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Mario is best known for jumping on his enemies, but we very nearly saw another side to this Nintendo iconic mascot’s personality in a third-person shooter.

Speaking to Edge magazine, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto said that Nintendo thought about using the jovial plumber as the star of its paint-based team-shooting game, Splatoon, due out on Wii U in early 2015.

“There were heated debates over who the main character should be [in Splatoon],” said Miyamoto, as reported by MCV. “Whether it should be Mario or the squid.”

In the end, Nintendo chose the Inklings — characters who can switch between human and squid forms — ahead of Mario as the company really wanted to create a strong, new intellectual property (IP).

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“When we talked about the possibility of it being Mario,” said Miyamoto, “of course we could think of the advantages: Anybody would be willing to touch it as soon as we announced that we had a new Mario game. But at the same time, we had some worries. If it were Mario, we wouldn’t be able to create a new IP.”

Splatoon was one of the most interesting games that Nintendo revealed at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) gaming tradeshow. Players use paint to traverse levels, swimming in squid form across floors and even up walls while trying to turn as much of the world as possible into their team’s color.

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