The Mario Kart series is infamous for items like the blue shell, an equalizer which last-place racers can use to disrupt the race entirely.
Konno says that his team adjusts the balance between items "thousands of times, maybe even tens of thousands of times" before they are satisfied. Though items like the blue shell and lightning bolt do have a powerful impact on the game, Konno says they don't reduce Mario Kart 8 to a glorified game of chance.
"We do hear, and a lot of people out there say it, that Mario Kart is all about luck," he said. "That if you're at the front then you'll get hit with a blue shell, so it's all about luck. That feature is not random - it doesn't just happen. There is a lot of adjustment and there is a lot of thought and effort put into that system, and developing it in a way that actually promotes game balance. I would hope people understand that as well."
Mario Kart 8 director Kosuke Yabuki also revealed that the game will feature two Rainbow Road courses: one based on Mario Kart N64's final level, and an all-new course he described as "really spectacular."
You can get a first look at 16 other confirmed tracks as well as our extended impressions in our Mario Kart 8 hands-on preview.