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New Mario Kart 8 characters, items, and courses announced, plus trailer

posted 4 Apr 2014, 08:21 by Subik Khawaja   [ updated 4 Apr 2014, 08:25 ]
Nintendo has revealed loads of new information about Mario Kart 8, along with a new trailer. Firstly, players will be able to get a speed boost when bumping into other players on antigravity sections of a track. This small change is sure to make a big difference during races. Metal Mario, Lakitu and Shy Guy have also been announced as returning characters, having appeared in Mario Kart 7 before. Two new items will be introduced to the game. The Piranha Plant, which chomps at other characters and items on the track, will attach to the front of the player's kart, and every bite will give the player a minor speed boost. The Boomerang Flower will arm players with a boomerang, which can be thrown three times to stun nearby opponents. Sixteen retro courses will return to Mario Kart 8, with Moo Moo Meadows (Wii), Donut Plains (SNES), and Rainbow Road (N64) and others appearing with updated graphics and layouts. As a first for the Mario Kart series, select courses will feature live recorded music. Mario Kart 8 will support many control schemes, including the Wii U GamePad, Wii U Pro Controller, and Wii Wheel. The game will also support off-TV play on the Wii U GamePad.
In an interview with IGN, Mario Kart 8 developers Kosuke Yabuki and Hideki Konno also explained that the game will feature more advanced item customisation than Mario Kart 7, and that game balance is something they look at very closely. Here's some of what they said:
“There was some item customization in Mario Kart 7, in that you could choose to have a mushroom-only race or shell-only race. We’re going to have that plus a little bit more, actually, in Mario Kart 8.”
“I think we’re going to be able to answer that feeling of, ‘I don’t want to race with items.’ Well, OK, then no items. Or, ‘I only want to have bananas.’ Well, OK. I think we’re going to be able to provide a system to answer that desire this time around.”
“We’re going to have some rule customization for folks who want to be able to go in and set that up for themselves.” But he also stressed that a lot of thought goes into what items are available to players by default.”
“Game balance is a really important element of Mario Kart that we look very, very closely at and place a lot of value on,” Konno explained. “I think that item balance, from the time we start working on development, a thousand times, maybe even tens of thousands of times, we adjust that balance while we’re playing. At the end, we come up with what we hope or feel is a really good balance. It’s our strong hope that folks would want to play with the items as we have balanced them.”
“That feature is not random. It just doesn’t happen,” he said. “There is a lot of adjustment, and there is a lot of thought and effort put into that system and developing it in a way that actually promotes game balance. So I would hope people would understand that as well.”
“One of the things we actually hope for is that if you’re just playing on an off day, and you’ve lost a race or two. We hope that you step away going, ‘Oh well, I just didn’t feel it today. My luck wasn’t with me. Whatever the cause, it just wasn’t my day, but I’m going to come back and play again.’ And that’s sort of what we’re aiming for. We want people to feel that way when they step away, that they want to come back.”
Mario Kart 8 launches for Wii U, on May 30 in Europe and North America.