Accompanying this surprise, 36-minute-long Nintendo Direct featurette detailing Mario Kart 8's gameplay, Nintendo has released multiple details about the highly anticipated racer's launch.
This wonderful Nintendo Direct video provides an in-depth look at Mario Kart 8's newest to coincide with the Big N's announcements of a Mario Kart Wii U bundle, a free digital download for Mario Kart 8 players, additional online features, surprise racers and brand-new items.
The first major announcement is that Nintendo is releasing a Mario Kart 8 Wii U bundle (pictured below) that includes Mario Kart 8, a red Mario Wii Remote Plus and a matching Mario Wii Wheel Accessory to hold your remote. This Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Set will be selling at the suggested retail price of $329.99 and is hitting store shelves on May 30.
Racers who buy Mario Kart 8 and register it before July 31 at Club Nintendo will receive a free digital download of one of the following Wii U digital games: New Super Mario Bros. U, Pikmin 3, Wii Party U or The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. This deal is also applicable for those who have bought Mario Kart 8 digitally in the Nintendo eShop and those who have purchased the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Set previously mentioned. Factoring in that Best Buy is tossing in a $10 gas card for pre-ordering Mario Kart 8, this racer is shaping up to be a must-have for any Wii U owner.
Racers can create, edit and watch their highlight reels and upload them to the Miiverse using the Mario Kart TV function in Mario Kart 8. The Miiverse will host highlight reels from players all over the world and allows you to comment or critique their gameplay. Players with Google accounts can also upload their reels directly to their YouTube account through Mario Kart TV.
Mario Kart 8's four different multiplayer modes will allow up to 12 players to race together online. You can chat via the Wii U GamePad microphone or type in the lobby chat while waiting for the next game to start. Players will also be able to compete against the ghost data from their friends and the best racers in the world. Players who beat the development team's best times will get exclusive Miiverse stamps.
Anti-Gravity Racing is a new mechanic of Mario Kart 8 that expands traditional racing to allow players to drive on the walls and ceilings of a racecourse. Levels that incorporate this feature will have a specific glowing blue strip you must run over in order to activate your vehicle's Anti-Gravity propulsion system (your kart's tires will flip on their sides similar to 'Back to the Future 2'). Once your tires are flipped on their sides, your vehicle will adhere to gravity-defying surfaces and your character's camera will automatically rotate itself to keep you centered in the action, maintaining a fixed point of view from behind the player as the world rotates around. This allows for a seamless integration with the breakneck speed of the game while enabling Anti-Gravity's unique ability. Spin-Boosts are used to help replace the corner-drift speed boost from Mario Kart 64 where players can bounce into each other mid-turn to spin-out and recover from a hard turn much faster than usual, which is aided by having your Anti-Gravity tires activated.
The Nintendo Direct video also includes some of the various customization options available. As expected, different karts, sports bikes, circuit-style cars, ATV quads are all included. There are also custom vehicles, such as the Prancer kart, which has a pink parasol and mechanical ponies in front it, simulating a carousel-like ride.
New Characters added into Mario Kart 8 include Bowser's seven Koopaling children, Baby Rosalina and the metallic Pink Gold Peach, which brings the game's total number of racers up to 30. You also have the ability to pick your Mii character as your racer as well. New items being added into Mario Kart 8 include the Super Horn that blows away other attacks (goodbye forever, Blue Shell cheapness) and the Crazy Eight swirling shield of multiple mini-items for your player to circle through and use.
Mario Kart 8 will be launching on May 30 exclusively for Wii U.