We’ve finally got an official release date for Mario Kart 8. Well, a release month at least. Nintendo’s been ludicrously tight-lipped about their WiiU release dates so far.

Mario Kart 8 will hit shelves worldwide in May, marking the first home console iteration of the series since Mario Kart Wii was released in 2008. Mario Kart 8 hold promise for Nintendo, since the Mario Kart series is one of their perennial best-sellers and most-played games; the Mario Kart Wii online community is still buzzing with activity, even six years after its release.

The newest version of the kart racer is important to the success -- or rather, resurgence -- of the struggling WiiU. Its predecessor is the best-selling racing game in history (at a whopping 34 million copies sold), so if Nintendo can sell even half as many, they’ll be on their way to bringing the console out of the grave.

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Mario Kart 8 for the Nintendo Wii U will be released in May 2014. Photo: Nintendo

So far, we know that the WiiU gamepad can be used as a steering wheel (just like the Wii Wheel functioned for Mario Kart Wii) or a traditional controller, with the track map and standings displayed on the touch screen. The traditional Wii controls will also be supported, for those who’ve grown accustomed to the Wiimote-Nunchuk combination.

Nintendo has yet to release a specific day in May when the game will be released, but we’ll write an update once they’ve made that information known.

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