With the dust still settling from the Super Smash Bros. Brawl launch last week, Nintendo has just announced the release date of the next big title that is sure to have Wii owners spending hours on end in front of their televisions. Mario Kart Wii is scheduled to be released on April 27th in North America -- and as a delightful change of pace to the normal delays faced by European gamers, April 11th in the EU.
Gamers buying Mario Kart Wii will receive the Wii Wheel controller shell along with a copy of the game -- additional wheels can be purchased as standalone accessories. The wheel will not be a requirement to play, as Nintendo has committed to a wide variety of control options -- the standard Wii Remote with or without the wheel, Wii Remote and Nunchuk, Classic controller, or the surefire favourite among battle-hardened Double Dash! players, the classic GameCube controller in wired or wireless variant.
The bundled controller won't be the only bonus that buyers will get -- an entire Wii Channel dedicated to Mario Kart is being planned for launch as well. The Mario Kart Wii Channel will be used as a method for players to organize tournaments, compare rankings, see when their friends are playing, and download "ghost data" from other players.
Mario Kart Wii supports up to 12 players over the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection, four-player local split-screen, and features sixteen new courses alongside sixteen "revisited" courses from previous games in the series. In addition, the motorized mayhem will be available on two wheels or four, as Mario Kart Wii introduces bikes, and a "trick" system.