A little over a year ago game publisher Nintendo and Universal of Japan announced the plans for a Nintendo park, now officially known as Super Nintendo World. This was not going to be a self-contained theme park but rather an expansion to the existing Universal Studios Park in Osaka. The existing land would be built just to the left of the front gates and require the company to relocate some existing offices and shift a few queues around. The scope and scale of the Nintendo expansion would be on-par with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter park in the USA. At least that was the original plan. In 2016 Sankei News and other outlets reported a budget of 40 billion yen, or about $350 million US for the expansion. That was more than was budgeted for the Diagon Alley expansion in Florida. Last week the Orlando Business Journal reported that budget has increased to 60 billion yen or about $544 million US. Construction has already started and the company hopes to have the park completed just in time for the 2020 Olympics. Remember that Nintendo has been visual during the promotion of the Olympics. Mario himself appeared at the closing ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympics and will be a mascot for the 2020 games.
The complete details, as far as attractions, shops and restaurants are unknown for now. Based on press material the majority of the land is themed after the Mushroom Kingdom, made popular in the Super Mario Bros series. Expect to see mascots (the Japanese term for the walk-around characters) and seasonal shows in the three-dimensional playground. There, game and attraction communities are buzzing, based on patents submitted by Universal and Nintendo. There is possibly a Mario Kart, Donkey Kong and Metroid attraction in the works. The Mario Kart ride is rumored to be VR-based and features a car that can “drift” around corners and “bounce” along the tracks. The Donkey Kong attraction is rumored to be a runaway mine cart ride that might very well set an entirely new standard for coaster design. The Metroid attraction may feature technology similar to Soarin’ over the World except that each passenger sits in their own power armor-saddle. This would be a similar harness to the suspended standing roller coasters. In this way audiences can feel like they are in power armor similar to Iron Man and flying through inhospitable alien worlds. Based on the technology being pursued Universal may have “out-Marveled” the experiences available at Disney.
Universal Studios Osaka will be the first location to receive this new park with both Florida and California expected to be getting their own version later. We will be keeping a close eye on this park as it develops. What do you hope to see in a Super Nintendo World theme park?