Mario Kart U – The True “Next-Generation” Mario Kart

Mario Kart Wii

Mario Kart has existed since the SNES days back in the early 1990’s, and for the most part has been one of the most successful racing franchises in gaming history. Mario Kart Wii in particular, is one of the best selling 7th Generation titles, which proved to be immensely popular due to the introduction of the new Wii Wheel peripheral. The current Mario Kart title is Mario Kart 7, which introduced new places to race (both in the sky and sea), plus the customization of karts (something Miyamoto-san himself was against). The next Mario Kart should be on the road towards Wii U within the next few years, and that game should expand on what Mario Kart 7 attempted, but actually complete it this time.

“Hmm? He said I did something wrong? Wonder what it could be….”

There’s so much to look forward to regarding Mario Kart for Wii U, aside from finally getting the high-spec’d graphical game we should have gotten in the 7th Generation. One would look towards the GamePad for the first “unique” part of this future game; however I don’t see any amazing way of implementing this controller for the upcoming title. Aside from being able to steer with the Pad itself, what else can you use the screen for while racing? I’d imagine just for something that won’t distract one’s self from viewing the road. The 2nd screen could potentially be used for allowing one to see behind them (obviously putting one in a position to just crash or fall off). Again, I honestly can’t think of good “useful” ways of utilizing the 2nd screen.

Don’t look here, you might crash.

Expand on what was started in Mario Kart 7. In that game, we were able to customize our karts, but in a simplistic way. There wasn’t all that much one could do with the parts available which gave obvious performance differences among the rest of the parts. Customization should actually be something to expand outwards to more than just karts. The removal of VS Mode in MK7 was disappointing and it would seem Nintendo’s reasoning for that was to simply get people playing online. Aside from Grand-Prix, Time Trials and limited Battle mode, there was very little to do during single player. Bring back the only mode that allowed us to race without limits, and even allow us to customize the tracks. Not in a way where we would move this over here and that over there, but in a way where we can change how we race along the track. Obviously, allow us to chose how many laps for a particular race, how difficult the CPU players would be, and for the love of the stars, change who is near the top in the races when playing against the CPU. This is something that has always bothered me, if Peach and Donkey Kong (for example) were constantly around first place, they would continue to do so during the entire race, and even throughout the rest of the races. Have more variety than that, give ALL CPU an equal chance at winning for a better challenge. Only having to deal with 2 racers at a time (if you’re constantly around first) is too “easy”.

“Geesh, Bowser and Luigi just don’t leave me alone. Can there be somebody else for a change?”

The real change, would be to add some sort of “mods” available for each course (if we’re speaking of heavily customizable tracks). Not only adding more difficult characters (and smarter AI), but also the ability to make the tracks vary in difficulty (both the easy and harder tracks). For example, if a Bowser’s Castle track has lava spitting outwards to the road in places, have more lava spitting out at a faster rate forcing the more experienced racers to actually use their skills more often. If there are Thwomps smashing the ground, maybe add more of them moving a lot faster and at a more complex pattern (they’re pretty predictable for the most part). If there’s a raceway-like track (like a Mario Circuit track), weather factored in could make it more difficult for racers. Like how rain would add more difficulty due to the more slippery roads, or even wind which would make for difficult maneuvering techniques needed to actually stay on course. Allow the changes to the time of day as well, one wouldn’t be able to imagine driving around Bowser’s Castle during the day huh? Or imagine Rainbow Road during the day, it’ll be quite hard to see the track with all that sunlight.

This glows due to the night-like environment (and due to being in outer-space), but what if Rainbow Road returned to being above a city…..during the day?

Please be rid of those “long 1 lap” courses. It was a nice idea, but it made certain tracks feel just too short (especially Rainbow Road, 2 laps would have been better). As mentioned, allow one to edit the amount of laps one would race around any track. Of course there would need to be a minimum and maximum (minimum being 2, max being something like 5 or 7, some odd number). The Wuhu Island courses of Mario Kart 7 were great, but keep those styles out of the courses that are unique to Mario Kart (like Rainbow Road for instance).

Such an amazing track, with amazing music, too bad Nintendo just had to find a way to ruin it by only allowing 1 lap.

Wii U is the target for the next Mario Kart game, it is in development obviously, just not officially announced. We all know Nintendo plans to bring its successful racer to the company’s first HD console, and now there will be nothing holding back the potential of this multi-million seller. Wii was basically a GameCube on steroids. The Wii’s IBM Broadway CPU and Ati Hollywood GPU were basically overclocked and slightly modified versions of the IBM Gekko CPU and Ati Flipper GPU of the GCN. So there really wasn’t much one could do to improve the graphics vastly or allow for more complex gameplay. The 3DS is no slouch, but it isn’t any more powerful than a Wii (probably closer to GCN range), so we didn’t really see anything “franchise changing”. Wii U has an IBM Espresso 3-Core CPU, and an AMD Radeon HD R700 / Evergreen / Northern Islands GPU. It has 11.64 times more RAM than Wii (1024MB vs 88MB), and has modern technology inside of it. There’s no excuse to not bring up Mario Kart U to modern standards regarding complexity, variability, and graphics. It’s your first high spec-ed Mario Kart game Nintendo, so make this one count.

The Multi-Chip Module within the Wii U which houses both the AMD GPU (top, large one) and the IBM CPU (bottom smaller one). The power we need for the best Mario Kart experience lies in here.

What types of changes do you hope for the next Mario Kart title for Wii U?

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