Well if you’re a Nintendo fan and a Mario Kart fan, this morning did not disappoint. It was rumored that there would be new info for Mario Kart 8 revealed today as there had supposedly been am embargo on info from a new preview build of the game that Nintendo recently showed off in private sessions. That embargo has now been lifted and there are tons of new details to talk about, so let’s get right into it. First up we have a brand new trailer highlighting some new tracks & items:
As you can see we now have new items like the Boomerang Flower from Super Mario 3D World (and Super Mario 3D Land) and a usable Piranha Plant similar to the ones in SM3DW. The Boomerang can be thrown forwards or backwards up to 3 times and can hit multiple targets with 1 toss. The Piranha Plant will give you a small boost of speed when it reaches out to chomp on a player in your way. We have also more characters shown such as Metal Mario, Lakitu, Shy Guy (these three are making their console version debut in the series — they were first playable in Mario Kart 7 on 3DS). We also have the Koopalings (Iggy, Larry, Wendy O. Koopa, etc.) who have never before been playable in a Mario Kart title or in any Mario game period). Toadette also makes her return after not appearing in 7. The full list of confirmed playable characters thus far are:
- Donkey Kong
- Koopa Troopa
- Baby Mario
- Baby Luigi
- Baby Daisy
- Baby Peach
- Larry Koopa
- Iggy Koopa
- Roy Koopa
- Wendy O. Koopa
- Morton Koopa, Jr.
- Ludwig von Koopa
- Lemmy Koopa
- Shy Guy
- Metal Mario
There will be 16 new tracks along with 16 tracks from previous titles. The Retro ones have been upgraded in various ways. Some will add the anti-gravity mechanic which is one of the new features in this entry of the series. Toad’s Turnpike has added ramps to some of the trucks that you can drive onto and zoom past other players and traffic. Moo Moo Meadows has received a graphical overhaul. Mario Circuit from the GBA game has added a 45 degree angle tilt to part of the track. Other returning features are underwater sections and the hang glider mechanic for airborne portions.
Mario Kart 8 will feature 4 player split-screen and it supports frame rates of 30 FPS. You’ll be able to earn coins from item boxes and can collect up to 10 per track. Another item change is that you will no longer be able to hold multiple items at the same time. In previous entries in the series, you could dangle a banana peel or turtle shell for example, behind your kart and then pick up a 2nd item to use afterwards. This has been removed.
The GamePad will get some use in Mario Kart 8. You can use it for the horn as expected, but you’ll also be able to view the map of the course, rankings, or your live gameplay. Players will also have the option to put together a highlight reel at the end of a race. You can even set it up to automatically create a video for you. You can specify the length of your clips, who the camera should follow, and what types of things to focus on, like the use of items or big jumps.
Online play will be supported in Mario Kart 8 as well, for up to 12 players. Spin Turbo is another new feature. This allows you to gain a boost in speed when you’re upside down or on walls and run into other players. Live music (previously recorded) will be included in this version of Mario Kart, which is a first for the series. This will only be applicable for select courses. Mario Kart 8 will support just about every control method. This includes the aforementioned GamePad, the Pro Controller, the Wii Wheel, and the Wii Remote & Nunchuk. Off-TV Play will be supported on the GamePad as well.
Some more info about some of the tracks in the game has been revealed as well. There is a course based on a water park that will have underwater parts as well as amusement park like sections on land. In Mario Kart Stadium, there will be an event taking place and it will have anti-gravity parts. For Thwomp Ruins, there is a huge stone wheel that will fall and open up a new section of the track that can possibly be used as shortcut. Some course like Cheep Cheep Beach (Mario Kart DS) will not feature anti-gravity. Instead, this course focuses on turns and things like speed boosts. Toad’s Turnpike will have anti-gravity walls that have speed boost pads as well. A couple other returning tracks are Donut Plains 3 (Super Mario Kart & Mario Kart: Super Circuit) and DK Jungle (Mario Kart 7).
Mario Kart 8 may be the first entry in the series to feature nearly full item customization, akin to what is seen in the Smash Bros. series. Nintendo experimented with the idea in Mario Kart 7 and looks to be embracing it more so in Mario Kart 8. You could have a race with just bananas for example, or with no items at all.
Anti-gravity despite being a new feature and perhaps the most prominent one of this entry in the series, will not always be forced on the player. Later tracks will feature the concept on an optional basis. Producer Hideki Konno stated that you could veer off to different sections of a track that have anti-gravity to avoid other players or enemies or to pick up extra items, similar to side sections of tracks in previous MK games.
The collision speed boost on anti-gravity sections works for lightweight characters as well. One of the recurring features in the MK series was that heavyweight characters could knock lightweight characters out of their way just by driving into them. Now the light characters get to flip that around and return the favor on anti-gravity portions of tracks. Nintendo believes this new mechanic will open up additional strategic elements in the series, even some they can’t envision that players discover on their own.
IGN also shared a picture featuring 2 unknown items you can see here:
It’s not currently known what function these items may have, but the one on the left does resemble the cannon power-up from 3D World as well as the light box power-up, so it’s possible it could be either one of those, or perhaps something different that functions similarly. The other one, the Mario Kart 8 symbol, is not as obvious. IGN speculates that it could be similar to the Lucky 7 item from Mario Kart 7 which gave you a spinning shield with 7 different items and when you press the item button it uses the one directly in front of your kart.
Unfortunately, Mario Kart 8 will not have a create-a-track feature like some racing games. Producer Hideki Konno basically explained that Nintendo feels that they cannot make the feature fun enough or compelling enough to warrant inclusion in the series. He states that course creation is a difficult process for them and they have to constantly refine each one to make sure it will be fun for everyone. He did say that if can come up with a solution that will be fun for everyone they may reconsider adding this feature later on, though he didn’t specify if that would take the form of DLC or a new entry in the series.
Speaking of tracks, it’s been potentially confirmed by NWR that Retro Studios is not involved with Mario Kart 8 or its tracks. Retro had contributed help with some of the retro courses in Mario Kart 7 and the DK Jungle track in 7 as well.
Mario Kart 8 is scheduled to be released on May 30th for North America & Europe, May 31st for Australia, and May 29th for Japan.
Check out the full press release and a lot more videos after the jump.
3rd April 2014 – Nintendo today revealed new information on Mario Kart 8, the latest instalment in the fan-favourite racing series launching exclusively for Wii U on 30th May – in stores and on Nintendo eShop. For the first time in HD, Mario Kart 8 introduces original course designs that highlight the game’s new antigravity feature, which allows players to race upside down or up vertical surfaces. Racers will also enjoy a variety of series-favourite features including the return of 12-player online competitive play*, four player lo cal multiplayer, hang-gliders, underwater racing and motorbikes.
New features include:
Spin Turbo: While racing upside down or on walls, players can bump into other racers or certain course obstacles to get a speed boost. Spin Turbo fundamentally redefines the way that players compete, and makes antigravity racing even more exhilarating.
Returning characters: In Mario Kart 8, players can race with returning characters Metal Mario, Lakitu and Shy Guy. These newly revealed returning characters join a host of previously announced favourites including all seven of Bowser’s minions, who are playable for the first time in Mario Kart history.
New items: Two new items join the fray in Mario Kart 8. First, the Piranha Plant attaches to the front of the players’ kart and chomps at other characters, banana peels on the course or even shells thrown by other characters. Each time the Piranha Plant lunges forward to bite, the player receives a brief boost of speed. The second new item is the Boomerang Flower. After acquiring it, racers can throw a boomerang at opponents to stun them, and its arc allows players to strike multiple opponents with a single toss. The boomerang can be thrown three times, forward or backwards.
New courses: Remixed classic courses make a return in Mario Kart 8 with favourites such as Moo Moo Meadows from Mario Kart Wii, Toad’s Turnpike from Mario Kart 64 and Donut Plains from Super Mario Kart, among others. The graphics and layout of these courses have been redesigned and reimagined. For example, Toad’s Turnpike now allows players to drive up certain walls in antigravity mode. The game will include 16 new courses and 16 remixed classic courses.
Live recorded music: For the first time in the Mario Kart series, select courses in Mario Kart 8 feature music recorded by live performers.
Control scheme: Mario Kart 8 will support a variety of control schemes including the Wii U GamePad, the Wii U Pro Controller, the Wii Wheel, and Wii Remote and Nunchuk. The game can also be played in off-TV mode using just the Wii U GamePad.
When Mario Kart 8 launches on 30th May, fans can also get their hands on the Mario Kart 8 Limited Edition software bundle, which comes complete with a Spiny Shell Collector’s Item alongside a physical copy of the game.
The Mario Kart 8 Limited Edition bundle is also available at the Nintendo Store, and will be available to pre-order whilst stock lasts.