Nintendo We Series 2 Volume 1: Nintendo Kart
Welcome to the second series of Nintendo We; the saga of articles looking at the many different developers whom I believe Nintendo could collaborate with in order to bring new gaming experiences to the table, and the many different directions which the company could take some of their most beloved franchises in the future. The first volume in the second season focuses on one of the company’s most successful series of games, and the most critically and commercially acclaimed spin-off video game series of all time; Mario Kart.
Starting out with Super Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo back in 1992, it has since spawned seven sequels across the majority of Nintendo’s many different consoles to be released over the years, as well as three arcade games published by Namco Bandai, and has since gone on to garnished sales figures of over 100 million units sold worldwide, making it the eleventh highest selling video game franchise in history. The series has also been re-invented and experimented with by Nintendo throughout its time, with additional features such as two characters to a kart introduced in Mario Kart: Double Dash, aerial and underwater racing introduced in Mario Kart 7 and anti-gravity racing introduced Mario Kart 8. All of these features have worked to varying degrees of success to offer new dimension to players and long-time fans of the series in order to keep it as unique and as entertaining as possible, and for the most part, I have been impressed by what Nintendo have done with it to say the least. However, there are many things that Nintendo could do with the core gameplay mechanics and general concept, which I believe would make for an extremely exciting game in the franchise, with the help of the theoretical collaborator of this article.
Milky Tea Studios is an independent outfit based in Liverpool, England, who have recently found commercial and critical success within the indie kart racing game, Coffin Dodgers. Having conceived the idea when on holiday in Laos back in 2013, and conversing with a group of retirees on a boat, director and studio founder Jonathan Holmes described the game in his words as Pixar’s Up meets Wacky Racers with the game centering around a group of old people racing each in order to keep the Grim Reaper from taking their souls. What makes Coffin Dodgers stand out from most other kart games to released over the years is the fact that it features an open world; something I personally hadn’t experienced in a kart game since Diddy Kong Racing. An open world is something I believe that would be welcomed in a Mario Kart game with open arms by players and fans, since it would offer an entirely new dimension to the series in terms of both gameplay and content. And since Nintendo has started introducing even more characters across different franchises to Mario Kart, in Link from The Legend of Zelda and the Villager and Isabelle from Animal Crossing, there are of course many more possibilities in this respect to take advantage of to up the level of content even further, by having courses and characters featured in and based on Metroid, Star Fox, EarthBound, Kirby and Pokémon to name but a few. We’ve had a multitude of Nintendo characters fighting each other in Super Smash Bros, and I think it would be just as exciting to have them racing each other in a new Mario Kart game.
Not only would doing this provide an amount of variety in character and course design that has never been seen in a Mario Kart game before, and it being set in an open world giving it even more replay value than other games in the series, but the diversity in weapon design would also offer its own set of challenges and increase the need to strategize in accordance with what item the player have had and what position they may be in the race. Having this much variety would also eliminate the need for retro tracks, which whilst I have enjoyed many of the different re-designs of old tracks in previous Mario Kart titles, I think it’s much better to include new ones instead; if only for the sake of taking the franchise forward rather than backwards. Additionally, there would also be quite a lot of possibility for Amiibo compatibility in a game like this, since like Super Smash Bros, the majority of central Nintendo characters are all in one place and there could easily be a small leveling up system in place, giving the game even more replay-ability.
Overall, I believe the entire central roster of Nintendo characters racing across that many different world they have created over the year would make for a Nintendo experience like no other. Super Smash Bros was something that every Nintendo kid dreamed up long since before the original Nintendo 64 game was released back in 1999, but I’ve been dreaming this up since the release of Diddy Kong Racing, and I believe the Milky Tea Studios are the right collaborators for Nintendo to work with in order to being this new and exciting concept to the series.