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GN Podcast #504

Parents Play: SM64

EoD - Splatoon quiet

Mario Kart 8 - The antigravity idea, blue shell returns, not adding non-Mario characters, & karts with drills?!

A portion of an MTV Multiplayer interview with Hideki Konno and Kosuke Yabuki.

Multiplayer: Where did the idea of anti-gravity playing into the game come from?

Mr. Konno: Let me have the Director, Mr. Yabuki address that.

Mr. Kosuke Yabuki: Well the first thing we were considering, with the Wii U's new hardware, it's really become more powerful than what we did with the last one on the 3DS, "Mario Kart 7." With the graphics and the screen you can make a much more smooth experience, and with the upgraded hardware, instead of doing a course on a 2D plane as we've done before, we wanted to use the whole 3D area of that courses' space. Not the stereoscopic 3D, but the whole area of the screen, and so the courses we are developing now are courses that nothing like them has been seen before.

Multiplayer: I didn't happen to see if it was in the demo for "Mario Kart 8," but one thing that has found its way into the series for a few years now has been an item that is loved and hated - the blue shell. Where did that idea originally come from, and does it appear in this latest game as well?

Mr. Konno: It's not in the demo out there, but it will be in the final version of the game. It's actually a question that I get a lot, talking about balance, or where that idea came from, we often get that in interviews. One of the things that we always think about when making a "Mario Kart" game is the replay value for the customer. When we made that game, we thought it added something to that value, for people to play over and over again. When you just want to play one more game, one more match.

So actually the original idea, that we had back in "Mario Kart 64" where we hit upon this idea for a Blue Shell weapon, was that it would enable even whoever was in the back of the pack to still want to continue the race, to still want to keep going. Something that would allow them to still have that feeling.

The first one we made would go straight up the middle of the course, so anyone that was in the way would get damaged as it flew. Then we changed it to the one that flies over and hits that person in first place, and you know, takes them out of their game a little bit. Every time we make a new game we want to challenge ourselves to adjust it a little bit, with something new.

We're always having this battle of whose side do we take? The person in the back obviously they want something that hits, because that's their chance to influence the game. The person in first, of course, wants to have some kind of chance to get out of the way. That's always something that the designers have to think about, and make small adjustments to figure out the best thing for that particular game.

That's part of the reason about why it's not out on the floor, because we're still thinking about that balance and what we're going to do with the blue shell. We'd like your opinion actually, what you're idea would be to have that thing go at you.

Multiplayer: Those games in particular feature some of the Namco characters, and the "Smash Bros." series features some third party characters as well. Has that ever been an ideal that's been tossed around for "Mario Kart"?

Mr. Konno: The idea always come up during development of new "Mario Karts," but we believe there's a certain feel that "Mario Kart" has as a series, it's Mario kart, the "Mario Kart" characters are the ones that are going to be coming out. We almost feel like there's a secret rule that Mr. Miyamoto has that limits those new characters to just Mario.

If we did it too much it would be "Smash Kart."

Multiplayer: That would be an interesting game.

Mr. Konno: (laughs)

Mr. Yabuki: Actually, the addition of the Miis is kind of pushing us towards that.

Mr. Konno: Don't tell anybody, but when we put the Miis in, Mr. Miyamoto was even kind of like, "You know, aren't you crossing the line here? This doesn't exactly feel like 'Mario Kart.'" But you know, with the Mii being a basic part of the console, we were able to put it in, and have him actually play it to get his sign off. It's still an unlock, you can't select a Mii from the get-go. So, for some reason it didn't exactly cross that secret line, but it kind of came close.

Multiplayer: Have there been any ideas that have gotten scrapped over the years?

Mr. Konno: We're always looking to surprise our players with something new, and sometimes we will take those ideas that we've tossed aside for one reason or another, and use them as a reference or even put them in future games. So we really can't talk about that right now.

(turning to Mr.Yabuki) Maybe we can give him one little tidbit?

Mr. Yakuki: What about that underground thing?

Mr. Konno: Yes. In "7" we had the glider, and submersion in water, and so when we were also thinking about new ideas for "8," and we thought, "well, since we did all that, why not put a drill on the karts, and have them go through the earth somehow, subterranean racing." But, we kind of thought that's not such an interesting idea, and after that we hit upon the antigravity mechanic.

Full interview here

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18 total comments (View all)
User avatar
17 Jun 2013 13:48

Well there you go.

I still want a Smash Kart one day. It could be its own type of racing game if they want (like how F-ZERO and Mario Kart are clearly different).

Personally, I think the inclusion of Donkey Kong characters aside from DK already pushes the envelope. Forget Miis, I am still trying to figure out why Funky Kong was a logical addition (not that he was bad, but how was that okay in comparison?). Diddy's one thing (and again, pushing), but Funky was like saying it was Mario & DK Kart.

Anyway, they already have Mario Kart games with Pac-Man and Don-chan.

No Avatar
17 Jun 2013 14:03

Please, just make it so we can turn that BS off in multiplayer! I'm serious. The ability to remove the blue shell will decide if I buy the game or not.
No Avatar
17 Jun 2013 14:03

Yeah, I wish Smash Kart would happen. They can keep calling it Mario Kart for all I care but adding in characters from other Nintendo franchises makes way too much sense at this point. Opening it up would really let creativity pour into the track designs and inject some life into a series that, while still very fun, is beginning to feel a bit stale in my eyes.
User avatar
17 Jun 2013 14:24

If you want to include the blue shells, make them avoidable by the first player!

And no, having to boost is not something that helps! There are very few boost points in Mario Kart and the first player never gets a boost item!
Don't get me started on snaking or mini-turbo...
User avatar
17 Jun 2013 14:50

I love MKW, despite the Blue Shell being broken there. There's no way it should be removed, though [just nerfed], the chaos is half the fun of Mario Kart multi-player!

On that note... Baby Park must return. :D

Also, the roster better be more than +5 to MKW's total - at least 35, Nintendo. Add some new cups already too.

A Smash Kart would sell millions. Do it.
User avatar
17 Jun 2013 15:05

I hate blue shells, but they're only part of the problem. The problem is the extent to which the people behind you can screw up your race.

In Mario Kart Wii, if it wasn't the blue shell it was the POW block screwing you up a few times each lap. I don't think you should be punished so heavily for winning. Mario Kart 7 did a better job than Wii did, so I hope they'll continue to carefully consider how much power they give to the people in back. I believe it should be your racing skill that helps you win, not high-powered freebies given to the losers.

On the other note: Vanellope von Schweetz would have been a really fun bonus character, or at least that's what I was thinking when I saw a candy-themed racetrack in the trailer. Too bad we won't be having guests.
No Avatar
17 Jun 2013 15:11

hello don't people know that communities can be build online exactly without the blue shell ? so i guess some should preorder the game (games?) right now . The ability to avoid it will nullify the point so you might as well remove the item totally ... and look at that you can ! Pretty sure you can do it offline also. Players can also remove all the items so please enjoy the game like you want to, you can !

I'm surprised "pro" journalist still don't know how the mario kart franchise (and smash bros) came up. I should not be surprise "something new for the series" , yeah hmm sorry it's something new for the GENRE , the arcade racing (multiplayer) , way better than the choose your weapon and non blue shell of blur (i think). Drafting was also thanks to the mario kart series. No one came up with the idea but every one has an idea about what characters to add. I like that mario kart is limited to the extended mario kart cast. It also give smash a bigger scale, and that way he could expand the gameplay even more. I'm biased of course, i only played the series because of the subspace emissary mode. They could add another one, add a power stone mode, heck a third person melee whatever.
User avatar
17 Jun 2013 15:14

ROB was in MKDS. MK Wii even dug into Funky Kong.
User avatar
17 Jun 2013 16:25

What about game breaking Rubber Banding? Does that still exist? So much of the fun of Mario Kart is ruined with crap items and rubber banding. Banzai Bill, Thunder Cloud, Blue Shell, Chain Chomp, Pow Block, Blooper, bob-omb all need to go among others. Basically just go back to the SNES items and return the need for some skill to the game.
No Avatar
17 Jun 2013 16:46

I like having R.O.B. and Mii in there, and hope they return. I just hate that they're so difficult to unlock! Well, the Miis in MKWii, anyway-- not in MK7.

Speaking of MK7, at least the items were a little more balanced there. But yeah, being able to dodge the Blue Shell without having to hang on to a mushroom or something (already tough to do, given how many ways there are to lose items) would be nice.
User avatar
17 Jun 2013 18:42

internet wrote:hello don't people know that communities can be build online exactly without the blue shell ?

No, they can't! Stop spreading misinformation! Excluding the blue shell also excludes every other shell and the game gets dumbed down!
User avatar
17 Jun 2013 19:04

I'm fine with the blue shell as long as the AI doesn't use it so freaking much...in a 50cc race. That's a minor complaint I have with MK7, you can get hit by 3 blue shells in a single 50cc race, let alone how many times you'll get hit in a 100 or 150cc race.
User avatar
17 Jun 2013 20:52

I'm fine with the addition of more characters, but, I think they need to be more memorable than the ones from MKW.
Also more customizable options would be great, something akin to what they have in the smash bros series.
User avatar
17 Jun 2013 23:22

Hawk wrote:Mario Kart 7 did a better job than Wii did

Really? No Mario Kart has made me want to flip tables and call BS quite as much as MK7, the amount of times I was screwed up by blue shells and other weapons is insurmountable compared to my experience with MKWii.
User avatar
18 Jun 2013 00:13

But I liked the addition of Funky Kong and R.O.B., and was honestly disappointed we didn't see more DK Characters like K. Rool or even Wario characters like Mona, Syrup, or Jimmy T...

Especially because, technically, the babies (barring Daisy) are Yoshi series characters, so I guess they already are tapping into Yoshi, too...
User avatar
18 Jun 2013 05:03

Please Nintendo, I beg you - please tone down the rubber-banding effect as it completely ruins the game for me. I want to love it but it is so frustrating to get blue/red shelled every time you are about to cross the finish line in first.

Why not add a "family" mode where there is rubber-banding and a "pro" mode where there isn't for proper racing and no cheating?!

As it stands the game is ruined for me and is the reason why the original (Super Mario Kart) remains the best imo.
User avatar
18 Jun 2013 07:58

Ultim87 wrote:But I liked the addition of Funky Kong and R.O.B., and was honestly disappointed we didn't see more DK Characters like K. Rool or even Wario characters like Mona, Syrup, or Jimmy T...

Especially because, technically, the babies (barring Daisy) are Yoshi series characters, so I guess they already are tapping into Yoshi, too...

I'd add these guys personally:

+ Prof E. Gadd
+ Kamek
+ King Bob-Omb
+ K Rool
+ Sonic cameo

Lubba from SMG2 would also be sweet [but I doubt it].

Would also like to see these guys return:

Toadette [she's my sister's main]
Shy Guy
King Boo
Petey Piranha
User avatar
18 Jun 2013 11:53

I'd actually like to see the drill.. :oops:

It could be another "bullet bill" type item. Drill through mountains to get ahead...

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