Nintendo is no stranger to making racing games. They have some of the most iconic in the industry in fact From the blazing fast, reflex testing futuristic racing of F Zero to the chaotic fun of Mario Kart they have done so much for the gaming industry. Nintendo has made Mario Kart games for pretty much every system since the SNES with the exception of the GameBoy Color and it’s this familiar series of games that often truly jumpstarts their console’s life. A Nintendo system wouldn’t be the same without Mario Kart, it is a tradition.
They are not alone however in having a flagship racing franchise, Nintendo is part of the big 3 of console manufacturers and their competitors happen to be Sony and Microsoft. These two companies take a much different approach for racing games, where Nintendo likes to make an entirely cartoony game, Sony and Microsoft take a realistic approach using real licensed cars and tracks and much like Mario Kart these games are also extremely popular and sell very well. People love cars and want to be able to drive their dream cars in gorgeous graphics and feel like a race driver.
This begs the question: Why hasn’t Nintendo jumped in on this and should they? It’s certainly not impossible that they could do it and they certainly wouldn’t be the only developer to go from cartoon racing to realistic. Polyphony Digital, the development studio of Gran Turismo made a game called “Motor Toon Grand Prix” as their first game which is the opposite of what they would go on to create. Nintendo has the financial means, the manpower and brand appeal to be able to create and market their own competitor to Forza and Gran Turismo. They also have the touch to be able to add fun twists into the game that only Nintendo would do such as fantasy tracks in the Mushroom Kingdom. This is all unlikely at this current time but far from impossible.
It’s no secret that Nintendo systems have been lacking in the genre of games. Grid Autosport releases on the Switch soon which will be the system’s highest quality offering in this style of game but it’s a game that was released back in 2014 and is now available on ios for a mere ten dollars. It’s more of another option for the Switch and not a replacement for receiving a new game in this genre. The Wii U was much worse off in this regard however, Project Cars were canceled on the system after a long time of the promise of a release and never received anything like it in its entire 5-year lifespan. It’s fair to say that fans of this genre are not very treated well on Nintendo but it’s not unreasonable why we don’t see these games on Nintendo platforms. Developers create these games for more powerful systems with complex physics and highly detailed car models, the switch is more than capable of handling this type of game but it’s more likely it would have to be built from the ground up so the game can be made around the system’s limitations rather than stripping away from an already complete game.
If Nintendo got into making this sort of game they could provide this experience themselves and ensure the quality and fun factor. There would be no waiting for a third party developer to make one and have it be a toss-up whether it will be good or not and many Nintendo fans would be willing to give the game a try who otherwise wouldn’t buy this sort of game. There’s real money to be made here if marketed right and they put a touch of Nintendo charm into it to make it unique. Both Forza ( Motorsport, not Horizon) and Gran Turismo are very professional games like a stern businessman carrying a Lenovo Thinkpad and that’s perfectly fine but there is certainly room for Nintendo to step in and add a touch of charm to this genre by keeping the graphics and physics grounded but adding character to the game itself with witty commentary, slick menu design and some subtle references to other Nintendo franchises. This could very well be something extremely special if it were to be done right and It could be more than just another racing game. Nintendo could also put in ways for people to learn about cars without boring them such as what parts do what and how certain upgrades boost performance. Forza and GT do this too but it would bore a lot of children with the way they do it.
Who knows what the future of Nintendo holds and what they will make? That’s why it’s interesting to discuss what a type of game would look like under Nintendo’s development. I want to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below or discuss in the community forums! I will be reading what you have to say and contribute to this discussion.
Just some guy who plays whatever strikes him fancy. Favorite types of games are Racing, Open world sandbox and Pro Wrestling.