There comes a point in the life of every great gaming franchise where all original gameplay ideas have been exhausted. And right after that point, the developers give up and make a kart racer. For Rovio's omnipresent Angry Birds, the game is Angry Birds Go, a racing game that travels down the same well-trodden path as Mario Kart and a million also-rans. It comes out December 11th.
As cynical as that opening statement is, I have to admit that Angry Birds Go looks like a pretty amazing kart racer. First of all, it's a full 3D game - the first in Rovio's history, as far as I know. And even though the gameplay trailer is almost certainly running on iOS hardware, the graphics are good enough to make me do a double take. Even the design of the environments and the karts themselves are interesting, incorporating the whimsical nature of the parent franchise. The game includes weapons, power-ups, and various environmental hazards in typical kart racer fashion.
Angry Birds Go will be fully free-to-play, with the usual mobile racer staples of upgradeable cars and unlockable goodies. You can count on some kind of in-app purchase system for those who want an extra edge. The game will incorporate Hasbro's Telepods, the Skylanders-style physical toys, for upgraded characters. There will be a countdown app that lets you scan in your toys before the game even releases, just in case you can't wait that long to part with your money.
There's one thing that isn't mentioned in the video or Rovio's first official post: multiplayer. Here's hoping they don't forget it.