When I was writing up my Nintendo E3 predictions and wish list, I discussed where I thought the Mario Kart franchise should and could go in the future. I got so excited by it that I wanted to flesh it out a bit more and really explore the potential of this idea.
So, before we begin, why and how did I start thinking about this? Quite frankly, Nintendo is going to have a massively difficult time creating Mario Kart 9 or whatever is next for the franchise. Mario Kart 8 (especially the Deluxe version on Switch) is already near perfect. The roster is absolutely massive, the customization options are top notch, and there are a ton of great tracks to pick from. Plus, we can’t forget the recent additions of Battle Mode as well. Personally, I would have loved to see a continued effort through DLC but that’s a story for another day.
As you can see, Mario Kart 8 is already a very complete game, so where can the franchise go from here?
In an effort to be more than just another rehash or annual update, I think Nintendo should go bigger and expand the franchise. Why stay with Mario when Nintendo has access to a huge stable of amazing IPs? I say, go for it all! Here are my ideas for what I’m calling Mario Kart All-Stars.
First and foremost, I don’t know if Nintendo is planning on going in this direction, but fans already got a taste of what it could be with character additions like Inklings, Link, Isabelle, as well as Male and Female Villagers. Plus, we had some really great non-Mario courses like Mute City and the four season Animal Crossing track.
I would love to see Nintendo just go full on Smash Bros for Mario Kart, minus the third party characters. So with that in mind, lets create a diverse and cool looking roster. Keep in mind we’re de-emphasizing the importance of the Mario franchise, so we’ll have to cut most characters in order to make room for the new guys. In fact, I don’t want a roster that rivals Smash Bros for a racing game, so I’m purposely not including some characters you’d probably expect.
Here’s my breakdown:
- Waluigi (To avoid the controversy of not including him)
Legend of Zelda
- Princess Zelda (Breath of the Wild version)
- Tom Nook
- Villager (Toggle male/female instead of using 2 roster spots)
Fire Emblem (as Smash Bros has taught us, this list can quickly get out of hand. We’ll start with these two for now.)
- Donkey Kong
- Funky Kong
- Diddy Kong
- King DeDeDe
- Meta Knight
- Captain Falcon
Pokemon (This list could get crazy, so I’m just going to limit this list to Pikachu since it is the most recognizable)
Star Fox (I could include the other members, but for the sake of brevity, I’m only including Fox at launch)
- Fox McCloud
Twenty five characters. Pretty good starting point, right? Sure, there’s more you could add to this list, but as a base roster, I think this is a good starting point for an All-Stars Racer. Plus, we can use DLC to add more after the fact like:
- The Breath of the Wild Champions (Daruk, Mipha, Rivali, Urbosa)
- Previous villains like Zant or Ghirahim
- Ash/Red/Blue from Pokemon
- Star Wolf
- Samurai Goroh
- King K. Rool
- Dixie Kong
- Dark Samus
- Characters from the new Switch Fire Emblem game (Nice crossover opportunity)
- Plus more from other lesser known IPs like Chibi Robo, Splatoon, etc…
I’m more excited to see the creativity that Nintendo could bring to the table when designing courses from all of these crazy IPs. Obviously, we’d have the standard Mario-style tracks everyone has come to expect but adding in other franchises is where Nintendo can really let loose. Just imagine racing around iconic Star Fox worlds like Corneria or Venom. Perhaps a track set in space with the Lylat System as the backdrop similar to Mario Kart 8’s version of Rainbow Road.
Kirby is easy enough to represent (Green Greens, Halberd, Fountain of Dreams, etc) and you could even have some Pokemon-centric tracks in some famous locations from the series like Indigo Plateau, Lavender Town, and more. F-Zero also has plenty of unique tracks outside of Mute City or Big Blue as well. Fire Emblem has plenty of cool locations to pull from as needed.
The Legend of Zelda has tons of iconic locations, but to make it easier you could simply focus on locations from Breath of the Wild. Gerudo Desert, Death Mountain, Hyrule Castle, the Akkala Region, Mount Lanayru, Lost Woods, etc etc.
They could get pretty creative with Metroid, creating tracks from each of the zones of Planet Zebes like Norfair and Brinstar. There could be a track set in the Wrecked Ship, in Ridley’s boss room, or perhaps on the Biologic Space Laboratories ship from Metroid Fusion. Obviously, Metroid Prime has plenty of locations to pull from as well.
See what I mean though? This idea has a wealth of options to pull from. Honestly, I’m pretty excited about this idea and I hope it’s a direction Nintendo goes in. I can’t think of many ways to top Mario Kart 8 at this point, but this certainly could be a way forward for the franchise.
With kart racers seemingly on the rise again (CTR Remastered, Sonic Team Racing, etc), the time is right to strike again. What or where would you like the Mario Kart series to go?