Mario Kart 8 Deluxe producer talks about game’s popularity

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has proved to be an absolute behemoth in the racing game genre and it is the best-selling Nintendo Switch game so far, despite being a revised port of the excellent Wii U game, Mario Kart 8. The Nikkei sat down with the game’s producer Kosuke Yabuki to chat about what he thinks makes the game and the franchise such a beloved series. You can read his thoughts on what he believes makes Mario Kart 8 Deluxe such a hit with Nintendo Switch owners.

Did you expect the game to be such a historical hit that it would sell over 40 million copies?

We didn’t, but in hindsight, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a good match for the Switch. You can play the console anywhere and even split the controller into two, so it’s easy to pick up and play with a nearby sibling or friend. 5 years after the game’s release, that appeal hasn’t faded.

What do you think makes the Mario Kart series popular?

Generally speaking, you’re not trying to prevent your opponent in racing games, but in Mario Kart, you spend races throwing shells at them and trying to make them slip on banana peels. Those unique tactics are the core of Mario Kart’s appeal.

It’s both an accessible and deep game. There are people who only play the game on Christmas or New Year’s, while others work to improve their skills every day. We’re always mindful of balancing the experience for both types of players.

How did you keep accessibility in mind while developing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe?

We wanted the game to be a fun experience for everyone. It can be frustrating to lose, but there’s plenty that happens during races to make players crack a smile or want to play another round. The hope for players to experience emotions beyond the outcome of race. We designed the game in such a way where unthinkable things like slipping on a banana just before the finish line happen one after the other.

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Thanks to Greatsong1 for sending in the news tip!

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