The announcement of Mario Kart 8’s first two DLC packs presented a new frontier of opportunities. On top of new and returning Mario Kart courses and racers, we get stuff from Zelda, Animal Crossing, Excitebike, and even F-Zero! I’ve wanted Mario Kart to go down the Smash Bros. road for years, and this seems like the perfect chance. If we’re getting Zelda and Animal Crossing, why not Star Fox or Kirby? I enlisted the help of Patrick Waring to consider some ideas for future Mario Kart 8 courses and racers, but he had an even crazier idea.
Mario Kart just wouldn’t be the same without its items; those glowing question marks have been both our saviors and executioners since the birth of the series. With the release of MK8 though, at least as far as items are concerned, it’s pretty clear that the imagination-well has run dry. There were twenty items in Mario Kart 8, four of which were new and only three of which were original (even those who’ve lost their lower half would call the “Crazy 8” a half-assed idea). However, the announcement of DLC, which features characters from outside the Mario series and tracks based on the worlds of those characters, has given me hope. If they’re willing to expand the roster to allow characters that aren’t Mario based, then maybe they can do the same for items.
Here are some of our favourite ideas for characters, courses, karts, and even items from other Nintendo franchises that we think would be awesome as future Mario Kart 8 add-ons.
Kirby would fit in Mario Kart just like Waddle Dees fit in Kirby’s mouth. He’s cute, he’s pink, and he’s one of Nintendo’s most famous heroes. It wouldn’t even be his first time racing, though settling into a kart might be a bit of a change after Kirby Air Ride.
Dream Land is full of Mario Kart course possibilities. The calm drive through Green Greens is a no-brainer, but Kirby’s Dream Land has plenty more interesting sights to see. How about a drift around the fountain of dreams, or an underwater drive below the waves of Orange Ocean? Maybe a trip through Cocoa Cave and up Candy Mountain? Kirby’s colourful homeland has plenty of wondrous landscapes to drive through, certainly enough for a Mario Kart course – if not an entire cup!
What if you could pick up Kirby’s copy ability? You could suck up Bowser, taking him off the track temporarily and giving the user fire powers! Copying Mario might allow you to jump on other players, while inhaling any of the different coloured Yoshi’s could give you that coloured Yoshi’s unique ability. The possibilities of what could be done with characters’ unique powers from other games is endless and might be what the franchise needs in order to truly evolve its gameplay.
Wheelie Scooter/Rex Wheelie
Kirby’s ridden some vehicles before, so why not bring them along with him? The Wheelies just about look like Mario Kart vehicles as is, so it wouldn’t take too much alteration to fit just right, while still retaining their Kirby style.
Fox is an esteemed space hero, capable of piloting Arwings and Landmasters, all while leading the Star Fox team. Surely he can handle a kart or two. If that weren’t enough, the dude’s a fox, and if there’s one thing Mario loves to race against, it’s anthropomorphic wildlife.
We don’t see too many futuristic type settings in Mario Kart, apart from the occasional Neo Bowser City or the new F-Zero tribute. If they can make an awesome Mute City, why not show Star Fox some love? Corneria’s got skyscrapers and roads, but it’d be the opportunity of aerial combat inhibiting the skies that’d make Corneria City a crazy track.
Arwing and Landmaster
Star Fox’s two most iconic vehicles would be perfect in Mario Kart. Make some little cartoon versions, put wheels on them, and you’ve got yourself some typical MK karts. Seeing Fox drift around a corner in an Arwing kart would be a little bit magical.
As the universe’s coolest bounty hunter, Samus is a pro with missiles, no stranger to directed energy weapons, and strangely good at rolling into a ball. Kart racing is unlikely very high on her to-do list, but it’d be pretty sweet to race as a girl who isn’t some princess or turtle, and Samus is one of the greatest.
It’s no Brinstar as far as Metroid relevance goes, but I could see Phendrana Drifts being a particularly cool Mario Kart course. There are already plenty of great ice-based MK circuits, but I think a couple of things could set this one apart. For one, the track could take a turn through the Magmoor Caves; not too many ice tracks have lava hazards! On top of that, driving through the local research labs could keep it distinctly Metroid flavoured. You’ve got ice, you’ve got fire, and you’ve got science – all you need.
It’s already a cool Smash Bros. item, and I think it could be a cool Mario Kart item too. Maybe the jumping would have to be left out to work in a racer, but that’s not to say it wouldn’t work just as well. You could activate it four or five times per pick-up, and spin out any competitors you come into contact with – almost like a less powerful star. Save this one for those bumpy anti-grav sections and you’ll be knockin’ ’em out.
I’ve always thought the shape of the Gunship was really weird, but it’d make a nice looking kart for sure. It’s pretty iconic too, I mean, it’s pretty much just Samus’ head. I personally wouldn’t fly around in a ship resembling my face, but who am I to judge. Let Baby Luigi sit on top of the vehicle of an interstellar bounty hunter, Nintendo. I’ll pay for it.
There aren’t many characters from video games, or from anything, as iconic as Pikachu. So, we get one of the electric mice and make it race. What could go wrong? If nothing else, it’d be pretty damn adorable – can’t you just picture it?
With Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire coming so soon, I thought a third-generation locale might be fitting. Pacifidlog Town is one that stuck with me after I sunk months of my life into Ruby all those years ago, and a perfect setting for an MK8 course. Underwater segments would be plentiful, while more skilled players could be rewarded with shorter lap times for staying on the wooden bridges. The whole town is mountainside so a bit of a drive through the rocks isn’t out of the question either. Maybe some wild Pokemon could even inhabit the water?
Here’s a crazy idea. You know how throwing a Pokeball in Smash Bros. summons a random Pokemon? Imagine that in Mario Kart. Sure, not all Pokemon would work, but the right ones would be so sweet. Imagine bouncing off of a Wobbuffet that someone had left in the road, or riding on the back of a Charizard as if you were using a Bullet Bill power-up. Pretty cool, right? Yes, pretty cool.
They made a Yoshi bike in Mario Kart 8. Turn the ridable Gogoat from Pokemon X and Y into a vehicle in the same way, and you’ve got yourself a cute little Pokemon ride. I mean, it’d either be that or a bicycle, right? I’m not sure roller-blades would make a good kart.
He could pretty much pass for a Mario character, couldn’t he? Big head, massive nose – put him in a kart, and you’ve got yourself a Mario Kart racer. Maybe even throw a couple of Pikmin in the kart with him, just to keep him happy. Olimar’s one of the simple, round-bodied Nintendo characters I wouldn’t be surprised to see hanging out with Mario, so they might as well hang out on a race track.
Garden of Hope
As far as the environment goes, I’m not sure there’s too much the Pikmin series could offer. We seen forests and rivers more than enough in MK, and that wouldn’t even really reflect the Pikmin series. What would though, is interesting hazards. Avoiding working Pikmin, Bulborbs, and maybe the odd Water Dumple could make a pretty exciting lap. Think the Wigglers on Maple Treeway, except gross alien things.
The S.S. Dolphin
Put it on its side and throw some wheels on it. The formula works. Cute, fitting and functional. It works for anything, does it not? There are drivable shoes in Mario Kart 8 – a rocket would be fine.
There’s no shortage of possibilities when it comes to Nintendo, and we’ve got even more ideas. Have a look at Part 2 of The DLC We Want, where we talk about Kid Icarus, Earthbound, Zelda and even more Nintendo crossover opportunities. If you haven’t already, check out my review of the first batch of Mario Kart 8 DLC here.