Nintendo Announces New Mario Kart 8 Updates

Simply Smashing

For years, Nintendo fans who have enjoyed Mario Kart‘s racing action and the full range of fan service provided by Super Smash Bros. have petitioned the company with a simple, perhaps obvious thought: Why not combine the two and make a “Super Smash Kart,” full of not just Mario characters, but racers hailing from numerous Nintendo franchises from throughout the company’s storied history?

However, the company– or at least the developers– have always staunchly refused the notion. In an interview with MTV Multiplayer, producer Hideki Konno echoed his previous thoughts in answer to the recurring question:

Multiplayer: [The Mario Kart Arcade GP games] in particular feature some of the Namco characters, and the “Smash Bros.” series features some third party characters as well. Has that ever been an ideal that’s been tossed around for “Mario Kart”?

Mr. Konno: The idea always come up during development of new “Mario Karts,” but we believe there’s a certain feel that “Mario Kart” has as a series, it’s Mario kart, the “Mario Kart” characters are the ones that are going to be coming out. We almost feel like there’s a secret rule that Mr. Miyamoto has that limits those new characters to just Mario.

If we did it too much it would be “Smash Kart.”

Which would be just fine by some people, people it would seem that Konno or Nintendo are now more open to listening to. Following the recent news of three Mercedes-Benz cars being part of a free downloadable update for the title, the company has just revealed that they are going to be providing further downloadable content in the near and not-so near future, both of the paid variety, featuring a number of new and familiar faces.

Though most of the contents of these packs remain a secret, the gist is that each “pack” will contain two new cups with four courses each, increasing the total number of currently available courses by 50 percent. The courses included will feature classics such as Wario’s Gold Mine from Mario Kart Wii along with new courses.

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More exciting, though, is that each pack will also include four new vehicles and three new characters– not all of which are from Mario games. The first pack will bring not only Tanooki Mario and Cat Peach (because after Metal Mario, Pink Gold Peach, Baby Mario, and Baby Peach, why not?), but also Link from The Legend of Zelda, who is seen riding a decidedly un-Hyrulean-like motorcycle and giving the pack its name, “The Legend of Zelda X Mario Kart 8.” Those hoping he might have been riding Epona in some form may not need to pay up yet, as only one other vehicle from the first pack is currently known: The Blue Falcon from F-Zero, vehicle of none other than Captain Falcon himself.

The second pack’s name is equally telling as well, as “Animal Crossing X Mario Kart 8” allows players to race as the Villager, Isabelle, or even Dry Bowser. And in both packs, some of the new tracks featured will take place in the worlds of The Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing, just as you might expect. Fingers are crossed for Hyrule Field from Twilight Princess or Death Mountain tracks.

The Legend of Zelda X Mario Kart 8 will be available in November, while Animal Crossing fans will have to wait a bit longer– May 2015 is when that one is set to drop, about a year after the game’s release. Both packs will be $7.99 each, or you can purchase both at once for $11.99 beginning today, August 27th. Though you can’t use the new content named above right now, there is still a small perk to buying early (though you receive it if you buy both packs at any point): You can choose from eight new colors for both Yoshi and Shy Guy. The potential that gives team battles would be tremendous, would they only update the game’s lacking Battle Mode.

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Personally speaking, I think I would have rather seen more classic characters who were left out returned to the races before including outsiders– or at least in place of Tanooki Mario and Cat Peach, though Dry Bowser is something of a start. Nonetheless, I’m still excited to take Link, Villager, and Isabelle around whatever new and returning tracks (hopefully Kalimari Desert and Neo Bowser City among them) come our way. Hopefully these two packs are just the beginning– I mean, who can honestly say they wouldn’t want to see Samus racing around in a car based on her gunship?

Incidentally, one might wonder how Konno and Nintendo might justify the appearance of characters from other games in this title while still keeping it “Mario Kart.” Back to the interview…

Multiplayer: [“Smash Kart”] would be an interesting game.

Mr. Konno: (laughs)

Mr. Yabuki: Actually, the addition of the Miis is kind of pushing us towards that.

Mr. Konno: Don’t tell anybody, but when we put the Miis in, Mr. Miyamoto was even kind of like, “You know, aren’t you crossing the line here? This doesn’t exactly feel like ‘Mario Kart.'” But you know, with the Mii being a basic part of the console, we were able to put it in, and have him actually play it to get his sign off. It’s still an unlock, you can’t select a Mii from the get-go. So, for some reason it didn’t exactly cross that secret line, but it kind of came close.

Perhaps the fact that Link and company aren’t a part of the basic package (or even unlockable) is their “out” in giving fans what they want while still treading on the safe side of that mysterious line? If that’s the case, then perhaps not having a proper “Smash Kart” won’t be so bad after all.

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David Oxford

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