Earlier this week, ahead of the launch of the first Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack, we let our imaginations — and hopes — run free in creating more DLC packs that we want to see. It was certainly fun for us, though a common complaint was that they weren't realistic. Forgetting the fact that predicting Zelda DLC a year ago would have likely been greeted by similar accusations, we thought we'd dial back and look at content that could feasibly be included in the Animal Crossing x Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 2 — it's due in May 2015.
So far the only firm details Nintendo's given regarding this pack are the characters that'll be included — Villager, Isabelle and Dry Bowser. As you can see in the artwork above the rest is yet to be revealed, so we've decided to have a go at predicting what we could see in the vehicles and tracks.
There's logic in our choices, primarily in the fact that themed content in the first pack references other games — such as Dragon Driftway referencing bosses from the two Super Mario Galaxy titles, along with the Excitebike Arena showing retro flair — and a prominent returning franchise that had a presence in Nintendo Land, in the form of the F-Zero track Mute City. In that sense we've looked at brands that were given a push in the Wii U launch title and some major upcoming releases that could pave the way for semi-promotional tracks and vehicles. We've also looked for themes that would actually work in a racing context, of course.
You can see our thoughts below, then — bear in mind that we're covering bases and that, like DLC Pack 1, there may be a couple of retro tracks and a fairly generic inclusion (like Ice Ice Outpost), so it's highly unlikely that all of these ideas will make it. Nevertheless we think there's a reasonably chance that some of them could make the cut.
- Pikmin — With the recent release of the short movies, this remains a franchise that appears to be very important to Shigeru Miyamoto; naturally he can drive the agenda should he wish to. Considering the theme of the cup, the continued push to promote the brand with releases and the obvious potential for the track — such as riding around over-sized vegetation and fruit — this seems like a reasonable bet.
- Yoshi's Woolly World — Here's one of those promotional inclusions, though is less likely than some others due to the Egg Cup and Yoshi's Circuit appearing in pack one, yet few opportunities are missed by Nintendo to promote the cute mascot. With a stage already included in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, it wouldn't surprise us if Yoshi returned again in pack two.
- Star Fox (Corneria) — Whether it'll arrive in 2015 as targeted or not, Star Fox is coming to Wii U; this is a franchise that — when you step outside the bubble of dedicated fans — could do with a boost in profile. The limited releases in recent years and generations is eased by its ongoing prominence in the likes of Smash Bros., but a stage sweeping through a Corneria environment (with a battle raging all around) could build hype for its eventual arrival on the home console.
- Animal Crossing — Of course this is in there, and rather like Hyrule Circuit could come at the end of its themed Cup; we expect to see cute characters surrounding the tracks, the sight of the train passing through town and an overload of whimsy.
- Super Mario 3D World — The presence of the bell logo that became so familiar in the Wii U platformer suggests that a track may be themed on the terrific Mario title. Our thoughts include a recreation of the retro Mario Kart level (how meta would that be) or a playful track encompassing a variety of stages from throughout the game's worlds. It could be marvellous, regardless.
- Luigi's Mansion — When you look at the bottom right of the image at the top of the article you see a track surrounded by looming, gloomy trees. The style reminds us primarily of Luigi's Mansion, particularly some artwork prominent in Dark Moon on 3DS. Whether a reproduction of a retro track or one in the standard spooky Luigi style — let's not forget its role in Nintendo Land, again — we think this is pretty likely.
- Metroid — As you can see in our vehicle predictions below, we feel that the Nintendo Land vibe may be applicable here, and the feeling remains that while the series is on ice at present — at least in terms of confirmed projects — it's still important to Nintendo. This could potentially take place on one of the many planets / space bases from throughout Metroid lore, or any environment where actual Metroids have the chance to fly around in the background.
- Mario Party — With Mario Party 10 coming to the Wii U, along with the playground setting and the series trend of competitors travelling together in vehicles — introduced in Mario Party 9 — this could be a relatively 'safe' and colourful inclusion. Some fun twists could come with items as dice that determine alternative routes, for example, so it could be creative despite its mini-game source.
- Animal Crossing Train — A miniaturised train as a vehicle in honour of the commuter's transport of choice into town? Yes please.
- Arwing — A kart shaped like the iconic Star Fox ship would surely be a fan favourite.
- 16-bit kart — We've seen a retro-styled sword in Hyrule Warriors, and Nintendo isn't afraid of playing on nostalgia.
- Samus' Ship — It could be based on the rather cute design of Nintendo Land, and would make us smile when blasting around the tracks.
Those are some of our thoughts on what the Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 2 could bring, but what do you think? Which of these ideas do you like or think are possible, or what alternatives would you prefer to see? Let us know.