|Image copyright Nintendo and Universal Parks & Resorts 2017
I can and probably will get into a longer discussion on podcasts, twitter, forums, and here about how this is the next Harry Potter for theme parks; a property loved and celebrated that has seen little theme park coverage that will expand the customer base of the parks and attract existing theme park fans. Instead today lets cover some of the known knowns and some intel we've received.
First, Osaka. Universal Studios Japan will open the first Super Nintendo World in early 2020 prior to the Summer Olympics. The project will cost 60 billion yen, or roughly $545 million USD; for comparison all of Hogsmeade in IoA, Diagon Alley, and Hogwarts Express cost roughly that amount. The one confirmed attraction, Mario Kart, will use state of the art technology to recreate racing through the courses found in the game. But unlike the game you will not be seeing this on a screen. To summarize a design motto of the whole project: "If guests wanted to see these worlds on a screen they would be playing it on one of our consoles." This is Nintendo video game worlds come to life, not "ride the movies". The second attraction in Japan is expected to be a high tech dark ride using innovative "omnimover" ride vehicles themed to the Yoshi games.
|Copyright Nintendo and Universal Parks and Resorts 2017
|Copyright Nintendo and Universal Parks and Resorts 2016
Universal is pushing the interactive elements of the Wizarding World even farther in Super Nintendo World by incorporating Nintendo's own products into the land. Shigeru Miyamoto has stated Nintendo Switch functionality will be incorporated into the lands. We're not sure how so it will interact with the land, such as exclusive games or character skins. Frankly, I think it's a bad idea to design a permanent land around a $300 piece of technology that has lifespan of five years before a new $300 object, with different inputs and requirements, is released. Remember the Apple Lightning Cable was only introduced five years ago. Even without a Nintendo Switch the land will be full of piranha plan AAs, moving coins, and "Start A" buttons to press.
Food and beverage is now a staple at any amusement park with Pandora's wine and even Cedar Point's beers by BrewKettle. Nintendo will be no different and may even step the game up as the food offerings at Universal Studios Japan and around the country are more intricately themed than in the USA. It's interesting to see if Japan's kawaii designs will make its way to the states in a spurt of "authenticity" or if local chefs might reimagine the offerings.
Mario is not the only popular and influential world created by Nintendo but it will be the first represented at Universal Studios. Similar to how the first Harry Potter expansion was initially called "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" before the branches for Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley were created, the Super Nintendo World moniker can work till a "Super Nintendo World - Mushroom Kingdom", "Super Nintendo World - Hyrule", and "Super Nintendo World- Pokemon" open.
This fall I'm excited to visit Pandora, in 2019 I'm very excited to see what Disney cooks up for Star Wars, but nothing touches my excitement for Nintendo. Please stay with Parkscope and our podcast over the next few years as we approach the opening to Super Nintendo World.