Mario Kart 8: Is the release date too long of a wait?

Feature Joe Jasko 2/17/2014 at 2:16PM

With so few Wii U games on the market today, how do gamers feel about such long wait times in between new releases?

In their latest Nintendo Direct conference last week, Nintendo officially confirmed the release date of Mario Kart 8, a game that many of us have been itching to play for quite some time, and one that’s sure to move a few more console units of the struggling Wii U. Unfortunately, that release date is a little bit later than some were probably expecting: we don’t get to launch any more blue shells until May 30. Now, waiting until the very end of May might not seem so bad if not for one thing: the extreme lack of new Wii U games to keep us busy in the meantime. I’ve had my own beloved Wii U for over a year now, and my actual collection of retail games sits at a measly six.

The sad part is that the total number of Wii U retail releases still doesn’t look to be picking up any real steam, even as we near the heart of 2014.

Let’s look at the confirmed list of new games we have coming up for the next several months: there’s Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze coming up at the end of this week, and then a long grueling wait until the end of May for Mario Kart 8. After that, the summer looks to be a tossup at best, as we MIGHT see the release of Bayonetta 2 at some point. And then if we’re lucky, the holiday season will bank on Super Smash Bros. and the interesting Hyrule Warriors (and if we’re REALLY lucky, then Yarn Yoshi will be thrown in that window as well).

Of course, there are certainly going to be a few other unannounced games popping up along the way as well, and I just hope that those eventual release dates aren’t put too far off in the future. It often seems that Nintendo has been trying to keep gamers happy in between these long wait times by putting up exclusive Wii U eShop titles, like the recently released NES Remix and Dr. Luigi (hell, NES Remix 2 was just announced last week as well). These games are great and all (NES Remix in particular), but they’ll only keep Wii U owners busy for so long, and they’re certainly not going to be the types of games that will convince gamers who are still on the fence about investing in Nintendo’s latest home console.

In a way, there are both good and bad things about the lack of big Wii U game releases. On one hand, the company has become way more selective in curating their gaming content, which is certainly a good thing. There may be less games coming out now, but you can bet your bottom dollar that each one is of the highest of quality. Compare this to say, the original Wii, which had hundreds upon hundreds of shovelware titles clogging up the system’s catalogue of games. But at the same time, the current state of Wii U releases is a little too bare for the system’s own good. Nintendo needs to find a sort of middle ground between pumping out good releases, yet not overcrowding their own market with throwaway games.

It also doesn’t help that Nintendo is severely lacking in third-party games right now to help fill those long monthly gaps between your big Mario and Zelda games. And sadly, it doesn’t seem like things will be picking up in that department anytime soon: Ubisoft has recently announced that the long-awaited Watch Dogs has been specifically delayed on the Wii U once again. The game was first pushed back on all systems from its original release date of November 2013, and now while all other consoles will finally be getting the game this June, the Wii U will still have to keep waiting for some farther, undisclosed date.

Nintendo also has a curious strategy of bunching together all of their big releases around the same general timeframe, or in some cases, on the very same day. For instance, Super Mario 3D World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Mario Party: Island Tour were ALL released on Nov. 22. Well at least they’ve settled into a wonderful groove as far as 3DS games are concerned, with great new games seemingly always around the corner, more and more new ones getting announced all the time, and decent lengths of time between each big new release. If Nintendo is able to fall into a similar release schedule going forward, then I think we’ll be seeing a lot of happy Wii U owners out there.

So what do you think? Are you disappointed in the overall lack of Wii U game releases right now, and the seeming lack of Wii U releases going forward? Or would you rather it continue this way: waiting months at a time for a few amazing releases, rather than having Nintendo let any old game on the platform like they did with the Wii. Well in any case, none of this changes the fact that I can barely contain my excitement for Mario Kart 8 and everything else that Nintendo has in store for the rest of 2014. I guess if all of Nintendo’s games lately weren’t so utterly amazing, then we wouldn’t be so passionate about these distant release dates in the first date!

Now if only we still get the follow-up to The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword sometime in the next two years…

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My biggest problem is the 3 month difference between Japan and the U.S. When did that start again? There's like NO localization necessary for Mario Kart... except maybe START.

Either way its WAY too far off, it's coming out in a few days in Japan... and here I sit in Tokyo with an American Wii U...

I'm patient, I can wait for a better game and I don't mind a sparse release calendar if it's releases are top of the line. That said, Nintendo has been disappointing me with the Wii U's library... It's not that the library isn't growing fast enough (that was a problem for the first half of last year but it's been doing okay recently), it's that it's not diverse enough. I want first party exclusives from more genres than platformers and party games. Aside from Pikmin 3, Wii Sports Club, Wii Fit U, and Wind Waker HD, every major first party title from launch until this May when Mario Kart 8 is released will have been a platformer or party game.

It seems like most of Internet have been repeating the mantra of Star Fox, F-Zero, and Metroid. I'd like to see those games too but I'd be happy to see anything different right now. A new Waverace, Endless Ocean, or 1080 would not only hit a different note but would also be great at showing off that Nintendo does HD now. Instead, Yarn Yoshi. I get it, it's cute, but couldn't it have waited a couple of years?

Yeah um... haha. Well I was wrong or I should say the top hit that Google gave me for "Mario Kart 8 Release Date" was wrong. They stated February 22nd which sent me into a tailspin. Since then I've found it's the same time (day before as you said).

So yeah, my whole post is pretty much invalid. THANKS EPOCH TIMES.

"Star Fox, F-Zero, and Metroid." These have been dearly missing from my life. I guess I like Nintendo so much because they deliver the same stuff but better each time. As opposed to the many "trying to be different" games that are fun for a very short time and then get boring.

It's funny though, I felt like MK8 has a lot more elements of F-Zero in it now. Still, I want F-Zero Wii U.

Its three of each... is that really too many? Nintendo actually fully funded and published Ninja Gaiden Razors edge, The Wonderful 101, and Lego City... So even if they don't own the IP they are striving to provide diverse experiences.

Personally, I feel that three party games in a year is too many, there's just too much overlap. Nintendo could have prioritized other genres that would have shown off the Wii U gamepad, like puzzlers along the lines of Brain Age or any number of strategy games, but instead Nintendoland, Game & Wario, and Wii U Party were the only first party titles really focused on showing off the gamepad. That's disappointing for a system that promised revolutionary new gaming experiences, in my opinion.

As for the platformers, I personally don't mind the flood except that 1) that Nintendo prioritized these titles over games in other genres, 2) platformers generally don't do a great job of showing off the unique capabilities of the Wii U, and 3) indie developers are releasing platformers that cover the genre pretty well. I would still want all of the current and upcoming Wii U platformers developed...I just think that many of them could have come later in the console's lifecycle.

I didn't buy Razors Edge but Lego City Undercover and Wonderful 101 were absolutely fantastic. I'm glad that Nintendo published them and made them exclusive to the Wii U. But the first party titles are where Nintendo has had the most control and where their priorities are most clearly displayed.