List of unreleased media
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Due to various reasons (ranging from being of poor quality, developing a game for a failed or soon-to-be-discontinued system, or the company facing financial or legal woes), a project can end up being canceled and cease production. Despite their status, concepts present in canceled games and other media can be reused in commercial releases, and some canceled games are repurposed into different projects.
A game in development can also end up becoming vaporware, a term for projects that are announced and for which development is started, but for similar reasons, were never published.
The following is a list of Mario media that has been canceled, or was never produced or released.
Canceled games and vaporware
Low-information games and rejected pitches
This section lists rejected pitches (meaning ideas proposed internally or to Nintendo without seriously going into production) and canceled projects that have too little information to warrant their own page.
3DS version of Virtual Boy Wario Land
On December 15, 2013, independent developers Jools Watsham of Renegade Kid posted a mockup of a colorized version of Virtual Boy Wario Land for the Nintendo 3DS. In a 2016 episode of IGN's NYC podcast, Watsham revealed that he had made a formal pitch to Nintendo to make colorized versions of Virtual Boy Wario Land and Nintendo's other Virtual Boy games for the 3DS, but the pitch was rejected for unknown reasons. He speculated this was because Nintendo didn't want to remind people of the Virtual Boy.
Archie Comics Mario comic pitch
Comic book publisher Archie Comics (which has published other comics based on famous video game properties including Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man) pitched a Super Mario comic book series to Nintendo, but it was rejected., as confirmed by writer Ian Flynn. The concept art for the pitch was drawn by Archie artists Tracy Yardley and Ben Bates.
Boss Game Studios' Mario game pitch
Sometime during the late '90s, Boss Game Studios pitched a Mario game to Nintendo of America. The only known proof of its existence is a storyboard, drawn by Patrick Michael Clark, bought in an online auction showing Mario stepping on a wooden plank, following by the wooden plank sprouting legs and walking in Mario's direction. According to a Boss Game Studios employee, "The Mario thing I think was for a proposal. I’m not sure if we were trying to get the license from Nintendo to produce a Mario game, or if they approached us to do one. Either way, I think it died on the vine after they saw the concept art"
CD-I Donkey Kong game
A Donkey Kong game was in development for the Philips CD-i. The only known report of it is the LinkedIn resume of programmer Adrian Jackson-Jones, which states the game was in development during the 1992-1993 period at RSP. Jackson-Jones "designed and implemented the game engine" for the project. Jackson claims he worked on the game alongside programmer Owen Flatley and that he has no surviving assets left of the game.
Donkey Kong Country 4
According to Rare employee Paul Rahme, it was internally suggested at Rare to make a new Donkey Kong Country game for the Nintendo DS, as remaking the trilogy for the Game Boy Advance gave the developers experience and a good basis for making a sequel. The pitch ended up not getting much traction internally and was dropped.
Donkey Kong parking attendant arcade game
In 1983, before creating the game show Catchphrase and producing Hotel Mario, entertainment producer Steve Radosh was involved in developing an arcade game starring Donkey Kong as a parking attendant for Sega, as the company had rights to the property at the time. The game was canceled when Gulf and Western Industries, the American conglomerate which at the time was Paramount Pictures' corporate parent, sold its ownership of Sega's U.S. assets to pinball machine maker Bally Manufacturing.
Mario Motors was a pitch made by game designer Yoot Saito for a Nintendo DS game. The game had players "shaving and sculpting out of a chunk of metal to make a cylinder [which then] decides the ability of your engines.". Saito also considered having the player blow in the DS's microphone to "learn how acceleration works" but scrapped it because the mechanic could have been too demanding for children. Despite initial interest from both Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto, the project never got off the ground with Saito stating "I can’t tell you why, but please guess.".
Mario/Rabbids crossover adventure game
In 2010, Ubisoft Paris had explored proposing a crossover between the Mario franchise and its own Rabbids franchise . The game was conceptualized as a "subversive, self-aware take" on the Mario franchise and concept art was produced depicting Rabbids kidnapping Bowser as Mario chased them. According to an anonymous Ubisoft employee, the pitch was possibly rejected by Nintendo before it was formally shown. According to Ubisoft employee Davide Soliani, this attempt is unrelated to Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.
Sony Pictures Mario film
Internal emails leaked to the public by proxy of the 2014 Sony Pictures hack detailed negotiations between Avi Arad and Nintendo to have Sony Pictures produce a Mario movie. The email exchange between Avi Arad and Sony Pictures executive Amy Pascal showed photos of Arad meeting with Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata; Pascal would later forward one of the emails to another executive with the comment "Avi closed Mario brothers" (Arad would later state to the press the deal had in fact not been closed after the emails were made public by the hack). Although no information beyond what is found in the leaked emails was made public, it seems the talks broke down as Nintendo would officially announce in 2018 that a Mario film would be produced by Illumination Entertainment, an animation company owned by Sony Pictures' rival Universal Studios best known for the Despicable Me franchise.
VB Mario Kart
The German magazine Big N claimed that a Virtual Boy installment of the Mario Kart series, tentatively named VB Mario Kart, was in development. The only known media report of it is Big N's August 2000 issue, which listed it among various other canceled Virtual Boy projects.
Yoshi tech demo
IGN Pocket posted a screenshot of a presumed tech demo featuring a Purple Yoshi in a forest in a behind-the-back perspective as blue and red spider-like robots resembling severed segments of Mechawiggler attacked him. No other information about this alleged tech demo arose, however.
Super Mario Bros. Orpheus Software pitch
In 1986, small subsidiary developer Orpheus Software planned a short, one-level demo of Super Mario Bros. for the Commodore 64 and attempted to pitch it to Nintendo for an official release, with Nintendo later rejecting the project. A Lemon64 thread from 2005 claims that user NYCeguy24 may have owned a copy, but this is likely speculation.