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"Plagiarism" fears kept Mario under wraps at E3

Japan's Nintendo Dream magazine is reporting that Nintendo did indeed plan to show Mario 128, the next instalment in Shigeru Miyamoto's massively successful Mario franchise, at E3 last month - but decided not to at the eleventh hour for fear that other developers would copy ideas from the game.

Apparently, Nintendo feared that the new gameplay ideas in the game - which will take the series in an entirely new direction, according to the company - would be stolen by competitors and might even have appeared in other games before Mario 128 arrived on shelves.

Nice way to gain a bit of free publicity post-E3, that, and it's certainly got people talking about Mario 128 once again. However, the fact is that we know next to nothing about the game - much speculation has focused on the "100 Marios" tech demo used by Miyamoto while promoting the GameCube, but in fact that technology was later revealed to be an early test for Pikmin, not a new Mario game.

The real question is, when will we get to see Mario 128 - and when will the game actually be released? We'd risk a guess at early 2004 in Japan for a release date, although Christmas 2003 is possible if the game was really in a state fit to be shown at E3. As for the public unveiling, it could actually happen at the Nintendo Show in London at the end of August, but that's only one of several options - although Nintendo won't be holding a SpaceWorld event this year, and isn't expected to attend the Tokyo Games Show, it is no stranger to unveiling new products at toy shows rather than videogame shows.

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Rob Fahey avatar

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.

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