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Prerelease:Mario Kart Wii

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This page details prerelease information and/or media for Mario Kart Wii.

To do:
  • Compare all menu text (for all languages shown) to the final release.
  • Maybe add all SHIELD/IQue version info available.


Development History

MKWii E3 screenshot1.png
E3 2007
First appearence of the game.
Fall Press Conference 2007
Second appearence of the game, with the reveal of bikes.
MKWii Prerelease license screen.jpg
GDC 2008
Third appearence of the game, with many HUD differences.

In-game Prerelease Content

Course Banners
Earlier versions of the courses found in the banners of the Rankings menu!
MKWii Koopa Cape CSS Video Unused Flags.png
In-game Videos
Early footage found in several of the in-game videos!

Development Timeline

  • 2005
    • Hideki Konno decides to name the new Mario Kart game "Mario Kart X". The name was then rejected some time later after knowing that Super Smash Bros. Brawl in Japan would be called "Smash Bros. X".[1]
  • 2006
    • Near the end of 2006 - Kenichiro Ashida gets a call from Hideki Konno, telling him that he was thinking about making a steering wheel for the Wii.[1]
  • 2007
    • Early 2007 - Kenichiro Ashida plays a pre-production build of Mario Kart Wii with a prototype wheel previously prepared by Hideki Konno, and thinks that it has potential.[1]
    • July 11 - Mario Kart Wii was officially announced by Reggie Fils-Aime at Nintendo's E3 press conference, alongside the Wii Wheel peripheral (and how it will be sold packaged with the game), with the first quarter of 2008 set as the estimated release date. This trailer was shown in the conference, while three additional screenshots were posted in Nintendo's official E3 website[2] and in Nintendo's E3 2007 Online Press Kit.[3]
    • August 30 - course.0 was created.
    • October 10 - Nintendo had their Fall Press Conference in which they revealed motorbikes.
    • November 5 - dummy.rsca was created.
  • 2008
    • February 15 - The final American boxart is revealed.[4]
    • February 19-29 - Ghost metadata confirms that the games staff ghosts were created during this period. This means that the physics engine and track design were final as well.
    • February 20 - GDC 2008 takes place, with 178 new screenshots of the game released[5], as well as a brand new trailer. The European release date is revealed to be April 11th.[5]
    • March 13 - Mario Kart Channel metadata confirms that the final build of the Japanese, European and American versions of Mario Kart Wii was likely created.
    • April 3 - Mario Kart Wii Iwata Asks was released.
    • April 10 - Mario Kart Wii released in Japan.
    • April 11 - Mario Kart Wii released in Europe.
    • April 27 - Mario Kart Wii released in the Americas.
    • July 17 - Mario Kart Channel metadata confirms that the final build of the Korean version of Mario Kart Wii was likely created.
  • 2009
    • April 30 - Mario Kart Wii released in South Korea.

Concept Art

To do:
Translate the rest of the text, and compare the text in the game screenshots to that of the final game

MKWii-LuigiCircuit - Concept Art.png

Early Concept Art for Luigi Circuit shows that there was originally a Blooper Blimp as well as a Cheep Cheep Blimp.

MKWii-DryDryRuins - Concept Art.png

Dry Dry Ruins's Concept Art shows that the track almost completely changed during development. The oasis is much larger in this version, and the ruins themselves have a sort of "Boobytrapped" vibe. Mii Heads were planned to appear on a bunch of objects (The sphynx, mummy statues, wall paintings and some thwomp like object). But in the final game, the only place a Mii could appear was on the sphynx's head.

MKWii-Bikes ConceptArt.png

Concept art for several bikes. There are early designs for the スーパーカメック (Sūpā Kameku, translated to Super Kamek) which would end up being the Magikruiser in the final game, and the Quacker. The two scrapped bikes were based off of a MechaKoopa, called the メカクッパ DX (mekakuppa DX, translated to Mechakoopa DX), and a bike based off of Lakitu's cloud known as the スカイツイスター (Sky Twister).

MKWii ConceptArt ToadFactory Pillar.jpg

This shows concept art for the pillars that transform bricks into item boxes from Toad's Factory.
Originally, the bottom of the pillar had a 5 point star, instead of 4 like in the final game. In addition, a small yellow structure was added in the final game in the place where the grey pillar and the red cilinder connect.

MKWii ConceptArt Magikruiser Mii.jpg

This shows concepts for Baby Mario in the Magikruiser, and the Torpedo bike. On the left, we can see what appears to be a Mii in a racing outfit. While it looks like the Outfit A from the final version, the concept shows the body with 2 colors, red and blue (including red shoes). In the final game, the whole body is of one color (depending on the Mii's favorite color), and the shoes are always grey.

MKWii ConceptArt 3DRenders.jpg

These might have been concepts for some of the 3D artwork renders, featuring Luigi on (what appears to be) the Standard Bike M, Peach on the Mach Bike, and Donkey Kong on a kart (possibly the Flame Flyer).
The front piece where the logo appears on Luigi's Standard Bike M is round in the concept art, but squared in the final game. Donkey Kong's kart looks very rudimentary in the art.

Unknown Exact Date

Japanese Trailer 1

To do:
  • The date of this trailer seems to be at least late March 2008 ([source])
  • This trailer switches between the early LAP and TIME graphics and the final ones
  • At 0:17
    • The multiplayer camera is much closer to the characters
    • Slightly different Fake Item Box color gradient?
  • At 2:35, the game seems to lag a little bit, is it possible to recreate this in the final version under the same conditions?

  • At 2:41 the sound that a friend has an open room is lower pitched.
    • When a friend opened a room, and the "Friends" button wasn't selected in the main WFC menu, in the early version said button showed a frozen purple outline. In addition, when selecting the button, the face icon didn't blink originally.
  • At 2:49 we can see early icons and banners for the Mario Kart Channel. Including an unused question mark icon (which is still present in the final game's data), and an early icon for the Ghost Race mode (in which Mario's head was originally the same as the one from him riding his kart in the Home Menu banner). The Home Menu icon that is used to indicate a tournament has started is the same graphic as the one that can be seen in the letter that is sent to the console when all the cups are beaten.
    • When zooming in to show the Mario Kart Channel banner, the copyright text looks the same way it does in the title screen of the game (white letters with black outline) for a few frames, until the camera fully zooms in the channel.

Japanese Trailer 2 and 3

These trailers seem to show the characters using different voice clips.

Wii + Internet Videos

Remember when YT had a little indifferent face when a video went down? TCRF remembers.
This page or section has one or more broken YouTube links.
Please find an archived version of the video(s) or a suitable replacement.
German (Website) Japan (Channel)
Europe Spanish (Website) Europe French (Channel)

Across different points of time, Nintendo shared various videos showing the Internet capabilities of the Wii, both online in their official websites and also as part of a Wii channel.

At around the end of each video, a few seconds of gameplay are shown, featuring very little differences. In most instances, the "LAP" graphic looks more stretched than in the final game, just like in the GDC 2008 footage. However, this seems to be from a later build, given how the tagname line appears to be just like in the final version (with the end of it being semi-transparent instead of opaque).

These videos also show early versions of the "LAP" graphics for every language the game supports (except for Italian). Just like with the English counterpart, these lap graphics look noticeably more stretched.

These early lap graphics could also be seen in various other TV commercials.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14] A build containing this early version of the graphic seems to have been sent to videogame journalists shortly before the game's release.[15]

Korean Trailer

At 1:48 and 3:50, the item wheel sound effect is missing.

Hobonichi Footage

In 2008, the company of Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun (aka Hobonichi) created a webpage dedicated to Mario Kart Wii[16][17], which was sponsored by Nintendo. A few screenshots were exclusively shared in their website, 1101.com.
Judging from the early tagname design and how it isn't color-coded on Team matches, these screenshots may be from a build similar to the one shown at GDC 2008. These screenshots also have the early TIME graphic from that build as well.

4 Player Multiplayer Balloon Battle

MKWii Prerelease Battle 2 1101 com.jpg

  • The score dash and number graphics were originally smaller and positioned closer to the minimap. Both numbers were also a bit closer to the dash.
  • The score numbers at the corner on each player's screen was originally a bit thinner. It was also placed slightly more upwards than in the final version.
  • The frame of the square graphic that holds the item used to have a slightly different shade of red for the Red Team, similarly to how the Blue Team's variant had a different shade of blue on GDC 2008 (also seen below).
  • The line that separates the 1st and 2nd player with the 3rd and 4th player was seemingly thicker.

2 Player Multiplayer Coin Runners

MKWii Prerelease Battle 1101 com.jpg

  • Mario's Red Standard Bike M does not have a handle, and the front tire is missing. Its shadow looked seemingly blockier as well. This actually matches with the unused version of the vehicle that was left in the files. In fact, given how said unused version was likely meant to be used by CPUs (or by human players when seen from another players's perspective) in multiplayer matches, the model on the screenshot may be in fact the exact same one that was left in the final game's files.
  • Much like above, the score dash and number graphics were originally smaller, and both numbers were also a bit closer to the dash. In addition, the second digit of each number was closer to the first digit.
  • The minimap model was originally more offset to the right.
  • The red number "1" graphic was slightly brighter, and the blue number "3" was a bit smaller.
  • The sides of the coins that are seen above the player's current score number originally had a bit darker shading.

Mario Kart Wii Manual

The manual of the game[18] features screenshots with some UI differences not seen anywhere else:

MKWii Manual Prerelease Image1.jpg

In online modes, in the screen that shows all players found after searching, the game mode wasn't originally printed in the upper left corner. In addition, the Mii icons were positioned slightly higher in the early version.

MKWii Manual Prerelease Image2.jpg

The course voting screen in online modes didn't show the racing flag model in the background.

MKWii Manual Prerelease Image3.jpg

Many screenshots in the manual also show how the "Back" button graphic was seemingly thinner.

MKWii Manual Prerelease Image4.jpg

In the license screen of the Mario Kart Channel, the button on the lower left part of the screen originally said To the Wii Menu instead of simply Wii Menu. The licenses also seem to be positioned slightly closer together.

MKWii Manual Prerelease Image5.jpg

On the Mario Kart Channel version of the Friends screen, the Mii originally looked darker (similar to how they looked in the license selection screen in GDC 2008). In addition, the "Find a Friend" and "Register a Friend" buttons were originally positioned lower, leaving a big empty space on top of the screen. It's likely this is because the developers removed the "Create Room" button from this version of the menu, but didn't reposition the rest of the buttons yet.

mariokart.com Footage

MKWii early competition pic.png

This image shows Mario driving in the GCN Waluigi Stadium competition/tournament. The differences include the lack of score numbers, smaller "SCORE" text and also the fact that the dots that represent the rings position in the minimap look smaller and darker, similar to an earlier screenshot of competition/tournament mode from GDC 2008.

MKWii early rankings screen pic.png

This screenshot shows most of the differences seen in other images of the Ranking menu shared at GDC 2008. Aside of that, the shading of the Miis looks much brighter (similar to how it looked in one of the game's videos).

Original Edited to be wider
MKWii default globe pos prerelease.png MKWii default globe pos wide prerelease.png

In this image, a Mii is placed in the coordinates (0,0) (latitude/longitude), which is impossible to achieve in the final game, since there's no region set on the Wii that has such coordinates.
In addition, the bubbles where the friend Miis appear in the upper part of the image seem to have a different design.

Unknown Exact Source

Early Spanish UI

MKWii Early Spanish UI.jpg MKWii Prerelease Spanish Multiplayer UI.jpg

The º in the number 10 was originally placed a bit lower (in the same position as the "e" in the same graphic from the French translation), and the period was much closer to the 0, overlapping it (in the same position as in the German translation).
The lap graphic also looks more stretched, like in the Wii + Internet videos (see above).


Luigi Circuit's 3rd Version

The picture that you receive at the end of the game depicts all the characters standing on a podium on Luigi Circuit, but the track itself has some discrepancies from both the final version and the version seen in the pre-release screenshots and the early banner. For some reason here, the signs have became "Mario Kart" signs instead of Nintendo ones, and the Luigi hat is missing. This particular version of the track can also be seen from another angle in this promo poster.

Final Game Credits Image
MKWii LC Final.png MKWii LC Credits.png

Early Version of Coconut Mall

To do:
Upload a "final version" picture for comparison.

MKWii Coconut Mall Reflection Texture 2.png

One of the textures used for reflections (named sh_decoration2.tex0) shows an early version of the part under the second mechanical stairs in the bottom floor:

  • The orange billboard one the right of this image was changed to a "Moo Moo Dairy" billboard in the final version.
  • The stairs that lead to the bottom floor are missing.

NVIDIA Shield TV Version

To do:
Expand info and add sources from the Chinese Nintendo Twitter account, and the interview with one of the NDIVIA devs.

During ChinaJoy 2018, a digital entertainment conference held in China from August 3rd 2018 until August 6th, a version of Mario Kart Wii in Simplified Chinese was announced for the NVIDIA Shield TV, as part of their HD lineup of Wii and GameCube re-releases.
While a Chinese version of Mario Kart Wii never released on the Wii, several leftovers found in the game (primarily in the Korean version) imply that it was in development.

Version-Exclusive Elements

Main Menu Course Selection Screen
MKWii NVIDIA SHIELD TV Footage 2.jpg MKWii NVIDIA SHIELD TV Footage 1.jpg
  • The game has all texts translated into Simplified Chinese. Oddly enough, this also includes some HUD elements (such as the LAP and TIME text seen in races), even though the Japanese and Korean versions use the English variant of those elements.
  • The game appears to be using the same font seen in the Korean version of the game. It's worth noting that the name of the branch the Korean version of the game was developed is called ChinaKorea, which may explain why this version uses the same font. This also implies that the NVIDIA Shield TV version was created from the supposed Chinese build mentioned above.
  • The small button icons were changed to match the NVIDIA Shield TV's controller.
  • The position tracker graphics only consist of the number.
  • The Nintendo WFC and Mario Kart Channel buttons are missing from the main menu. Because of this, the position of the single and multiplayers buttons was changed to the center of the screen.

Reference to Mario Kart Wii inside other released Wii NVIDIA Shield games

All Wii NVIDIA Shield games contain a file called game_specific_asset_locations.ini, inside *_assets.pak/ini (where "*" is the game's abbreviation). This file contains the directory where game specific assets are located inside the developer's computer per-game.

## This INI file tells Lingcod where/how to find *other* INI files!
## Because the game specific assets and INI files are *not* located in
## the Lingcod folders; we need a mechanism to 'know where they are at'
## This INI file handles that.

@include &prelocal					# The '&' is a special symbol which means the 'include' data comes from game specific C++ code


At the end of the file, there's the assets location for the NVIDIA Shield TV version of Mario Kart Wii:


(iQiPack: Tool to extract .pak files from NVIDIA Shield dumps)

Sources and references



Concept Art


Screenshots, videos and other media

Videogame Press Articles


Official Websites

May Contain Prerelease Elements or Developer Interviews

It's exactly unknown whether the following sources have prerelease elements (and/or developer interviews) or not.

  • マリオカートWii 任天堂公式ガイドブック
  • マリオカートWii ザ・コンプリートガイド
  • マリオカートWii カンペキ爆走ガイドブック
  • マリオカートWii 任天堂ゲーム攻略本 (Nintendo DREAM)
  • Nintendo DREAM ニンテンドードリーム/ニンドリ 2008年 5月号 Vol.169
  • Nintendo DREAM ニンテンドードリーム/ニンドリ 2008年 7月号 Vol.171 (Appendix)
  • Official Taiwanese Website
  • NGamer Magazine, Issue 19 (February 2008)