Nintendo Announces New Mario Kart 8 Updates

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.

Nintendo is running a special promotion from March 1st through March 31st that is of interest to new Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL, and Nintendo 2DS owners– or those who have just been considering getting one.

Register your system along with one select game (Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins, Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, or the upcoming Yoshi’s New Island) with Club Nintendo, and you’ll be eligible to receive a free download code for either Pokémon X or Pokémon Y, two of the system’s best-sellers.

Meet the requirements, and you should receive your code by April 30th, 2014. Don’t sit on the code for too long, however; they’re only valid through May 31st, 2014.

From Nintendo’s press release:

Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, the latest entries in the world-famous Pokémon series, offer a visually spectacular new Pokémon experience that brings the world of Pokémon, new Mega Evolutions and a host of new features to the Nintendo 3DS like players have never seen before. The games are currently available in stores and in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS at a suggested retail price of $39.99. For more information about Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, visit http://www.pokemon.com/xy.

All said, it’s a good deal, and if you don’t already own one of the Nintendo 3DS family of handhelds, it’s an excellent enticement to buy now. With that said, I can only wonder if Nintendo will roll out a similar promotion for the Wii U– it’s the one that really needs it!

In the latest edition of Nintendo Direct, the company not only revealed a closer look at several of the games coming out this holiday season, but also revealed a previously unannounced title and an unfortunate delay. Following is a recap of the video (seen above) for those unable to view it by way of Nintendo’s press release.

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AC_enewsletter_052213_newleafNintendo of Canada has sent out an e-mail inviting players of Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS to join them to celebrate the game’s launch at official meet-ups taking place from 1pm to 5pm on June 15th and 16th, and again on June 22nd and 23rd.

In addition to having the opportunity to StreetPass with other players to share your Happy Home Showcase, trade items, and play mini-games together, you’ll also be able to score some free swag from the Animal Crossing Ambassadors in attendance. The first 50 players at each meet-up just need to look for the people wearing the Animal Crossing-branded t-shirts, and they will be the recipients of this mysterious Animal Crossing momento. The Ambassadors will also be ready to talk about “everything you love” about Animal Crossing, too.

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We’ve looked at Nintendo’s announcement of their exclusive partnership with SEGA and more of what to expect from New Super Luigi U; here is the rest of what Nintendo had to announce today, provided you didn’t watch the Nintendo Direct and don’t simply wish to watch it in the embedded video above.

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The latest Nintendo Direct has revealed that a new Nintendo 3DS XL bundle featuring an Animal Crossing: New Leaf decoration and pre-installed version of the game is coming exclusively to Best Buy in Canada the same day the game launches, June 9th, at a cost of $219.99. You can check out a new trailer for the game below.

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357px-LuigihattipEarlier today, Nintendo of America (and Europe, and Japan) ran a new “Nintendo Direct” video, which you can find here. Over the course of the video, we were updated on a number of upcoming titles, but several previously-unannounced titles were revealed as well.

Perhaps the biggest news of the show, however, was that 2013 would mark “The Year of Luigi.” We already knew about the upcoming release of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon for the Nintendo 3DS, but Nintendo seems keen on giving the younger Mario Brother the spotlight with a number of upcoming new releases, whether they feature Mario or not.

What follows are several of the announcements, accompanied by my own thoughts on each and screens (where available).

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