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Mario Kart director open to Super Smash Bros.-style rosters for future titles

Future Mario Kart games could go the way of the Super Smash Bros. series in terms of its roster of playable characters, Mario Kart 8 director Kosuke Yabuki told Nintendo Life.

According to Yabuki, adding non-Mario universe characters to the kart racing game is possible, though beefing up the roster alone doesn't necessarily improve the game.

"We’re always considering ways to make the Mario Kart games more appealing, but I don’t think that just increasing the number of characters would make the game better," he said. "Of course, I’m not ruling out the possibility of such an approach in the future though."

Yabuki added that he had to have series newcomers the Koopalings — Bowser's seven rambunctious minions — all appear together in Mario Kart 8; splitting them all up and only including a few was not an option. The director noted their inclusion was because of their "superb individuality" and unique expressions. These seven have replaced a handful of previously-included characters — Bowser Jr., Dry Bones, King Boo and Diddy Kong — for which Yabuki apologized to their fans.

Mario Kart 8 — in development with the same core team as Mario Kart 7 — includes a major new feature allowing players to defy gravity and drive up-side down. Yabuki said this mechanic evolved from the team's desire to include more underwater and outer space levels like in Mario Kart 7, both areas in which gravity behaves differently than it does on the ground. From there, the team decided to tinker with the overall way gravity works in the game to offer players something fresh.

"In Mario Kart 7, we introduced dynamic gravity to handle sequences underwater or on the moon for example," Yabuki said. "As the idea developed, it led us on to rethink how we handle gravity in the first place and we eventually came up with the anti-gravity feature of Mario Kart 8."

Mario Kart 8 launches this Friday, May 30 for Wii U. Check out Polygon's review for a closer look.