Mario Kart 8 has the capability to catalyse sales of the Wii U, Nintendo believes, which to date has been unable to build any form of sales momentum.
"I certainly feel that Mario Kart 8 can be the catalyst that will broaden Wii U's horizons," Nintendo UK's Mario brand manager Roger Langford told MCV. "It's very important for us that we have a successful launch."
Earlier this month Nintendo announced that the Wii U sold only 2.72 million units for the year ended March 31, 2014. This puts the console's life-to-date total at 6.17 million units. Nintendo has forecast Wii U hardware sales for the year ending March 31, 2015 at 3.6 million units.
On the franchise as a whole, Langford explained it's importance to the platform holder.
"Mario Kart is one of our killer titles," said Langford. "Looking back at Super Mario Kart and then moving through the ages, you can see how integral Mario Kart is to Nintendo hardware. It always brings out the best in whatever hardware it is on."
One way in which Nintendo hopes to attract people to the Wii U is through the Mario Kart 8 hardware bundle, which also includes an additional free game download from the eShop.
"That offer lends itself perfectly to those people looking to buy into Wii U," concludes Langford. "You pick up the Mario Kart 8 bundle, and you can also download Wii Party U or Nintendo Land if you're getting it for the family, or if you're a Mario fan you can get New Super Mario Bros U. We also cater for more core gamers, as well, with Monster Hunter 3 and The Wonderful 101. We are offering that variety because Mario Kart 8 does attract such a broad demographic."
Mario Kart 8 and its hardware bundle will be available from May 30.