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Super Mario Bros. Gets Gritty in THE FOUR PLAYERS

The Four Players

by on November 20, 2013

When most of us think of Nintendo, we think “friendly.”  Nostalgic to millions, Nintendo conjures the emotions of a certain innocence.  Retrospectively, though, this innocence isn’t just about our collective childhoods, it’s also about the innocence of technology.  The original Super Mario Bros., released 27 years ago in the autumn of 1985, gave the video game industry a giant 1-up with its commercial success. Even though the 8-bit graphics of the time could pull off darker themes in other franchises, how many of us have actually considered the emotional damage and repercussions that Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool, and her loyal courtier, Toad, have endured?

Feudal Systems recently reimagined the Mushroom Kingdom as a gritty tale with themes of sacrifice, duty, torture, and addiction.  Four cinematic shorts, collectively titled The Four Players, were recently released on Polaris, individually titled The Fixer (Mario), The Addict (Luigi), The Soldier (Toad), and The Star (Peach).

Evan Daugherty, writer/director of The Four Players, is also behind Snow White and the Huntsman and the upcoming Divergent, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and G.I. Joe 3.  Daugherty assembled an incredible crew of talent, including Try This at Home‘s Holly Conrad for production design, creature design and effects.

Toad concept designs. Sketched in ink & color by Holly Conrad

Toad concept design.  Sketched in ink & color by Holly Conrad


Toad in “The Four Players”. Creature design & effects by Holly Conrad.

Daugherty also recruited composer Eric Desiderio to create the music for The Soldier, which was recorded by a 63 piece orchestra in Bulgaria, with Desiderio playing 12 string guitar on top. The VFX were done by Oscar winning VFX house Rhythm and Hues.


“THE FIXER decides he can’t let things stay broken any longer.”

Starring Brian Gonzales as The Fixer.


“THE ADDICT receives a reminder from his past that forces him to rethink his present.”

Starring Jonathan Brooks as The Addict.


“THE SOLDIER takes desperate action for the sake of his Kingdom.”

Starring Se Young Kang and Heather Sims as The Soldier.

THE STAR (Princess Toadstool / Peach)

“THE STAR contemplates happier times while suffering at the hands of her captors.”

Starring Cassie Shea Watson as The Star.

Let us know what you think in the comments below, or talk about it on Twitter with me.