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Everything we know about ‘Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle’

Here's the latest on the bizarre 'Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle'

The excitable rabbits of Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids franchise, an offshoot sprung from the Rayman universe, have made appearances in a number of unlikely titles — including Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction, Watch Dogs, and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag — but they have always stayed confined to the great Ubisoft library. No one could have predicted that Rabbids would collide with Mario at all, much less in a tactical role-playing game that draws heavy influence from the XCOM series.

The game, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, shows both Nintendo’s characters and the Rabbids in a brand-new light. Here’s everything we know about Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.

After months of rumors, a serious leak and a “surprise” announcement

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Rumors about a Mario-Rabbids crossover began circulating in October, 2016, thanks to French website Gameblog. Rumors about the game gained widespread attention when Laura Kate Dale of Let’s Play Video Games reported that a game called Mario RPG: Invasion of the Rabbids would be a launch title for the then-unannounced Nintendo Switch (then known as the NX). In early January, ahead of the Switch unveiling event in Tokyo, Dale tweeted that the game would actually be called Rabbids Kingdom Battle, and that it had been delayed until September. The game was not mentioned at the Tokyo event, or the subsequent Switch showcase in New York of the game.

In early May, Kotaku reported it received assets from a source that confirmed the game’s existence, as well as its title, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Kotaku didn’t publish the piece of concept art, but just a few weeks later, a since-deleted tweet revealed a key piece of art, perhaps the same one that Kotaku received. WWG confirmed the authenticity of the image — a Rabbid in a Princess Peach costume — with its Ubisoft sources, and then published a full piece of art that displayed the game’s title and main cast. Not long after the leak, Nintendo World Report released several additional images, reportedly meant for Ubisoft’s E3 keynote.

At Ubisoft’s E3 2017 presentation, the company opened with a look at the game with a surprise visit from Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto. Developed by Ubisoft with Miyamoto’s blessing — his only requirement was that the game could not be a platformer — instead, it takes the form of a strategic role-playing game with a focus on world exploration.

The cast

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Kotaku originally reported that there would be eight playable characters. Nintendo later confirmed this on the game’s website.

  • Mario: The Leader
  • Luigi: The Eagle Eye
  • Yoshi: The Explosive Head
  • Princess Peach: The Badass Princess
  • Rabbid dressed as Mario: The Macho Man
  • Rabbid dressed as Luigi: The Unstable
  • Rabbid dressed as Yoshi: The Crazy One
  • Rabbid dressed as Peach: #Sassy #Nofilter

Most of these were subsequently seen at the game’s reveal during E3, including a Rabbid Peach who doesn’t take too kindly to the original Princess wearing her clothes, and a Rabbid Luigi who appears to have slept in his clothes.

Interestingly, despite there being eight playable characters, it seems that you don’t actually “play” as any of them. Instead, the team is guided around the Mushroom Kingdom by a Roomba-looking machine, which can collect coins as they make their way from battle to battle.

A “twisted” Mushroom Kingdom

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There will be four main worlds to explore in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. The game’s announcement trailer shows off a “plains” area near Peach’s castle as well as an ice area, desert area, and ghost area, but it isn’t clear if these are the only locations or if more than one of them make up a single world.

The “twisted” aspect refers to a vortex that has “torn apart” the Mushroom Kingdom and left it infested with Rabbids — while some are friends, others are foes.  Each world will feature “puzzles and secret zones,” too, which Tuttorio can help discover as Mario and his army of Rabbids follows close behind.

A strategic RPG

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle becomes a turn-based strategy game in the style of XCOM 2 when entering combat. Each character can move a limited distance during their turn, can take cover behind obstacles, and can fire their weapon at the enemy, and if two teammates meet up, they can perform a “team jump” to send one of them flying into a better tactical position. Using the warp pipes located around the battlefield, Mario and the Rabbids can even flank enemies and catch them off-guard. Though it’s not to common to see Mario holding a firearm, it appears to work surprisingly well, and destructible cover should make for some tense scenarios.

The weapons you begin the game with won’t be the only ones you use. Kingdom Battle contains more than 250 weapons with “unique statistics.”

Battles will include multiple objectives and “contextual events,” and there will be seven enemy archetypes. In each of the game’s four worlds, there will be a mid-boss and a final boss, culminating in a total of eight boss fights.

All told, the combat and exploration is stated to fill 20 hours of play time, according to the “Game ID” image released by Nintendo World Report, shown below.

Local co-op

Image used with permission by copyright holder

While turn-based RPGs and strategy games tend to focus on the single-player experience, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle includes two-player cooperative play. However, this is limited to a challenge mode — both players can use one Joy-Con controller to play this mode.

Snowdrop engine

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle will use Ubisoft’s new proprietary engine, Snowdrop. Tom Clancy’s The Division was the first game to be built in Snowdrop, and the upcoming South Park: The Fractured But Whole is the only other game confirmed to use the engine.

‘Tis the season (pass)

For those who just can’t get enough of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, a season pass is available for $20. Releasing on the eShop alongside the game, the season pass gives players eight “unique steampunk weapons” at launch, as well as new challenges for both solo and cooperative play this fall.

The season pass will also provide players with additional “story content” in 2018, but it isn’t clear exactly when it will arrive or what this content will entail.

When do Rabbids arrive in the Mushroom Kingdom?

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle will hit Nintendo Switch on August 29, the same day as the XCOM 2: War of the Chosen expansion.

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Steven Petite
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Steven is a writer from Northeast Ohio currently based in Louisiana. He writes about video games and books, and consumes…
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