In an interview with VGC, Nintendo veteran Kensuke Tanabe was asked about the process behind designing new villains for a franchise full of iconic antagonists like Bowser and Kamek. Tanabe replied, “Since Paper Mario: Sticker Star it is no longer possible to change Mario characters or to create original characters that touch the Mario Universe.”
This means that the team behind Paper Mario: Origami King had to come up with new characters from outside the existing Mario Universe for the game, as they couldn’t stray from established Mushroom Kingdom villains. New characters may not even seem like Mario characters: “We have to create original characters with designs that are not related to the Mario universe at all, as we did with Olly.
This resulted in the main villain of the game, King Olly and his younger sister Olivia, serving as a helpful helper during Mario’s journey. It seems that other developers dealing with the Mario property have had to follow similar rules as Nintendo plans to keep the current cast of Mario characters in the near future.
“Whether a character is going to be a hit or not, it’s not up to us in terms of development; I think it’s more that characters that fans really accept end up naturally that way,” added Tanabe, suggesting that the fan question will decide if we see the new characters of Origami King in another game. “I hope that the origami siblings in Paper Mario: The Origami King will remain in the memories of players even if they only feature in this title.”