With new installments of Mario Party and the Super Smash Bros. franchises released on the Nintendo Switch to bestselling success within the past year, the next classic Nintendo multiplayer title slated for a new release on the popular console is a new installment of Mario Kart.
Within the console's launch window, Nintendo had released Mario Kart 8 Deluxe but, as the name suggested, it was little more than a remastered edition of the previously released Wii U title including all the DLC and new racers and tracks based on the Splatoon franchise in the new incarnation of the older game. As of this past holiday season, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe had gone on to sell over 15 million copies worldwide, making it the bestselling game on the Nintendo Switch to date. With that in mind, an all-new sequel to the acclaimed racing game series is something of an inevitability, it is just a matter of when.
What is the Release Date of Mario Kart 9?
The earliest possible release date would likely be this coming holiday season, so the winter of 2019. The only major Nintendo releases slated to arrive on the console later in the year include an enhanced remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening and the latest installments of the Pokemon franchise with the announcement of Pokemon Sword and Shield. With the upcoming Zelda title likely just a move by Nintendo to tide over fans while it continues develop on a follow-up to Breath of the Wild instead of a full commercial tentpole, Nintendo will likely replicate its one-two strategy it pulled this past holiday season with the back-to-back releases of Pokemon: Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with Sword and Shield and a new Mario Kart for a November/December release this year.
Nintendo has kept details and an official announcement about the existence of a new Mario Kart title under wraps, opting to focus on different titles and content during its regular Nintendo Direct announcements. With no new developments announced at this past month's Game Developers Conference, that leaves the next major forum for Nintendo to potentially announce an upcoming Mario Kart at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles this June. While Nintendo has had a more limited presence at E3 than Sony or Microsoft, the event would give the company a highly visible platform to officially announce such an eagerly anticipated title.
Where Can You Play Mario Kart 9?
In terms of expected details about a new Mario Kart, its release on the Switch is something of a given. The console is still barely two years old now and remains a top-seller, with over 32 million units sold worldwide, largely driven by first-party titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Another no-brainer would be the continued inclusion of online play, a feature added to the franchise since 2005's Mario Kart DS.
Nintendo has quietly been pushing its new online subscription service, adding classic titles to subscribers while promoting gamers to play titles such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Splatoon 2 online. With players wanting to play their favorite Switch titles online now having to subscribe to Switch Online, a new Mario Kart would be a big incentive for gamers on the fence about a new gaming subscription service to sign on.
What Are the characters and tracks in Mario Kart 9?
As far as actual in-game content, classic racers Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Toad, Wario, Bowser and Donkey Kong are all but officially guaranteed, as well as tracks inspired by each of the racers. In recent years, Nintendo has expanded the franchise's roster to include Toadette and the Koopa Kids as well as baby and metal variants of several classic characters.
Mario Kart 8 saw another expansion to the roster to include Nintendo characters and tracks outside of the usual Super Mario franchise, including Link from The Legend of Zelda, Villager and Isabelle from Animal Crossing. Nintendo has also included a mix of four cups featuring brand new tracks, and four cups featuring remastered retro tracks. As with the expanded roster, Nintendo has started to include tracks from other video game properties, including F-Zero and ExciteBike, which is likely to continue.
What are the rumors around Mario Kart 9?
One of the biggest rumors regarding future Nintendo titles has been the company's burgeoning partnership with Microsoft. With cross-platform online play available on select titles between the Switch and Xbox One and Xbox Live reportedly becoming available on the Switch, Microsoft properties including Halo and Banjo-Kazooie making appearances in a future Mario Kart title wouldn't necessarily be out of the question while promoting the possibilities of the new partnership. This rumor should be taken with a grain of salt, until final confirmation of course.
Mario Kart is one of the multiplayer gems in Nintendo's extensive video game library. A future installment is an inevitability, likely on the Switch. It is just a matter of when.