Mario Kart 7's clan-like Communities feature, which lets players interact and race together online without the need to exchange Friend Codes, was originally planned to be a part of the Nintendo 3DS' firmware.
The game's director, Kosuke Yabuki, revealed in a new Iwata Asks interview that Mario Kart 7's social features were based around capabilities once intended to be part of the console's operating system.
"At first, we wanted to include a feature where friends could gather like this directly on Nintendo 3DS, but schedule-wise it was tight and wouldn't fit," Yabuki revealed. "So I said, 'I'll do it with Mario Kart 7.' Having said that, I knew I had to think of something and drew a rough plan on a big sheet of paper."
Mario Kart 7 features Xbox Live-style online interaction, with gamers able to look up and interact with players they have recently met online without the need to swap cumbersome Friend Codes.
Using the Communities system, gamers can also set custom racing rules, such as only allowing one weapon type.
"You can limit the ways items appear," Yabuki continued, "like having a race in which only bananas appear. After three laps, there are bananas everywhere! (laughs) You can play a different way than ever before."
It's not the first time Nintendo has admitted the 3DS launched without all of its intended features. Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime previously said the company had "learned" from the handheld's fumbled release, when it launched lacking its online eShop marketplace.