Mario Kart DS modded to include Mario Kart 7 and 8 tracks, plus all sorts of characters

Start your engines!

I'm sure many of you have long forgotten Mario Kart DS, but plenty of others haven't. The game is still alive and well in the modding scene. Hackers have been toiling away to fit both Mario Kart 7 and 8 tracks into the game, and they look pretty damn fantastic! There's even crazy characters added like Sonic and Crash Bandicoot! Makes me want to fire up my DS and jump back in!

Thanks to CM30 for the heads up!

7th Dragon director wants to remake the original DS title

7th Dragon, 1st time localization?

Kazuya Ninou, the director of the 7th Dragon series, wants to revisit the first entry in the series for a remake. He would also like to create a new installment in the franchise. Ninou shared these thoughts via his personal Twitter account.

According to Ninou, he already has the idea for a new game completely planned out in his head. He's hoping sharing this information will spur on some interest from developers/publishers out there.

The 7th Dragon franchise saw four installments, with the first releasing on DS, and the last releasing on 3DS. Sadly, the first game never received a release outside of Japan. The success of the Switch, when paired with the lack of localization for the original game, seems like the perfect reason to greenlight a remake.

Ni no Kuni getting original manga adaptation

The Ni no Kuni empire grows

There have been two Ni no Kuni games, and a Ni no Kuni movie is in the works. Today we learn that there's another multimedia effort for Ni no Kuni, and it comes in the form of a manga.

This manga will run in Bessatsu Shonen Magazine, starting with the May 2019 issue. The series will be drawn by mangaka Kuzeran, and will feature a its own story that follows a protagonist wearing modern clothing. That's all the info we have on the series right now, but hopefully we at least get a look at the artwork soon.

Voice actors for upcoming Ni no Kuni animated film detailed

A Ni no Kuni animated film was announced by Level-5 and Warner Bros. a few weeks back. Today we get our second round of details, which breaks down the various voice actors to lend their talents to the project.

Yoki (voiced by Mamoru Miyano)

- The kingdom of Evermore’s magic chancellor and an adviser to the king who has his absolute trust.

Gavalas (voiced by Kenjiro Tsuda)

- The supreme leader of the Black Banner Army, which has its targets set on the kingdom of Evermore.

Saki and Versa (voiced by Maaya Sakamoto)

- Saki is a childhood friend who Yuu and Haru used to call Saki-nee because they loved her like a big sister.
- Versa is a woman warrior who protects the princess of Evermore.

Balton (voiced by Kouichi Yamadera)

- The leader of the knights of Evermore. The kingdom’s best swordsman, and a stern knight.

Danpa (voiced by Yuuki Kaji)

- A fairy with a panda-like pattern. He looks after the princess of Evermore.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr's Journey dev team comments on why Bowser Jr. got his own side story this time

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr's Journey revamps the classic Bowser's Inside Story, but it also gives us a brand-new adventure starring Bowser Jr.. In a Nintendo Dream interview, the dev team explains why they chose Bowser Jr. to be the focus.

In the last game the main character was Goomba, who really worships Bowser. Because we wanted someone with just as much personality and appeal, and because in the original Bowser’s Inside Story the main character was Bowser himself, Bowser Jr. felt like the perfect fit. So we decided to tell his story. The adoption process for Bowser Jr. was relatively smooth as we thought it would be interesting to show the development of this character who has grown up in his father’s shadow. He may be mischievous, selfish and proud, but he comes to learn what is necessary to lead his own gang, whom he comes to treasure. We rewrote the script many times so that the audience can empathize with that aspect of his character.

Black Butler: Phantom & Ghost gets a fan translation

While we got plenty of DS games stateside, there's a whole heap that never left Japan. One of those is Black Butler: Phantom & Ghost, which originally released in 2009. While an official localization is out of the question, we now have a fan-translation option from Phantom & Ghost Team. Nice to see some of these more obscure DS titles get the fan-translation treatment!

EPA says they're 'looking into' whether their recycling game contractor got permission from Nintendo to use a Yoshi's Island DS song (UPDATE)

UPDATE - The music has been removed from the game, and the music file has been deleted from the server.

The other day, we found out that the U.S. government had a Flash game about recycling put together as part of their EPA initiative. That game included a song ripped right from Yoshi's Island DS, and without any credit or comment on usage at all. Believe it or not, news of this situation made it all the way back to the EPA. Here's what an EPA spokesperson had to say on the matter.

"The Recycle City Challenge game was created for EPA by a contractor. We are looking into whether the contractor received permission to use the music, to the extent permission was necessary in this instance."

No need to do any research here, EPA. The answer is 100% no. Whoever was contracted to create this game did not get permission from Nintendo to use that song. Boy, I can't wait to see where this goes from here!

U.S. government creates flash game about recycling, uses Yoshi's Island DS music in it without authorization

The U.S. government had a team create a flash game about recycling on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency. Turns out the game itself took recycling to a whole new level, as the background music used at one part is recycled from Yoshi's Island DS. This song was used without permission from Nintendo, and the creators didn't even bother to rename the song's file name.

Check out the game here

Level-5 and Warner Bros. Japan working on Ni No Kuni movie

Looks like we now know what Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino was teasing the other day! Warner Bros. Japan and Level-5 are teaming up for a Ni No Kuni animated film! The news came from a special press briefing held just a few hours ago. Here are all the tidbits we know about the project so far.

- set to debut in Japan this Summer
- Yoshiyuki Momose (The Legend of the Galactic Heroes character designer) will direct
- Hayao Miyazaki's longtime collaborator Joe Hisaishi will compose
- Level 5 CEO Akihiro Hino is the executive producer and scriptwriter, and he is also credited with the original work
- OLM (Pokémon, Inazuma Eleven franchises) is animating
- Warner Bros. Japan is the distributor
- Actor Kento Yamazaki (live-action Death Note's L, live-action Orange's Kakeru Naruse) is the protagonist, Yū
- Yū is a high school student, and his best friend is Haru and his childhood friend is Kotona
- through a certain incident, they travel back and forth between reality and Ni no Kuni
- when Kotona's life is put in danger, the three must make "the ultimate choice"
- this "global" project has been in the works for 10 years

As you might remember, the Ni No Kuni franchise, which only has two installments, kicked off in Japan with a DS/PS3 installment. While that DS version never saw localization, there was a massive wave of coverage for the title worldwide. It seems the film will embrace some ideas from both Ni No Kuni games, but should be welcoming to those who are going in fresh.

Game Freak on how HarmoKnight came to be, Drill Dozer's female lead, pixel art, how Pokemon are designed, and more

Game Freak has been doing a new video series where they showcase their artists and developers doodling while talking about various games in the company's history. We've shared all the videos in the series so far, but sadly, there have been no English translations. Today we get some details from those videos. Check out tidbits on Pokemon in general, HarmoKnight, Drill Dozer, and more below.

- HarmoKnight was the first game project that was developed via Game Freak’s ‘Gear Project’ internal competition
- the game’s design document was illustrated via a short manga that showed how the game would play
- Art Director James Turner says that when drawing, the most important thing for him is the the character concept
- Turner then aims for a design that isn’t too complicated, all while having a distinct silhouette
- this goes for Pokémon concepts he designs as well, such as Poipole, Phantump, Golurk, and more
- Art Director Takao Unno revealed that Pokemon ideas are collected from Game Freak employees no matter their position
- these ideas are then filtered for what is needed for the story (and region) and game balance
- as for who draws the Pokemon, it generally depends on if a character designer's work was well-received in previous games
- sometimes if Unno feels that particular staff member is able to bring out the feel of the Pokémon, he'll choose them specifically
- 2D graphic designer Hironobu Yoshida was in charge of character designs for Drill Dozer
- the last time he directly helped with pixel art was Pokémon Black 2 & White 2
- Yoshida describes development of Pokemon Black 2/White 2 “like a festival”
- Yoshida’s a bit worried about whether the current generation will understand the appeal of pixel art
- to him, the appeal of pixel art is how little space is wasted, and how artistic it is
- Yoshida was very opposed to having a female main character in Drill Dozer, as he found them hard to draw
- as something of a protest, he added boy-like eyebrows to Jill’s design
- having a girl be the protagonist was Ken Sugimori’s decision
- the logic behind the the decision came from the idea of mixing a mech game with a cutesy girl pilot to make things interesting