Since the first Mario game where the famed plumber needed a voice, one man has held the role: Charles Martinet. For over 25-years he has voiced Mario, Luigi, and a host of other characters in the bestselling franchise. Now, Martinet is stepping down in order to focus on being a "Mario Ambassador", which is Nintendo-speak for 'retire'. Ash Parrish at The Verge has more.
Martinet has voiced the character since the ’90s, appearing in mainline Mario titles like Super Mario 64, Super Mario Odyssey, and Super Mario Galaxy as well as countless spinoffs.
“Charles is now moving into the brand-new role of Mario Ambassador. With this new transition, he will be stepping back from recording character voices for our games,” Nintendo’s statement reads. “It has been an honor working with Charles to help bring Mario to life for so many years and we want to thank and celebrate him.”
The news that Martinet will no longer be voicing Mario arrives after speculation about why Mario’s voice sounded a little different in promo material for the new Super Mario Bros. Wonder game, due out October 20th. In an email to Polygon, Nintendo confirmed that Martinet is not voicing Mario in Wonder writing, “While Charles is not involved in the game, we’re excited to honor his legacy and contributions, including looking ahead to what he’ll be doing as a Mario Ambassador.”The Verge
Martinet is to Mario as Jim Henson was to Kermit. The two cannot fully exist without the other. Even today I can easily hear the difference in the green muppet's voice in comparison to when I was a kid. Martinet did cameo in the Super Mario Bros. movie that came out earlier this year, but it was a controversial move that he was not cast as Mario's voice. That role was given to Chris Pratt, who did a servicable job.
Martinet has been active on the "con circuit" making appearances to sign autographs and take photos with fans. I doubt Nintendo would really need much more original voice work as they have a plethora of digital assets to endlessly reuse in any games they will ever make with Mario. I'm sure they are already searching for a replacement, but nobody will ever truly replace Charles Martinet. He IS Mario. But I get wanting to retire and to that, my hat is off for him.
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