Published on April 12th, 2013 | by Darren Bolton

Dear Developer – Mario Kart Wii U

Dear DeveloperSuper-mario-kart

Welcome to the first of our ‘Dear Developer’ feature; where we discuss how we would like to see games evolve for future versions; specifically sequels and franchise games rather than newly announced IP. What better place to start than with Mario Kart Wii U, we always knew it was coming and E3 will be the first sighting and play-test of what we hope will be a classic entry in the series. Whilst we absolutely adore the series, I’m sure we’re not alone in hoping Nintendo are more bold and adventurous with what could be a huge system seller for the Wii U.

Dear Nintendo,

Structure

Mario Kart has barely changed since the original SNES version, there have been a few additions – mission mode on the DS, a few attempts at new multiplayer modes and even online challenges, but not only have they been instantly ignored in the next version, they’re also not enough.

If you don’t want to do anything as bold as Diddy Kong Racing’s adventure mode (though why wouldn’t you!?) then at least bring back the missions; give us new types of challenges in single player like in Sonic Racing (more on that later); give us something new that is integral to the single player game.

MarioKart72

Oh, and let 2 players finish the single player game; and make it so if you complete 150cc it automatically completes the earlier speeds (stop forcing us to play the insanely slow speeds, I know why they’re there, fine, but I don’t want to have to suffer them), and the inevitable star system should only take affect on 150cc and mirror and not force us to 3 star cups on lower speeds, if we can get them on 150cc presume we can do it at 50cc… actually, while I’m at it, get rid of Mirror Mode, it’s cack, does anyone actually like racing on mirrored tracks? If anything I’d prefer to go around the tracks backward, that would be infinitely more fun!

Social

I’m sure we all agree that social is more important than ever with regards to video games. Mario Kart Wii actually had an excellent social aspect – you could compare all your times with your friends and people in your territory or the world; you could download any ghost, send time trial challenges, it was excellent. But then Nintendo scrapped it for the awful system that is now on the 3DS (which should have a much better social feature set).

mario_kart_wii_online

Now, I’m (maybe naively so) just expecting to be able to do everything we could on the Wii and 3DS (communities), but let’s take it one step further. You supposedly have a better system so show us how the Wii U can be social, because you haven’t shown us yet; in fact, the company that has shown us the potential is Criterion with Need For Speed. The Autolog on that game is incredible, for people who don’t know, you are constantly being updated where you compare to your friends on everything in the game – how fast you drive past every speed camera, how far you jump through billboards, fastest race times, everything; on top of this there is a specific feed that tells you when your friend has beaten you at something and you can jump straight to it; quite simply, I want Nintendo to steal from it as much as possible; I don’t want to have to go to a leader-board section to compare times, every time I race on a track I want to be told, I want to be constantly challenged by friends and updated how I compare; let me send challenges to a friend, or even better a group of friends, let me set a 2 day limit and see who can get the fastest time; Mario Kart is the ultimate social game, it always has been, but Nintendo the world is changing, social isn’t just local, in fact it’s becoming less and less local (not saying I approve), you created the greatest local social game, now create the greatest online social game.

Be Inspired

Sonic-Racing-2-AnnounceLike with Autolog, continue to be inspired; we love you because you are different and create new experiences, but God is yourstubbornness frustrating. Look at what other developers are doing and be inspired by them. For example, Sonic Racing Transformed on the Wii U, it may not have the class and tight design of Mario Kart, but it’s an excellent racing game, and I’m sure I’m not the only gamer who thought, many times, “I wish Mario Kart would do this!”. Here are a few ways I’d love Mario Kart to be inspired by Sonic Racing Transformed:

  • Longer Courses: Some of Sonic’s are too long, and some of Mario Kart’s are long enough; but in general I’d like a few more courses which are longer. It’s refreshing to play on such long, dynamic courses in Sonic Racing, I’d love to see some longer courses in Mario Kart.
  • Powerful Drift Boosts: They’re very powerful in Sonic, reward skilled drivers a little more and make them more powerful in Mario Kart.
  • It’s fast: I know Mario Kart isn’t about speed, but a little faster would be nice.
  • GP Time: I love comparing times and scores with friends, add another one – not just individual track times, but also cup times.
  • World Tour Mode: I covered this earlier, but Sonic Racing has the GP format and an additional World Tour mode. The world tour mode has a bunch of new challenges and race types, it is brilliant and refreshing and Mario Kart needs to do something similar. Oh, and let us play it in multiplayer!
  • More multiplayer modes: This is pretty self explanatory.
  • More Shortcuts: You have them, but they’re always so slight, let’s have some really interesting short cuts and alternative routes, and not routes where one is clearly the best way to go, but just a different route which has it’s own benefits and compromises.
  • More strategy: Like the shortcuts, give us genuine choice of collecting weapons or taking boosts, Sonic does this very well, Mario Kart 7 tries to, but fails – boosts are always on the outside of corners for a start, meaning it’s a bigger distance, and you can just corner boost and pick up the weapon, it’s pointless. Make boosts much more powerful so it’s a genuinely tempting proposition.

Multiplayer

This is what Mario Kart is all about, we all know it, let’s make the most of it. I reckon if you threw Mario Kart, Smash Bros. and Call of Duty into a pot you’d get an incredible multiplayer experience.

21910_MarioKartWii-06

Basics:
Give us voice chat. I can’t believe I even need to say it, but we all know it’s a huge concern.
Let us create groups, which we can then jump into world-wide games.
If you want to join friends who are in a GP, still let us join the group, let us watch them race. Having to keep trying to join friends on Mario Kart 7 is torturous, especially with the incredibly inept communication features.

Customisation:
Smash Bros. excels at this, letting us decide every aspect of every game; I beg you NIntendo to let us do the same with Mario Kart. The communities are a (very basic) start by letting us play with just shells or banana skins; but let us decide exactly how the race plays out – let us decide how many laps, how fast it is, what weapons are and aren’t allowed, how frequent they are, be bold and let us play day or night, vehicle types, EVERYTHING!

Let us create tournaments, knock out cups, leagues and determine each and every option within that; we know you love simplicity, but this isn’t exactly complex; you can still have templates and quick jump in multiplayer (like 3DS communities), but let us have control and this game would be come even more of a phenomenon. The reason Call of Duty is the multiplayer behemoth it is, is because of the sheer amount of options and depth to it.

Nice Extras

mariokartMario Kart is full of tiny moments in each race which create memories for ever, why don’t you let us save replays? Or even better, have a theatre mode where we can make our own videos and post them on miiverse (I would say youtube as well but I don’t want to take the piss with such an outlandish request).

SNES Style Track Creator: I know I am in full on dream mode now, but a basic track creator would be dreamy; nothing complex, just using the block style of the SNES tracks would be more than fine, and again, the community that would get involved with this would be incredible – Mario Kart + Creativity + Miiverse… It’s hard to express the genius that would be produced!

Feeling Brave?

Lose the Blue Shell…
Not really, but I think we can all agree it needs some serious tweaking. I love the randomness it can add, the stories and memories it creates; but I just feel it’s a little too frequent and powerful. Tame it. Maybe the leader only gets it if they are a certain distance away; maybe it isn’t so powerful and acts more like a red shell, I don’t know, but it needs to change.

Open World Mario Kart: Imagine if criterion made Mario Kart. Driving around Mushroom Kingdom, you can have all your famous track styles on the world map, imagine the amount of secrets you could cram into it. It has the potential to be utterly incredible, but it’s way too “out there” for Nintendo, and to be honest, even I’m not sure I’d want them to change things up that much; but I’d kind of love to see it happen.

Final Word

I genuinely feel Mario Kart WIi U has the potential be a truly incredible game and really show the world again they are kings of multiplayer and social; how socially inept and tame Mario Kart 7 is (though I still love it) and how cautious Nintendo have been as a whole make me feel they’ll just churn another Mario Kart in exactly the same formula with a few tiny tweaks; it’d be a huge shame. I just hope, with the negativity surrounding the Wii U and Nintendo, they finally realise what people want and come out fighting; Mario Kart is a system seller and could be the title to make the Wii U explode.

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