Nintendo's Mario-inspired racing franchise has always allowed people to be social by playing with friends, but the latest installment's online features help expand that aspect even further. With Mario Kart 8, players will be able to host customized online tournaments or share video through a new feature called Mario Kart TV.
Playing off the game's highlight reel at the end of each race, Mario Kart TV allows users to pull footage and edit it however they like. During a recent demo in San Francisco, a Nintendo representative explained that the feature records the entire race, enabling players to yank footage from anyone's perspective. Mario Kart TV automatically stores the most recent 12 races and will continually shuffle out old footage as new content arrives.
"If you have a race that you really liked, you can actually save it to one of your favorites," the representative told Polygon. "You can save a certain number of those favorites, and they won't be overwritten."
Clips can be posted in full, or edited down into 30, 40 or 60-second bites. If players want to share clips 60-seconds or less, they can post the video directly to YouTube in-game — though this capability does require a Google account. Players can also choose to share their videos on Miiverse, even if they run longer than a minute.
Mario Kart 8 includes customizable tournaments players can set up online using parameters for day, time, difficulty, allowed items, vehicles and more. Tournaments can be set to repeat — for example, competitions set every Sunday night — and are available to both friends and the general public, depending on the setting. Players will be able to search for tournaments by code, racing type and more.
During our demo, we also got the chance to see new items, Crazy 8 and Super Horn, as well as racers Baby Rosalina and Pink Gold Peach — a metallic take on the princess that is "basically the counterpart to Metal Mario." The Crazy 8 item functions similar to Mario Kart 7's Lucky 7, surrounding players with eight items for max chaos. The Super Horn, meanwhile, is the first item capable of defending against Mario Kart's infamous hunt-and-seek blue shell. Once activated, the horn emits a blast that stuns anything around it, from players to items.
Mario Kart 8 launches May 30 for Wii U. According to a Nintendo representative, the game will be available as part of a Mario Kart 8 Bundle, which includes the game, Wii U Deluxe with controller and a red racing wheel for $329.99. The company will also hold a special promotion until July 31; those that register Mario Kart 8 on Club Nintendo will receive a free download code for New Super Mario Bros. U, Pikmin 3, The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker HD or Wii Party U.