A couple of days ago we reported here at Multiplayer about the plethora of new details an Activision rep revealed about his company's 2009 line-up at the Massive Incorporated advertising up-front. That event a first-of-its-kind gaming publisher showcase designed to excite advertisers to buy in-game ads through Massive.
One of the details we and Newsweek's N'Gai Croal reported was that Activision's 2009 racing game -- code-named "Racer 2009" -- was described as "Mario Kart meets Forza." Neither Croal nor I reported what was meant by that, and I've seen confusion about that description in various Internet reactions to the news.
I checked my notes and this is how that amalgamation was explained: While the game will look like a realistic racer, consistent with the previous works by development studio Bizarre Creations as well as the name-checked "Forza" racing series, the "Racer 2009" plan is to have item pick-ups on the tracks. The example given was a nitrous item that you could drive through to earn a speed boost. That's the "Mario Kart" aspect. No indication was given if any of the items would introduce combat elements, a la banana peels, shells and bombs in the "Mario" racing games. Both the realistic modeling of cars and tracks as well as the items on the track theoretically could be used for advertising, but the Activision rep didn't specify.
Yesterday I reached out to an Activision spokesperson to talk about the details discussed at the Massive Event, but the company has declined to comment on the presentation or subsequent reports.