Mario Kart has been around for a while now. We’ve seen it ever since the SNES games. A new Mario Kart game releases each generation without fail. Super Mario Kart for the SNES, Mario Kart 64 for the N64, Mario Kart Super Circuit for the GBA, Mario Kart DS, Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS. and finally, Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U. No, Mario Kart Tour doesn’t count. There was even some speculation that Mario Kart 9 would also release for the Wii U. …Yeah, I don’t know where people got that idea from.
Mario Kart released in 2014 for the Wii U. Later in 2014, the first DLC pack released, featuring three new racers and eight new courses. In 2015, the next DLC pack released with another three racers and eight courses. This was the first time Mario Kart had ever received DLC, let alone paid DLC. But it wasn’t surprising. This was around the time DLC really started taking off.
In 2017, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe released for the Nintendo Switch, a month after the Switch itself released. This was a direct port of Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, with all of its DLC included. Okay, understandable. Mario Kart 8 was a HUGE success on the Wii U, it makes sense to bring it over to the Switch, especially this early in its lifetime. Little strange that they didn’t release 9 instead of porting it over, but I guess it makes sense from a business stand point. They’re just releasing this to hold us over until Mario Kart 9 releases, right?
Five years later in 2022 when Mario Kart 8 may as well be dead, it was announced that 48 retro tracks would be released as paid DLC that you could by standalone, or included in the online membership program.
So they decided to rerelease 48 tracks that are basically a port of Mario Kart Tour’s tracks, from the mobile game, with only slight revisions to make the art style fit the rest of the game? Why? Is Nintendo just that lazy that they’re choosing to milk Mario Kart 8 with lazy ports of old courses and charge money for them instead of creating an entirely new game? Like they’ve done for literally every system?
Don’t get me wrong, there are tracks from this new DLC that I love,. Especially the Mario Kart Tour tracks Paris Promenade and Ninja Hideout. I’m glad we get to experience these courses on a console. But at the same time, why not bring these courses back in a new Mario Kart game? That’s the thing about this DLC pack. They’re all retro courses. Some of them are retro courses we’ve seen brought back before such as Choco Mountain and Coconut mall. Why not include these 48 new retro tracks in Mario Kart 9? You have half of a game right there. Sure, it’s more work creating entirely new tracks when you can lazily port tracks over and call it DLC. But with a little extra work, you can charge 30 more dollars and sell it as a new game. This is just laziness at its finest.
The sad thing is, this DLC pack pretty much seals the fate of Mario Kart 9. It most likely won’t release until the next system.
Now we have Splatoon. A fairly new IP that Nintendo released in 2014 for the Wii U. I like to think of 2014-2016 as Nintendo’s experimental years, where they kept pushing new IPs or using existing IPs in new ways such as Splatoon, Code Name Steam, Amiibo Festival, Chibi Robo, Mario Maker, Triforce Heroes, etc. While most of these ideas were… failures, to say the least, Splatoon was a phenomenal success. In fact, Splatoon was such a big success that they decided to release a sequel for the Switch in 2017.
Splatoon 2 was also a phenomenal success, selling twice as much as the original. It was very similar to its predecessor, but now featured more weapons, new subs and specials, more ranked modes, the addition of Salmon Run, and of course, paid DLC. The paid DLC added playable octolings as well as a new solo campaign.
Both games featured events known as Splatfests. Splatfests would have a theme, such as Ketchup vs Mayo, Unicorn vs Narwhal, Pineapple vs no Pineapple, etc. Each player would pick the side they agreed with (or didn’t agree with, their choice) and would fight for that side. The winning team was determined by popularity and clout. The final Splatfest for the original game came two years after its initial release. Many fans thought Splatoon 2’s Splatfests would go on for longer considering the growing popularity and the fact that it released at the beginning of the Switch’s life, but Splatfests also ended two years later. After Splatfests ended, that more or less marked the end of updates to the game. It still gets updated from time to time to fix bugs, but weapons and stages are no longer being added to the game. The same was true for both the original and the sequel. Oddly enough, a year after Splatoon 2’s Splatfests ended, a rematch of Ketchup vs Mayo was announced. Three more Splatfests were held after that, two of which were entirely new.
Splatoon was a game that was predicted to release much like Mario Kart: One game per console. However, in 2021 it was announced that Splatoon 3 would be releasing for the Switch sometime the following year.
What? Did Nintendo just prioritize Splatoon over Mario Kart? Don’t get me wrong, Splatoon is a well loved game that many fans want to see more of. But it has literally been 8 years since a new Mario Kart game has released. Deluxe doesn’t count. They chose to make an entirely new Splatoon game and release ported retro tracks as DLC for Mario Kart 8? What even was the thought process for this???
This of course could just be Nintendo being lazy and going for the quick buck instead of investing time into a new game, which is what I’m more inclined to believe. However, at times it almost seems like they’re trying to make everyone forget that the Wii U ever existed. Games like Mario Kart 8, Hyrule Warriors, Fire Emblem Warriors, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, New Super Mario Bros U, Super Mario 3D World were all ported to the Switch. Games like Splatoon, Yoshi’s Woolly World and Mario Maker received sequels almost immediately after the Switch launched. Almost all of the Wii U’s successful titles (Xenoblade X where are youuuu) were either ported or otherwise received sequels on the Switch, giving you little to no reason to ever buy a Wii U. Could it be that Nintendo wants us to forget their Wii U mistake? Is this why Mario Kart 8 is on the Switch and not 9?
No, that’s a little too much conspiracy theory. But it is fun to speculate, and makes me slightly less angry that Mario Kart 9 still isn’t out.