Arriving this week is the first pack of DLC for Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U, and so far it looks pretty fantastic. Each pack brings 8 new tracks, 3 new characters, and 2 new vehicles. While two of the characters are alternate versions of existing characters, it’s still new content since they’ll have different looks stats.
The most interesting part of the DLC to me is as far as I know, this is the first time Mario Kart has used non-Mario Nintendo content outside of vehicle references. In the pack are tracks inspired by Excitebike, F-Zero’s Mute City, and The Legend of Zelda’s Hyrule Castle. Link himself is one of the new characters and he’s toting a new motorcycle called the Master Cycle, based on the Master Sword and Hylian Shield, both famous Zelda items.
This got me thinking: could Mario Kart be turning into the next Smash Bros. in terms of cross-franchise inclusions? I’d be totally fine with that by the way, given how well Smash Bros. has worked out so far despite being a complete mish mash of characters and series.
I wouldn’t mind seeing more F-Zero-inspired tracks or some kind of Kirby’s Air Ride cross-over. Kirby would fit pretty well as a character I say, he seems more at home in a Mario Kart game than Link does. Maybe we’ll see Captain Falcon himself join the roster. (Or maybe a new F-Zero game? Please Nintendo? Please?)
Having cross-over characters for Mario Kart would probably be a little bit harder than they’ve been in Smash Bros., since with Smash you can just carry over what the characters do in their respective games. In Mario Kart you have to take them and convert them into a racer. Which after saying it doesn’t sound too complicated, just toss them into a kart and move on.
My personal choice for new racers, who wouldn’t be riding in karts at all, would be the crew from the SNES game Stunt Race FX. They haven’t been in anything since their game, and they seem like a perfect fit.
With this addition of good, well-priced DLC Nintendo seems to be going about this the right way, and the door could be open to more interesting and entertaining combos as the brains at Nintendo go crazy with Red Bull and a whiteboard.