The sound of the Mushroom Kingdom is about to change.
Charles Martinet, who as the official voice of the Nintendo character Mario became instantly recognizable to a generation of gamers with phrases like “It’s a-me, Mario” and the unmistakable “woo-hoo,” is stepping down from the role, the company said.
Instead, Martinet will step into the role of “Mario Ambassador,” Nintendo said in a statement, which added that he would continue to travel the world and interact with fans.
“It has been an honor working with Charles to help bring Mario to life for so many years,” the company said.
“My new Adventure begins! You are all Numba One in my heart! #woohoo !!!!!!!” Martinet wrote on social media.
Martinet has been the voice of the cheerful Italian plumber since the release of Super Mario 64 in 1996, the company said. He has also voiced Luigi, Mario’s brother and sidekick, and Wario, Mario’s archrival.
Super Mario 64 moved the series into three dimensions and brought much of the video game industry with it. In the game, released on the Nintendo 64, players see Mario from behind as he runs ahead. The game has attained something close to cult status since, and Martinet would go on to lend his voice to dozens more games.
A new game, “Super Mario Bros. Wonder,” is set to come out in October, in which Martinet does not appear to have a role, according to his IMDB profile, where he is not listed as the character’s voice.
Martinet did not voice Mario in “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” released this year, ceding the role to Chris Pratt, but he did have a small role in the film as the voice of Mario and Luigi’s father.
The New York Times review of the movie mentioned that Pratt — “who doesn’t sound like the Mario of the games” — invoked Martinet’s catchphrases, including “it’s a-me” and “let’s a-go.”
In an interview with CNN in 2017, Martinet said he had had roles on the stage and TV but knew nothing about video games when he “crashed an audition” in 1990 and was told to make up a voice for the character, “an Italian plumber from Brooklyn.”
“The character for me brings out the best in me,” Martinet said in the interview.