Mario Kart 8's DLC is truly an awesome deal. I didn't expect it would be the kind of dream content I've always wanted in Mario Kart especially for an unbelievably good price. Now that we know what the DLC is, the final piece of the Mario Kart 8 puzzle just became all the more confusing. Mario Kart 8 is going to support Amiibo and we still don't even remotely know how.

In case you missed it, the newly announced DLC for Mario Kart 8 breaks down as such:

In addition to the free DLC Mercedes Karts and the first patch out now, there will be two expansion packs for Mario Kart 8 that each cost $8 or together in a bundle for $12. If you have both expansion packs you automatically get eight alternate colors for both Yoshi and Shy Guy.

 

Expansion Pack 1 - The Legend of Zelda X Mario Kart 8 (November 2014)

3 new characters - Link(!), Tanooki Mario and Cat Peach

4 new vehicles including the Blue Falcon

8 new tracks across two new cups (Likely includes the Zelda, Excitebike and F-Zero courses as well as the returning Wario's Gold Mine Wii course)

Expansion Pack 2 - Animal Crossing X Mario Kart 8 (May 2015)

3 new characters - Villager, Isabelle(!), and Dry Bowser

4 new vehicles

8 new tracks across two new cups (Which at least includes an Animal Crossing track)

 

All told for 20% of the cost of the base game, Mario Kart 8 will be expanded by 50%. The new crossover content is especially cool. I can't wait to race on the different Nintendo courses and hear their all new jazzy music themes.

With all of the new content coming it seems strange to believe that there is even more coming as well. The new menus heavily advertise the new content (which honestly looks tacky) but offer no hint whatsoever as to how Amiibos will function in the future.

In November when the first DLC pack hits for Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros 4 will be launching alongside the first batch of Amiibos. This first batch of Amiibos, along with the next few to follow, are all figures in the style of the Super Smash Bros character renders. The ultimate goal of the Smash Bros Amiibo line is to create Amiibos for all 50+ playable characters. This means not only will Mario Kart 8 characters like Mario, Luigi and Rosalina have statues, but other Nintendo characters like Link, the Villager, Samus, Pikachu and Marth will have Amiibos as well.

Now here is where it gets complicated. The Amiibos in the Super Smash Bros line essentially each know two things. The first is that they work with Smash Bros (which means they will store the AI information that you nurture in some way in the context of Smash Bros) and the second is that they are X character. The Mario Amiibo launching in November thus knows it's Smash Bros Mario and is also Mario generically. With that in mind, there are essentially four groups the Smash Bros. Amiibos could be a part of in Mario Kart 8.

 

1) The basic group which includes characters that are in both Mario Kart 8 and Smash Bros.

2) Characters like Link and the Villager that will soon be joining Mario Kart 8 as DLC.

3) Certain characters like Captain Falcon that won't be playable in Mario Kart 8, but will have content related to them such as tracks and vehicles.

4) The rest of the characters in the initial Amiibo run (Samus, Pikachu, Marth etc.) that as far as we know won't be represented in the DLC for Mario Kart 8. 

 

The biggest question thus becomes do all of the Smash Bros Amiibos do something in Mario Kart 8 or do only some of the groups of Amiibos have functionality? With the next Nintendo hardware nowhere in sight the Mario Kart 8 team is free to continue to work on Mario Kart 8 as much as it wants to so crazy things could happen with Amiibo functionality. 

Regardless of whether it was across the board that the Smash Bros Amiibos do something in Mario Kart 8, the Amiibo functionality obviously can't include the transfer of data to the Amiibo since that functionality is reserved for Smash Bros. As such you won't be sharing replays with anyone using Amiibos which makes sense since the internet handles that kind of sharing more elegantly.

With that in mind, Amiibos must be unlocking something within Mario Kart 8 via some kind of one time check in. I think there are a few obvious areas where Amiibos could do something.

What if a new row of six characters were available to unlock exclusively via Amiibo? Captain Falcon for example would be a good choice for this treatment since the Blue Falcon and an F-Zero course are already being featured in the upcoming DLC. It would be a lot of work to make an all new character, but that would be the biggest incentive yet to buy more Amiibos. Nintendo clearly isn't above pulling Skylanders style in game ads in their games if the new menus advertising the DLC are an indication.

Similarly the cheaper and less exploitative option along these lines would be to include new karts exclusively via Amiibo. For example if you want Kirby's Warpstar as a Kart all you would need is Kirby's Amiibo. This approach works well because Amiibos like Mario's would still have a purpose when they unlock karts.

While the grand ambitions are nice, I feel for Mario Kart it would be best if they could include some way to incorporate all of the Smash Bros Amiibos. I think the best ways to go about it are using Amiibos to unlock customization features. Mii's could be decked out in hats or accessories related to the Amiibos you've registered. Hang gliders could sport the Smash Bros renders on top of them or could be unique designs altogether. A Pikachu themed hang glider would be an awesome unlock. In addition to the more prominent customization unlocks, you could also get some kind of icon to attach to your online profile. Giving Amiibos more than one function in Mario Kart 8 would certainly be welcome.

I hope Amiibo functionality in Mario Kart 8 isn't something I can guess easily because the mystery behind it is part of the fun. Maybe Amiibo unlocks something or maybe it works in a new mode altogether (if mission mode returned via DLC, perhaps exclusive missions would be unlocked via Amiibo). We'll find out for sure about Amiibo functionality in a few more months.

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I hope you enjoyed reading my latest blog! What do you think Amiibo will do in Mario Kart 8 and other games too like Captain Toad and Yoshi's Wooly World? Feel free to comment below. I always love to read and reply to your responses!