Mario Tennis Aces is the next big first-party game to hit Nintendo Switch. It touches down next Friday and boasts an impressive character roster. Judging by this new information from Nintendo’s Treehouse livestream at E3, you’ve got to wonder just how big the final list of characters is going to be.
Historically, Nintendo has taken the lumbering dinosaur approach to online play and functionality. Their much-ballyhooed Switch online service is finally set to kick off in September, and many gamers see it as all kinds of underwhelming. Only recently have they started to make real headway in the areas of DLC and such, with big titles like Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS getting new tracks, characters and the like.
Mario Tennis Aces is their next title to receive this sort of post-release content, Nintendo confirmed yesterday. Free software updates over the Summer will add Koopa Troopa and Blooper to the cast. This is always an interesting prospect, as the inclusion of these sorts of Mushroom Kingdom B-listers makes all kinds of other characters plausible.
That’s not all that’s interesting here, though. Here’s the kicker: this isn’t the only way to unlock these characters. Just plain DLC updates are one thing, but players who score well enough in online tournaments (in July and August) will be granted early unlocks of Koopa Troopa and Blooper.
As Nintendo Life reports, our be-shelled friend will be available for everyone to download on August 1, but if you perform well in the July tournament you can unlock them then and there. The same’s true of Blooper, available for all to download in September or for performing well in the August tournament.
As the report states, on one level, this is a canny move by Nintendo. They want as many people subscribing to their new online service as they can get, after all. It’s also a bit of a statement about the game’s competitive leanings, which is a plus.
The question is, will these tournaments be a long-running thing, like ARMS’s Party Crash events and Splatoon 2’s Splatfests? Will there be a steady stream of new characters at stake? There’s no official word on the final roster just yet (though somebody claims to have datamined it), but is that’s the case, it’s sure to keep players coming back.