Hideki Konno previously worked as director on the original Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, as supervisor for Mario Kart: Super Circuit on the GBA and recently completed work on the phenomenon that is nintendogs for the DS. He took some time out to talk to Nintendo Europe about the forthcoming Mario Kart DS. Below are the results of the questioning:
Nintendo of Europe: Previous Mario Kart games have had a 'gimmick', like the dual characters in Double Dash!!. What's the 'gimmick' going to be in Mario Kart DS?
Hideki Konno: This time we've gone back to basics, so only one player rides on one kart. And we're taking advantage of the wireless communication capabilities of the Nintendo DS, so this time up to eight players can simultaneously play against each other wirelessly.
We wanted the multiplayer game to involve more people playing simultaneously than ever before, and it had to be simple and quick enough for people to set up.
Another very important factor is that we are going to make Mario Kart DS Wi-Fi capable. In other words, if you own a Nintendo DS and Mario Kart DS you can play against strangers in any part of the world.
NoE: How does the game make use of the special features of Nintendo DS?
HK: We are incorporating many DS-original items but I'm afraid I cannot dwell on this point now. But one of the ideas that we haven't openly disclosed yet is that we are taking advantage of the dual screen.
For example, one item added to the Nintendo DS version is the squid character from Super Mario Sunshine.
NoE: What can you tell us about the courses in the game? We heard there will be a mixture of classic and new tracks.
HK: We identified 16 of the best courses that people really enjoyed playing in the past, so we are now compiling these courses into the Nintendo DS version. I believe that the players who used to play these courses are going to have a very nostalgic feeling.
We have also added 16 new courses, and because Nintendo DS is a highly capable machine we are actually creating some kind of topography so that there are ups and downs in the courses, and some new tweaks.
NoE: Can you tell us about some of these 'tweaks'?
HK: There's a course where you are actually driving through a huge pinball table with bumpers and flippers. There are huge iron balls going through the course and you have to be very careful not to be hit by them.
NoE: And can we look forward to anything special in the single player mode?
HK: One of the original objectives of making Mario Kart DS was to intensify the one player mode. Before we had simply the Grand Prix racing and Time Trial modes but this time we have made some changes so that even in a versus match you can actually play by yourself, in other words the computer is going to become the opponent. And also in the Battle Mode the computer can be your opponent so that you can play by yourself.
NoE: Sadly we're running out of time. Before we go, is there a message you'd like to give to our readers?
HK: By now we have made several different Mario Kart series and I really don't want anyone to say 'Oh, there have been too many Mario Kart series over the years, I don't need any more'.
Whenever we are making a new Mario Kart we are trying to make it something special, something new and something really unprecedented. This time we have really challenged ourselves so that this DS version will become something really unique. So I hope the members of Nintendo-Europe.com are going to play it and enjoy it!
NoE: Mr Konno, thank you very much for your time!
And thanks to Nintendo Europe for bringing us that excellent interview. Be sure to sign up as a VIP member at Nintendo Europe for more VIP News.