I, DMZAPP, PERMANENTLY AND IRREVOCABLY GIVE UP ANY AND ALL LEGAL RIGHTS TO NINTENDO AND SUBSIDIARIES IT WISHES TO BEQUEATH THESE RIGHTS TO REGARDING MAIN CHARACTER AND CHARACTER FUNCTIONS IN PAPER MARIO STICKER STAR-ESQUE GAMES IN THIS TOPIC, AS WELL AS ANY FURTHER POST IN THIS TOPIC I PERSONALLY MAKE ABOUT IT.
As many people are aware of, one of Miyamoto's orders to Intelligent Systems for making this game was the caveat that (with the unexplained exception of Kersti), only characters from the main Mario series could show up, as well as the implied instruction that named NPCs counted as new characters.
As fewer people are aware of, only a few non-enemy, non-boss NPCs show up in the game out of that criteria, making that order only hinder the game and IS' strengths.
Now, I feel that, among the game's other shortcomings, had more thought been put into the matter at hand, the main Mario characters seen, it would have somewhat helped alleviate the issue with story- namely, have a character both give out game advice and tell Mario/the player a little about themselves, while keeping the premise a premise and not implying any sort of overarching story.
So, for sake of example, I compiled a list of characters from the main Mario games who could have appeared in Paper Mario: Sticker Star without stepping over the "no story" clause.
UNIQUE CHARACTERS 1. Raphael the Raven (as NPC in 5-1, could give hints related to level's puzzles; in addition, he was in the first Paper Mario, so we'd have one explicit character appearance from past PM games right there) 2. Yoshi (as an extra set of abilities to replace some of the Paperization puzzles/alter some puzzles) 2ex1. in 2-2, he could use the Red Pepper from Galaxy 2 to ram into the wall at the top of the pyramid, with a plaque overhead showing this 2ex2. in 4-3, he could use his "sniffing" ability from Yoshi's Story to find Boos 2ex3. in 5-1, he could Flutter Jump over the flower without touching it, instead of the Kaizo bullplop involved in the actual game 3. Il Piantissimo (as NPC in 3-12, giving a hint about Gooper Blooper's weakness ["On Delfino, the janitors had to scrub this away with their equipment, like their brooms and sponges."]) 4. Kamella (to replace Kamek, to give more credence to the recent Mario games, to avoid diluting Kamek as a character, and because she just makes more sense to replace Kammy than Kamek does) 5. Toadette (to replace any one of the Toads and help alleviate that problem, and to serve as another main series character from a past Paper Mario game) 6. Toadsworth (to provide further context to the "premise", and, well, he's Peach's right hand. You know, it's rather odd he ddn't show up in this game...) 7. Nabbit (to serve as an NPC in World 2, maybe dropping both shiny stickers and, on the way out, the baseball bat in 2-3 so the player can't miss it, and then he gets launched out by a strong sand geyser. Finally, he'd be an early bird cameo, driving up some hype for New Super Mario Bros U on Wii U, and perhaps even the Wii U. The event would be repeatable, too)
SPECIES 1. Piantas (as NPCs at Surfshine Harbor, replacing some Toads) 2. Nokis (as NPCs at 3-6: Outlook Point, replacing some Toads) 3. Amp (as a singular character in Decalburg, and a fortune teller to solve campaign-related Paperization zones) 4. Whittles (as extra NPCs in World 3) 5. Chargin' Chuck (as a singular character in World 5, a burly explorer who can topple over heavy structures in an altered version of 5-4) 6. Gearmo (as singular character in 4-6, running the roller coaster)
Feel free to suggest other characters and other things.
Gameplay & story can and should work with each other, not against each other. Nothin' much, just cookin'.