Mario Kart and new Nintendo consoles go together like peanut butter and jelly, so Mario Kart 9 could be announced any moment now, right? Maybe not. The latest developments lead us to believe that we should not expect Mario Kart 9 for the time being.
Of course, we already have a Mario Kart game for the Nintendo Switch, and what a game it is! Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is still the best-selling Nintendo Switch game ever, with 43.35 million copies sold as of January 2022. But the name already gives it away: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a re-release of Mario Kart 8, which came out for the Nintendo Wii U.
So, we are still waiting for a real new Mario Kart game: Mario Kart 9. Going by tradition, it should release on Nintendo Switch, but Nintendo seems to have other plans.
In the Nintendo Direct presentation on February 9, 2022, Nintendo surprised friend and foe. The Japanese game developer did not announce Mario Kart 9, but introduced new race tracks for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe instead. These new tracks are part of an expansion pack that you have to purchase separately, called the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass.
In total, six sets of eight tracks will be released in waves until the end of 2023. So all together, that's 48 new tracks being added to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. That will keep us busy for a while, which is exactly why you shouldn’t count on a Mario Kart 9 for the time being.
It’s safe to assume that Mario Kart 9 will not come out before 2024. That's because Nintendo will still be releasing new tracks for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe until the end of 2023, and we expect that Nintendo would never want to compete with itself by releasing another Mario Kart game at the same time.
By 2024, the Nintendo Switch will already be seven years old. Therefore, it is not surprising to think that Nintendo is saving the new Mario Kart 9 for the release of its new console, the successor to the Nintendo Switch. It would be the perfect game to launch their new system with.
Fortunately, the wait for the new Mario Kart is eased thanks to the new Booster Course Pass. The first set of eight tracks will be released on March 18, 2022. It is not yet known when the other five sets will come out, but since we know that the last set will come out before the end of 2023, we can make some estimates.
Based on the confirmed start and end dates, we predict the following release dates for the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass sets:
This would put about five to six months between the release of each set.
The tracks in the Booster Course Pass are not brand new, but are based on race tracks from all previous Mario Kart games.
The new race tracks are from the following games:
Currently, only the race tracks from set 1 have been announced. So we can only speculate about the following sets, but at least we know that they will be inspired by previous Mario Kart games!
The first set will be available from March 18, 2022 and consists of:
Golden Dash Cup
Lucky Cat Cup
You can get the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass in two ways:
You can buy the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass digitally so you’ll always have access to the new race tracks. A single purchase will get you all five sets. The first set will be available from March 18, 2022, and the remaining sets will be released incrementally until the end of 2023.
Ordering the expansion card is easy at Startselect. After paying with whatever payment method you prefer, you will receive the code directly from us. Startselect is an official partner of Nintendo, so you can rest assured knowing you’ll receive a working code and that your purchase supports the creators of the game!
Once you receive the code, enter it in the Nintendo eShop and get instant access to the downloadable content!
Anyone with a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription will receive access to each set of the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass expansion at no additional cost. So if you already have this subscription, you don't need to do anything more and you will automatically get access to the new race tracks!
Please note that this is a different subscription than the standard Nintendo Switch Online subscription that allows you to play online. With the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack, you get additional benefits such as access to Nintendo 64 games and the Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Happy Home Paradise expansion.
You can upgrade your Nintendo Switch Online subscription to the Expansion Pack through the Nintendo eShop or the Nintendo website. An annual subscription costs €39.99 and for a family membership it is €69.99. If you already have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, you get a discount on this.
Maybe you're not yet convinced by the Circuit expansion pass, and you'd really just love to get an all-new Mario Kart game. No worries, we totally get that. We too like to dream about the possibilities. After all, how could they possibly make Mario Kart 8 Deluxe even better? Unfortunately, only Nintendo knows.
Although Nintendo hasn't officially confirmed it, it's plausible that they're busy behind the scenes developing Mario Kart 9.
Of course, it's been four years since Mario Kart 8 Deluxe came out, so it's quite possible that the new game is already in advanced stages. We just have to wait and see until Nintendo reveals their new project.
While we don't know for sure, there's also a good chance that the new race tracks from the Booster Course expansion pass are being developed by another studio, allowing the core team behind the Mario Kart franchise to keep their hands free for the development of Mario Kart 9.
There are, of course, a lot of rumors about Mario Kart 9, but experience shows that Nintendo is very good at keeping its secrets. A lot of so-called "leaked information" turns out to be incorrect. We therefore advise you to take all rumors with a big pile of salt.
Some people who claim to have "insider" information say that Mario Kart 9 will have a surprising twist. This is being compared to how in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!! you control one kart with two characters, and how Mario Kart 8 has you floating on gravity-free tracks. Currently, we can only speculate on what this so-called twist in Mario Kart 9 may be.
Another popular theory is that Mario Kart 9 will have many similarities to the Super Smash Bros. series, in the sense that many of Nintendo's popular series will come together. Of course, in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Link from The Legend of Zelda and Isabelle from Animal Crossing already made their appearance, but rumors suggest that there will be many more of such crossovers in Mario Kart 9.
Other than that, unfortunately we can only dream about the new Mario Kart, but until that happens we're going to have fun with the new race tracks from the expansion pass. See you at the starting line, and watch out for those blue shields!