After the success of its Mario soccer games, Super Mario Strikers and Mario Strikers: Charged, Next Level Games started development on a volleyball/wrestling hybrid for the Wii called Super Mario Spikers, which never saw the light of day. Unseen 64 has compiled all of that lost game’s assets for a glimpse at what could have been.
Nintendo was so pleased with the critical and commercial success of Mario Strikers: Charged on the Wii in 2007 that it granted Next Level a larger budget and more creative freedom for the studio’s next project. The game began its life as Mario Volleyball, but over its development absorbed elements of professional wrestling and game shows and was retitled as Super Mario Spikers.
The project was never greenlit by the higher-ups at Nintendo, though, who apparently felt that some of the game’s concepts clashed with the Japanese company’s identity. “It was a Japanese honor thing,” added a source close to the project. Work ceased on Spikers by the end of 2007, and Next Level went on to develop for Nintendo the Wii Punch-Out!! and a Metroid 3DS prototype.