When the first trailer for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe hit the Internet, the collective reaction of Nintendo fans was “Wait, what?” People had been clamoring for Inklings to be added to the Super Smash Bros. roster, but no one expected them to trade their Splat Bombs for turtle shells in MK8.
With Splatoon’s inky heroes joining Link, Isabelle, and the Villagers as non-Mario-based racers, I can’t help but wonder: How far is Nintendo willing to go here? If they want to give Mario Kart the Super Smash Bros. treatment, what other characters would make sense in this genre? With that in mind, I came up with a list of ten characters that I’d love to enter behind the wheel.
While Kirby hasn’t been as marginalized as some other Nintendo properties (more on that later), he’s still stuck on the company’s B-list behind Mario, Link, and the like. The pink fluffball has some prior racing experience on his resume (Kirby’s Air Ride), his Warp Star might make for an interesting kart design, and a Mario Kart appearance would be a nice exposure boost in anticipation of a full-fledged Kirby adventure in the future (2018? 2019?).
Other Possibilites: Meta Knight, King Dedede.
From what I’ve gathered, Garfield Kart was an absolute abomination of a game, and everyone’s favorite fat orange tabby deserves better than that. With Garfield’s 40th (!) anniversary approaching and the franchise far removed from its glory days (and probably due for a reboot), the lasagna lover could use a little marketing buzz to get back into the spotlight, and a Mario Kart cameo might be a nice way to reintroduce people to the character.
Other Possibilities: Odie, Jon Arbuckle.
8. Crash Bandicoot
Gosh, remember when Crash was basically Sony’s mascot on par with Mario and Sonic? The character (and the series) are a long ways from their glory days, but with a collection of the first three games in the series due to drop sometime this year, what better way to get Crash some early exposure than with Mario Kart? The bandicoot is no stranger to racing games (in fact, he’s headlined four kart titles of his own), and he’d fit right in with MK8‘s zany cast.
Other Possibilities: Coco Bandicoot, Dr. Cortex.
7. Vanellope Von Schweetz
A new Wreck-It Ralph movie is scheduled for 2018, so perhaps Disney might decide to offer some DLC as part of their promotional scheme? Wreck-It Ralph made a cameo in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, but it’s Vanellope who is the real speed demon amongst the cast. The only issue is that Von Schweetz’s trademark ability is completely negated online (thanks to Nintendo’s less-than-stellar online infrastructure, everybody glitches around during races).
Other Possibilities: Ralph, Turbo. Of course, as long as we’re talking longshot possibilities from other franchises, how about Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony, Bumblebee from Transformers, or Tracer from Overwatch?
6. Fox McCloud
If Star Fox Zero made one thing clear, it’s that Nintendo has no idea what to do with this franchise. A dedicated Star Fox racing spin-off would make a lot of sense if it wasn’t directly competing with Mario Kart, so why not compromise and add Fox to MK8? Throw in a Landmaster-styled kart and a Corneria-themed track, and you’ve got the makings of a solid DLC pack.
Other Possibilities: Falco, Star Wolf.
5. Samus Aran
Speaking of franchises Nintendo has no idea what to do with…how about some respect for our favorite bounty hunter? The last true Metroid game was released back in 2010, and fans have been left clinging to Super Smash Bros. cameos ever since. Why not throw them another bone here? Seamus’s ship would make for a good kart, and how cool would it be to race through Mother Brain’s lair? (Let’s see how mean she looks after Luigi unleashes his death stare.) Until Nintendo can give Samus another mainline Metroid game, they should give her the chance to rain banana peels down on Yoshi and Waluigi.
Other Possibilities: Er…Ridley? Truthfully, I don’t think there are any other good candidates from this series.
Unlike 99% of Conker fans, I liked the smiling, happy Conker from Diddy King Racing more than the greedy drunk lout he was in Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Nevertheless, we haven’t seen a whole of this squirrelly dude since then, and he’s still got a loyal fan base that would love to see him reappear. I say it’s time to return Conker to his DKR roots, and while he’ll have to clean up his act for the E-rated MK8, I’m sure the developers can come up with some suitable references to his bad-boy image.
Other possibilities: Diddy Kong, Banjo & Kazooie, Yooka & Laylee.
He’s Mario’s rival. He’s competed against the Nintendo crew in the Olympics and Super Smash Bros. He’s headlined his own series of racing games. He’s in desperate need of a pick-up after a subpar 25th anniversary. Going fast is what he does! Seriously, there aren’t too many more obvious candidates for inclusion than the Blue Blur.
Other Possibilities: Tails, Knuckles, Amy Rose, Dr. Eggman, and probably at least ten other characters from the Sonic series.
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
I’ve always wondered why NASCAR has never approached Nintendo about a stock-car themed DLC pack (especially since they dabbled in the genre with NASCAR Kart Racing back in 2009). It just makes too much sense! Earnhardt Jr., the most popular NASCAR driver since 2003 (and the only driver non-NASCAR fans might identify), would be the perfect headliner for such an agreement. Here’s my hypothetical DLC pack:
- Characters: Dale Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Danica Patrick
- Cars: The #88, #48, and #10
- Tracks: Watkins Glen and Sonoma (road courses), Daytona (with an added anti-gravity section), and Martinsville (because Baby Park proved short-track racing is viable in Mario Kart)
Hey, I’d buy it.
1. Captain Falcon
Seriously, does anyone know this guy as anything but a Super Smash Bros. participant anymore? The last F-Zero game came out in 2004, his SSB appearances have garnered him a decent following, and both the Blue Falcon and two F-Zero tracks are already in Mario Kart 8. It’s time, Nintendo.
Other Possibilities: Black Shadow, Dr. Stewart.