Nintendo development legend Shigeru Miyamoto has issued a video message thanking the former voice of Mario Charles Martinet.
Last month, Nintendo announced that Martinet, the original voice actor of Mario who has played the character since 1996, is “stepping back from recording character voices for our games” and will now serve as a “Mario Ambassador”. Nintendo later confirmed Martinet does not voice Mario in upcoming Switch exclusive Super Mario Bros. Wonder.
In the special video message issued today, September 7, Miyamoto recalled when Martinet made his debut as the voice of Mario in 1996’s seminal 3D platformer, Super Mario 64, his penchant for calling the Nintendo legend “papa!”, as well as the many trips the pair had taken together promoting Mario and Nintendo across the globe.
Miyamoto said he was “deeply grateful” for Martinet’s work bringing Nintendo characters to life for nearly 30 years. “Charles-san, thank you very much,” Miyamoto said.
Over the weekend, Charles Martinet discussed his new role as “Mario Ambassador” for Nintendo, saying: “I don’t know what that is yet.”
Speaking during a Q&A panel at GalaxyCon Austin 2023, Martinet said: “I am now a Mario Ambassador. I don’t know what that is yet. I’m not retired as it were, but I’m an ambassador. As we step forward into the future, I will learn, we’ll all learn exactly what that is.”
In the video message, Miyamoto said Martinet will continue to travel the world promoting Mario at events, performing Nintendo voices for fans, and signing autographs.
As for who’s replacing Martinet as the voice of Mario, Nintendo has yet to say. In a recent interview with IGN, Nintendo of America boss Doug Bowser said the company will leave it to the credits of Super Mario Bros. Wonder.
“I think people have recognized this when they see Super Mario Bros. Wonder, they’ll hear a different voice and we’ll let that play out and that’ll be within the credits, and people will learn who the new person is at that point in time, but we don’t plan to make any announcement in advance of that,” Bowser said.
Also in the video message, Miyamoto reveals more than Mario’s voice has changed for Super Mario Bros. Wonder. “The voices of some Mario characters have become new,” Miyamoto said, “so please check them out.” Martinet voiced a number of Mario characters, including Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi.
Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at [email protected] or confidentially at [email protected].