As with the Zelda fanbase, there seems to be a schism in the Mario Kart fanbase. There's the Double Dash folks and the Mario Kart Wii folks, and seldom shall the twain meet. (And then the MK64 weirdos off in the corner (Battle Mode was awesome, though).) Of course, that's a somewhat simplified take, and ignores the solid handheld entries. But I wonder if this has become a Zelda-like situation, where the fans want very different things.
What do you want to see from the next/future Mario Karts? Feel free to give pie-in-the-sky answers like track creation, but focus more on realistic elements that you want to see represented. If you want to create a Frankenstein Kart from Mario Karts past (track design from MKx, battle mode from MKx, etc.), you can do that. And/or you can suggest improvements to the formula.
Also, are you still invested in the series? Or has it become ho-hum for you at this point?
I started thinking about this after playing Double Dash with my nephews. They had never played much Mario Kart before and were totally loving the Battle Mode and the Super Weapons. After they went back to their house, my sister called me up and asked what Wii game(s) she should buy for them next. I said Mario Kart Wii, since their Wii doesn't have the Gamecube controller ports. Apparently, after they played it, they panicked and exclaimed, "B-but wait! This isn't the fun one!!" Even though my suggestion bombed, I was pretty proud of them. I freaking hate Mario Kart Wii.
Tracks that change and transform as you make laps around the track. They did this a bit in Mario Kart Wii, (in that volcano stage, I think?) but I'd like to see more of that in other tracks, too. I don't think every track should do that, but maybe a handful here and there would be great.
Also, I want to see the return of character-specific weapons/items.
I want to see Sakurai take over. No Mario Kart has ever gotten the Smash Bros. Melee/Brawl treatment. Why do I need to settle for 16 retro tracks when I can have all of them?
I'm excited to try motion controls in Mario Kart 8. I didn't like them in Mario Kart Wii because the Wii Wheel felt weird to me, but I think the Wii U Gamepad will be pretty perfect. Of course, there's a decent chance I'll just go back to Wiimote/Nunchuck which I also really like (jerking the wiimote to do a trick always felt great)
rubber banding is the nature of Mario Kart.... even in Super Mario Kart, you would pick a player and there was always one CPU for the whole cup that would catch up from 8th place and be on your ass.. It was much harder to catch up if you fell behind. Rubber banding works both ways.
However I do believe it can be minimized - and I want options a la Smash. No Blue Shells? Sure. Red shells only? Great. 10 laps around rainbow road? Why not? Let them there be rewards for blue shell race challenges - have Voice chat etc. And lots...and lots of courses. Old and New.
Mario Kart Wii did a lot of things right, and Mario Kart 7 improved the gameplay but felt a bit "empty". I'm hoping Mario Kart 8 follows MKWii in terms of content, but there are a few things I'd like them to grab from each game moving forward:
Super Mario Kart: 2 player Grand Prix Mario Kart 64: Free For All battles Double Dash: All Cup Mode, bobomb/shine multiplayer modes MK Wii: online ranking system, tournaments, friend leaderboards, 12 player races, bikes MK7: communities (but much improved), underwater and aerial racing
In terms of item selection and rubberbanding, I didn't feel the AI was too bad in either MKWii or MK7, and the blue shell was toned down a bit since it now behaves like the n64 version, hitting a lot of people along the way to the first place driver. We could use a little more item variety, perhaps, although I didn't like the character-specific items in DD, since they were pretty unbalanced.
My dream is for there to be a Diddy Kong Racing-esque adventure mode that takes place in the mushroom kingdom. That would make my life complete.
I've pretty much checked out from Mario Kart anymore. I think Mario Kart DS spoiled me: back when I had a whole crew of gamers with their own DSes and plenty of free time, getting 8 players together to play Mario Kart DS was heaven. After experiencing that, playing solo or online or even split-screen just doesn't cut it anymore.
Also, this probably isn't a popular notion here, but I actually miss the ludicrous snaking from Mario Kart DS. Sure, it's stupid and annoying when some jerk is doing it alone while everyone else is racing normally, but a group full of snakers adds an extra layer of frenetic insanity to the race. And after playing Mario Kart 64 and its 4 player snooze-fests, I realized that snaking actually made races fun even when there were only a couple racers instead of the full stock (i.e. online in MKDS).
I wouldn't want snaking to come back as it was in MKDS, where it made 90% of the characters and karts obsolete, but Mario Kart just feels like it needs an extra...something to keep me interested anymore. I'm sure there's plenty of answers to that, but snaking is the only one I've come up with so far.
I understand that you get items based on the position that you are in. However, when it comes to thing like the blue shell, all strategy and skill goes out the window since it basically boils down to if you're lucky enough not to get hit before you cross the line. I guess Mario Kart and me will never see eye to eye, it's basically a philosophical issue akin to a magic "win" button (or "guide" for people who can't be asked to train or are just not that good for the game.
As for the nature of Mario Kart, I don't buy that argument. It's like random battles in Pokemon. Back in the days they had them because there wasn't enough processing power to make enemies appear on screen. Now that we can make them appear on screen, some people still cling to such things for "tradition" or some masochistic ritual. Others adhere to the notion that having random battles adds to the "surprise" of finding a pokemon in the wild. Nevertheless, I can counter that and say that allowing for Pokemon to roam freely would make for a far better/organic experience. Of course Nintendo handhelds will have a long way to go before that is even a possibility since they just now went full 3D.
@Smerd In Super Mario Kart, only the top 4 other racers had rubber banding. (Assuming you're in first place), positions 2, 3, 4 and 5 would rubber band like crazy even amongst each other. However positions 6, 7 and 8 had no rubber banding. They would just casually race along and often fall waaay behind, and they wouldn't mind if they were passed by. Also, all the racers took the exact same route around the track in SMK, so you could learn on each track the exact place to put an item so it would hit an opponent (unless they used a feather to jump over it). I used to try to knock 2nd place into 3rd, fourth or fifth, and then it would carry over to the next race and they would rubber band from their new position. Man, AI has come a long way since then. And yeah, I played the shit out of Super Mario Kart.
@nate38 Online racing is fun, especially when we get together on NW for tournaments. Racing local co-op with a significant other is fun too. As for snaking, I kind of hated it, even though I was good at it. It was tiresome to perform, and basically required to get an advantage. The new powerslide system is a lot better, and still rewards skillful cornering with larger speed boosts.
@Tranquilo It basically comes down to this: luck plays a role in Mario Kart. That's just the way it is. You could get hit with a nasty item, and get a shit item in return. But your skill will determine your position, on average. Sometimes, a less skillful player will do better, and that's what keeps the game interesting for the expanded audience. This ain't no hardcore racing sim. It's the same with Smash Bros when you play with items. Thankfully you can play without, and you can turn off items in Mario Kart multiplayer too (even online, there are communities where it's just bananas, or whatever - in MK7). However items are such a huge part of Mario Kart that it takes fun out of the game. Playing with balanced items strikes a nice balance (no pun intended). I really can't take much issue with MK7's item balance. Item management is such a huge part of the game. You have to know when to use an item for offense, defense, depending on which item it is, and in which position you are. Being able to view everyone's items on the bottom screen of 3DS added an extra layer of depth to the item game, and it does require skill. Mario Kart 7 I would say was the most balanced MK item-wise, and I hope that carries on to Mario Kart 8.
Oh yeah blue shell is a cheap trick - I think there is a way to have both great and fair competition in a Mario Kart game but it's never been done. There is always something 'cheap' so we either embrace it and work around it, or just don't play the game at all..
Since Mario Kart has always been that way in some respect, then that is the nature of the game. Doesn't mean it has to stay that way though. It is time for a change somehow - so people can say it's like Mario Kart, but different. Kinda like Zelda games now - we are all asking for some sort of change.
And no Mario Kart has ever failed to deliver me that, which I can't say the same for Zelda, Metroid, or even Mario!
Oh, also no snaking. I don't care if it's done by force (programming) or honor (I personally punch everyone who does it in the face until they stop) but no snaking ever ever ever. It ruined Mario Kart DS, which was a truly fantastic Mario Kart otherwise.
I also second the people who say "options." I would love to be able to customize items, lap numbers, etc. Or have a "Double Dash" option where you could toss that back into the mix. Sadly, Nintendo is not much about options, except the Smash Brothers series. But in the end, so long as Mario Kart is fun I don't really care.
Yea but Smash has so much more content than Mario Kart that I think it'd be realistic with Sakurai at the helm. That's just an example of a way they could blow it out though, there's many ways they could go.
I want to be able to party up with people before playing in a race with them - not wait until their race is over in the hopes that a spot will open up.
I want to be able to voice chat with my friends.
I want the music to be given the same kind of love that Smash Bros. gets.
I want a single player mode that doesn't just feel like I'm doing regular races but against soulless computer characters. Let's see Mission Mode make a return.
More tracks. MOOOORRRE TRAAACKS. So many of the tracks have been designed in 3D at this point...why not just have all of them, with every Mario Kart game simply adding more? This is the kind of game that can really leverage its history for more content.
I want the unlocking process to be more transparent. In all honesty I don't think I should have to play single player to unlock anything. Just make it clear when I'm playing multiplayer how I'm exactly unlocking things (not a random unlock like in MK7).
More rewards/incentives for winning online races. Maybe every time you win you can get coins, and use those coins to unlock fun, superficial upgrades to my kart/character.
Also, online battle mode. Match making. Why can't Mario Kart be the Halo or Call of Duty for Nintendo?
Personally I want a drift more similar to MK64's or even MKDD. I really disliked the gameplay killing momentum shift whenever you get hit or ride in dirt in the last few games. And the music. Can we please get back to the music quality of MK64, or again of that's too much to ask at least MKDD?
MKWii was a great game in its own right but IMO was sort of the worst in the series when all was said and done. 7 seemed like an improvement but I didn't play too much of it.
Really hoping 8 at least brings us inspired music since I doubt they'll fix the momentum issue. I could live with it. What I can't live with is uninspired music. The music might even be the single biggest reason I never took to MKWii as much. It's that important to me. I need me good game music.
I want Sonic the Hedgehog, Alex Kidd, and that Dwarf from Golden Axe cruising in transformers around a level inspired by Samba de Amigo.
Mario Kart needs to feel new again is basically all I'm saying. The recent versions all blur together for me. I need something, anything, unexpected to counter the feeling that I've seen it all before.
All I would need is a Battle mode like the N64 version online. I would not stop playing it if it was offered. 3 balloons popped and you are a spectator the rest of the match(maybe bomb on wheels for a few first players knocked out). For the single player offer all the tracks, some from the purchase and the rest as DLC.