For fans of the Mario Kart series, these are good times. A new iteration of the game shows up for every console they make, with one coming to the WiiU later this year. But Nintendo hardware is not the exclusive realm of Mario Kart – in 2005 Namco partnered with Nintendo to bring the series to arcades with Mario Kart Arcade GP and two years later followed up with Mario Kart Arcade GP 2. In addition to giving players realistic driving controls as opposed to a gamepad, these titles also featured exclusive content and the “NamCam” avatar feature that Namco uses on many of their arcade games. Since the release of the second arcade outing of Mario Kart, we’ve heard occasional rumors in regards to a third installment but so far nothing credible has come forward until today.
That news came out via Highway Games, which is a credible source for arcade news, recently they broke the story about the international version of Namco’s Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4 coming to Australia and New Zealand. They have some Namco reps visiting them next week too and I doubt they would run a rumor on MKGP3 if it didn’t have some backing to it. Aside from the revelation that Mario Kart GP 3 is coming sometime in 2013, there are no further details about it yet, although their news article makes some allusions to Namco’s recent efforts to integrate online functionality with games like Tekken Tag 2 and Maximum Tune 4 so perhaps thats a hint that Mario Kart Arcade 3 will also enjoy such features. I reached out to Namco for comment but it being the start of a weekend and a lot of Namco people busy clearing out the EAG Expo, I had not heard back yet. Once we do find out more we will be sure to share, in fact for now what sort of features would you like to see from the game?
Personally I hope it’s not just a carbon copy of the upcoming WiiU version with the added driving controls but we will have to see more about the planned features to make a final judgement on that. My guess is that they will have some similar features and content to save on development costs and the WiiU version will probably be using a camera to boot. The potential for the game to use online servers though opens up an interesting thought – if true, this could see a return to cross-platform play, something we have not seen in a while when it comes to arcades and consoles. Such crossovers have not been common although they have been tried, see Sega’s Alien Front Online from 2001 as one example. Of course if that is the case then I am sure that the courses will all be the same, perhaps any other differences in content would be in platform exclusive characters. Hopefully we will find out sooner than later!