Some things are just made to go together – lamb and mint sauce, sausages and mashed potato, bread and butter. Shirt and tie, cats and boxes, even snow and wrecked public transport. And in the world of games consoles, some things are similarly considered as staples for each new system; announcements that surprise no-one, but excite everyone at the same time. And no company has as many franchises to rely on as Nintendo, who yesterday announced that a new 3D Mario platformer and the next iteration of Mario Kart are in development for the Wii U. As if we hadn't already guessed they were in the works.
Mario Kart, meanwhile, has stayed slightly more true to its roots with each passing game – players pick a Mario-world character, leap into a kart and race around various themed tracks in pursuit of first place, flinging weapons at each other along the way. Aside from the Gamecube's Double Dash, which added a co-operative element by putting two players in the same kart, and the 3DS Mario Kart 7's flying and underwater sections, Mario Kart's always proven rather reluctant to change - although that may not be the case when it comes to the Wii U. Having been beaten to the Wii U punch by the stellar (if a little hard) Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, it's possible the competition may force Nintendo's hand into shaking up the tried and tested formula. Where Mario Kart has always stuck with a selection of bog standard races, split into Grand Prix cups, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (and it's predecessor) added a World Tour mode, where players had a range of other activities besides racing to complete – whether it was weaving through manic rush-hour traffic, flying through rings or beating up a giant tank, it helped keep things interesting, and added some much needed single player variety. If there's one thing on our wish list for a new Mario Kart, it's some sort of mission type mode like that.
Unfortunately, though, Nintendo are remaining rather tight lipped about the new games, having not revealed much beyond the fact that they're in development - which we could have guessed before. However, we shouldn't have too long to wait before the lid gets properly lifted, as Nintendo have promised that there'll be much more information coming out at this summer's E3 showcase - so make sure you check back.