“Item balance” is, perhaps, one of the most contested topics concerning the Mario Kart series. To be more specific - the Blue Shell grinded many fans gears – if you know what I mean. In Mario Kart 7 – players could customize races to have only have certain items (in the form of communities) – therefore no Blue Shells. While, it was a welcome addition - it was fairly limited in execution.
Fortunately, Nintendo might have a system for players to customize what items are used in races. Speaking to IGN, Mario Kart 8 Director Kosuke Kobuki and Producer Hideki Konno hinted that there could be a system for cutomization.
Kobuki explained that Mario Kart 8 will have the system present in MK7, but will have a little more. “There was some item customization in Mario Kart 7, in that you could choose to have a mushroom-only race or shell-only race. We’re going to have that plus a little bit more, actually, in Mario Kart 8,” Kobuki explained.
He continued: “I think we’re going to be able to answer that feeling of, ‘I don’t want to race with items.’ Well, OK, then no items. Or, ‘I only want to have bananas.’ Well, OK. I think we’re going to be able to provide a system to answer that desire this time around.” I suspect more information will be revealed in a Mario Kart 8 specific Nintendo Direct.
For Fans, that are worried about character balance – Konno reassured that the Mario Kart 8 team took the challenge very seriously.
“Game balance is a really important element of Mario Kart that we look very, very closely at and place a lot of value on,” Konno explained.
“I think that item balance, from the time we start working on development, a thousand times, maybe even tens of thousands of times, we adjust that balance while we’re playing. At the end, we come up with what we hope or feel is a really good balance. It’s our strong hope that folks would want to play with the items as we have balanced them,” Konno said.
Personally, I have never had a huge problem with the balance, but, I do sympathize with the frustration that can be caused with the trollish nature of the Blue Shell. Nevertheless, Mario Kart 8 is shaping up well, and will no doubt meet our high expectations.