Mario Kart 9 Release Date Speculation, Rumors and Everything We Know

By Klein Felt Posted:
Mario Kart 9 Release

After more than a decade since the franchise's last mainline release, fans cannot wait for Mario Kart 9

Series developer and publisher Nintendo has remained fairly quiet on the next Kart game after Mario Kart 8's release in 2013. 

Instead of releasing a new Karting experience, the Japanese gaming giant has opted for the last seven years to update the Nintendo Switch version of 8 (titled Mario Kart 8 Deluxe) with new tracks, characters, and challenges for gamers. 

When Is Mario Kart 9 Being Released?

Mario Kart

No official release information on Mario Kart 9 is currently available, as Nintendo has yet to even confirm whether it is working on the game. 

However, according to rumors, another entry into the hit multiplayer franchise could be coming sooner rather than later. 

In early January 2022, IGN reported Mario Kart 9 was in "active development" and, given the decade-plus-long wait since the last mainline title, it likely has been in that stage for quite some time. 

As a part of that same January 2022 report,'s Dr. Serkan Toto revealed he heard that not only was work being done on Mario Kart 9 but Nintendo "could tease it [as early as] this year" ("this year" meaning 2022).

Of course, that information was released nearly two years ago and no announcement of the game has come.

Taking this information into account, gamers have seemingly never been closer to the title's official unveiling. 

The first whispers surrounding a new Mario Kart game date back as far as December 2021, when insider Markomaro revealed they had heard "a new racing game by [Nintendo]" had been in the words for at least "two-three years:"

"And to finish. I have been talking about a new racing game by N. since two-three years ago, the project started as a racing game to be around 'MK8 Deluxe' as an alternative but not as a 'MK.' but apparently things changed a little bit since last time i heard about it."

While this racing project may have, at one point, not been a mainline Kart game, it has seemingly turned into that. 

Given the amount of time since Mario Kart 8, a Mario Kart 9 announcement could come at any moment. 

Some speculated Nintendo could be holding some major games in anticipation of its rumored Nintendo Switch 2, and Mario Kart 9 could be one of these. 

If this is the case, then fans can assumedly expect to hear about the title sometime in spring or summer 2024 before being released alongside (or shortly after) the supposed Nintendo Switch 2 launch in September or October 2024. 

However, there have also been whispers the game could wait until 2025, holding out for "Switch 2's second year on the market" (via leaker ZIPPO):

"The tenth (no, not ninth) installment of the 'Mario Kart' series will release in 2025, which will be Switch 2's second year on the market. The intention is to release the title sometime before the system's second holiday on the market. The title is being developed primarily by Nintendo EPD Production Group 9, with Bandai Namco Studios once again co-developing."

Is Mario Kart 9 Coming to Switch?

Technically, Nintendo's last Mario Kart game was 2019's Mario Kart Tour, a mobile take on the experience. 

But one should expect the next Kart title to come to Nintendo's flagship console and skip the mobile marketplace. 

However, the question now becomes, will Mario Kart 9 release on Nintendo Switch or the incoming Switch 2? 

The Kart franchise has proven to be a mainstay of any Nintendo console. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is now the biggest racing video game of all time after releasing on the Switch in 2017, having sold 57.01 million copies as of September 2023 (via Nintendo). 

What is even more impressive, is that 8 Deluxe did this on 132.46 million Switches sold, meaning nearly one in two Nintendo Switch owners have the game (which is a remarkable attach rate). 

This data proves why Mario Kart 9 would be the perfect launch title for the Nintendo Switch 2. 

What better way to sell new Nintendo hardware, than one of its best-selling game series of all time? 

Some would argue though that by releasing a new Mario Kart exclusive to the Switch 2, Nintendo could be leaving heaps of money on the table by not serving the baked-in Nintendo Switch install base. 

What could be the smart play is releasing Mario Kart 9 as a gross-generational title on both Switch and Switch 2, similar to titles of Nintendo consoles past like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (which came out on Switch and Wii U on the same day).

What Is the Twist in Mario Kart 9?

With every new Mario Kart game comes some crazy twist on the classic kart-racing gameplay. 

Previous staples of the franchise have included anti-gravity racing (Mario Kart 8), the doubling-up of characters on a single kart (Mario Kart: Double Dash), and the introduction of underwater/glider gameplay (Mario Kart 7). 

And according to rumors, Mario Kart 9 will be no exception on the 'twist' front. 

In December 2021, gaming insider Markomaro hinted that Mario Kart 9 could be what they described as "[Mario Kart] x Smash," referencing Nintendo's hyper-popular crossover fighter Super Smash Bros. as well as a focus on "the online community:"

"The main idea and the best way to describe it was like a 'MK' x 'Smash' Bros with a big focus in the online community with lots of weekly stuff to do and new ways to race (not just Karts and bikes) and new ways to take down other racers."

This could mean Mario Kart 9 may in actuality prove to be something of a Nintendo Kart, bringing in characters, courses, and items from across Nintendo's vast catalog. 

Mario Kart 8 and 8 Deluxe saw Nintendo dabble into putting some of its other characters and locales in the game, adding The Legend of Zelda's Link, Splatoon's Inkling, and Animal Crossing's Villagers and Isabelle. 

This next Mario Kart Game could expand upon this, becoming the crossover kart racer fans have always dreamed up.

Seeing as Mario Kart 9 is technically the tenth game in the franchise (including the mobile-exclusive Mario Kart Tour), some have speculated the game could be called Mario Kart X with the Roman numeral for 10.

This X in the title - while indicating the tenth entry in the franchise - could have a second meaning, pointing to the series crossing (or X-ing) over with other things. 

What Characters Will Be in Mario Kart 9?

Who will appear as playable characters in Mario Kart 9 largely depends on whether one buys into the crossover karting experience rumors surrounding the game. 

If Mario Kart 9 brings in other IP from across Nintendo's vast catalog, then fans can expect characters like Fox McCloud from Star Fox, Captain Falcon from F-Zero, Pikachu from Pokémon, and Kirby from the Kirby franchise to all buckle up for the racing festivities. 

If a Nintendo character has appeared in the gaming giant's Super Smash Bros. series, then there is a good chance they pop up in the Big N's crossover racer. 

Also expected to appear are returning racers from across the Mario Kart series proper. The likes of Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser, and many other residents of the Mushroom Kingdom are all good bets. 

Plus, add in Donkey Kong some of his jungle-bound friends, as they have long been mainstays of the Kart series. 

What would be interesting to see is if Nintendo sticks with just its IP for this potential crossover racer.

The Super Smash Bros. series has gone from celebrating just Nintendo to being a full-on commemoration of the video game industry, including characters from across company lines like Final Fantasy's Cloud Strife, SEGA mascot Sonic, and even Microsoft-owned characters like Steve from Minecraft

If Nintendo can strike these sorts of deals for the Smash franchise, who is to say they would not be able to for Mario Kart 9?

This could open up all sorts of possible third-party character appearances, as well as tracks and items to wield while racing from across gaming history. 

Mario Kart 9 currently has no public release date. 

- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.