Bet this wasn’t an announcement you were expecting this week.
Bandai Namco has announced plans to open a large virtual reality arcade called VR Zone in Japan in Shinjuku, expanding upon the company’s previous installation. And curiously, among the games confirmed for the new venue is Mario Kart VR.
Although the title has not been formerly announced outside of the VR Zone website, the portal does reveal that the venue uses the HTC Vive for the amusements. Indeed, there is even art that shows the Mario racer and the Vive together.
As for the game itself, very little is known. It looks like it’s based on the existing arcade game Mario Kart Arcade GP, meaning users will sit in a cart-like cabinet and play with a steering wheel. In Japan gamers can use special cards to save their progress and unlocks and transfer them to other machines.
This UploadVR video gives you a taste of how the whole thing works.
Other titles confirmed for Bandai Namco’s VR arcade include Dragon Ball VR: Master the Kamehameha, Evangelion VR: The Throne of Souls and Ghost in the Shell: Arise Stealth Hounds. All will use the HTC Vive.
Can we class this as Nintendo’s first VR game? Well, Mario Kart Arcade GP is actually developer by Bandai Namco, although Nintendo is listed as the publisher. Furthermore, does this make the prospect of Switch-based VR – which has been touted on and off for an age – more likely?