Universal Studios Japan has officially announced that Super Nintendo World will be opening on February 4, 2021. The land was originally scheduled to open over this past summer, but was postponed due to the pandemic.
Along with the official announcement, Universal Japan has revealed the first photographs from inside the Mario Kart attraction building, as well as new concept art for multiple experiences around the land. Let’s dig into all of the new images, as well as reservation information for when Super Nintendo World officially opens in February, in today’s news update. UPDATE: A video version of this story has been added below featuring additional visuals.
The new theme park land, which reportedly cost more than 60 billion yen ($578 million) has been in development for more than six years. Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Japan be the first official theme park land in the world based on Mario and other classic Nintendo characters. It will feature a Mario Kart and a Yoshi ride—as well as restaurants, shops, and interactive experiences.
The area’s main attraction, “Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge,” (“Bowser’s Challenge” in English) will take guests inside of Bowser’s Castle to prepare for their race. Photographs of the entry’s grand staircase have been revealed, including a massive Bowser statue at the top. Photos from inside of the queue’s trophy room were shared as well, where we can see trophies for many of the various cup series from the video games. We can also see that the course for the ride appears to be the “Universal Cup.”
The load area also features a Universal Cup logo above each of the side-by-side tracks. Two cars will race along each other throughout the ride. We can see that the ride vehicles will be in multiple colors, each seat four riders, and include built-in speakers, as well as steering wheels with controls, (even though the ride runs on a track).
With this announcement we did get the first official mention of the Augmented Reality technology for the Mario Kart ride. These AR Headsets, which are designed to look like a Mario hat, will render additional elements on top of reality. This will allow you to “throw shells” virtually, when used with the controls in front of every rider.
The Mario Kart ride was designed by both the Universal Creative team and the Nintendo’s creative team, including Nintendo Representative Director, Fellow Shigeru Miyamoto. Universal says the ride will be “brought to life through a powerful story and characters, advanced technology in augmented reality, projection mapping, and screen projection combined with a physical set that recreates iconic environments in fantastic detail.”
The attraction will feature large-scale sets as well as virtual and screen based elements to expand upon the real-life world around you. The new officially released poster art seems to incorporate elements from all of the tracks that the ride is rumored to visit, including Piranha Plant Pipeline, Twisted Mansion, underwater, cloud top, volcano, and Rainbow Road.
Universal’s safety information confirms that the ride will be approximately 5-minutes long, and will feature sudden acceleration, rotation, turning, and stops. It was rumored that the ride vehicles would have the capability of rotating, and this seems to confirm it. The safety details also confirm the use of fog effects. Riders will need to be at least 48 inches tall to ride on their own, or 36 inches to ride with someone else.
Additional details for the family attraction, “Yoshi’s Adventure,” were also released. This omnimover-type ride will allow 2 guests to ride above the Mushroom Kingdom in a five-minute journey looking for colorful eggs. The ride will have a 48 inch height requirement if riding alone, or 33 inch requirement when riding with an adult, making it perfect for younger children.
The official description offers more information about possible interactivity on the Yoshi ride: “Guests will climb atop Yoshi’s back and follow Captain Toad on a treasure hunting adventure! Captain Toad has forgotten his treasure map. Guests need to find the 3 colored eggs that lead the way to the Golden Egg that Captain Toad was seeking. Guests will encounter a spectacular view of the Mushroom Kingdom from Mount Beanpole while having fun on this ride that’s perfect for the whole family.”
Universal Japan has released additional details for the land’s interactive elements, including the price of their Power-Up Band wearable. All of the Power-Up band designs will cost ¥3,200 each, including tax. That’s around $30 US dollars. They will be available for purchase at multiple locations within the land, as well as the official online store.
Universal says you can “Collect virtual coins and check your ranking, collect stamps and use the Power-Up Band to experience the world of the games in real life!” The Power-Up Bands can be synchronized to an app on your smartphone, or you can access your game data at checkpoints around the land. That means a smartphone is not required to experience the interactive elements of Super Nintendo World.
As rumored, the main challenge for guests using the Power-Up Band will involve Bowser Jr. According to the official press release: “Retrieve the Golden Mushroom that Bowser Jr. has stolen! Work your way through the games located throughout the area to collect three keys! Waiting for you is a dramatic boss battle with Bowser Jr. Jump, punch and use your entire body and all your instincts to win.”
Earlier this year we explored the patents for this interactive experience where you use your whole body to compete in an interactive challenge. The system can scan your body in real time, matching your movements to the game engine. This will allow you to throw items like fireballs at a virtual Bowser Jr., while working as a team to defeat him and other bad guys.
It is not currently known whether or not interactive areas, including various elements like question mark blocks and the Bowser Jr. Boss Battle, will be closed due to COVID-19 safety protocols. However, given that Universal Japan is promoting the Power-Up Bands and interactive elements it appears that they are planning to be available from the start. Universal has confirmed that interactive items on the actual rides will be sanitized regularly, including ride vehicle buttons and AR headsets.
While there is a lot to be excited for when Super Nintendo World finally opens in just a few months in Osaka, there is still one more area of the land that appears to be under construction. A Donkey Kong mini-land is rumored to be part of a phase 2 expansion of the land. It will likely feature a Mine Cart roller coaster, adding a third ride to Super Nintendo World. While Universal Japan did not mention this expansion in their announcement, Bloomberg Quicktake on Twitter did bring it up.
Due to safety measures in place and social distancing, guests will need a reservation to get into Super Nintendo World when it opens in February. Advance bookings will be available for reservations, or “Area Timed Entry Tickets” as Universal Japan calls them. They will work like a FastPass, giving you a window of time when you can enter the area. If you do not purchase a timed entry ticket in advance, a select number of free entry tickets will be available to book through the mobile app after arriving at the park.
While we have received details for the first Super Nintendo World, there hasn’t been any additional information for the other announced versions of the land. Construction on Universal Studios Hollywood’s Nintendo World is well underway, but no details have been released. The future of Orlando’s version of the land is still uncertain, as work on the new theme park, Epic Universe, has paused during the pandemic.
Stay tuned for more Super Nintendo World news as it happens. Be sure to check out the video version of this article for additional visuals. See our full list of stories about the new land, including rumor breakdowns for the rides and interactive technology. You can also check out our Super Nintendo World playlist on YouTube for more information.
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