Fumihide Aoki, the Nintendo character designer behind Waluigi, has revealed a first look at a previously unseen “evil” Princess Peach variant known as Wapeach, who would have played a role in the Mario Tennis franchise.
Aoki’s design of Wapeach – shared in both 2D sketch and 3D model – was only accompanied by the hashtag #characterdesign with few clues as to her purpose, but Aoki has answered some questions about her origin. In the sketch and model, she’s designed very similarly to Peach, although she wears a unique purple dress, and spiked earmuffs designed to give her an edgier look.
She also appears younger than Peach, and gives off rebellious younger sibling vibes. To date, Wapeach has not surfaced in any other Nintendo games, suggesting her design was rejected for one reason or another.
In response to fan questions, Aoki has claimed she was considered for Mario Tennis on the Nintendo 64, but was designed during the development of Mario Power Tennis for the Nintendo GameCube.
“What I was thinking about in her setting is that she sees Peach as her rival. She treats Wario and Waluigi like her minions,” Aoki said, per Games Radar. “She has a scary personality when she gets angry.” He believes Wapeach was ultimately cut as there were “no characters to pair with” in the game, but he speculates she could also have been rejected as “the concept of an evil version of Peach itself may not be acceptable” for Nintendo.
Since posting these designed on Instagram, Aoki has made his account private, with all evidence of Wapeach now removed from the social media platform. It’s unclear if this was due to Aoki’s own wishes, or due to potential trouble with Nintendo.
In the past, the company has been quite strict with protecting its intellectual property, rarely sharing behind-the-scenes details and insights into cancelled ideas and projects, despite the game community’s love for these details. Since Wapeach was revealed, she’s proven quite popular amongst Nintendo fans, with many already producing cosplays, fan art, and other homages to the scrapped character.
While Aoki has now gone private on social media, the brief glimpses he provided into his design processes, and a character that didn’t quite work out, are fascinating. While Wapeach didn’t eventuate in the Mario Tennis series, it’s clear she’s got a lot of fans, and could have been a potential hit with the Mario community.