Today Source Gaming talks about what a Mario Kart expanded to other franchises in the style of Smash Bros could look like. I just wanted to quickly add my two cents and also publish a previously dormant article.
Disclosure: This post is 100% unrelated to Wolf and the purpose of this website.
I believe Nintendo will eventually take Mario Kart down the Smash Bros. route of having characters from its various franchises and beyond racing around. This transition I believe will be taken slowly and not just happen overnight. I also believe that they will want to preserve the Mario Kart branding and any characters who appear outside of the core Mario universe are guests.
When Source Gaming first opened up to allow guest articles I decided to give it a shot. My submission was turned down predominately on the basis that “Opinion and editorial articles are rarely going to be accepted from guests”. However since they are now expanding into other content aside from Smash nothing stops them from creating original content.
I figured if there was ever a time to publish my article it would be here and now. The article starts from after this sentence. It is published as it was originally submitted:
Today I’ll be making the case for what I would like to see in a potential Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 3, why it might be possible and when we may see it.
The current buzz within the Nintendo World is keenly on potential new character content for Smash 3DS/Wii U to arise from the recently finished Smash Ballot. Partly due to the fact Nintendo has made no announcements in regards to the closure of the Smash Ballot, let alone when we may hear about a possible timeframe of any new content’s arrival date, or what (or who) that content may be.
Nintendo’s current Christmas line-up does not contain a numerous amount of titles to begin with nor features anticipated titles such as Star Fox Zero, Pokken Tournament and Zelda Wii U which are not planned to be released until 2016 and beyond.
Smash For 3DS/Wii U has sold relatively well currently sitting at number 5 on the Best Wii U selling software as of June 30 2015 . The super fresh Splatoon has sold 1.6m units ending June 30 2015 also. However Mario Kart 8 is currently the Wii U’s strongest selling software.
That is potentially a big audience to sell DLC too. We have currently seen the release of 2 DLC packs for Mario Kart 8 not including the Mercedes-Benz cross-over content as that was given out for free. There is also currently a report suggesting we will see a third DLC pack and that it will arrive sometime before March 2016.
A third Mario Kart 8 DLC pack can address two specific issues. The first is the lacking support for Wii U in general in terms of new software and software updates overall, due to the fact NX is being unveiled publicly with no new details about Nintendo’s potential new home console until E3 2016.
If I had to give Mario Kart 8 a review score (while I personally don’t believe in review scores I will not be creating a review specifically for this guest article) I would give it a 9 out of 10. I believe two aspects hold back from giving the game a perfect score. One issue being the character lineup. Almost half of the cast are what I believe to be relatively lazy clones. This includes characters such as Metal Mario, Baby Rosalina and Cat Peach, or why Bowser Jr was not included, and why the other Bowser Children are individual characters compared to being alternative costumes like in Smash For 3DS/Wii U.
The other major issue I personally have with Mario Kart 8 is the lacking Battle mode. I am not alone in this matter as Video Games media and Mainstream media alike have covered this. Arena styled maps have been a cornerstone in the Mario Kart series since the very beginning.
“We’ve changed the style of Battle mode for Mario Kart 8 to use circuits that lots of people can play on. Players won’t know when a rival will appear from around a corner, which will bring a new sense of excitement and strategy to this mode. In terms of rules, we designed it for playing with 12 players, including the CPU. In the beginning, you have to defeat the CPU players and earn your score, and towards the end it becomes a battle between just human players. That’s the real thrill of it! It should also be a fresh experience for users to be able to race backwards around the circuits they are familiar with. I’m sure there will be a few people who aren’t so sure about us moving away from how we’ve done things previously, but I hope they try it out for themselves first. I’m sure it will be a new experience for everyone, [and] like no other battles in Mario Kart before”
The reasoning provided personally does not make sense to me. There have been many maps throughout the Mario Kart Series that are already adequate in size to accommodate 12 players (the new standard for the number of racers involved in a game), new tracks can be created and previous tracks can be modified to allow for 12 players simultaneously. The minimap within the game also negates the so called “Players won’t know when a rival will appear from around a corner”. I do not see why we could not have both allowing players to choose, and if evidence and fan feedback supports the justification for removing arena styled maps that would be fine.
My theory is that they simply ran out of development time and/or resources before launch to include a Battle Mode to the standard and quality to equal the rest of the game and the legacy that the mode has seen throughout the series. If that was the reason provided I would have been personally been ok with it even if I don’t agree with the end result.
Nintendo DLC packs for Mario Kart 8 have so far had a consistent format, that is 3 new characters and 8 new tracks. I would imagine a potential third DLC pack would also keep to this format. The following is a list of which characters I would like to see:
- Marth (Fire Emblem Series)
- Robin (Male and Female Variants) (Fire Emblem Series)
- Captain Falcon (F-Zero Series)
So why Marth and Robin from Fire Emblem?
Fire Emblem has seen a resurgence in recent years. It currently has 5 characters representing the series in Smash for 3DS/Wii U, and as a result of the sales from Awakening not only is the series back from the brink of death but has also allowed for new entries in the series to be made with Fire Emblem Fates due to be released in 2016 for Western audiences.
Fire Emblem as a series is 25 years old, with numerous entries which generally speaking are stand alone from each other. Marth is currently the main representation for the series as a whole overall so naturally he would be included. While Awakening may have originally released in 2012 in Japan, as mentioned above it is a huge deal for the series and currently still sees representation years later with Robin and Lucina in Smash for 3DS/ Wii U and Chrom and Lucina in Projext X Zone. Robin would also allow for Male and Female variants such as Villager does in Mario Kart 8. Robin being one of the main characters from Awakening would naturally lead well as being a representative for Awakening as he has in Smash for 3DS/ Wii U.
So what about Captain Falcon?
While it is unfortunate F-Zero as a series is dormant, I do not believe Nintendo has any intention to keep it this way for too much longer. The Wii U was in fact planned to have a new F-Zero game released however Nintendo’s chosen developer Criterion was not able to commit due to other projects. Scanning the Captain Falcon Amiibo allows for players to use a Captain Falcon as a costume for their Mii, the Blue Falcon is a selectable vehicle to race in and the maps Mute City and Big Blue from the F-Zero Series appear in Mario Kart 8.
The 200cc mode included as DLC may also be possible fanservice to make up for the fact a F-Zero game did not appear as F-Zero features racing at extreme speeds which for many maps in Mario Kart 8 do not translate well.
You may be thinking at this point these 3 characters I have proposed are not part of the core Mario universe and make no sense in the game. However Villager and Link have appeared in the game as guest characters and I believe this will allow Nintendo to open up Mario Kart to more guest characters in future. The cel shaded art style of Link and Villager from their respective games and Smash for 3DS/Wii U has transitioned well into Mario Kart 8 and when you look at Marth, Robin and Captain Falcon they could also transition well into the style presented by Mario Kart 8.
For the 8 tracks, in keeping with previous DLC packs they would most likely appear in format of 4 new tracks and 4 retro tracks. I only have a few suggestions I’d personally want to see:
- Wii U (New Track)
- Fire Emblem Stage (New Track)
- Block Fort (Retro Track)
Previous entries have seen players battle on a Nintendo DS as well as a Nintendo GameCube. A Wii U stage I think would be a nice homage to the system which has brought us arguably the best Mario Kart entry of all time (My favourite games in the series are Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart 8, although I recognise the important of Mario Kart 64 but that game has not aged well).
If characters from Fire Emblem are to be included, at least one stage relating to the series would make sense although I do not have any particular preference as to what that stage may be but I would trust Nintendo to do it justice. As we already have 2 F-Zero maps in the game I do not believe another stage from that series would be warranted.
A personal favourite retro track I definitely would like to see return would be Block Fort from the Nintendo 64 and as a Retro track in Mario Kart DS. In my mind it is the quintessential map that best represents all the Arena styled maps in the entire series.
For my final inclusion to my wishlist I would like to see the Shine Runners from Mario Kart DS return (although this mode is similar to the Shine Thief mode in Mario Kart Double Dash). For those unfamiliar with the game mode here is a summary from the Mario Wiki;
“Shine Runners is a battle game in Mario Kart DS where players collect Shine Sprites and can steal them from other players. The rules of the game are simple: You have 60 seconds to get as many Shine Sprites as you can and you can steal some from your opponents by using Items on them. When time runs out, players with the least Shine Sprites are eliminated and 30 seconds is added to the game time. The person with the most Shine Sprites when the game ends is the winner.”
Due to the Timed nature of the mode there is a exhilaration I get as the final seconds countdown and I desperately try to obtain enough Shine Sprites not to be knocked out.
While everything from my wishlist may not actually occur, I believe there is at least some merit to these ideas as I have presented in this article. At the very least the chances of more Mario Kart 8 DLC in the future is quite strong. I definitely would like to hear what you think about my suggestions and what you would like to see in any future Mario Kart 8 DLC!
Thanks to Mr Tony who assisted in the editing of this article.