The 'Shroom:Issue LXIX/MK:WTC
Hello, Mario Karters, and welcome to The 'Shroom's Mario Kart: Wheel Tips Corner. Twelve months have passed and finally the last tip of the year is here! Oh, wait, sorry... This time there won't be any tip. Today, I want to make something special for the Holidays, inspired by the wishlists that children write to Santa Claus. This article will be a list of wishes for the upcoming... Mario Kart for the Wii U. Alright, I know that it's too early to start thinking about another Mario Kart game, but like many professional game developers, thinking of ideas for the next game is a process that starts instantly after having made the last one. Additionally, as the Wii U has just been released, it's becoming a trend see many reviews, comparisons, and speculations about the projects that are in the works for the new console. So why shouldn't I try to do this?
As we know, the Wii U offers some new features to make a fascinating Mario Kart game for the console. The most remarkable characteristic is the GamePad controller that can serve as almost anything. However, there are some applications and functions inside the console itself that can make a future Mario Kart game an unique experience, aside from the idea of a controller with a screen. This is a list of possibilities that we can see (maybe someday) in a future Mario Kart game:
- A bigger Mario Kart game: Every new Mario Kart that appears is obviously bigger in content, modes and features than its predecessor. No wonder that in this generation, the next Mario Kart game should be the biggest in the history of the series.
- Massive online gaming: As of Mario Kart DS (and partly Mario Kart: Double Dash!!), the Mario Kart series has been becoming the representative of Mario titles that exploit online gaming in the Nintendo console systems. The online capabilities of the Wii U are an excellent option to make the future Mario Kart game the best at this.
- New and interesting modes: Sometimes, the Mario Kart games have given new modes for a change aside from the usual Grand Prix, Time Trial, Versus and Battle Modes. The future Mario Kart for Wii U should have new game modes to extend the joy and fun of that game - unlike Mario Kart 7, which took away many good ones. An example to follow is Mario Kart DS and its Mission Mode, which is a fresh idea and an alternative to enjoy the game alone and without the use of online connectivity. The next Mario Kart title may have a mode based on this or even based on the competitions of Mario Kart Wii, although, unlike the Missions that appear inside the earlier game, competitions can only be accessed by connecting online. I'd rather see them like they were shown in Mario Kart DS because they were easier to enter and you could select any of the levels without being forced to compete in the event of the moment and not in others, unlike Mario Kart Wii.
- Story Mode: This wish may go beyond the Mario Kart games' standards, as no Mario Kart title to date has given a story mode. The reasons for that might be that Mario Kart games are just for fun, but adding a story to this can be something interesting for players beside the usual game modes that, as of late, are becoming very familiar and quite short. The story mode can be somewhat similar to the missions, as they have basic levels that players must clear. But a story mode in Mario Kart can act as a way to unlock the Missions mode, where the difference between them is that the story mode has the objective of completing the entire set of levels in order to unlock the levels of the second mode. This would basically be similar to unlocking the race courses of VS mode while playing those courses in Grand Prix in some Mario Kart games. This idea is based on a similar game, Diddy Kong Racing, that had a story mode that received relatively good reception.
- Downloadable Content: DLCs, oh, DLCs. Some consider the concept good, while others think that it is the worst thing for a game. Lately, Nintendo seemingly has a strong interest in this new means of profit and has implemented it in some of their best-selling games, and it is no wonder that the next Mario Kart will likely get some of the cake. DLCs can sometimes be useful because they extend the duration of game. The downside is that some developers may abuse this, especially giving chunks of unnecessary trash at unjustified prices. If Nintendo wants DLCs for the next Mario Kart, they had better go with the upside. Additional content can be interesting to buy if it has substantially new features in it. The best example that can be provided from Nintendo is New Super Mario Bros. 2. However, the contents given here are mostly levels that are added to a specific mode. Personally, I doubt that Nintendo can add new courses into the Mario Kart games, but it can certainly do with new characters and possibly new modes or levels for the suggested mission mode. I almost forgot that the GamePad has its NFC sensor, so another way to "download" content can be searching toys and stuff like that and putting them in the front of the controller to make it appear in the game. Actually, that option can be kind of useful to get new playable characters into the game (similar to Mario Tennis Open and the QR codes to unlock the hidden characters).
- Improved Graphics: I think this is self-explanatory... but not only nice graphics, but also improved game physics and such. The latest Mario Kart games have practically used the same engine in order to make their games in the least amount of time possible. Unfortunately, the mechanics have nerfed considerably in some aspects, such as the item's effects and falls of objects being a bit unrealistic. Coming back to graphics, another thing I've seen is that the latest games almost always use the same models and textures from previous games, making little effort on improving the graphics considerably. The best example is the use of recycled animation of characters in the character selection screen of Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Kart Wii. I wish that the next Mario Kart game avoids the overuse of recycled models and make something graphically new and fresh to dazzle the player with striking visuals.
- Course editor: This can be another risky feature alongside the story mode. A course editor can be a radical change in the Mario Kart series, but can also be very interesting. Lately, the possibility to create your own levels has gained some popularity in several games, and a future Mario Kart game can provide this idea as option. On the other hand, I doubt that Nintendo wants to add something like that, at least something so big and complex that it may move away from the essential feeling and concept of a Mario Kart game (providing a venue for a lot of fun and little work). I think that a minor editor, for example, to create your own missions and challenges similar to the likes of the one seen in New Super Mario Bros. U for the Coin Battle mode is a good way to provide unlimited fun and if possible, to share your work with other players throughout the web.
- Customizable vehicles: Based on Mario Kart 7, the idea of customizable vehicles should be used again in the next Mario Kart game. Selecting the best combinations of vehicle parts is actually useful and, combined with the character's special stats boost, gives a lot of variety to the selectable vehicles. I don't know if we would see gliders or water propellers in the next Mario Kart again, but if they don't appear, that doesn't mean "good-bye" to customizing vehicles with other tools to create them.
- All-purpose GamePad: The core feature of Wii U. It's no wonder that this controller will make the difference between all the Mario Kart games regarding gameplay experience. It is safe to assume that many players will want to make use of the GamePad on the next Mario Kart. Based on MKDS and MK7, I'm sure that the GamePad will basically serve as a GPS to watch the map of the course and the objects and characters located onscreen. But that's not the only thing that the GamePad can do. Thanks to the off-TV play, now it will be possible to play the game with the GamePad's screen and away from the TV, therefore I'm certain that the next Mario Kart will support that for sure. As the Gamepad itself has gyroscope and motion sensors, I think it will be possible that this Mario Kart, like MK7, features a first-person view of the races, which would give the gameplay a more realistic feeling on driving the kart. Another interesting thing is that someday Wii U will have support for two GamePads, which perhaps the future game will be able to support too. Sure, I'd also bet that there will be space to use the Wii Remote (Plus), the Wii's Classic Controllers and the Wii U Pro Controller as well.
- Social network experience: With Miiverse, the new Mario Kart for Wii U must exploit the online world greatly. For this next Mario Kart, I wish it would take a step further regarding the social interaction with other players. In the latest Mario Kart games, the only way to know people and to make friends was using a poorly-made chat with lame dialogues. The next Mario Kart game should have support for a better-built chat, and also add a voice and video chat to talk with friends before the races.
- Interaction with 3DS and Mario Kart 7: Although there isn't any evidence of it yet, it might be possible that the 3DS can interact with the Wii U serving as an additional accessory for the console, especially as a controller. In fact, both the Gamepad and the 3DS have some characteristics in common, so this shouldn't sound so wacky after all. Additionally, the two consoles might also transfer some type of information which players can use later. An example of this is to transfer characters or racecourses from the 3DS to the Wii U via spotpass. Sounds fascinating, huh? And in this way it can be possible to make a cross-play of sorts where a user can play on his or her 3DS Mario Kart 7 against somebody else that is playing the other Mario Kart game on the Wii U.
- Return of old mechanics and strategies: In the latest Mario Kart games, many gameplay mechanics and strategies that made Mario Karts challenging sometimes, have been removed or changed in favor of a more balanced gameplay between pros and beginners. Unfortunately, for some Mario Kart connoisseurs (like me), these changes make things a bit disappointing as the original aspects were an essential part of the gameplay of several other racing games. The most infamous case is snaking. The future Mario Kart must mark the return of these mechanics, or at least, give the players the ability to modify the game mechanics in a simple way to satisfy the needs of some types of players, such as the pros. Oddly, they have returned some mechanics from past games to the latest ones like, for example, dragging an item behind, although the function of some items have nerfed a bit from game to game (especially the most powerful ones obtained from lower places). I also hope for a good buff-up of the items and their functions as well.
- No Bikes: Yeah, that's right, no comeback of bikes in the next Mario Kart game, please. Bikes just made karts four-wheeled junk in Mario Kart Wii.
- Asymmetric Gameplay: Combining the use of the gamepad and multiplayer, the next Mario Kart game could use asymmetric gameplay. Looking at some games like Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. U, the asymmetric gameplay will only serve in local multiplayer. It's hard to think if it is a good alternative to implement the concept in the online multiplayer mode, but this may have the advantage of showing a dinstinctive gameplay aside of the usual online gaming that usually is focused on a single player. I don't know how exactly this gameplay can serve the game, but maybe it will be useful in a mode that involves co-operative gameplay, like the Versus or Battle modes where one is able to see all the course and have the ability to change some elements of it through the GamePad while the others play the race normally with the traditional controllers. This can be the second Mario Kart game to use co-op mode since, as we know, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! had one as well.
- (Bonus) Remake of a past Mario Kart game: I'd like to see this, and the game that best fits the bill is Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. The reason is that there have been some statements and news that Wii U will bring back games from the Nintendo GameCube, despite the fact that the Wii U no longer supports the hardware and components of that console. However, they would return as digital games from the Nintendo eShop and perhaps these games could be remade and eventually have improvements to fit to the specs of the Wii U, for example, be in HD format. But not just that, and maybe this sounds too much to be real but if it's possible, also add new modes and online support for those games that had some rudimentary form of them in those times, especially for a racing game like Double Dash!!. Wouldn't be awesome?
And that's all, Shy Guys! Hope you have enjoyed this last issue of Mario Kart: Wheel Tips Corner for the year. Prepare to see nice games next year for the Wii U and that upcoming Mario Kart game we hope hear some news about next year. This is Coincollector and the members of The 'Shroom wishing you a happy Holidays and a happy New Year!