Mario Kart 8, a game that was first released ten years ago on the Wii U, is still not done. The 2017 Switch version of the game is currently in the midst of a run of downloadable content that is bringing not only new courses to the game, but new drivers as well.
We welcomed Birdo (alongside a Yoshi’s Island course) in the latest update, released today, but this fresh screenshot taken after its installation shows that there is still room for five more:
Five more! Five mystery characters in a popular first-party Nintendo game! You know what that means, everyone. It means it’s time for speculation.
While the series previously liked to keep things in the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario Kart 8's updates have slowly introduced characters from other Nintendo franchises, ranging from Zelda to Splatoon. Meaning these five characters could, in true Smash Bros. fashion, be coming from anywhere.
Maybe it’ll be someone new, but expected. Samus is an obvious choice here, especially as a car based on her ship would be such an obvious combo (and a Metroid-themed course would also kick ass).
Maybe it’ll be a different take on an existing character. There are multiple Marios here...is there room for a second Link? A Wind Waker Link, perhaps? If it’s good enough for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it’s good enough for Mario Kart 8.
It could, however, be someone else. Nintendo has a long, long history, after all. It’s a little weird that characters from F-Zero, a Nintendo series about racing cars, aren’t featured here in Mario Kart 8, a Nintendo game about racing cars. Captain Falcon would slot right in, especially since there’s already an F-Zero course (and vehicle!) in the game.
Maybe it’s time for some Pikmin? Punch-Out? Is Arms too obscure a reference in 2023? Maybe the space is being left for the movie versions of some famous Mario characters?
Maybe you should take over now. Nintendo-related speculation is hard work.
UPDATE: This might help narrow it down. Nintendo says in a press release accompanying today’s DLC that “Two upcoming waves of DLC are still to come, featuring more returning courses and characters from across the Mario Kart series”.
“Returning characters” certainly kills off some of the wilder suggestions above! And leaves us with possibilities like Petey Piranha and...Wiggler?