Before today’s E3 announcements and Ubisoft’s presentation, I assumed that Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was already officially announced judging by the artwork and number of outlets covering this. It’s a crossover project that reminds me very much of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance that swapped out the slew of JRPG class characters with the Mario crew and Mario Rabbids.
In place of the fast-pace Rabbid games or Mario platforms, Ubisoft has created a turn based battle system, the ability to customize and upgrade weapons, and a strategic playground for fans of both series.
Sure, it’s a departure for both series and triggers memories of the Hyrule Warriors announcement where Nintendo handed over their legendary IP over to Team Ninja and hoped for something new. Shigeru Miyamoto has said in the past that he loves seeing Mario do new things. From Making the leap to 3D with Mario 64, Getting his own sports series, to introducing a generation to JRPGs with Super Mario RPG. If done right, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle could branch out into it’s own right. Just look at Paper Mario and the Mario + Luigi series.
There is always a concern when you see someone driving development of a legendary IP like this. It’s important that the game is first and foremost fun to play and easy to pickup. The customizations and RPG elements have to be rich enough to bring fans of more complicated series in while still being accessible to younger or more casual players. Some of the screenshots demonstrate the ability to fine tune the gameplay before battle but also has an “auto fill” option for players looking to skip the fuss and get into the action.
Honestly, when I first heard the title “Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle”, I was worried that we were getting another Mario Party knock off that would be graded against the classics and not well received. What we got was something that will be the next generation of tactic style games that players will welcome with their love of Mario. Mario + Rabbids just look right together. It doesn’t look off like some cross overs where you can tell one franchise is out of place.
They have skirted the Switch trend of omitting a release release date and actually set one in stone this time around. You can expect to see this in the eShop and store shelves on August 29th. That should fill in some time between Splatoon 2 and Mario Odyssey for sure. Well done Ubisoft. I’ll have to keep an eye on this one.