Universal Studios Japan has today announced the release date for their upcoming Super Nintendo World theme park. The park will be based in Osaka and will feature a Mario Kart ride that utilises AR headsets.
The new theme park will open February 4th, 2021 on the 20th anniversary of the original Universal Studios Japan park. In a recent press release the company claims that the new attraction will combine a number of state of the art technologies like; AR headsets, projection mapping, and screen projection footage along with special effects like steam to reproduce famous scenes from Nintendo’s classic arcade kart racing game.
The ride has been in development for over six years and according to some sources, has cost the company over half a billion dollars (¥60 billion yen) to develop and build.
The ride takes place inside Bowsers Castle and riders will be outfitted with an AR headset contained inside a recreation of Mario’s cap. Racers will be able to compete with one another to see who wins by using shells, racing with Mario and Peach, and speeding to the finish.
This will be an interesting test case for large scale AR and VR attractions. The opening date in early February is very optimistic considering the ongoing pandemic. Theme parks are particularly dangerous due to the high foot traffic and noting could be more dangerous than the constant reuse of headsets that cover people’s faces.
It remains to be seen if large scale VR attractions will be able to bounce back from the coronavirus and whether or not the park will even open by the announced date but the idea of a huge well-built AR attraction certainly has me interested. If you want to see more about the park and the new attractions, check out the tweet from Bloomberg linked above.