Sunday, March 12, 2023

Booster Course Pass: Leaks and Speculations #3

Yoshi, Mario, and DK racing on Riverside Park

Four of six waves from the Booster Course Pass for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe have been released, where the last two are scheduled to release during the remainder of the year. If they follow the same schedule as last year, then Wave 5 will be released in August and Wave 6 in December. But they might come out a bit earlier this time.

It seems like Nintendo went into this whole thing with the absolute minimal effort to see how it will go. The first wave was very lackluster, but with each wave they've clearly increased the amount of work going into the project, where by now we're even getting new characters, which came as a surprise and might not even have been planned from the beginning. But it shouldn't have been surprising that the Booster Course Pass has become a success, since this is DLC for the most popular game on Nintendo Switch...

Meanwhile they also kept creating more content for Mario Kart Tour – like GCN DK Mountain, the Wii Rainbow Road, or Piranha Plant Cove – where the development of these two Mario Kart games go hand in hand by now. Some courses appear in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe first, but it's really a shared effort, which was clear from the beginning.

What we also knew from the beginning are the prefixes of all courses, since they got data mined, where a number of courses have been shuffled around since then, but we still have a good picture of what's to come. This is what we have right now:

In addition, we know of two more city tours in Mario Kart Tour: Vancouver Velocity and Los Angeles Laps. We will likely see the remaining ones very soon, especially since they usually get three different variants each, which are all combined into one for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. If you're from Europe, then Rome and Athens will immediately come to mind, but there are lot of worthy cities left that they could go for, like Cairo, Rio de Janeiro, Prague, or Stockholm, just to name a few from the back of my head.

We might have a slight idea already, because a couple of course IDs and assets have been data mined from Mario Kart Tour a while ago (see here for example):

And this isn't all, because there has been a leak of music samples, which included GBA Sunset Wilds, so that's pretty much set in stone for the last GBA course. As for the rest, you can look at what's already in Mario Kart Tour (see Mario Wiki), but this has proven not to be the most reliable way, since they may release new retro courses for both games at the same time, like DS Mario Circuit this week. Most people expected either Airship Fortress or Luigi's Mansion for the last Nintendo DS course, but here we go. And based on all this, here are my predictions for the final two waves:

More than half of the upcoming courses will be from Mario Kart Tour, so this doesn't leave much room for more actual retro courses, which may or may not be to your liking. And I probably wouldn't have bothered with all this if it weren't for the other component that we have now...

new character select screen with Birdo in the top right and five question marks below her

There are going to be five more characters! Like all of the new courses, they are seemingly porting over the unique drivers from Mario Kart Tour, where there are currently over a dozen of them:

  • Captain Toad
  • Chargin' Chuck
  • Diddy Kong
  • Dixie Kong
  • Funky Kong
  • Hammer, Boomerang, Fire, and Ice Bro
  • Kamek
  • King Bob-omb
  • Meowser
  • Monty Mole
  • Nabbit
  • Pauline
  • Peachette
  • Petey Piranha

And it's likely that Wiggler and the Honey Queen from Mario Kart 7 will return at some point as well. So, there is a good selection and it will be hard to only pick five here, but it's possible that the characters who also have been in previous Mario Kart games, like Birdo, will have priority here. If they don't bring back Diddy, who should have been in this game since May 2014, there will likely be a riot.

Now, I personally believe that the next one is going to be Petey Piranha, for two reasons. First of all, this would place him right next to his old buddy from Double Dash!!, King Boo, on the roster. And wouldn't this be lovely? Then there is the fact that there is a new "nitro" course in Mario Kart Tour already, the aforementioned "Piranha Plant Cove", where this will very likely come to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as well and would be a very good fit, even better so than Birdo and Yoshi's Island. I mean, there are even stone statues of Petey.

One of the two waves is going to have at least three characters and you know quite well what I have in mind for this: Diddy and Funky Kong will finally return and they will bring Dixie Kong alongside with them. If the rumors about a potential new Donkey Kong course are true, then this will be even more likely. I keep sharing the following picture from Mario Kart Tour and it's exactly what I had in mind for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for years now, long before the current DLC: 

the whole Kong family on Rambi Riders

This needs to happen and it would be a great finale for the Booster Course Pass. Maybe they will also add some new karts as well, where they could bring back the Rambi Rider or the Barrel Train in addition. Anything is possible at this point.

This leaves one character, where I personally would go with Pauline, mainly to have finally something from Super Mario Odyssey in here, but also because she is the most attractive choice here, not going to lie. But maybe they will save her for later and they'll simply throw Kamek in there together with Petey Piranha. And yes, I'm still convinced that there will be a "later", more so than ever. See the next post.

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