What Comes Next For The ‘Mario Kart’ Franchise?

Mario Kart is a spectacular franchise, and has been one of Nintendo’s biggest titles of the last few years. Mario Kart 7 shook up the 3DS scene back in 2011, and 2014 gave us Mario Kart 8, arguable the greatest game in the series, on a very underwhelming console. However, with Nintendo’s incredibly successful launch of the Switch, the company released an enhanced port of Mario Kart 8. The title sold in gangbusters, even selling more units than what some call the best game ever made, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Needless to say, Mario Kart is doing well. But, this begs the question: what’s next for the hit Nintendo franchise?

Well, we have one confirmed game in the pipeline. Though not a main series entry, Mario Kart Tour will be released for mobile devices within the next fiscal year. Other than that, Nintendo has been quiet in regards to the future of Mario Kart.

As a gamer, I feel that Mario Kart, as a whole, has burnt out. Now, there are a slew of things Nintendo could do to make a potential Mario Kart 9 even better than 8. That said, however, the possibility of this doesn’t genuinely excite me because, for the most part, we know what we’re getting. Each series installment builds on the previous, but usually in ways that don’t change major gameplay elements. This works because Mario Kart, at its core, is conceptually brilliant with near perfect execution by Nintendo. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe added the ability to hold two items at once, but how much does that really affect one’s enjoyment of the game. Not much. Even bigger changes in the series, akin to anti-gravity in Mario Kart 8, became rather bland after a few races. Ultimately, there’s one thing Nintendo could do that would, undoubtedly, excite me and the rest of the fanbase about a potential new kart racer; scrap Mario Kart and pull a Smash Bros, Nintendo: create Nintendo Kart.

Just imagine, a racing game with added features and abilities featuring all of the hit characters from Nintendo’s games in the last few decades. The title would not only appeal to an enormously wide variety of consumers, but it also allows small-scale or “forgotten” characters to see the spotlight again. Star Fox is a series that most really don’t care about, and this was shown by the poor reception to Star Fox Zero. With Nintendo likely not developing a new Star Fox installment for many years, or ever, why not throw a few of the main characters into a game filled with other Nintendo icons?

Another series that would work brilliantly with representatives in my so-called Nintendo Kart is Pokemon. In the franchise’s anime, pocket monsters often bring a heap of personality to the show. Maybe it’s just the Pokemon fanboy in me, but I think seeing the likes of Pikachu racing against Link, Samus, and Mario would be amazing as a gamer and hilarious at the same time.

Seeing characters from a wide variety of Nintendo franchises excites me, but the special moves and items each character could bring, in my view, is a bigger sell for Nintendo Kart. Similar to that of Mario Kart: Double Dash, each racer could have a special move that only they could acquire on the racetrack. Given how different each franchise is, I can’t even imagine how many incredibly unique special items, attacks, and moves Nintendo could implement in the title.

Though I’d be perfectly fine with a Mario Kart 9, the potential of Nintendo combining all their popular characters into a polished, uniquely crafted kart racer excites me to no end. There is so much potential in the idea, and Nintendo could really make something special if they were to pull off something like this.

Aric Sweeny
Former Editor-in-Chief, now staff writer here at NE. I'm an English student in California. Let's talk Pokémon.