It’s been a long time since the last brand new main version of Mario Kart, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Switch seemingly acting as a stopgap until a real sequel is released. Based on a recent report, it looks like Mario Kart 9 could be on the way, and in traditional series mode it’ll apparently come with a new “twist”.
But what will that turn be? The GameSpot staff has thought long and hard about how Nintendo could change the formula, ranging from radically changing the races themselves to bringing other Nintendo franchises into battle. These are – plausible or not – the new twists we want to see in Mario Kart 9.
Aircraft with branching paths
Mario Kart is one of Nintendo’s most successful franchises ever, but there was another Nintendo kart racing game that just doesn’t get enough love: Diddy Kong Racing. The mix of “traditional” kart action with flying segments and branching paths created a frantic and less predictable racer than its more popular cousin, and it opened up races to strategic considerations not possible in a standard Mario Kart match. Nintendo has dived into this for Mario Kart with gliders and the occasional fork in the road, but designing an entire game with this in mind would make for the latest Mario Kart since Double Dash. Just imagine dodging a blue shell by turning your kart into an airplane just as it came at you! — Gabe Gurwin, SEO Editor
Make it Nintendo Kart now
This is admittedly a bit of cheating, as Nintendo has been slowly creeping towards this possibility for a while now. Notably, in Mario Kart 8, the series introduced DLC that brought in non-Mario characters like Link from the Legend of Zelda and Villager and Isabelle from Animal Crossing. At this point Nintendo should just throw open the doors to the wider Nintendo universe. I want Ganondorf to ride a kart that looks like his fiery black steed, Samus in a kart modeled after her iconic Hunter-class fighter plane, and Pikachu with crazy lightning bolts on the sides of his motorcycle. Opening it up to the wider Nintendo verse would also give the company more leeway for fashion tracks based on different types of environments, as well as confusing some of the usual Mario-themed items with items borrowed from other games. And before you ask, no, they don’t actually the name should change. The name “Super Smash Bros.” has been a Mario reference from the beginning and no one thinks twice when we see Captain Falcon throw down. — Steve Watts, Editor-in-Chief
Mario Kart Maker
I’d like to see Mario Kart 9 essentially be Mario Kart Maker. Just as Nintendo embraced level creation with the Mario Maker games, I want to see it do the same with Mario Kart, allowing players to create and share their levels online. We’ve seen a hint of this with Mario Kart Live in the real world, but I want full-fledged building tools for a real MK game. Given that new entries are so far apart, it would be a great boon to the game’s lifespan to have access to an effectively unlimited supply of new courses – which would certainly include some crazy and unconventional spins on what we’re expecting of a Mario Kart track. I want to race like Waluigi on a track in the form of Tim Robinson in a hot dog suit, and I know the internet won’t let me down. — Chris Pereira, Editor-in-Chief
Mario Kart goes live service
I can’t even imagine how many hours I’ve played Mario Kart 8, but as much as I love Nintendo’s mascot racing game, I’m excited to see what’s to come. And that’s why I was so excited about the report of Mario Kart 9 in development with a “new twist”. Personally, I hope the next Mario Kart game will have more live service elements. I’d like to see new courses added regularly, or maybe a Mario Kart Tour approach of turning new courses in and out, with limited-time events to participate in. I like learning the ins and outs of a particular Mario Kart course — and there are always so many details to learn and secret paths to discover — and having even more courses to play with is in my looks like an exciting proposition. I would also like to see additional live service elements built into the next Mario Kart game, such as new challenges to work towards or a battle pass style system that helps me feel a stronger sense of progression and achievement . Nintendo has rolled out tons of new characters and arenas for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and I’m excited to see how a similar live-service approach to the next Mario Kart game could shake things up in a new and interesting way. — Eddie Makuch, editor
Mario Kart Ultimate
If the crazies at Nintendo did it for Smash Bros., secure there’s no reason why it can’t be done in Mario Kart, right? In keeping with Nintendo’s current trend of making just about everything you could ever want available on Switch (and the game industry’s trend of remastering and/or remaking stuff), I think there’s a possibility that Mario Kart 9 could act as a sort of expanded collection of Mario Kart’s past, with updated levels from each game, all of your favorite characters, and many of the much-loved gimmicks from the past, such as Double Dash’s team racing. I wouldn’t be surprised either if we get a Racers Pass with this next game in an effort to bring regular life to it and keep players on the edge of their seats as they speculate wildly about which character could be next. While Sora’s feet may be two sizes too big to cram into a kart, the thought of racing around like Pikachu on DK Jungle Parkway 64 gives me almost as much joy as the thought of a Diddy Kong Racing reboot, so I’ll take it as a consolation prize. — Jessica Howard, editor
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