The silly white Rabbids from the party games of your childhood are teaming up again with Nintendo's most prolific heroes in the upcoming game, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. The game is a follow up to the first title from Ubisoft, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, previously released for the Switch not long after the console's launch, but just how connected are the two games?
Sparks of Hope is teased to be an entirely unique title, different from even the first game featuring the iconic crossover. So is Sparks of Hope really a sequel to Kingdom Battle? And do you have to play one to understand the other?
Ahead of the Sparks of Hope launch, Distractify spoke exclusively with some of the developers behind the scenes at Ubisoft Milan to talk about the upcoming title.
Do you have to play 'Kingdom Battle' to play 'Sparks of Hope'?
Technically, Sparks of Hope is a sequel to the first Mario + Rabbids crossover game Kingdom Battle — but despite the connection, you won't have to play one to enjoy the other.
"We thought about [Sparks of Hope] as a standalone from the start," Xavier Manzanares, producer at Ubisoft Paris, says. "Even if you've never played the first one, you can just start. And that's it. You don't have to think about what was happening in the first game."
If you didn't pick up Kingdom Battle when it first released for the Nintendo Switch in 2017, you don't have to pick it up before Sparks of Hope launches on Oct. 21 (unless you want to).
Despite the new game being a sequel, the developers made it clear that at the start of the development process for Sparks of Hope, everything about the game was being rebuilt from the ground up.
Those who played Kingdom Battle will notice the differences between the two titles, even down to the art style. The new game showcases a painterly style in the landscapes, adding an intentional storybook feeling to the different worlds players will explore throughout their journey. Though standard characters like Rabbids Mario and Rabbids Peach make their return, this time they have much more personality than the original game, with the characters being fully voiced by a cast of comedians.
New players won't find a learning curve getting into the game, but those who loved Kingdom Battle will hopefully find improvements to the battle style and world-building of the game.
If you're looking to understand the games' story, you'll want to play 'Kingdom Battle.'
Though you don't need to play the first game to dive right into Sparks of Hope, if you're someone who enjoys video games for their narrative tales, you may want to check out Kingdom Battles. Davide Soliani, the game's creative director, confirmed that the lore from one game carries into the other — and if you're looking to understand the tale of how Mario and Rabbids came together, you won't want to pass on Kingdom Battles.
"I believe that Sparks of Hope, even if it's a very different game, is born on the foundation of Kingdom Battle," Davide says. "There is a strong correlation between the two games. There is an element of narrative inside. So Sparks of Hope, from my point of view of the narrative aspect, is a sequel to Kingdom Battle — but apart from that it's a very different game."
Again, it's not necessary, but those looking to get more story from their Nintendo games may want to pick up a copy of both.
"It's not important to play the first one then the second one if you are not interested in the story — but if you are interested in this story, it's a nice addition," Davide says.
Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope will be available for the Nintendo Switch on Oct. 21.