Nintendo gamers with a fondness for the Super Smash Bros. series can now rest easy as night. Masahiro Sakurai, alongside Namco Bandai, is on the case and directing his full attention to the game. Considering the fact that development hadn't even started when the next entry was announced for Wii U and 3DS, we should be grateful for that fact alone.
Talk is now beginning on what the new title will do to move the series forward, and it seems that some believe more characters should be added, as was the case with the GameCube and Wii titles. Sakurai, however, has told Nintendo Power magazine (via nintendoeverything.com), that the development won't be focused simply on expanding the roster and giving more of the same.
It isn’t a matter of ‘if the next game has 50 characters, that’ll be enough.’ There is a certain charm to games that have huge casts of playable characters, but they tend to have issues with game balance and it becomes very difficult to fine-tune each character and have them all feel distinctive…. In terms of quantity, we’ve probably already reached the limit of what’s feasible. I think a change of direction may be what’s needed.
It's important to note that Sakurai isn't saying there there won't be new characters, but that a change of direction is needed. That could mean new game modes, or perhaps some of the 'clone' characters being replaced with new, distinctive fighters. We've a long wait ahead of us, so we may as well wait and see.
Sakurai has released a whiteboard doodle, meanwhile, that shows a number of characters that may — in some cases definitely will — make an appearance. We've included the image in this article, of course.