If you’re a beloved video game character, you know you’ve reached the highest rung of fame if you get a racing spinoff. It seems like every series worth its salt finally gets its comeuppance in a racing game, whether it’s a classic like Mario Kart or cheap cash like… most other racing spin-offs.
But given the prevalence of the racing spinoff, it’s strange that many beloved series haven’t tied themselves to a high-speed vehicle. Maybe one day these games will get their comeuppance, but in the meantime, we can only imagine what these racing derivatives will look like.
10 kingdom hearts
Final Fantasy has a racing spin-off in the form of the controversial Chocobo GP. Disney characters have similarly appeared in a host of kart racers over the years. However, gaming audiences are still waiting for Kingdom Hearts’ turn on the track: Kingdom Karts, so to speak.
Kingdom Hearts takes place in several visually striking locations with a diverse cast of recognizable characters, making it perfect for a runner. And between Gummi Ship offering a convenient template for vehicle upgrades and the ease of translating the series’ magic system into offensive and defensive elements, it’s downright strange that we haven’t gotten it yet.
Mario Kart laid the foundation for the kart racing genre: take a cute platformer mascot, put him in a kart and print money. Beloved characters like Sonic, Crash Bandicoot and Mega Man have followed his example. And while Mario’s stablemate Donkey Kong even got a racer of sorts in the beloved Diddy Kong Racing, Rare’s similarly developed Banjo hasn’t had the same opportunity.
Banjo-Kazooie would be perfect for a go-kart racer. The varied levels and colorful, cartoony characters would fit the genre perfectly. And considering how Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts And Bolts turned out, Banjo deserves a chance to get the races right this time.
8 Street Fighter
Street Fighter took the video game industry by storm in the ’90s, just as Super Mario Kart first introduced the idea of a racing mascot to the world. And while Capcom’s main fighting series isn’t quite as familiar as Mario, Street Fighter could lend itself to a more grown-up racer: Street Fighter Street Racer, perhaps.
Street Fighter characters are iconic, but more importantly, Street Fighter is Cold. Can’t you imagine Ryu and Chun-Li fighting on a street drenched in neon lights, dodging buildings and pedestrians? It would be the joy of arcade racing.
Persona, once a humble Shin Megami Tensei spinoff, has grown to outshine the series that spawned it. His elegant presentation, emotional storytelling, challenging battles and addictive life simulation mechanics have made him a giant. We have spin-offs of Persona that range from rhythm games to dungeon crawlers, brawlers, and first-person musou games.
Given how much people love this series, why not release a Persona combat runner? You could use different enemies as your items and add beloved characters from each entry. Sounds like a great moment for us!
6 katamari damacy
The Katamari Damacy series is practically a racing game already: you control a character sliding through compact levels, trying to reach your goal as quickly as possible, using momentum and movement to speed up your progress. That sounds like your average racing game, albeit with a few twists of its own, of course.
Heck, Katamari games even include a multiplayer mode where you and a friend compete to create the biggest Katamari, hitting each other to slow your progress. That’s basically Mario Kart’s battle mode. All you would have to do to create a Katamari racer is design some circuits.
5 demonic resident
Almost every kart racer features a level set in or around a haunted mansion. Resident Evil takes place in haunted mansions. Do you see what we are referring to here?
Resident Evil is no stranger to weird spin-offs either, never forget the top-down Game Boy Color offshoot, Resident Evil Gaiden, so a racing game wouldn’t be that out of the question. Plus, between the series’ various characters and memorable locations, there’s plenty of material for an excellent racer.
Metal Gear Vulcan Raven Boss Fight
This one might seem a bit strange, but bear with us here. The Metal Gear series has spawned its share of weird offshoots: remember the deckbuilding tactical RPG spin-off, Metal Gear Acid? Also, Gray Fox from Metal Gear appeared in the obscure GBA Konami game Krazy Racers. Clearly, there is a precedent here.
But we haven’t got a real serious racing game in the Metal Gear universe. Imagine a mature and gritty racing game, set in a Need For Speed-style open world, that allows you to absorb the texture of the series’ dystopian future weirdos from the perspective of a normal citizen.
It is unclear what exactly Klonoa is. it is, but we think we can all agree that he’s the best guy and a lazy angel. Any platforming icon as cute as this one has to have some kind of racing spinoff at some point, so it’s downright weird that Klonoa hasn’t gotten the same treatment.
Klonoa’s second game even includes several surfing and skateboarding sequences, which would translate beautifully into a Sonic Riders-style racer. In a world where Namco has given us Klonoa Beach Volleyball, Klonoa Kart just makes perfect sense.
Given that Nintendo seems to be dedicated to turning Mario Kart into Super Smash Kart, it’s almost inevitable that we’ll see Bayonetta in a future installment, but that doesn’t mean she can’t have her own racing spin-off in the meantime.
Bayonetta’s entire design is a throwback to the weird and cheesy action games of the 2000s, so why not give it a Jak X-esque action-racing spinoff? Drop Bayonetta on some hellish tracks, let her use his hair as a car, whatever. With this series, the rarer the better.
Granted, there have been Pokémon racing games, two, in fact, but both were dark, underwhelming titles that featured barely any gameplay. Given that we got robust and full-featured Poke-photo sims, Poke-roguelikes, and even Poke-pinballers, it’s a farce that there isn’t a Poke-racer that truly does the series justice.
It wouldn’t even be difficult to make it fit into the setting of the series – if people battle with Pokémon, why wouldn’t they run with them too? You could have your trainer assemble a team of Pokemon, using different abilities to navigate through tricky tracks. Also, it’s probably kinder than having your Pokemon hit each other.
NEXT: Every Pokemon Spin-Off Series, Ranked