So, after the Nintendo Direct of Wednesday, more footage of Mario Kart 8 was shown. As well as numerous new courses, more returning characters were shown. No new characters or Retro courses were shown, but this does make one think. With nine new courses already shown off in the two trailers, as well as two returning 3DS courses, the tracks in this game are looking great. We know of the anti-grav feature - allowing traversal on walls and ceilings - as well as the return of gliders, underwater driving and bikes. Customisation will return with more options. Coins do return, but their purpose hasn't been clarified.
Some things still remain a mystery, and I'm going to have a crack at giving my predictions and why I think they will happen.
First off, it was shown in the Direct trailer that all four Baby characters will be returning. I think this will be to balance the roster again. Upon the split of classes into five, the balance was upset. In Mario Kart Wii, each class had the same amount of drivers. In MK7, there was only two Medium characters, with either side of Medium having seven. Repairing this balance of the roster, if these five classes are staying, is vital to create a fair chance for all drivers. And if these five classes are here to stay, there won't be an odd number of characters in the roster with 25, so I'm guessing they'll boost the number of characters to 30. That then presents the problem of who to include. The number of characters in the Mario Kart series is 32, which means new characters will need to be added. The question is - who? If we go off MKWii and MK7's combined rosters, we something a bit like this.
Feather - Toad / Koopa Troopa / Toadette / Diddy Kong / Paratroopa / Dry Bones
Light - Baby Mario / Baby Luigi / Baby Peach / Baby Daisy / Bowser Jr.
Medium - Mario / Luigi / Peach / Daisy / Yoshi / Birdo
Heavy - Bowser / Wario / Waluigi / King Boo
Cruiser - Donkey Kong / Rosalina / Petey Piranha
In total, six new characters need to be added. Of course, I have added a few racers to make the entire crew of Double Dash present in the roster. Now, what will most likely happen is clones of characters will be added. That means one of the Heavy positions will be filled by Dry Bowser, and two of the cruiser positions will be filled by Funky Kong and Metal Mario. That leaves three new characters left. But again, clones of characters are more than likely to be used. And just like with MKWii and Rosalina advertising Galaxy, this game will probably do the same. And the game it will most likely do that for is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Dixie Kong is my guess for who will be added, to easily fill that last space in the Light class.
That leaves two left. These two I'm guessing in the wild about, but after references to Galaxy, it's sequel needs some love too, so Lubba is my guess to fill the last Heavy space. And while many might not like it, after introducing a Power-up Mario in MK7, I reckon they're here to stay. But it's the Year of Luigi is it not? And so I predict that Luigi will be getting his own Power-up form. And continuing taking assets from Galaxy 2, Rock Luigi is my guess at that final character for the Cruiser status. Or, perhaps, those last two could be swapped around. As much as we don't won't character clones, I'm guessing that is what will happen. Either that, or an enemy from Super Mario 3D World will replace Rock Luigi.
Now then. Tracks. We've got the three new ones from E3 - Mario Circuit, Boo Mansion and Marioco - and now five more have been revealed in the latest Direct trailer. Sunshine Airport, shown first, features an airport with planes to dodge. The next - Cake Fountain Mountain - is the one with the sweets in it. Thwomp Ruins was briefly shown on the E3 trailer, but we got to see it in more detail here. It features typical indoor ruin-esque scenery, rolling stone wheels, and an outdoor area with Thwomps, poles and outdoor ruin scenery. The next seems like a barren place where Dry Bones lives, but it also looks like it houses Dry Bowser scenery. The section driven up looks like bones arranged into a tail, and the head that is flown into looks like Dry Bowser's. As such, I've dubbed it Dry Bowser Fort. The last track shown features a nice, clear day which turns into a stormy, dark night, so I dubbed it Storm Cloud Rumble.
And all of those brings the number of new tracks to eight. Two full cups worth. And talking of the cups, it seems like the perfect opportunity to try something. Super Mario Kart featured five races per cup, of which there were four. Five races per cup might be a bit much, but there's no reason to not do what Mario Kart: Super Circuit did and have five cups. Or, add two more cups for six per section [Nitro / Retro].
I think it's safe to say that if Retro courses keep being added, we'll be stretched. We now have seven games in which to add Retro courses from, and if the tradition of adding four courses from the latest two games stays, we've got to get eight courses from five games. Since both SNES and GBA games seem to have been forgot about, what with only three courses coming from both games for MK7, I predict we'll only see one course from each in Mario Kart 8. Particular emphasis seems to be put on the N64 tracks, with four courses in two games being reduced to three in MK7. I think I might be right in saying that three more courses will be added into MK8. Only five tracks remain to take from in MK64, though, so whether this really will hold remains to be seen. If it does, MK:DD will have only one track taken from it, with two taken from MKDS. That then gives us our eight.
If there are five cups coming to MK8, then both SNES and GBA versions can have two tracks taken from them, while the N64 version still remains at three. Two tracks can be taken from the GCN version and three from the DS version, thus making twelve tracks from the five games. If six cups are in though, two tracks can be taken from the SNES version, while both N64 and GBA versions can have three tracks taken from them, while both GCN and DS versions can have four taken from them. This will affect future games though, as - unless Nintendo revisit tracks again for the Retro section - the number of tracks are running out from certain versions.
As stated above, the N64 version only has five tracks left that haven't been visited, while the GCN version only has six. The DS version has eight. There is a way around this though. Not all tracks have to be used from previous games. Rainbow Road was put into MK7, which could see an end of all SNES tracks being in future games. So, what with being on the eighth incarnation of Mario Kart, maybe now is the time to start winding down on older games' tracks. This seems like a good idea, and could have a fifty percent chance of happening. After all, once all the good tracks are used up, it would make sense to stop remaking tracks from that game.
And if that follows chronological release order, MK64's Rainbow Road could be in MK8. But what other tracks come with it? Many would like to see Yoshi Valley included - me as well - but which other? A good choice would be Wario Stadium, since that was mostly corners and had a very stadium-like feel to it. Though others would say use Royal Raceway and have MKDS' version of Wario Stadium instead.
Either way, MK7's Retro course numbers seem like a good idea to use again. So three N64 tracks, one GBA track, and two tracks from both DS and GCN - if, of course, there are to be no SNES tracks in future games.