goomba family's house.

  • The Goomnut tree is to the left of the house and not the right.
  • There are no flower boxes in front of the house.
  • The Toad House is nowhere to be seen.
Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario UnknownArea.jpg PM64 final MtRugged.png

Mario and the Koopa Troopa partner in an early Mt. Rugged next to another Koopa Troopa. In the final game, no generic Koopas appear in Mt. Rugged.

Battles Battles at this point use a similar system to Super Mario RPG. Unlike the final game, partners are AI controlled and fight on their own, requiring no player input for their actions.

There are notable aspects to these battles:

  • The diamond layout of the available actions looks borrowed from Super Mario RPG, with Items on the left, Jump on the top, Hammer on the bottom, and an unknown glove icon on the right. It's possible these were chosen with the C-buttons on the N64 controller, as they have the same layout.
  • There is a bar near each enemy, which likely represents their health.
  • Mario's partner is positioned differently in battle, being closer to the camera and closer to Mario. In the final, the Partner has the same Z position and is a bit further behind Mario.
Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario ActionCommand.jpg PM64 final ActionCommand.png

Mario in battle against two Koopa Troopas. He's using Hammer, the icon for which is filled into the yellow square on the upper-left.

  • The action command for Hammer seems to involve timing a button press, while the final's involves holding left on the control stick until the fourth light on the HUD turns on.
  • The icon for the cursor also doesn't look like anything present in the final game.
Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario RedGoomba.jpg PM64 final RedGoomba.png

Mario and Goombario in battle against Red Goomba.

  • Red Goomba is sitting atop a spring, which doesn't happen in the final. He also appears to have 5 HP rather than 7.
Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario GoombaKing.jpg PM64 final GoombaKing.png

Mario and Goombario in battle against the Goomba King.

  • The Goomba King has no allies, looks slightly different, and is further away from Mario. He also appears to have 14 HP instead of 10.
  • The tree in the background doesn't resemble the Goomnut Tree in the final Goomba King battle and doesn't have a bandage.


Later Build


This build looks nearly complete, with the art style mostly finalized and some of the game's locales completed. This build shows signs of a completed battle system design, with FP and Star Points present.

  • Backgrounds are more detailed and are starting to resemble the style used in the final.
  • The HUD has changed again, showing a portrait of Mario on the upper-left with his HP and FP to the right in a blue rounded rectangle. One heart and flower is shown for what looks to be every 4 units of HP and FP, respectively, that Mario has; the HUD scales accordingly. The hearts on the HUD jump up in a playful way.
  • Total Coins and Star Points are displayed on the bottom-right of the screen on the field and after a battle. The font for them is also different.
Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario KoopaVillage.jpg PM64 final KoopaVillage.png

Mario and Goombario in Koopa Village.

  • The background is a more simplistic version of the one used for Goomba Village and the surrounding area.
  • A number of textures were redone.
Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario LaterBattle.jpg PM64 final GoombaBattle.png

Mario and Goombario fighting a Goomba and Spiked Goomba. The selection cursor looks the same, and based on Mario's stance, he appears to be using Jump.

Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario LaterGoombaKing.jpg PM64 final GoombaKingHammer.png

Mario using Hammer on the Goomba King, who is accompanied by the Red and Blue Goombas. Hammer's Action Command is faintly visible on the left side of the image.

  • The Action Command looks complete and greatly resembles the final. The HUD for it is transparent, which could indicate it being inactive/unusable (as Mario normally doesn't have Action Commands at this point in the game).


Notable aspects:

  • The Fuzzy minigame music and Tutankoopa's battle theme have slightly different arrangements, and sound like they're recorded from MIDI playback on a Roland SC-88 Pro, rather than from an in-game mix.
  • 0:00 - Goomba Village's decorations are different, the door has a wooden design and the side of the house has a different texture.
  • 0:01 - There is a large red pipe seen in Goomba Village, with what appears to be "POST" next to it. A Save Block can be found in this exact spot in the final, and Super Mario RPG used a similar method of saving, so there's a chance these were the original save points.
  • 0:02 The background is different and much higher quality than the final game.
  • 0:04 - Goombaria can be seen following Mario in Goomba Village. Goombaria is an unused partner in the final version. Goompapa is also seen blocking Mario's way and the gate is missing.
  • 0:08 - Mario has different, more exaggerated, expressions. This is noticeable when Kammy Koopa blocks off the exit to Goomba Village. Goombaria and Goompapa's "looking up" graphics are also different. Oddly, there is a piece of tree leaves floating near the characters.
  • 0:10 - This area has many differences.
    • The bushes and fencing are placed differently.
    • The baranda's textures have different colors.
    • There is dirt on the spot that Mario falls onto during the Prologue.
    • Mario's falling animation does not play when he runs off the ledge.
  • 0:11 - Completely different battle interface.
    • Mario has a different animation upon landing from a jump attack.
    • The Star Points fall out of enemies with physics then flash and disappear, instead of dropping and disappearing immediately after.
    • Enemy HP is displayed in a vertical bar, with small hearts representing the number of HP.
    • The star shown when dealing damage rotates rapidly and flashes different colors, and the color of the number indicating the amount of damage dealt is a red-pink gradient. The design of the small spinning stars that appear when objects bump into each other in the overworld seems to be based on this early design.
  • 0:15 - Goombas give 7 Star Points. In the final game, they give 2 at most.
    • Star Points accumulated are displayed on the bottom-left with the number accumulated displayed above them.
    • Mario gives an exaggerated victory sign after winning a battle, similar to Super Mario RPG. In the final version, he does many different victory poses randomly. Goompa's victory animation is also different.
  • 0:17 - The red "!" indicating if you can interact with something is smaller and static, and is a 2D sprite. It also appears above Goombario's head. The final features a 3D rotating "!" that appears over Mario's head.
  • 0:19 - Koopa Koot's house has more things inside and has a different wallpaper and window frame color. There are also other Koopas inside the house. In the final game, only he occupies it. The Koopas' and Koopa Koot's graphics are slightly different.
  • 0:23 - Pleasant Path's decoration is arranged differently, and the tree with the blue switch is missing. This implies that the switch was supposed to be found out in the open. The "?" block and the brick block are also missing on both ends of the bridge.
    • The area's background is brighter and less detailed.
  • 0:28 - A Goomba disappears after touching Mario in the overworld as if it was defeated by the Bump Attack badge. In the final game, enemies that are defeated in the overworld go into their death pose before they vanish.
  • 0:29 - Another large red pipe replaces the Save Block at the start of Flower Fields.
    • Flower Fields has different colors and scenery, involving more red and featuring fewer flowers and what appears to be a broken tree.
    • No Bub-ulbs are present in Flower Fields.
    • Bombette's appearance is drastically different: she's smaller, shinier, and looks more like a standard Bob-omb.



The game briefly resurfaced at E3 1999 under the name Super Mario Adventure.[14] However, the tentative English name was reverted to Super Mario RPG 2 by October.


Space World '99

Prerelease Paper Mario SMRPG2 Logo.png

A build was shown at Space World '99. The show's official press release states that the game was around 50% complete at this point, with an expected release date of January 2000.[15] Rough drawings of Kooper, Parakarry, and Lakilester were included, along with several screenshots. Interestingly, several of the in-game screenshots from various media show different builds with minor variations.[16][17] [18]

Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario Space World 1999 TitleScreen.jpg Paper Mario.png

The title screen shown in this build, featuring a different version of the final game's world map with animated clouds. The game is still called Super Mario RPG 2 this late into development, with the copyright date given as 1999.

Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario ToadTown.jpg PM64 final ToadTown.png

Mario and Goombario in Toad Town.

  • The sign reads "Mushroom Kingdom" instead of "Kinoko/Toad Town." There is a town with the same name in Super Mario RPG.
  • The pipe to Mario's house is missing, as is the lamppost.
  • The water has a reflection, which isn't present in the final.
  • There is a tree next to Russ T.'s that isn't in the final game.
  • The townsfolk are scattered around a bit differently, and there is no Toad couple by the pond.
  • Goombario's teeth are pointed instead of square, like a regular Goomba's. This design change seems to have been made fairly late in development, as his final menu icon retains the fangs.
Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario Bowser.jpg PM64 final KoopaBros.png

An early version of the cutscene that introduces the Koopa Bros. Bowser has a more intimidating appearance, and the Koopa Bros. are smaller and look younger.

Pre-release Final
Prerelease-PM64-1999FirstPeachCutscene.png PM64-FinalFIrstPeachCutscene.png

An early version of the first Peach cutscene, Bowser's early design can also be seen here, alongside other differences.

  • The camera is less zoomed in.
  • The fireplace's fences are smaller and simpler looking.
  • Both paintings don't have the transparency effect on the canvas and the frame of the painting next to the fireplace has a different color.
Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario 1999 Battle.jpg PM64 final KoopaGoombaBattle.png

A battle involving Mario and Kooper versus a Koopa Troopa and a Goomba. This looks much closer to the final.

  • The HUD displays Mario's HP differently, seemingly using large hearts to represent groups of 5 HP and small ones to represent the remainder.
  • The font on the HUD is thinner and italicized.
  • Underneath Mario's HP is the word "POW", which is likely an abbreviation of Star **Pow**er, though Mario seems to have none in this screenshot.
  • The "HP" and "FP" text are above their respective icons and are much smaller.
    • Above the Star Points and Coins icons is the text "SP" and "Coin," respectively.
  • Mario's battle options are laid out differently. From top to bottom, the options seem as follows: Run Away, Party, Jump, Hammer, Items.
    • The Jump icon is flipped.
  • Enemy HP is displayed differently. Instead of it being displayed as a small gauge with a number underneath them, it's displayed as a speech bubble with hearts inside of it.
    • Goombas and Koopa Troopas have 3 HP. In the final version, they have 2 and 4 HP respectively.
  • The stage backdrop shown is not used by this enemy formation in the final game.
Pre-release Final
Prerelease-PM64-1999GoombaBrosFight.png PM64-FinalGoomaBrosFightHammerBlueGoomba.png

An early version of the Goomba Bros. fight that looks much closer to the final.

  • There's an extra tree close to the ledge in the background.
  • The dirt path is missing.
  • Both Goomba Bros. are positioned differently: the Blue Goomba is closer to the ledge (around the same location as the Red Goomba in the final game), while the Red Goomba is on top of the edge.
Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario ObtainItem.jpg PM64 final ObtainItem.png

Mario obtaining a Red Berry in Flower Fields.

  • The text box has a plaid-looking texture and is higher up.
  • There is no item description at the bottom of the screen.
Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario PauseMenu.jpg PM64 NoBoots.png

An early pause menu shown. Part of the text for this can still be found in the Japanese version.

  • Mario is at Level 0, which is not possible in the final.
  • The HUD is still shown in the pause menu.
  • There is a unique animated background. The final instead uses the previous frame on the overworld as the background texture.
  • The menu is organized vertically rather than horizontally.
    • In order, the menu items are: Badges, Items, Party, Memo, Map, and Options.
    • The "Memo" option is absent from the final game, but description text that was left in suggests it held information gathered from a "knowledgeable Toad" (Russ T.?)
    • "Map" is in kana (ちず), unlike the final game which renders it in kanji (地図).
  • Total play time is not recorded.
  • Star Energy is absent.
  • HP and FP are grouped with the information on the right.
  • Coins are not on the menu.
  • Mario's current Hammer and Boots are displayed differently.
  • Above the Star Piece counter is a mysterious "Power Capsule" listing. It's not clear what this was for, but judging by leftover text for a similar-sounding "Power-Up Capsule" item, it may have been an early version of the final game's Super Blocks, or even The Thousand-Year Door's Shine Sprites.
  • The main part of the menu seemingly shows how much BP and max BP Mario has.
Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario PartnerMenu.jpg PM64 final PartnerMenu.png
Early Japanese Translation Final Japanese Final English
仲間を えらぼう! Select a party member! どのなかまに かえる? Switch to which
チャキチャキした ボム兵の オンナのコ
バクハツで かべとか岩を はかいできるよ
An industrious Bob-omb girl.
She can explode to demolish walls or rocks.
(C▼)を おすと バクハツして
ヒビのある カベや岩などを こわせる
Press (C▼). She'll explode and
destroy cracked walls or rocks.

The Party Member menu.

  • All partner icons are flipped in the final.
  • There is no icon for the active partner. In the final version, the active partner's name is grayed out.
  • The menu header uses the English word for party (パーティ) instead of the Japanese equivalent (なかま, nakama). The description's use of "nakama" is in kanji (仲間) rather than kana.
  • Bombette's description incorporates part of her pause menu profile, and doesn't give any indication of which button to press for her ability.
Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario 1999 PeachCastle.jpg PM64 final PeachCastle.png

Peach's Castle. The only time a similar view of the castle can be seen in the final is during the epilogue, in which Mushroom Kingdom residents can be found and the camera is zoomed in more.

Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario 1999 FlowerFields.jpg PM64 final FlowerFields.png

Mario using the hammer in Flower Fields. Mario has the Super Hammer here, which isn't possible in the final game. The HUD has text that says "LIMIT" under the HP counter.

Pre-release Final
Prerelease Paper Mario 1999 Twink.jpg PM64 final PeachTwink.png

Peach and Twink in the castle library.

  • Twink looks slightly bulkier in appearence. Interestingly, this design is still used on the final game's credit sequence.
  • The windows in the back are shaded using a diamond gradient. The final game changed this to a simpler linear gradient.
  • The top book in the book stack directly left of the potted vase is more to the left.
  • There are no Koopatrols patrolling.


The footage in the video contains a significant number of differences from the final.

  • 0:02 - Kolorado's house is shown.
    • There is a blue vase that was removed in the final version.
    • The chair was also redesigned and moved to the left in the final version.
    • Kolorado's wife has a green shell instead of a red one.
  • 0:06 - An exclamation mark appears above the head of a Toad, who starts running towards Mario like an enemy. In the final, there are no enemies in Toad Town, and no Toads do this during normal gameplay.
  • 0:14 - There doesn't seem to be a way to switch Mario and his partner's turn. It's possible partners were still AI controlled at this phase in development.
  • 0:19 - The text for the Hammer Action Command is a bit different from what's seen in the final game. The text also disappears when Mario performs the Action Command.
Early Japanese Translation Final Japanese Final English
[stick] を [star] が光る時にはなそう! Release [stick] when [star] lights up! [stick] を左に引いて [star] が光ったときに はなそう! Push [stick] to the left and release
it when [star] lights up!
  • 0:28 - Parakarry doesn't flap his wings fast during his field ability. His field ability also slightly descends over time.
  • 0:31 - In addition to the early description for Bombette noted in the screenshot above, there are two for Goombario and Kooper:
Early Japanese Translation Final Japanese Final English
物知りな クリボーの オトコのコ
いろいろなことを おしえてくれるぞ
A knowledgeable Goomba boy.
He'll tell you about various things.
(C▼)を おすと 今いる場所のことや
近くにいる人や 物のことを おしえてくれる
Press (C▼) to have him tell you
about everything nearby.
じんぎにあつい ノコノコ
コウラをけとばして アタックできるぞ
A Koopa Troopa with a strong sense of justice.
He can attack with a kick of his shell.
(C▼)を おすと とおくの物を とったり
スイッチを おしたりできる
Press (C▼) to reach an item
a short distance away.
  • 0:38 - Bombette flies upward more slowly after she uses her field ability.
  • 0:40 - The Koopa Village shop has a different item order.
    • In the footage, the order is: Mushroom, Volt Shroom, Honey Syrup, Fire Flower.
    • The final game's order is: Dizzy Dial, POW Block, Fire Flower, Honey Syrup, Volt Shroom, and Mushroom.
  • 0:45 - Pleasant Path's background has similar scenery with a different art style.
    • The area around the bridge that forms from a switch is more detailed, lacks a sign, and has an additional fence on the left.
  • 0:46 - Mario uses a Toad House.
    • The Toad House bed does not have sheets or a comforter and the window folds down as the vignette closes in.
    • Goombario moves beside the bed. In the final version, Mario's partner jumps into his pocket before he gets into bed.
  • 0:50 - There is a green Toad instead of a blue one by the station.
    • The sign by the station looks different.
    • The conductor is faintly visible at the start of the scene and looks to be wearing a non-traditional Toad hat, more akin to the conductor in the sequel, The Thousand Year Door.
    • The camera rotates to show a side view of the train much later.
    • The train is smaller and less detailed.
  • 0:52 - There is no Lil' Oink pen or Toad in the pen's vicinity.
  • 0:53 - The camera is rotated slightly downwards.
    • There is no sun ray effect.


The game's English and Japanese names were finalized as Paper Mario and Mario Story, respectively.


The build shown off at E3 2000 is very close to the final game. Most differences are merely small changes to the text (footage starts at 2:02:39):

  • A few kanji glyphs appear here that seem to have been removed from the font and replaced with their kana equivalents in the final Japanese version. These include 兵 ("soldier") and 押 ("to press").
  • 2:02:42, 2:02:46 - Waza (Abilities) is in hiragana (わざ) and not katakana (ワザ).
  • 2:02:47-48 - Power Shell costs 2 FP instead of 3 FP.
    • It and Shell Toss have slightly different descriptions:
Shell Toss
Early Final
てき1体を 体当たりで こうげきする てき1体で コウラで こうげきする
Ram into an enemy. Throw a shell at an enemy.
Power Shell
Early Final
[地?]面にいる てき全体を こうげきする 地上にいる てき全体を
コウラで こうげきする
Attack all enemies on the ground. Throw a shell at all enemies
on the ground.
  • 2:02:49 - Toki ("when") is rendered in kanji (時) instead of kana (とき):
Japanese English
Early [stick]を左に引いて⍟が光った時に はなそう! Push [stick] to the left and release it when ⍟ lights up!
Final [stick]を左に引いて⍟が光ったときに はなそう!
  • 2:03:28 - Part of Green Ninjakoopa's dialogue appears to have been rewritten:
Early Japanese Final Japanese Final English
うおっ マリオ! Yeeek! Mario!
どうせ おまえなんか [オレ?]たちの
ところまで くるなんて できないぜ!

Even so, you still won't
make it to our room!
Ha haa!

オレたちのところまで これるかな?

Will you find your way to our room, I wonder?

You, uh... Don't try any...
You'll still never find your way
through this fortress!
うぅ~ん たたかいの けはい
うぅ~ん たたかいの けはい
このシゲキが たまらないね
Umm... It looks like there might
be some fighting here.
How exciting! See ya!
Oddly, the English line is closer in meaning and tone to the early one, so a more literal translation of the final line has also been provided.
  • His last line is the same, but lacks the space between このシゲキが and たまらないね.
  • 2:03:38 - The jingle for being hit by a First Strike is completely different.
  • 2:04:40 - Mario's "danger" pose is different. Here he is more slouched and keeps his head down, with the hat covering his eyes.
  • 2:05:05 -
    • The badge pickup jingle is completely different.
    • Power Bounce's description was slightly reworded:
Early Japanese Translation Final Japanese English
アクションコマンドを しっぱいするまで
てきを 何回も ふみことができる
Jumps on one enemy a number of times
until you miss an Action Command.
アクションコマンドを しっぱいするまで
てきを れんぞくで こうげきできる
Jumps on one enemy continuously
until you miss an action command.
  • 2:05:29 - The "locked door" message is less assertive in nature:
Early Japanese Translation Final Japanese English
カギが かかっていっるので
It's locked, you can't
open it...
カギが かかっていて あかない! It's locked! You can't open it.
  • The text is also centered in the dialogue box.
  • 2:05:36 - The POW Block description was also tweaked. Translation-wise, there is no real difference:
Japanese English
Early てき全体に 2ダメージを あたえ
さらに コウラのてきを ひっくりかえす
Flips shell enemies and inflicts
2 damage points on all enemies.
Final てき全体に ダメージを 『2』あたえる
さらに コウラのてきを ひっくりかえす
  • 2:06:09 - A slightly earlier level up screen.
    • Interestingly, the "Level Up!" text is in romaji rather than kana, using the same graphics as in the English version.
    • The HP heart lacks highlights when not selected.
    • Again, waza (in the FP description) is in hiragana.
    • The blue text box is larger and placed above the stats (obscuring the "level up" text), and uses black text with a white outline. In the final game, the text is white, smaller, and baked onto the texture:
Early Japanese Translation Final Japanese English
どれを パワーアップしますか? Which will you power up? アップさせたいものを ひとつ えらぼう SELECT ONE TO UPGRADE!
  • 2:06:08 - The switch reveal jingle is completely different.

The footage from 2:07:32 onward appears to be B-roll from much earlier in development:

  • 2:07:32, 2:07:42 - Shooting Star Summit and Toad Town Tunnels use the main Toad Town theme.
  • 2:07:47 - The pipe entry sound is different, and does not play on the other side.
  • 2:07:58 - Gloombas (ヤミクリボー, Dark Goombas) are referred to as Underground Goombas (ちかクリボー) here.
    • For whatever reason, this Spiked Gloomba is labelled "Santa" (サンタ).
  • 2:08:05 - The counter suffix referring to the number of enemies is in kana (たい) and not kanji (体) as in the final game.
Japanese English
Early てき1たいを
ずつきで こうげきする
Headbonk an enemy.
Final てき1体を ずつきで こうげきする
  • 2:08:08 - When Goombario hits the Buzzy Beetle, a very small star appears (instead of a large one), along with the message "No Hit" (ノー ヒット). A similar-looking "No Hit" graphic also shows up, unused, in The Thousand-Year Door.
  • 2:08:24 - The Pokeys (サンボ) are referred to as Yellow Pokeys (きいろサンボ).
  • 2:08:32 - Goombario's jumping is accompanied by sound effects.


A preview for Paper Mario was shown in Nintendo Power, showing off some early translations for the game.

Item Early Description Final Description
Attack FX A When attacking, Mario changes his sound effects. Changes the sound effects when Mario's attacking.
Multibounce (First part) You can do a Multibounce. Uses 2 FP. Lets you do a Multibounce. Uses 2 FP.
Dried Pasta Recover HP: 3 & FP: 2 Pasta from Dry Dry Outpost. Restores 3 HP and 2 FP.


Voice Acting

The developers considered voice acting, but found that playing back voice samples on the Nintendo 64 was difficult. Eventually, they settled on using various font effects to bring out the characters' personalities.[6]

Rejected Berserk Badge

There was a rejected badge would increase Mario's Attack, but would prevent the player from giving him commands. The badge also gave Mario a green hue. (Chief director Ryota Kawade joked that the programmer was a Luigi fan.) There is an unused badge called イカリノパワー (Power of Rage) that fits this description, but it gives Mario a red hue rather than a green one.[6]


To do:
Find the source of the video.

This build appears to be later than the one shown at Space World 1999.

  • The battle HUD does not show any text for any of the stats.
  • The Fire Flower deals 2 damage instead of 3.
  • The POW Block deals 1 damage instead of 2.
  • The pipe sound is different.
  • A different music track is played at Mario's House and Star Hill.


Several later screenshots showcase text that was rewritten or otherwise has no final equivalent:

PM64 prerel Kaifuku.jpg

Early Japanese Translation Final Japanese Final English
ピカピカかみなり ドカンと落として
敵全体に 3ポイント ダメージ
Flashy lightning that strikes with a bang.
Does 3 points of damage to all enemies.
かみなりを てき全体に おとす
Lightning that strikes all
enemies. Attack Power: 5
  • Mushrooms (キノコ) were once known as Recovery Mushrooms (かいふくキノコ).
  • Thunder Rage's early description says it does 3 points of damage rather than 5.

PM64 prerel BowserText.jpg

Japanese Translation
ピーチ姫を 助けるために
ワガハイのところに くるつもりなのだな!
So he's planning to storm my place
and save Princess Peach, is he?

PM64 prerel Kolorado.jpg

Japanese Translation
こうこがくは コツコツと 地道な
じょうほうあつめが だいじなのだよ
Steadily and tirelessly gathering data
is a major part of archaeology.
Pre-release Final
PM64 prerel Uketa.jpg PM64 final Uketa.png
Early Japanese Translation Final Japanese Final English
攻撃を うけた! You were hit by the attack! せんせいこうげきを うけた! You're hit by the First Strike!
  • The text box is off-center.
  • The Paratroopa is closer to the area's entrance. In the final version, there is a regular Koopa Troopa by the entrance instead, with a Paratroopa farther in.
  • "Attack" is rendered in kanji (攻撃) and not kana (こうげき) as in the final game.
Pre-release Final
PM64 prerel Merluvlee.jpg PM64 final Merluvlee.png
Early Japanese Translation Final Japanese Final English
あなたが もとめる さがしものを
かれいに うらない さがすことが
わたしの こうきな つとめ
My noble calling is to read
fortunes while looking absolutely
ravishing. I can help you look for
what you seek.
あなたが もとめる さがしものを
かれいに うらない 見つけることが
わたしの こうきな つとめ
My noble calling is to read
fortunes while looking absolutely
ravishing. I can help you find
what you seek.
  • Merluvlee is on the other side of the room, and there is no crystal ball on her table.
  • The only difference in the text is the use of さがす (search) instead of 見つける (locate).

PM64 prerel Dojo.jpg

Early Japanese Translation Final Japanese Final English
もし おのぞみとあらば
わが道場に ちょうせんすることも
If you have the purpose and the
desire, you may challenge my Dojo.
もし おのぞみとあらば
ワシらに ちょうせんすることも
If you have the purpose and the
desire, you may challenge us.

PM64 prerel CentralFortress.jpg

Early Japanese Final Japanese Final English
このあたりが とりでの中心部みたいだ
いろいろ しかけも ありそうだしさ
このあたりが とりでの中心みたいだ
いろいろ しかけも ありそうだしさ
This seems to be the central
area of the fortress.
This area looks extremely
suspicious to me.

The early line calls the room the "central area" (中心部) of the fortress. The final line takes out the 部, rendering it closer to "center". The English line unwittingly hews closer to the early script, which shows how minor a change this is.

PM64 prerel PeachText.jpg

Early Japanese Translation Final Japanese Final English
そういえば この部屋のどこかに
ひみつのぬけ道が あるってことを
いぜん だいじんが 話していたわ
The Minister once told me that
there was a secret passage
out of this room!
そういえば この部屋のどこかに
ひみつの ぬけ道が あるって
だいじんが 話していたことが あったわ
I remember the Minister telling
me that there was a secret
passage out of this room!

The sentence was slightly reworded, in a way that doesn't affect its general meaning.

PM64 prerel ParakarryJob.jpg

Early Japanese Translation Final Japanese Final English
手紙を とどけるのが おしごとなのです My job is to deliver letters. こんにちは
わたし パレッタと いいます
手紙を はこぶ しごとを しています
The name's Parakarry.
I deliver letters.

Interestingly, the final Japanese line changed "deliver" (とどける) to "carry" (はこぶ). The English version seemingly reverted this, which, again, illustrates how the overall gist remains the same.

PM64 prerel KooperText.jpg

Early Japanese Translation Final Japanese Final English
マリオさん おねがいします
I beg you, Mario!
Please lend me your strength!
だから そのコウラを とりもどすのを
マリオさんに てつだってもらいたいんス
So if you don't mind, can you
help me get my shell back?
I'm begging you!

Aside from the text being entirely rewritten, Kooper doesn't appear to have his signature verbal tic of ending sentences with ス here.

PM64 prerel QuizmoText.jpg

Early Japanese Final Japanese Final English
ちなみに げんざいの あなたの
せいかいもんだい数は [#]もんで~す
じかいも ガンバって くださいね
ちなみに げんざいの あなたの
せいかいもんだい数は [#]もんで~す
じかいも がんばって くださいね
You've correctly answered
[#] question[s] so far.
Good luck next time!

Another minor tweak: がんばって (good luck) went from being rendered in katakana to hiragana. The meaning doesn't change at all.


  1. NINTENDO ULTRA 64: The Launch of the decade? - Pg. 107 - MAXIMUM, Nov. 1995
  2. Super Developers Wanted (In Japan) For Super Mario RPG 2 - Pg. 95 - Nintendo Power, May 1996
  3. Nintendo 64-News - Pg. 62 - Video Games, May 1996
  4. The List - Pg. 15 - Nintendo Power, July 1996
  5. Iwata Asks: Paper Mario: Sticker Star - Nintendo.com, 2012
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Paper Mario: 2000 Developer Interview - Shmuplations.com
  7. Mamma-Mia, Mario's Coming to 64DD! - Pg. 6 - Nintendo Magazine, April 1997
  8. Nintendo Drops Price of N64 and Delays More Games! Doh! - Pg. 110 - Gamefan, April 1997
  9. The Game Masters - Pg. 105 - Nintendo Power, August 1997
  10. 10.0 10.1 Super Mario RPG 2 (Paper Mario) - Unseen64.com
  11. Mario RPG 2 for the 64DD - Legends of Localization
  12. Mario RPG is For the Kids - IGN.com, Nov. 1997
  13. Super Mario RPG 2 - Nintendo.com
  14. Mario and Kirby Crash E3! Two Games on the Way. - Pg. 115 - Nintendo Power, June 1999
  15. Soft Release Schedule - Pg. 51 - Nintendo Space World '99 Official Guidebook
  16. List of Paper Mario pre-release and unused content - Super Mario Wiki
  17. Super Mario RPG 2 - Pg. 24 - Nintendo Space World '99 Official Guidebook
  18. Super Mario RPG 2 - Nintendo.co.jp