It's not the most surprising announcement at E3, but it certainly is one of the most anticipated by Nintendo fans. Nintendo just announced Mario Kart Wii. Nintendo's seminal arcade racer is finally bringing its shell-slinging, kart-driving action to the Wii. While Nintendo has been pretty quiet about Mario Kart Wii, it's safe to say that the game will let you play as Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, or any other number of Nintendo characters across a number of Mario-themed tracks. At Nintendo's press conference today, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime cryptically said, "More racers mean more fun. Stay tuned." Nintendo will probably unveil more playable characters and features in Mario Kart Wii as time goes by, like it has done with Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Perhaps Samus Aran or Link will be getting into their own karts this time around.
Gameplay details might be vague, but Nintendo has confirmed a very important feature of the game: Mario Kart Wii will be online. Last year's Mario Kart DS offered online multiplayer racing for the Nintendo DS, but this will be the first time a console version of Mario Kart goes online. Like other online Wii titles and features, Mario Kart Wii will use the system's Wi-Fi connection to scour the Internet for rival racers. Nintendo hasn't stated whether or not Mario Kart Wii will use the same cumbersome friend code system other online Nintendo games have used, but it's a pretty safe bet.
Mario Kart Wii will ship the first quarter of 2008, and will come with its own steering wheel accessory you can slip your Wiimote into before driving.