Written by D. Matthew Beyer // Edited by Andrew Busch // Totally real and not at all doctored promotional images found by D. Matthew Beyer.

It’s time to get your body ready for more Mario, because in a bold move that surprised absolutely no-one, Nintendo announced plans to follow up the meteoric success of Super Mario Odyssey with another 3D Mario on the Switch. While the big N is being light on details, a totally real and in no way fictitious leak on /v/ today revealed that Nintendo was going back to the same source material as Odyssey. Considering the immense success of their previous literary tour-de-force, the next game in the much lauded Super Mario series will be a prequel entitled Super Mario Iliad.

Super Mario Iliad chronicles what happened to the man of pipes and powerups before his long journey home to the Mushroom Kingdom and having to deal with Peach’s suitor. The prequel kicks off with Wario kidnapping Daisy and Luigi calling upon his brother and their allies to help him lay siege to Wario’s castle. Each of the game’s 24 levels depicts a different period of the waging of the Toadstool war. While the player only ever controls Mario, much of the extended Mario universe gets their chance at catharsis during the various levels, such as the first, “The Rage of Donkey Kong,” or the sixteenth, “The Death of Diddy.”

The Death of Diddy
Sing through me, oh muse, of the mighty rage of Donkey Kong, incensed by the death of his second most treasured friend (the first is an extremely large banana, which is not pictured).

Also, Iliad finally gives dark horse fan-favorite Waluigi his time to shine. No longer content to just play tennis and let Wario hog all the glory on the battlefield, Waluigi leaps into action with a mighty cry of “WALUIGI GONNA WIN,” signifying his dedication to winning Wario’s war. While Wario might be the primary villain of the story, Waluigi is in direct opposition to the heroes most of the time. According to the anonymous leaker, Waluigi is “as noble as he is purple” in Iliad, making his rivalry with Mario positively heartrending. In fact, many people think that an argument could be made for Waluigi to be the real hero of the story.

The game incorporates much of what has made Nintendo great over the years, marrying Majora’s Mask’s nihilistic streak with the knitted aesthetic of Yoshi’s Woolly World. According to my incredibly reliable source, each of Wario’s minions contains an entire sweater’s worth of red yarn that the player can liberate from their soft, squishy bodies, giving Mario Iliad’s platforming the visceral satisfaction of a game like God of War while maintaining the family-friendly rating Mario is known for. Nintendo promises Mario Kart or Party levels of cartoon carnage, but with the upside of not sinking any of your friendships.

The leak includes a few pieces of concept art for the game, most of which look like they were hastily sketched on whatever paper was at hand by whatever mad genius who came up with Iliad. The scenes include Diddy Kong wearing Donkey Kong’s legendary tie to fool Wario’s army, Waluigi clashing with Luigi as their armies surge around them— this one making good use of Luigi’s now-infamous hate-filled stare from Mario Kart 8— and finally Mario using his sick hammer skills to assemble a massive “Toadjan Koopa.”

All of these details are of course unconfirmed, as Nintendo has yet to return my calls, emails, or carrier pigeon. If anyone has an uncle who works at Nintendo, please ask them about Iliad.

In one final bit of trivia, apparently Yoshi’s habit of appearing at the end of Mario games will continue with Iliad, as a bonus is apparently going to tease the conclusion of the trilogy, Yoshi’s Aeneid. While Yoshi’s Aeneid is not being developed in-house by Nintendo, I think fans can trust FromSoftware to do the story of the founding of Yoshi’s Island justice.

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