There’s a certain inevitability about Mario Kart 9. While technically unconfirmed, its predecessor, Mario Kart 8, is one of the best-selling Nintendo Switch games of all time. A follow-up is for all intents and purposes guaranteed.
The good news is that kart racing fans may not have long to wait for official confirmation of the existence of Mario Kart 9 either. According to industry analyst Dr. Serkan Toto (via GamesIndustry.biz (opens in new tab)), Nintendo could be set to reveal the sequel this year.
This news will surely delight Mario Kart fanatics who are probably growing a little tired of playing Mario Kart 8 as the game is almost eight years old at this point. After all, there are only so many times you can outrace your friends and family on the same couple dozen tracks before you crave new courses.
While Toto doesn’t put a timeframe on when we can expect a reveal, or hint when the game itself might release, he does state it “comes with a new twist.” This isn't particularly surprising, Mario Kart is no stranger to gimmicks designed to shake up the series’ traditional formula. Mario Kart 8 introduced anti-gravity tracks, and the previous entry on the Nintendo 3DS added the ability to glide and drive underwater.
Toto works for Kantan Games, a Japanese consultancy firm focused on the video game industry, so there’s definitely credibility to these claims. Of course, Nintendo is a notoriously unpredictable company so while a Mario Kart 9 announcement in the near future seems logical, Nintendo often marches to the beat of its own drum — see the reveal of bizarre AR-game Mario Kart Live Home Circuit in 2020 as proof.
The last entry in the popular series, Mario Kart 8, was originally released for the Wii U in 2014 before a Deluxe edition was brought to the Nintendo Switch in April 2017. This Switch edition of the game has become the best-selling installment in the franchise, moving almost 40m copies as of November 2020. That number will have only increased over the last 14 months as the game continues to rank high on sales charts.
Curiously, Nintendo has never released two mainline Mario Kart games on a single console. This has led to fan speculation that the next time Mario and pals get behind the wheel of a kart will be on the Switch’s successor, but there’s always a first time for everything.
There are few party games out there as universally loved as Mario Kart, so a fresh entry would certainly be welcome after all this time. Perhaps the announcement of Mario Kart 9 will come alongside the reveal of the much-rumored Nintendo Switch Pro? Or maybe it'll coincide with the release of the Super Mario movie in April, 2023.