It was almost two years ago that Nintendo released Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U, which came out as the first 3D Mario platformer with fully functioning multiplayer – with up to 4 players sharing the screen, no less! Preceding that, the two Super Mario Galaxy games, while mainly single-player, did feature co-op, to a certain extent, by allowing a second player to pick up a Wii Remote and help collect Star Bits. However, it turns out that Nintendo EAD did experiment with a possible multiplayer mode on the GameCube launch title Super Mario Sunshine. With a year and a half long development period, however, multiplayer mode and a number of other could’ve-been features were cut from the final game due to time constraints.
What brought these facts to light was the existence of a function in Sunshine‘s coding called “SMS_isMultiplayerMap”, which alters the in-game camera’s behavior into zooming further away from the map when both Mario and Shadow Mario are present. Should Shadow Mario vanish, the camera would return to focus on Mario alone once more.
Alongside the scrapped multiplayer feature, the stage selection could have been a whole lot wider as well, as unlocalized level names have also been unearthed from the game’s code. Just as players have explored Bianco Hills and Noki Bay, potential levels such as a Warship Island, a Fire Shrine, Erto Rock (“Erto” meaning “steep” or “elevated”), Hotel Lacrima, and another secret stage could have been in the final game. Even Corona Mountain, befitting the staple “lava level preceding the final showdown with Bowser” trope, could have been like the other areas in Sunshine with multiple missions instead of being a new iteration of Koopa’s Road!
Super Mario Sunshine also originally ran at a framerate of 60 fps, even up to E3 2002 before it launched in August of that year. However, it was brought down to 30 fps in the final game for unknown reasons.
To think that all of this would have made for an even bigger Super Mario Sunshine than what was already released on the Nintendo GameCube so long ago! Still, to those who own a copy of Sunshine, are you happy with the final product, or did all of these cut features leave you wanting a bit more out of the game? Would bigger have made for better, or were 120 total Shine Sprites just enough to collect?