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Default Why has Nintendo given up on making non-kart racing games?

Aug 6, 2006
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Nintendo used to be one of the best racing game developers and publishers in the business! This was true for several decades... and then came the current generation, and Nintendo abruptly abandoned everything other than kart racing games. In volume Nintendo's racing game library was its largest on the N64, but the Gamecube and Wii both had some great games to partially make up for the lesser number of titles in total. On handhelds the Game Boy Advance has the most racing games from Nintendo; other handhelds all have only a few each, though the 3DS is the only one with nothing but Mario Kart and a NES remake, unsurprisingly. It's the same on the Wii, only Mario Kart and NES Excitebike stuff in NES Remix. It was too bad that Nintendo had fewer racing games on GC than N64, but at least the top ones were still great. On the Wii the games were still good, again, but sadly F-Zero, Wave Race, and 1080 all permanently (so far) vanished. Excite did return with three quality titles, though, which was great.

But then came the current generation, and so far at least, there has been nothing but Mario Kart. It's horrible! Yes, I know that the Mario Kart games now are some of Nintendo's best-selling games, but I don't think that games like Wave Race or F-Zero compete with Mario Kart for sales! They're completely different, and just as great -- or better, in the case of F-Zero -- things. There is a rumor that Nintendo might be working on a new Diddy Kong Racing game, but that's another kart racer of course, and would not fix this issue on its own.

I hope Nintendo reverses this soon, because we need Nintendo racing games again beyond just the kart racers. I mean, I like Mario Kart a lot, but I like Wave Race or F-Zero more.


Here's a list of Nintendo-published racing games, to show what I mean. Kart racers bolded. Games are first-party (developed by wholly owned Nintendo teams) unless noted with a 'second party' (partially owned teams, ie Rare or Left Field) or 'third party' (outside studios contracted to make a game for Nintendo, or making a game Nintendo exclusively published).

Arcade
--
Vs. Excitebike
Vs. Mach Rider
F-Zero AX (third party developed)
Mario Kart Arcade GP (third party developed)
Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 (third party developed)
Mario Kart Arcade GP DX (third party developed)

All three Cruis'n arcade games were also licensed by Nintendo, who owned (or owns?) rights to the Cruis'n name.


NES
--
Mach Rider (J version supports Famicom Basic Keyboard + Famicom Data Recorder for saving custom track data)
Excitebike (J version supports Famicom Basic Keyboard + Famicom Data Recorder for saving custom track data)
R.C. Pro-Am (third party developed)
F1 Race (J only)
Slalom (third party developed)

Nintendo also published the third-party game Rad Racer in the US and Europe, but not the original Japanese release.


Famicom Disk System (J only)
--
Famicom Grand Prix: F1 Race (not the same as the Famicom cart game)
Famicom Grand Prix II: 3D Hot Rally (supports Famicom 3D System 3d shutter glasses)
Vs. Excitebike


Game Boy

--
F-1 Race
Super R.C. Pro-Am (third party developed)
Wave Race

Nintendo also published the third-party game Nigel Mansell's World Championship Racing in Europe, but not the later US release.


SNES
--
F-Zero
Super Mario Kart
Stunt Race FX (third party developed)
Uniracers (third party developed)
Mini Yonku Let's & Go!! Power WGP 2 (J) (this is sort of a "racing" game, maybe)

Nintendo also published the third-party game Nigel Mansell's World Championship Racing in Europe, though not in other regions (it was first published in Japan.)


Virtual Boy
--
None, but one, Zero Racers, was near-completion when cancelled


SNES Satellaview (J only)
--
BS F-Zero (port of the original SNES game, separated into three parts by cup)
BS F-Zero Ace Cup (new cup with new cars)
BS Excitebike Bunbun Mario Battle Stadium (in four parts)


N64
--
Cruis'n USA (third party developed)
Wave Race 64
Mario Kart 64
Diddy Kong Racing (second party developed)
1080 Degrees Snowboarding
Cruis'n World (third party developed)
F-Zero X
Ridge Racer 64
Excitebike 64 (second party developed) (supports the Expansion Pak)
Mickey's Racing USA (second party developed)

Star Wars Episode I Racer (third party developed and published, supports Expansion Pak) was exclusively distributed by Nintendo, though Lucasarts did technically publish the game. Nintendo also released a system bundle with the game and an N64 in the US.

Nintendo also published the third-party game F-1 World Grand Prix in Europe in Japan (though not the US, where it released first), and published the Europe-exclusive N64 version of F-1 World Grand Prix II as well, though the game was published by other publishers on other platforms. Cruis'n Exotica was also licensed by Nintendo since they own the IP rights, though Midway self-published the game.


Game Boy Color
--
Mickey's Racing Challenge (second party developed)
Star Wars Episode I Racer (third party developed)
Mickey's Racing USA (second party developed)
[The two Mickey's Racing games are kart racers in theme, but in gameplay they're probably as much or more R.C. Pro-Am as they are Mario Kart, so I don't know if they should really be bolded or not...)


Nintendo 64DD (J only)
--
F-Zero X Expansion Kit (requires a J copy of F-Zero X for the N64)


Game Boy Advance
--
F-Zero: Maximum Velocity (third party developed)
Mario Kart: Super Circuit
F-Zero: GP Legend (third party developed)
F-Zero Climax (J only) (third party developed)
Bit Generations: Dotstream (J only) (third party developed)
Classic NES Series: Excitebike
E-Reader Excitebike (cards for E-Reader card-reader accessory)

Nintendo also published Top Gear Rally in the US and maybe Europe, but not the original Japanese version. Also Cruis'n Velocity was licensed by Nintendo since they own the IP rights..

Gamecube
--
Wave Race: Blue Storm
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Kirby's Air Ride
F-Zero GX (third party developed)
1080 Avalanche


Nintendo DS
--
Mario Kart DS
Pokemon Dash (second? party)
Diddy Kong Racing DS (third party developed)


Wii
--
Excite Truck (third party developed)
Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast (third party developed)
Mario Kart Wii
Excitebots: Trick Racing (third party developed)
Wii Sports Resort (jetski minigame, particularly)
Excitebike World Rally (WiiWare Shop Exclusive)
Art Style: light trax (third party developed) (WiiWare Shop Exclusive) (a followup to Dotstream on the GBA)
Virtual Console: Excitebike (NES), Mach Rider (NES), F-Zero (SNES), Super Mario Kart (SNES), Mario Kart 64 (N64), F-Zero X (N64), Cruis'n USA (N64), Wave Race 64 (N64)

Also Cruis'n was licensed by Nintendo since they own the IP rights.


DSi
--
Crash-Course Domo (third party developed) (DSiWare Shop Exclusive)
White-Water Domo (third party developed) (DSiWare Shop Exclusive)


3DS
--
Mario Kart 7
3D Excitebike (A port of the NES original but with 3d layers added to enhance the graphics)
Virtual Console: F-Zero: Maximum Velocity (GBA), Mario Kart: Super Circuit (GBA), Mach Rider (NES)


Wii U
--
Mario Kart 8
NES Remix (Excitebike remix stages only)
Virtual Console: F-Zero: Maximum Velocity (GBA), Mach Rider (NES; U only so far), Excitebike (NES), F-Zero (SNES), Super Mario Kart (SNES)


Is anything missing?


Mario Kart is one of the great racing game series for sure, but F-Zero is my favorite Nintendo racing game franchise. F-Zero, F-Zero X, and F-Zero GX are all incredibly, incredibly great, some of the best racing games ever made. Wave Race 64 and Excitebike 64 are right up there near them. Other things, like Excite Truck and Excitebots, Wave Race: Blue Storm and 1080 Avalanche, Uniracers, R.C. Pro-Am, and more are also great fun games. From the SNES on, the games on the list above are consistently among the better non-sim racing games of their generations, and as I don't like sim racers, they're consistently among my favorites. And we've gone from that, to... nothing but Mario Kart and NES Excitebike re-releases. Argh! It's quite sad, and I hope this changes, soon! This E3 was great for Nintendo, but seeing Nintendo announce not one single racing game, with none currently announced either, was the one downside to an otherwise great show. If that DKR sequel rumor is true I'm sure it'll be fun, but Nintendo needs to go back to making racing games beyond just their successful kart racers! Other publishers just don't always make the kinds of games Nintendo has, and their absence is noted. Losing Wave Race, 1080, and F-Zero on the Wii was bad enough, but this is exponentially worse.
 

Dereck

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Mar 23, 2012
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How many copies did F-Zero sell on Gamecube, and is that really the reason why F-Zero has been neglected? Did they say that?
 

Noogy

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My uneducated guess would be money. I do wish they'd branch out, since the polish they put into the Mario Kart series is surreal.
 

Aquamarine

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May 24, 2012
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How many copies did F-Zero sell on Gamecube, and is that really the reason why F-Zero has been neglected? Did they say that?

In the USA?


180K in 2003

102K in 2004

41K in 2005


323K in 3 years



Mario Kart sold 2 million in the same period of time.
 

NEO0MJ

Member
Aug 8, 2010
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Other than the Mario Kart team Nintendo doesn't really have any devs specialized in racing games, most of the people who worked on F-Zero and Wave Race have been spread out between other teams. Working again with Monster games is an option but I don't think that team can handle an HD title on their own.
Plus racing games overall haven't really been performing well on any platform.
 

Neff

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Feb 6, 2012
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How many copies did F-Zero sell on Gamecube, and is that really the reason why F-Zero has been neglected? Did they say that?

It wasn't even a million-seller, apparently. Probably some of the development cost was offset by Sega in return for AX distribution and profit, but considering how much it would have cost, the project can only be deemed a minor flop for Nintendo.

Clearly the incentive to create a new Wii U-sized budget racer not called Mario Kart isn't there, at least not financially speaking.

I'd love a revival of F-Zero, Stunt Race FX or Wave Race, though.
 

NEO0MJ

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Aug 8, 2010
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This thread is confusing, why is Cruisn' mentioned. Its not Nintendo's IP, they have no control on if its on their systems.

If I'm not mistaken Nintendo has some hand in this series, as I remember that the arcade machines had their logo on them.
 

PyroYuy

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Apr 22, 2014
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It feels like fans are crying for a new F-Zero, but after seeing those numbers on the GameCube I can understand why they're kinda hesitant to work on a new one. But then again it looks like they skip a generation between games. All I can remember is one on the snes then the one on the gc. Were there any between those two released stateside?
 

Yoshi

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I don't want any new Wave Race games, but F-Zero is the best racing franchise there is, so it's a shame Nintendo is ignoring it. They could at least just port the assets / engine of FZGX, exchange the courses for new courses and release that. I'd gladly pay 60€ for that.
It feels like fans are crying for a new F-Zero, but after seeing those numbers on the GameCube I can understand why they're kinda hesitant to work on a new one. But then again it looks like they skip a generation between games. All I can remember is one on the snes then the one on the gc. Were there any between those two released stateside?

Have you seriously forgotten about F-Zero X, the best 32/64-bit racer by a huge margin and in some aspects even better than GX? Are you kidding me?
 

evil monkey

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Oct 10, 2009
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It feels like fans are crying for a new F-Zero, but after seeing those numbers on the GameCube I can understand why they're kinda hesitant to work on a new one. But then again it looks like they skip a generation between games. All I can remember is one on the snes then the one on the gc. Were there any between those two released stateside?

There was F-Zero X on the N64.
 

wiggleb0t

Banned
Mar 29, 2010
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Is it partly to widen the net? Younger kids have little interest in real car driving, so karts with toon-like characters appeals?
 

AniHawk

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Jun 7, 2004
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It feels like fans are crying for a new F-Zero, but after seeing those numbers on the GameCube I can understand why they're kinda hesitant to work on a new one. But then again it looks like they skip a generation between games. All I can remember is one on the snes then the one on the gc. Were there any between those two released stateside?

f-zero - snes (1992)
f-zero x - n64 (1998)
f-zero maximum velocity - gba (2001)
f-zero gx - gamecube (2003)
f-zero ax - arcade (2003)
f-zero gp legend - gba (2003)
f-zero climax - gba (2004)
 

CapHarlock

Neo Member
Nov 20, 2013
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In the USA?


180K in 2003

102K in 2004

41K in 2005


323K in 3 years



Mario Kart sold 2 million in the same period of time.

If that is it, then it's no wonder they don't make them anymore. For a Nintendo game they might have sold at a loss.
 
Aug 6, 2006
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Bah, the word "Default" shouldn't be in the thread title! Argh, can a mod remove that if they notice?

This thread is confusing, why is Cruisn' mentioned. Its not Nintendo's IP, they have no control on if its on their systems.
Nintendo owns console rights to the "Cruis'n" name, which is why all home Cruis'n games were Nintendo console exclusives. Nintendo published the first two, as well, as you see on that list in Cruis'n USA and Cruis'n World. After that Midway took over and published Cruis'n Exotica for the N64, and the GBA-exclusive Cruis'n Velocity, and the Wii Cruis'n game that is actually a port of the arcade game The Fast & The Furious, itself.

As for why Nintendo owns Cruis'n rights, it's because of a deal made back when the first Cruis'n USA was in development. If you look at the original Cruis'n USA arcade machine, it mentions the Nintendo Ultra 64, as if that hardware runs the game. It doesn't of course, it's actually a Midway board, but it made people excited for the N64 and probably helped boost the popularity of the game too, only for many people to be disappointed when Cruis'n USA released shortly after the N64's launch and the port was not as good looking as the arcade original. The other "Nintendo Ultra 64"-labeled arcade game was Killer Instinct.

Anyway though, Nintendo did indeed own the Cruis'n name as far as I know. Their name is on the original arcade game and the first two N64 games. The two arcade sequels were published by Midway, but Nintendo was still a licensor since they owned rights to the Cruis'n name thanks to the original deal. Nintendo and Midway also worked together around that same time with the arcade versions of the two Killer Instinct games -- Midway distributed them.

How you leave out Cruis'n Exotica? That Caribbean theme was the shit!
Exotica was still licensed from Nintendo in that it used the "Cruis'n" name, but Nintendo did not publish the N64 version of Exotica, Midway did. I agree though, Exotica for the N64 is the best game in the series for sure. Fun stuff.
 

Starwolf_UK

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Given how small monster games is Excitebots must have been a bigger flop than F-Zero GX as it has no European release and was relegated to Club Nintendo reward in Japan.

Didn't they once give some canned answer like "I can't think of anything to add to F-Zero, we totally nailed it with F-Zero X". Which is kind of sad that F-Zero made bigger leaps in one generation than Mario Kart did in 4 or so.
 

Aquamarine

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May 24, 2012
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How many copies did F-Zero sell on Gamecube, and is that really the reason why F-Zero has been neglected? Did they say that?

If that is it, then it's no wonder they don't make them anymore. For a Nintendo game they might have sold at a loss.

The 2004 GBA F-Zero game also bombed quite spectacularly.

You know how much it sold in its first month in the USA? Less than 3K. It had some legs like Nintendo titles tend to have, but it still ended up with quite a poor LTD. Nowhere even close to F-Zero GX's performances.

I imagine that also had something to do with F-Zero's hiatus.
 
Aug 6, 2006
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The 2004 GBA F-Zero game also bombed quite spectacularly.

You know how much it sold in its first month in the USA? Less than 3K. It had some legs like Nintendo titles tend to have, but it still ended up with quite a poor LTD. Nowhere even close to F-Zero GX's performances.

I imagine that also had something to do with F-Zero's hiatus.

The first GBA F-Zero game was horrible, why would anyone have wanted to buy the sequel? It's hard to find a bigger downgrade than SNES F-Zero, still one of the all-time greatest racing games ever, to GBA F-Zero Maximum Velocity! Also it being based on an anime surely didn't help its sales numbers here too much -- the character redesigns weren't great, and the generic protagonist guy wasn't either.

They don't sell and increased dev costs certainly don't help. It'd be awesome but it won't happen.
Of course they sell sometimes! Nintendo is just being far too conservative. What you never make can't sell badly, you know... but it also can't sell well!
 

Hatchtag

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Mar 3, 2014
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I think it has to do with other non-kart racing games being huge graphical showpieces, and their systems not really having the power to rival those. It's a shame, because Excite Truck was a blast, and I'd love to see more racers from them.
 

Yoshi

Headmaster of Console Warrior Jugendstrafanstalt
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The 2004 GBA F-Zero game also bombed quite spectacularly.

You know how much it sold in its first month in the USA? Less than 3K. It had some legs like Nintendo titles tend to have, but it still ended up with quite a poor LTD. Nowhere even close to F-Zero GX's performances.

I imagine that also had something to do with F-Zero's hiatus.

But that's a bit weird, because the 2D F-Zeros absolutely pale in comparison to the two 3D F-Zeros. Ironically, the GBA games increased in quality from the first to the third game, but making three 2D F-Zeros for GBA definitely was not a good idea at all.
 

IsntChrisL

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I would love for a new F-Zero, even a new 1080 would be nice. I think a new Wave Race would be turned into a Mii-fest though.

With the lack of third parties filling the gaps Nintendo should be trying harder than ever.
 

NinjamicWZ

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Jul 30, 2010
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Wii would have been the time to do it if they were going to... WiiU doesn't seem like a good place for it economically right now. 3DS could push the software easily but probably wouldn't do it justice the way fans want to see it.

Then again, since they're trying to sell hardware without a lot of 3rd party support, maybe cranking out the heat would be good for WiiU and make them money that way.
 

Orgen

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Aug 4, 2005
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In the USA?


180K in 2003

102K in 2004

41K in 2005


323K in 3 years



Mario Kart sold 2 million in the same period of time.

I remember (in the NPD good old days) that F-Zero GX and Eternal Darkness had a very similar LTD in the USA.

How many Wii U titles have sold more tan 300.000 to this day in the USA? Not saying that it would sell the same but Nintendo needs this kind of software to offer a more diverse output.

A 1080 Snowboarding game for this Holiday using the Balance Board.... brbrbrbr
 

chaosblade

Unconfirmed Member
Jul 14, 2009
21,129
1
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In the USA?


180K in 2003

102K in 2004

41K in 2005


323K in 3 years



Mario Kart sold 2 million in the same period of time.

If that is just for NA that doesn't seem like franchise-killing figures. Maybe it didn't meet their expectations, but those expectations were likely way too high in the first place. Stuff like the CG scenes and 40 unique character themes you never heard outside the bio pages were completely unnecessary and only served to bloat the budget and added nothing to the game.

Mario Kart comparisons to F-Zero never made any sense to me. Outside of the broad genre of "racing games" the two are nothing alike and appeal to different tastes.
 
Aug 6, 2006
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A new Wave Race would look gorgeous on Wii U.
Indeed it would. A new Wave Race would look amazing!

If that is just for NA that doesn't seem like franchise-killing figures. Maybe it didn't meet their expectations, but those expectations were likely way too high in the first place. Stuff like the CG scenes and 40 unique character themes you never heard outside the bio pages were completely unnecessary and only served to bloat the budget and added nothing to the game.

Mario Kart comparisons to F-Zero never made any sense to me. Outside of the broad genre of "racing games" the two are nothing alike and appeal to different tastes.
Good point, those don't really seem like numbers that should have killed the series... and if it's the GBA games that did it, well, blame that on the developers who made such subpar to average games!

Other than the Mario Kart team Nintendo doesn't really have any devs specialized in racing games, most of the people who worked on F-Zero and Wave Race have been spread out between other teams. Working again with Monster games is an option but I don't think that team can handle an HD title on their own.
Plus racing games overall haven't really been performing well on any platform.
"But Nintendo got rid of all their racing game teams other than Mario Kart" isn't a very good excuse, I'm sure they could find people to make another one! And anyway, part of the problem here is that they got rid of those teams in the first place -- I very much wish they hadn't, it's hurt them a little I think.
 

Mr-Joker

Banned
Mar 7, 2013
14,980
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Because Mario Kart is more accessible to both the hardcore and casual market and sell better than Nintendo other racing games.
 

Kai Dracon

Writing a dinosaur space opera symphony
Jun 7, 2004
19,552
1
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Besides the fact that Mario Kart sells huge numbers, the entire industry has moved away from most racing games outside car collecting simulation racers. Everybody else stopped making future racers, it's not just F-Zero. Other arcade styles have faded.

Today, aside from Mario Kart, only the Need for Speed brand still sells somewhat. Everything else focuses on virtual auto enthusiasts.
 

timetokill

Banned
Oct 19, 2004
32,834
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Mario Kart outsells all the others combined. That's really all there is to it.

I think we'll get another racing game out of another series but there's a reason Kart has a dedicated team and is a priority at Nintendo.
 

Pikma

Banned
Mar 4, 2009
23,427
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0
Why don't you fucking give F-ZERO another chance, Nintendo? just like you did with Fire Emblem?
 

Toxi

Banned
May 29, 2013
41,538
1
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Unlike F-Zero they technically never really gave up on Fire Emblem did they? Looking at the number of releases FE has gotten in recent years anyway.
Fire Emblem was going to be discontinued if Awakening wasn't such a huge success.
 

openrob

Member
Feb 25, 2014
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What do people expect from fast racing neo?

Wave race would be cool but not majorly important I feel.. Same with 1080. Cool games, won't sell too well etc etc.

We need some snowboard kids up in here though!
 
Aug 6, 2006
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I think there was a Cruis'n game on Wii also, which looked worse than a PS1 game. Hah. What a joke.
Cruis'n for the Wii looks just fine for a pretty much straight port of an arcade game from 2004. Its ugliness has been vastly overstated by the haters posting that stupid "Car Vault" picture who have probably never actually played the game themselves...

Mario Kart outsells all the others combined. That's really all there is to it.

I think we'll get another racing game out of another series but there's a reason Kart has a dedicated team and is a priority at Nintendo.
No, that isn't all there is to it. Mario games vastly outsell Kirby or Donkey Kong most all the time, and yet Nintendo keeps making Kirby and Donkey games regularly anyway. Why have such a different standard for racing games?

For instance, why shut down NST's console team after Project H.A.M.M.E.R. failed, instead of, say, having them do another racing game, given that they were a proven and high-quality racing game developer (they made Ridge Racer 64, Wave Race Blue Storm, and 1080 Avalanche)? Why give up on console F-Zero after GX did only okay? Why give up on Wave Race at all, given that all three Wave Race games were quite successful? Etc.