Nintendo enthusiasts in the US may need to wait one more day to get their hands on Mario Kart 8, but today marks the launch of the newest installment in the iconic Nintendo racing franchise in Japan. Although there has been concern that the lack of love for the Wii U could hurt the sales and exposure of the newest Mario Kart, the game is getting positive reviews both around the web and from right here at Game Rant.
With special promotions and themed-bundles of the console that will include the new racing game, Nintendo is hoping to move some additional Wii U units off the shelf with the assistance of the popularity surrounding Mario Kart games. To help bring more exposure to the game (and to a new luxury vehicle) Nintendo has teamed up with a surprising partner for a bit of cross-promotion this summer…
A 30 second ad that features a surreal cross-over between real life and the Mushroom Kingdom will run in Japan starting May 30 to promote the new Mercedes Benz GLA class car and Mario Kart 8. As if the live-action Mario in the ad wasn’t strange enough, a modified version of the luxury vehicle will be available as a free bit of DLC for Japanese gamers.
Obviously the real world version of the car doesn’t exactly match the rest of the Mario Kart aesthetic, so some adjustments were made to create the playable version of the GLA. The roof has been completely removed from the DLC version of the Mercedes vehicle, so drivers will be able to ride with their hair in the wind like the rest of the Mario Kart competitors.
So far, the promotion has only been confirmed in Japan, but CVG received the following response from Nintendo UK about a western release of the free DLC…
“The announcement this time was made by Mercedes-Benz Japan regarding their collaboration in Japan with NCL. As for the information relating to the distribution of the GLA kart for MK8 outside Japan, we will be able to announce in the near future.”
It’s not a clear confirmation, but it certainly sounds like western gamers can keep their hopes high for a similar promotion to reach the UK and US in the near future. Time will tell whether or not the DLC will be free in those regions as well.
It will take some time to adjust to the sight of a semi-realistic car in the world of Mario Kart and it’s likely that some gamers will be unhappy about the presence of a drivable advertisement. It’s certainly not the first time corporate products have made an appearance in video games, but it does seem a bit more jarring in the fantasy world of Mario than it does in the more grounded realm of Madden or Need for Speed. We’ll have to wait and see the GLA fire off a few red shells before we pass judgement on it.
Is the Mercedes ride a cool addition or out of place? Let us know in the comments.
Mario Kart 8 releases May 30, 2014 for the Wii U.
Follow Denny on Twitter @The_DFC.
Source: Mercedes Japan