Mario Kart 8: It's not all about luck, two Rainbow Roads confirmed

Producer Hideki Konno says game balance is "really important"; Wii U game will feature updated N64 Rainbow Road and all-new special course.

Some feel that the Mario Kart franchise places too much of an emphasis on luck instead of skill, but Nintendo hopes you won't feel that way with its upcoming Wii U racing game Mario Kart 8. During a recent roundtable interview attended by GameSpot, producer Hideki Konno stressed that Nintendo went to great lengths to ensure that Mario Kart 8 is a well-balanced game.

"Game balance is also another really important element of Mario Kart that we look very closely at and place a lot of value on," Konno said. "From the time we start working on development, thousands of times, maybe even tens of thousands of times, we adjust that balance when we're playing. At the end we come up with what we hope and 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."

"We do hear, and a lot of people out there say it, that Mario Kart is all about luck," he added. "That if you're at the front then you'll get hit with a blue shell, so it's all about luck. That feature is not random--it doesn't just happen. 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. I would hope people understand that as well."

Also during the roundtable interview, Mario Kart 8 director Kosuke Yabuki revealed that the game will feature not one, but two Rainbow Road courses. One is a remake of the N64 course, while the other is brand-new, and Yabuki teased that it's "really spectacular."

"Rainbow Road of course is a classic course. This time we actually grabbed Rainbow Road N64 version in addition to the current iteration of Rainbow Road," Yabuki said. "So we hope you look forward to racing on both of those courses."

"One thing I do want to mention is Rainbow Road, that final course. We really want you to look forward to what we've done to it this time because it's something else," he said about the Wii U Rainbow Road course specifically. "It's really spectacular."

"We really wanted this game to be a representation of all the games that came before it" -- Mario Kart 8 producer Hideki Konno

Overall, Konno explained that Nintendo's overarching ambition for Mario Kart 8 was to create a game that captures the essence of every entry in the beloved series that has come before it.

"We really wanted this game to be a representation of all the games that came before it," he said. "We wanted to summarize and bring together all the elements of the series into this title."

To that end, Mario Kart 8 will feature glider karts and underwater levels, which were featured in 3DS game Mario Kart 7, as well as brand-new anti-gravity courses.

"The race courses themselves is one of the most important--if not the most important elements--in the series, so with Mario Kart 8 we really wanted to divide up the things we could do and make sure we're really using them effectively," Konno said. "So we have underwater sessions, we have flying sessions, we have anti-grav sessions, and we use all of these in a way to create really interesting and fun to drive on courses."

The interview also touched on customization options for Mario Kart 8. Though Konno ruled out the possibility of a track-editor for Mario Kart 8, he said it's a feature he's enthusiastic about and said he would like to see it come to life in a future installment in the series some day.

"With regards to course editing, and letting users create and edit their own courses, it's something that I'm interested in, and I've been interested in for a long time. It's a fun feature," he said. "However, with Mario Kart, courses are key to the series, and it's really tough. This is the eighth game in the series, and when we work on a Mario Kart title, we work on courses, and we create them, and then we work on them again, and again, and we revise until we come up with something that we think will be fun for everyone to play."

"We have a lot of confidence in our ability to do so, but we understand what a tough challenge it is to create those courses," he added. "I just don't know that at this point we are able to do that to a level that would satisfy anyone, myself included. Some day if we can come up with a solution and implement in a way that would make everyone happy, we'll come back to that issue and readdress it. But I do think it would an interesting idea. We're always optimistic and thinking about what we would do in the future."

Mario Kart 8 launches exclusively for Wii U on May 30. Nintendo's latest console is struggling right now, and a marquee first-party title like Mario Kart 8 could be the shot in the arm the platform needs to finally grow its install base.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
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33 comments
superfilo
superfilo

The wait is driving me crazy!!!

Takeno456
Takeno456

I am very excited for this game!

el_marto2003
el_marto2003

I got goosebumps after I saw the trailer with the remixed N64 rainbow road

Infinite_Access
Infinite_Access

Ok.. this game will be fantastic.. but in 2 years I'd like the release of a new F-Zero.  With like 40 player on line races.  Or even smaller scale 3DS version... F-Zero speed mixed with 3d elements... *tear

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

I had the occasionally poorly timed blue shell hit me costing me a race but 95% of the time, skill won.

R4gn4r0k
R4gn4r0k

SNES rainbow road will always be my favourite. But N64 one is great too.

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

A level editor would be spectacular. I'd recreate all of Mario Kart 64.

lostaname
lostaname

MK8's version of the 64 RainbowRoad really makes me wish they didn't give it an overhaul.

Hurvl
Hurvl

Lol, I remember that rainbow road. That was a tricky course. 

If this was on Steam, I bet someone would tag it LGBT, because of the *rainbow* inclusion.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

Seriously, anyone who says MarioKart is all about luck is pretty much admitting that they suck at the game. Although I'm no tournament player, I consider myself pretty damn good and I rarely get last place or rank in the lower half unless I had like a horrible string of luck in one race (in which I can usually recover in next races) or if I'm in a match filled with fellow skilled racers. 


Even Mario Party, a game that revolves around luck still requires some sort of skill whether it be the mini games or how you take advantage of the board you're on.

docsavage1975
docsavage1975

I don't think this game alone is the panacea that Nintendo or some gamers believe it will be. I have no doubt it will be a quality game and I hope it grows the install base but in my opinion Nintendo need to have a string of successive releases of this calibre i.e. a new Mario, Zelda, Star Fox, Metroid etc. in a relatively compressed launch window to capitalise on any momentum that this creates for the platform and then hopefully attract the sustained 3rd party support it so desperately needs. 

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

Cant wait for Mario Kart! 

This should have been one of their launch titles and I'm sure more people would have brought a Wii U.

I hope it helps sell Wii U consoles now.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

Can't wait for this game! Sadly, as of now, this looks like my last WiiU purchase. Hopefully something pops at E3.

blazin640
blazin640

@abHS4L88  any game requires any amount of skill to win. Anywhere else besides 1st place I agree with you. Once it comes to the blue shell however skill is completely irrelevant. I don't have a wii u, but the only way I would consider getting this is they either a)take out the blueshell as a customization option (which I'm pretty sure they announced) or b) allow a no items mode options for races so its all just pure skill. 


As boring as a no items mode sounds, the more options the better. 

Carpetfluff
Carpetfluff

@abHS4L88  You said it wasn't about all about luck and then used bad luck as the reason you might lose? So your skill is the reason you win, but if you happen to lose it's bad luck? Contradiction city.

packtop
packtop

@abHS4L88

Well, Mario Kart isn't all about luck, it do require some skills, but finishing a race first do require some luck.

When you are first you always have to worry about Blue Shell, if you are hit by a blue shell there's a good chance you won't go back first for the remaining of the race even if you have good skill.

JacketsNest101
JacketsNest101

@docsavage1975 My guess is that is why they chose to release it just a few weeks (or is it days?) before E3. That way they can build the install base with MK8 and then wow people with E3 releases.

forwiiaremany
forwiiaremany

@Sevenizz  Or Monlith Soft's X, Bayonetta 2 ?   Zelda maybe?     Metroid could also be announced any time.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@blazin640

In MarioKart Wii and MarioKart 7, there was an option to just completely remove items which my sister and I took advantage of.


If your timing is good enough, you can avoid the Blue Shell but it is very difficult. 


I made that point by saying that even Mario Party, a game that revolves around luck, still requires some skill because I've been seeing multiple posts of people saying that MarioKart is ONLY about luck and nothing else which is stupid.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@Carpetfluff

Do you know what it means when someone says "all about luck?" It means that luck completely determines whether or not you win, there's absolutely no skill involved. Yes, horrible luck is possible in the game but there's still a good amount of depth.

superfilo
superfilo

If you want to make that easy, remove the special objects from options and then you'll see if it's luck or skills...

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@packtop

Of course there's a certain degree of luck involved, which is why I said I could get last place or a low place if I get smashed by a blue shell, then red shell, then knocked over by a star -___- (it's happened before) but a skilled racer can easily outpace the competition (unless the competition is also strong). Plus if you do get knocked to a low place, it's not like you no longer have access to items either. 

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

Naw - Mario is pretty much the only Nintendo franchise I like - while, a new Metroid could be tempting, but I haven't liked one since the GameCube.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

Sorry, not a brawler fan.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@superfilo  

Exactly, my sister and I used to play MarioKart Wii without items, of course she made me drive with a kart as her own personal way of handicapping me because there'd be no chance for her if I used a inward drifting bike, although she hated how I used the weight of the kart to knock her off XD

JacketsNest101
JacketsNest101

@Sevenizz  Bayonetta? X? Project Cars? Fast Racing Neo? Hyrule Warriors? Zelda?! There is no way that this could be you last software purchase.