Creator Shigeru Miyamoto doesn't see much point in fiddling with Mario Kart's mechanics.
"The core of Mario Kart is pretty solid by this point and I think it's safe to have it evolve in a pretty staid and traditional manner," Miyamoto told told Famitsu, as translated by 1UP.
"The basic message here is 'Mario Kart's been powered up for the Nintendo 3DS,' and I think the online upgrades in particular are pretty neat. A lot of time was spent on how to get all the individual components working together -- Wi-Fi and Street Pass, local and Internet play."
That said, Miyamoto wasn't keen on some of the bells and whistles added with this entry.
"I was actually pretty well against some of the customization features of the game, though," he said.
"It can be fun to win money for racing and use it to buy parts and such, but I didn't think that had much to do with the core fun of the series. The idea for that came from the studio staff, though, and my final response was 'If you can build this customization on top of a solid control and gameplay foundation, then go ahead.'"
It sounds as if the lauded designer was happy to take something of a back seat role this time.
"Mario Kart is a pretty stable series, all things considered so production duties were chiefly handled by Hideki Konno while I mostly oversaw the complete picture," he explained.
"With Mario Kart Wii, that included the idea of the steering wheel, and with this one, that included things like the idea of adding hang-gliding stuff to Mario Kart. I make the decisions involving new things to build the gameplay with, in other words."
Mario Kart 7 releases worldwide in early December, exclusively for 3DS.