2020 is shaping up to be a quiet year for the Nintendo Switch, especially as new leaks suggest Breath of the Wild 2 — previously teased at E3 2019 — won't be released until at least 2021, but Nintendo might keep gamers sated with an entry in another iconic franchise that has "tires."
Gaming insider and reputable leaker Sabi tweeted earlier this week that development on the Breath of the Wild sequel Nintendo is proceeding slower than expected and therefore won't be released anytime soon, but they also hinted that Nintendo might announce another big title to make up for it soon.
“BotW 2 [is] taking longer than anticipated back during E3 2019, so it doesn’t seem to be this year’s holiday release,” they tweeted. “Which adds more credence to the major title I was referencing on a tweet the other day, [Paper Mario]. Neither is set in stone yet so take some salt. The more likely one has ... tires.”
If this information is correct, then The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 won't be released in time for the 2020 holiday season, meaning that it's not on track to reach store shelves until sometime in 2021. Based on the "tires," Nintendo could make up for this bit of a letdown with the release of Mario Kart 9 later this year.
This comes less than a week after Nintendo confirmed the company has no plans to release a new model of the Switch until at least until 2021. Unless Nintendo confirms Mario Kart 9 or another significant release sometime in the coming months, it'll make for a very quiet 2020 while its chief competitors, Sony and Microsoft, prepare to launch next-gen consoles later this year.
Based on Sabi's tweet about "tires," we have to assume he's talking about Mario Kart 9, which is long overdue on the Switch.
Mario Kart is the only popular first-party Nintendo franchise that involves cars and tires, and the series has yet to receive a proper title for the Nintendo Switch. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (2017) was a port of the Wii U title Mario Kart 8 (2014) that came with additional DLC content and graphic improvements for the new console. The re-release was met with universally positive reviews, but it’s been nearly six years since Nintendo launched a brand-new version of its circuit racer.
Mario Kart Tour brought the game to mobile platforms, like iOS and Android, late in 2019. The release was bashed, however, for its subscription service and the prevalence of microtransactions, which were called “out of touch with reality” by Polygon. The app also didn’t launch with a multiplayer mode (the best part about Mario Kart!), and early versions of the online play have been bedeviled by a myriad of issues.
Needless to say, this didn’t really scratch fans’ Mario Kart itch, and 2019 was a bad year for gamers who like driving around in go-karts as a mustachioed plumber.
The only other possible franchise Sabi could be talking about is F-Zero, a futuristic racing game that was a critically acclaimed SNES launch title. The release is considered a milestone for the racing game genre, but it’s been 16 years since the last F-Zero game was released and there’s little-to-no hope that it will be revived. Captain Falcon fans have to get their fix over in Smash Bros. instead.
The last major standalone release, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, became the fastest-selling game in the franchise's history after its release, racking up more than 1.2 million unit sales in only three days. There’s every reason to believe that Nintendo wants to continue the series’ momentum with a 2020 release.
There has been very little in the way of Mario Kart 9 rumors or leaks, but Sabi has a positive track record of revealing the secrets of the world’s biggest games companies. They accurately leaked a majority of the headlining press conferences that occurred E3 2019. Sabi even received a cease and desist from a lawyer representing Nintendo, which led them to hold back the information they had about the company’s Direct livestream event in June.
That run-in with Nintendo has clearly not scared Sabi off the trail, but we’ll need a bit more information before the possibility of Mario Kart 9 dropping this year is solidified.
One thing is for sure: Nintendo has been suspiciously quiet about its hugely popular racing franchise for far too long, so it's time to put the pedal to the metal.