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3DS

Iwata Asks: Mario Kart 7

by Pedro Hernandez - November 30, 2011, 7:47 am EST
Total comments: 13 Source: (Iwata Asks Vol 2), http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/3ds/mar...

The partnership with Retro is detailed, and a Mario Kart 7 feature was originally meant for the 3DS as a whole.

The latest Iwata Asks, hosted by Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, has been released, this time focusing on the upcoming Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS. This time, the roundtable discussion features the members of Nintendo EAD, which include Mario Kart 7's producer Konno, art director Morimoto, lead artists on karts and characters Ishikawa and Ichijo, coordinator between EAD and Retro.

Members of Retro Studios also join the discussion, despite the time difference between the two zones. Joining them are lead artist for Retro Ryan Powell, art director for Retro Vince Joly, and lead planner for Retro Tom Ivey. The discussion starts with how Mario Kart 7 came to be. The development team were already working on the game in 2010, but since Nintendogs + Cats took top priority, a lot of focus was placed on that title instead.

The EAD development team met up with Tom Ivey during a dinner where they discussed Retro's involvement with the title (which was originally believed to be just a couple of courses). Retro had finished Donkey Kong Country Returns when they were recruited by Nintendo to work on this title.

Ishikawa, however, expressed some confusion when Retro was announced to be working with EAD for Mario Kart 7, wondering if the team was located in Japan. The team felt very nervous since previous Mario Kart titles were developed in house. But that nervousness, according to the discussion team, turned into excitement at the possibilities this partnership would offer.

The second part of the roundtable discussion details how the karts and courses came to be, with the classic courses being the first to be designed and developed. They state that Nintendo developed half the courses while Retro handled the other half, placing emphasis on the fact that when it came time to work on the classic courses they had to add new elements to the tracks so they are varied. The Nintendo EAD team expressed that Retro's knowledge of the franchise helped them in creating the courses and tracks. They used the Luigi's Mansion track as an example of how Retro quickly worked on it and understood how to develop a great Mario Kart track. The team also explained that they had to be careful with how they updated the classic tracks as they understood that the classic tracks had to remain loyal to the original designs, but still be appealing to new players as well, using the 3Ds's graphical capabilities as a starting point in design.

The next topic in the discussion is how EAD and Retro communicated during the development of the game. Mario Kart 7 has a gliding feature, in which they explained that when they designed it they had to design the karts and characters so that their heads wouldn't bump into the glider when it was activated. Character build and weight were also considered when designing the karts.

In Volume 2 of the discussion, it is revealed that Mario Kart 7's online community features were originally meant to be part of the 3DS as a whole. In the game, players are able to create online communities without the need to exchange individual friend codes. Unfortunately, the development schedule was limited and thus they couldn't develop it into the final build of the system.

Mario Kart 7 is released later this week.

Talkback

EnnerNovember 30, 2011

I hope Nintendo is still able to develop the community feature for the 3DS at a system-wide level. That sounds like a useful thing to have.

BlackNMild2k1November 30, 2011

Did they discuss exactly what Retro's involvement and contribution was to MK7?

and hopefully 3DS Communities gets put into a future firmware update.

CericNovember 30, 2011

Quote from: BlackNMild2k1

Did they discuss exactly what Retro's involvement and contribution was to MK7?

and hopefully 3DS Communities gets put into a future firmware update.

Yes.

Mop it upNovember 30, 2011

Quote from: BlackNMild2k1

Did they discuss exactly what Retro's involvement and contribution was to MK7?

From what I can infer, they created the 16 retro tracks. That isn't a pun or anything, I think that's what they did.

nickmitchNovember 30, 2011

Did they take time out of working on Mario Kart 7 to work on Nintendogs + Cats? Is that what I'm reading? Really?

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)November 30, 2011

Quote from: Mop

From what I can infer, they created the 16 retro tracks. That isn't a pun or anything, I think that's what they did.

Yep. It sounds like the deal was that with all the projects going on at EAD, the MK7 team ended up being very small, and to help them meet the end-of-the-year deadline, they had to go to Retro. If it's true that they updated the 16 retro tracks and helped with the new DK Jungle course (which draws from Donkey Kong Country Returns assests), then Retro Studios made a little over 50% of this game. Who would'a thought it?

Ian SaneNovember 30, 2011

Quote from: nickmitch

Did they take time out of working on Mario 3D Kart to work on Nintendogs + Cats? Is that what I'm reading? Really?

Hope Nintendo learned from that one.  The 3DS struggled with Nintendogs + Cats as a launch title.  If Mario Kart 7 was at launch instead, things might have been different.

Though it might just have been that Nintendogs + Cats was closer to completion and the choice was to either take people off Mario Kart to get Nintendogs done in time for launch or keep everyone where they were and have neither title done for launch.

NinSageNovember 30, 2011

Quote from: Ian

Quote from: nickmitch

Did they take time out of working on Mario 3D Kart to work on Nintendogs + Cats? Is that what I'm reading? Really?

Hope Nintendo learned from that one.  The 3DS struggled with Nintendogs + Cats as a launch title.  If Mario 3D Kart was at launch instead, things might have been different.

Though it might just have been that Nintendogs + Cats was closer to completion and the choice was to either take people off Mario Kart to get Nintendogs done in time for launch or keep everyone where they were and have neither title done for launch.

Exactly.

Plus, the powers that be may have thought the virtual pet was an ideal way to showcase glasses-free 3D.  "Now it's really alive!" sort of thing.

nickmitchNovember 30, 2011

To me that says that Nintendo was struggling to put out launch titles AND MK7 could've be a better game. I'm a bit disappointed to read that it isn't as good as it could have been and that features had to be cut. It shows one more time that the 3DS launch date was a rushed mistake.

CericDecember 01, 2011

Quote from: Mop

Quote from: BlackNMild2k1

Did they discuss exactly what Retro's involvement and contribution was to MK7?

From what I can infer, they created the 16 retro tracks. That isn't a pun or anything, I think that's what they did.

Thats not how I read it.  From later in the text they indicate that Retro designed totally new tracks.  Plus they where responsible for a lot of the different animation and kart design.  More of the this is the vision make it work type stuff.

NinSageDecember 01, 2011

A lot of studios have certain members that creep toward celebrity status when their company is routinely awesome.  Does Retro have any such person that we should be paying attention to?

Quote from: NinSage

A lot of studios have certain members that creep toward celebrity status when their company is routinely awesome.  Does Retro have any such person that we should be paying attention to?

It's called Armature Studio.

But seriously, most Retro guys that might get close to that usually leave. I guess maybe Michael Kelbaugh and Brian Walker are the closest we have.

CericDecember 01, 2011

I rather just have the company have the celebrity status.

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