It's widely known at this point that Retro Studios - famed for the Metroid Prime series and for reviving Donkey Kong Country - was recruited by Nintendo to help out on development for the 3DS release of Mario Kart 7. The developer had just wrapped work on Donkey Kong Country Returns and according to environment artist Ted Anderson, many weren't too keen to work on a Mario Kart game.
Speaking to YouTuber KIMI TALKZ, Anderson stated that the team was initially brought in to help Nintendo get over the finish line, but ended up creating entire tracks, which some members were apparently not "super-duper excited" about:
"Initially I think we were supposed to help them finish stuff out and help them get over the finish line. It ended up being where we ended up making more than that; we ended up making entire tracks from scratch. It was kind of funny, because I remember initially that a good deal of the team was kind of not super-duper excited about that, but I was stoked, I was thinking "this is gonna be awesome". Everybody else was kinda like "ok, I guess we're gonna do this", and I'm like "what are you talking about, we're gonna make a Mario Kart game for the 3DS - wow!"
It sounds like the team eventually came around to the idea of assisting Nintendo with Mario Kart 7, giving that Anderson put emphasis on the word 'initially'. What changed for the team is unclear, but it's possible that given the scope of their involvement increased beyond the initial requirement, enthusiasm may have been given a much needed bump.
You can check out the section discussed in the video below, but we'd also recommend watching the whole thing; there are plenty of interesting tidbits held within!
What do you make of Anderson's comments here? Do you think Retro's talents would have been better suited elsewhere? Let us know!
Poor Retro Studios. 8 year's since their last new game. Hopefully they knock it out of the park with MP4.
At least that resulted in making Mario Kart 7 pretty unique and fun.
The shine on retro is starting to fade!
I still wonder why they didn't include a simple single player Vs mode though.
And it shows. MK7 feels quite barebones compared to other games
Sounds like Retro are Nintendo's clean up crew.
@Yosher at least CTGP-7 adds the single player Vs mode 😉
So they were helping Nintendo get MK7 over the finish-line but they got Blue-Shelled.
I've always found MK7 a pretty bland experience, so no surprise to hear that working on it was pretty bland also.
To be fair, this would've been around about the same time they were making Tropical Freeze so it's understandable they would be a bit annoyed about having their resources stretched thin.
The track they made in 7 (DK Jungle) is somewhat ironically one of my least favourite from the game. They didn't do anything wrong, it's a fine enough track, it just felt like 'Donkey Kong Country Returns: The Track' and not much more.
Love Mario Kart 7!
@Fizza What "more" are you expecting from a Mario Kart track?
Retro is better than just working on stuff like that.
Why do these breaks in PR always seem to revolve around Retro? I wonder if Nintendo might regret working with American studios due to all if this candor.
A great game, though, which we still own
.Despite owning no.8 deluxe. The DK track was cool beans.
Me and a group of friends would all bring our 3DS systems to school and play MK7 back then, great times!
How could someone not be excited to work on a Mario Kart game?!? ^_^
Nintendo: Make Mario Kart 7.
Retro Studios: What? This is outrageous, it's unfair!
Why does it feel like Retro is Nintendo’s black sheep?
Every single game they’ve made has been critically acclaimed. Some less than others, but all well received.
Could be the team had another passion project and were suddenly asked to stop and switch gears.
Such a thing can be discouraging.
I'm glad we got DK Jungle in Mario Kart 7. Such a great track. And, of course, I'll never forget it having the best Rainbow Road in franchise history.
Working as a support studio isn't normally as fun as having your own product to work on. Sounds like it ended up being more fun than expected as they got to work on entire tracks.
@Bret I like to see different ideas meshed together in the same track.
Using tracks in 7 as an example, Melody Motorway has you creating music as you drive on instruments AND dodging bouncing music notes. Shy Guy Bazaar has you driving through a street market AND flying past magic carpets. Daisy Hills has you exploring a Dutch-esque village, driving up a mountain before gliding back down through hot air balloons and other houses.
DK Jungle just kind of feels the same throughout: jungle, flower, tiki enemy, jungle, temple, jungle. Compared to the other tracks in the series (and I cannot stress that enough), I just find it meh.
Cannot relate, contributing to a Mario Kart game would be a dream come true.
@Lord How is it fading exactly?
@Sciqueen You think it's barebones because of Retro?
@Chocobo_Shepherd I guess it’s more that they only assisted on it rather than having full direction and creative control. I imagine as an artist it’s a lot less exciting to just help out on somebody else’s game (presumably under a lot of scrutiny from the main developers too) than it is to be at the helm of a project alongside your team.
I liked this game pretty well, it’s only one of three Mario Kart’s that I have played.
@Thomystic I’m sure a similar thing happens in Japan, the thing is we can understand the Americans a lot better
exploring a Dutch-esque village, driving up a mountain
@Fizza Say what? That second part doesn't sound very Dutch...
For what its worth, there are alot of good courses in Mario Kart 7, especially Donkey Kong Jungle.
@larryisaman This is true. Speaking as a former comic book artist, as fun as it is to work on established properties/characters, as a creator, nothing is as exciting as bringing your own ideas to life.
@Fizza As a fan of DK I love that track, it houses so many cool eastereggs and I never get tired of it. It is still in my top 5 even in MK8D. I love the shortcut right before the end and the one right before the temple and the way you can make a clean drift between the tiki's. Also, did I mention the music? Awesome jazzy version!
@NickOfTime90 The music is great, I'll give you that. Very fitting for modern Mario Kart.
@gcunit I’m a fanboy and even I think it’s guff.
Besides DK Jungle, does anybody know the other tracks they developed?
@RobotReptile Apparently they also developed Rosalina's Ice World, but that's just what I got from Googling. Also, they helped with the retro tracks.
I mean, what else would they prefer to work on? If I were a Retro dev I'd have been stoked. One, it's a change of pace from their other games. Two, it stands out on a resume/portfolio. But also it's a freaking Mario Kart game, what developer wouldn't want the opportunity to make official Mario Kart tracks??
@Ade117 good to know, thanks!
Mario Kart 7 is awesome! Easily the best handheld MK imo (if MK8D doesn't count). Some of the best new courses, especially the Rainbow Road and Neo Bowser City.
Crazy one of my favorites in the series. Loved the tracks in the game.
Wow I knew it had been a while but 8 years just sounds ridiculous. I guess they maybe ported Tropical Freeze over in the meantime but that hardly justifies Nintendo even paying them for not have a game out in so long.
Mario Kart 7 was fun at first for me, but it got old pretty quick. I tried to farm coins doing 50 cc races to unlock car parts, but since I am only limited to collecting 10 coins per race, for a grand total of 40 coins maximum per cup, I was spending a LOT of time farming coins.
Plus, I couldn't turn off certain items like the blue shells or lightning bolts, like I could in Super Smash Bros.; those items always wrecked my coin collecting sprees.
Those experiences essentially drove me away from the Mario Kart series altogether. As such, I skipped 8, both on the Wii U and the Switch, and I frankly don't plan to play Mario Kart ever again, as popular as it is for others.
Feel like Retro Studios has gone the way of Rareware, the studio it felt most like replaced Rare once they were sold off. Such a shame!
Why is that ironic?
I mean I would imagine it would be hard to be excited to work on the 7th iteration of what is essentially the exact same game again. I'm sure the CoD team doesn't get excited to crank yet another one of those out either.
@Hero-of-WiiU Ya it's been 8 years, there were rumors that they had a big project shelved by nintendo after 3 years of work. Plus they've been the lead developer for MP4 for another 3 years so that's probably taken up a huge chunk of the last 8 years. The tropical freeze port to switch shouldn't have taken too much resources from them.
If they couldn't get excited about working on Mario Kart then it sounds like some of the staff are in the wrong job..
The game turned out excellent however, I still go back to it every now and then.
what are you bitching about you dont even make games anymore so be glad what you are left with
I can't blame them. Not a fan of Mario kart, or any kart racers, personally.
@SteamEngenius exactly. On top of the genre being a more pop culture or mainstream type game, like a wii sports. I wouldn't be excited for games like that if i was a developer, if i worked at a studio capable of what retro was capable of, especially.
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