News Article

Super Smash Bros. Needs A 'Change of Direction'

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Not just about adding new characters

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, 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.


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User Comments (82)



KaiserGX said:

This is what I was saying before about people wanting 50+ characters and don't notice anything about the other changes. That we are looking into the wrong areas of what a good sequel should be.

40 characters?! FAIL no buy. By now in this day and age games should have 120 characters!

I know someone who couldn't enjoy Samurai Showdown because it ONLY had 15 characters.



Aviator said:

But tweets have 140 characters. Pick up your game Smash!

Also, this is why there are multiple releases of fighting games.
They need to be balanced, and when you have a large roster of characters it isn't gonna be balanced.



Lew3107 said:

I only want 45 characters as a maximum. All I'm expecting is seamless online play, good music and a balanced roster. I can hope they change classic mode, all-star mode and target smash back to the way it was in Melee, and bring back board the platforms and race to the finish. I'm not gonna start the character debate because it isn't worth doing!



TwilightV said:

I don't mind an increased number of characters at all, even if they're DLC released over a long period of time. What really needs work are the stages. Maybe throw in some full 3D areas that are like Power Stone (only with a lot more interactive environments).



dizzy_boy said:

i would love to see a change in the battle mode, maybe instead of the the usual left to right stages, thera could be proper arena based levels, maybe even a giant wrestling ring for 50+ battle royals.



Bass_X0 said:

Yeah, I say it should be done like Power Stone too. Smash Bros. in its current form is still an N64 game at heart.



WiiLovePeace said:

That whiteboard picture is amazing But they're working with Namco on this one, right? That means they'll definitely add Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, & Blinky in the next SSB just like they did with Mario Kart Arcade GP haha - insta-buy!



Lew3107 said:

I say keep it as it is. Smash Bros shouldn't have to aspire to be like other fighting games. Keep it at 4 player side-scrolling fights and I'm happy.



DivineStorm said:

I think it should keep a decent sized roster as long as it has characters who are fun to play as and are balanced.



RevolverLink said:

I'm not sure Smash needs to bring something quite as jarring as 3D stages in order to have a nice change in direction (although they may be good as a change of pace in the Adventure mode); I thought the scrambling for Dragoon parts and Smash Balls in Brawl added enough of a Power Stone flavor to the mix while still maintaining the series' own identity.

While 3D arenas aren't on my wishlist, though, elements from Power Stone that I would like to see in the next SSB are an increased focus on interactivity with the stages and more shifting terrain as the battles drag on. Pretty much every Smash stage has some form of obstacles and/or gimmicks to separate themselves from each other, and there have even been a few auto-scrolling levels, but few of them have taken the idea of a dynamic, constantly changing battlefield to the same degree that Power Stone 2 did. I feel like there could be some untapped potential there.

This just reminds me that we need a new Power Stone game, pronto. It's too bad Capcom left it for dead a long time ago; there really isn't another fighting series quite like it right now.



ShellyDeKiller said:

To be honest, I'm hoping for less characters. Even if Brawl is one of my favourite games ever, the large amount of characters, several of them unfit for competition (Pit, Meta Knight), I'd much rather have a well-rounded experience instead of a large amount of characters for the sake of it.



OorWullie said:

I am going to predict we will be seeing Mii's in this game,whether they be in the main game or in a different game mode.Smash Mii?Ringo Starr Mii Vs Ms Pacman may finally be possible.



NintyMan said:

Sakurai's right as far as new characters go. Although a big roster would be nice, there would be moveset issues and then you would also have to do a lot more collecting in order to get the trophies for each character.

As long as a change of direction doesn't get too radical, it should refresh things. All I want is better online, a better Adventure Mode, and better stages along with another big collection of music. Smash Bros. nuggets like this that Sakurai tosses out will come and go from now until release, so we'll have to get comfortable. Maybe there might be a new Smash Bros. Dojo?



Dynetheous said:

The main characters along with 10 or so new characters and a few returning characters would be good. total characters 25 and one super secret character to make it 26



Drewciffer said:

Naw! More characters! I don't give a damn about competition, i just wanna see my favourite characters duke it out!



Wheels2050 said:

I'd agree with him. I think more characters for the sake of more characters isn't a good thing. If more are brought in to cover different play styles and the like then that's fine, but you really don't want to have too many characters that are effectively reskins. Also, balance is important and becomes exponentially more difficult to achieve with more characters.

It's good he's aware of that!



RevolverLink said:

Keep in mind that just because the head count may not be higher doesn't mean we won't be seeing new characters. There are plenty of clones than can be axed in favor of characters that will actually play differently and represent different series.

I mean, honestly, how many people would complain if we never saw Wolf again?



ZurrrrBlattTron said:

Put in palentuna with a kid Icarus moveset (like how in the anime she equipped claws) let her change her weapons so that way she adapt to certain situations that's all I want In the next smash and it will be a instant buy for me



komicturtle said:

Those who say Lucas is a clone of Ness probably did not spend enough time playing the game to realize the two have major distinct differences. Now, Toon Link is another story- he should have had the Deku Leaf, Skull Hammer and Bombchus items. Hopefully his moveset is changed.

Falco is fine as is (again, he is distinct from Fox in Brawl compared to Melee). Ganondorf can have his moveset more varied (possibly sword use) but he's certainly different from Falcon- prefer him anyhow. So, basically, clone characters are nearly nonexistant in Brawl.

Its easy to look at things superficially. But investing as much time as I did in Brawl, I can feel the difference between these "clone" characters.

Hope no characters are removed. Adding 10 more to bring up to 50 should be enough. And since 3DS and WiiU are capable of patching, going back to patch and balance the roster shouldn't be a problem.



rjejr said:

One game mode I'ld REALLY like to see them add is teams. Why do I need 10 lives for Mario to fight 10 lives of Bowser? Nintendo is the company that brought us Pokemon. Let me pick 10 characters and a friend pick 10 and let us go at it. They already have a screen menu set-up for this in Mario Super Sluggers when you pick 9 players for each team. You also play as a team in Subspace Emmissary when each time a character dies he is replaced by a new one. The ability to swap the characters in and out at will would be an extra bonus but would probably only work w/ a team limit of 4 per side.



MrWezzle said:

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if this "change of direction" meant aiming for a more competitive Smash Bros. game. Fighting games have seen a huge increase in popularity, and they're still very much on the rise. Smash Bros.' viability as a fighter has always been questioned, and that's why it's never shown up at big tourneys. I think Nintendo would do well to at least include mechanics that allow for high-level, versatile play, while still making the game very much accessible to anyone who just wants to sit and duke it out with their friends.

For years now we've heard the clamor that Melee was superior to Brawl in every way. I personally prefer Brawl very much over Melee, but I do see the reasoning behind those complaints. For Smash to take itself more seriously couldn't be a bad thing. I don't think we have to worry about radical changes, it's still going to feel like a Smash Bros. game. But it's time for Sakurai and friends to show just what a polished, technically brilliant Smash Bros. game can be. It's time for Smash to get dat RESPECT.



FonistofCruxis said:

I hope there are a lot of first and third party characters added but other aspects of the gameplay are important too and it will be interesting to see how things are changed in this next entry.



Haxonberik said:

Please, just Pac-man and maybe one character from another of their series, from Namco Bandai. And keep Sonic, please, I don't want to see the internet crowded with fake ways to get him again. Then you could remove Falco/Wolf and Toon Link (because they'll most surely change to the toonish SS Link) and add some five new, interesting characters and I´ll be fine.



TingLz said:

Meanwhile, other blogs and "news sites" say that this new Smash won't feature new characters at all! The internet sure is hirarious



Kyloctopus said:

Even with 35 characters, the game feels unfair Meta Knight is super strong, in every way and Donkey Kong's Final Smash is terrible.



EvansLegends said:

Brawl had an awesome cast of characters; it'd be best if the team simply refined our 35 current characters. Maybe a few extra would be nice, but there's plenty of other content that can add to the game, like new stages, new items, new stadium modes, new collectibles, all sorts of things. Also, having to do EVERY game mode with a huge roster would get tedious.

Notice how I didn't say better online; (not because I don't want it) that's because I'd rather invite friends over and share some laughs in the living room together. I think you'd get more out of SSB4 if you had real people to fight in person. I think that's how Sakurai envisioned the game.



TanookiMike said:

I'd rather have diverse characters than many characters.

They should pull from different franchises before creating four characters from the same series again, and give more unique play styles.



Gretski said:

I really don't care how many characters they put in the game as long as they're good. It's quality not quantity.



Handy_Man said:

We need 6 player matches, people! 4 regular controllers, 2 Wii U GamePads, 1 crazy and hectic match.



WingedSnagret said:

I say take out a few characters from the more rounded out franchises (i.e. Wolf and Toon Link), replace them with more unfamiliar ones, likely ones that were already Assist Trophies (such as Little Mac, Saki, Lyn, and others), and add another character or two on top of that to make the roster at least 40-50 or so, then just focus on the music, stages, and (a hopefully awesome) Story Mode.



Emaan said:

Very excited that change is coming to the series, hopefully its not too extreme though. I trust Sakurai's judgement, so I'm sure this will be an excellent game just like the other three games.



MetalMario said:

I would love online to actually work for me, I never finished a game because I was always getting kicked out.

Love Brawl anyway, I still played it a lot, and the same will be said for the next one.



DarkKirby said:

Thing the game needs. Meter for super attacks rather then relying on Smash Balls to appear near you. Can fall faster, Brawl is too floaty, slow. Stages are larger and do stuff, Brawl has way too many stages that are scenic tours and do nothing else. Why is it everyone's best air attack is BEHIND them in the air? It makes everyone have to jump backwards at people, which is stupid. Online DOESN'T suck. In general, REMOVE ANTI-COMPETITIVE MECHANICS and PUNISH RAGE QUITTERS in a competitive ladder mode, but have lobbies players can make and play casual games in.



MasterGraveheart said:

Worst case scenario: No new characters, just new movesets.

Although, I do think characters like Gannondorf, most Fire Emblem, and most Star Fox characters do need them.

And there are still many Nintendo-party characters I'd like to see, like Dixie Kong, Krystal, Little Mac, and Lyn.



Onett said:

Pfft... Nintendo is the king of playing it safe. Expect to see a similar character roster with all of the cast from Brawl with some new objectives and special moves assigned to (what would function as) the C-Stick. I wouldn't be surprised if they mainlined the HP mode. That would change everything.



SilverBaretta said:

I like how Kirby is the largest character in the doodle. Don't worry Sakurai, we know you love your creation.



Cia said:

Brawl is already almost a perfect game done with the old formula. Now they should make the game in 3d, in a way that you can freely move inside stages. For this purpose most of the stages should be bigger and act as playgrounds, a bit like in Super Mario 64.



FriedSquid said:

I really like Sakurai's drawing style, especially the way he draws dem eyes. He ought to do the artwork for the game.

Oh yeah and a new direction is good too.



aaronsullivan said:

Only requirement: Fun to play.
The last one was the "add more" kind of sequel, glad he's thinking "new direction" now.



Henmii said:

A change of direction could be fantastic if done right! And Namco Bandai could bring that breath of fresh air! Hopefully everything will end up nice!!



lanabanana said:

I want Princess Rosalina! D'X whines like a little kid XD Oh and i think they should give us the option to play as our Mii character. That would be so cool! XP



kyuubikid213 said:

As for the characters feeling unique, I think they did fairly well with that in Brawl. I mean, besides Captain Falcon and Ganondorf, all of the other characters seemed pretty unique and playing as each character felt like I had to learn the controls all over again! It was great because you had to be skilled with someone in order to win. If he's going to make any changes, the only things I really expect are more modes...and I don't even really need that! The combat's great, the stages are excellent, the mode selection already available is vast...what else can you do besides add more characters and stages along with a nice HD coat of paint?




It needs more modes. Board the platforms and race to the finish need to come back, and target smash, classic and all-star need to be randomized again. Also, I'd like a team battle like in Tekken Tag 1, where you can choose 5 characters to fight 5 others, and when a character dies, another is switched in 'til you run out.

As far as the roster goes, I'm happy at 45 max. I want Lucario & Toon Link gone, Ganondorf, Falco, Wolf & Lucas to have new movesets and Takamaru, Shulk, Little Mac, Matthew, Isa, Zoroark, Lloyd & Mega Man in. Oh, and no Miis and no more Mario or Zelda characters. Forget Rosalina, this isn't Mario Kart, we don't need more Toon clones, and Ghirahim is dead. I have a hunch Miis would have preset moves, which would just be lame. And God, please no Pac-Man!

Finally, online. I want online to have the HUD of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 - something Namco Bandai worked on - where you have a little fighter card with a username, Win to Loss ratio, KO to Falls ratio and a disconnection rate, maybe even info on whether or not they're frequent spammers etc. It needs to have Singles, Handicap, Doubles & Free for All battle modes, all in either time, stock or coin modes, along with maybe the team idea I wrote further up, and all should be able to be played with friends or strangers. Online co-op adventure, boss battle, home-run contest, challenge & multi man modes wouldn't be bad with friends either. I'm not bothered about spectator mode, it was nice, but if it doesn't return I wouldn't complain. Lastly, it needs voice chat with friends! And fix the connection speeds, dammit!



grimbldoo said:

The only characters from Namco that I think will be added would be characters from the tales series (I would love to play as Emil or Loyd) because they don't have to copy any move-set from characters existent in any of the SSB games. Arcade characters like Pac-Man would just be a joke. Seriously, what are they going to bring to the table?



grimbldoo said:

Little Mac would be cool as a playable character . It's good to see someone else realizes that Pac-Man only has, if even at all, Assist Trophy potential, just have him snake around the arena with ghost and any contact deals damage, if he eats a big ball, insta-kill, yeah, that would actually work nicely.

Tag team would be interesting, it will give us a chance to show how well rounded we can be with multiple characters, and also this way you could play with more than 4 players, you die and switch out, kinda like what we already have but faster (I do love stamina matches).




@grimbldoo Yes, join the army against Pac-Man ;P But seriously, what can he do? Even since they gave him legs (which made me lose all respect for him), he still does nothing. SFxT gave him an unnecessary robot; add that to Smash Bros and I'm annoyed.
Lil Mac would be my new main, dude. Namco made Steve Fox in Tekken work, so his moves could sort of be moved onto Mac, but his Final Smash would have to still be the Star Punch. Tag team would prompt you to move away from the same characters, and could create new types of tournaments. I'm so hyped by what Namco can do, I just hope they get it right!



grimbldoo said:

Yes, there is so much potential, lets cross our fingers and hope they get it right.
They should seriously make an official forum for discussion to see what their fans are asking for.



Nintenbro said:

I'm not trying to say Nintendo should transform the Super Smash Bros. series into a Mario Party type of game, but maybe they could add in some type of minigames inbetween matches like there are in Super Street Fighter titles. With Miiverse nearing upon us, I believe there's a good chance we might just see some cross-platform Nintendo Network connection between the 3DS and WiiU version.



WaxxyOne said:

"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"

I applaud this part of Sakurai's quote in particular, and his willingness to be frank with the demanding fanbase that just wants everything to be bigger and flashier. It is much better for a team to work on an amount of content — whether that's stages, music, characters, or something else — which is manageable, and make a great polished game, than it would be if they just kept throwing things in without putting the appropriate level of thought and effort into it. I am confident that whatever direction they take the series in, the result will be a fun game, and hopefully much better due to the restraint they're excercising in defiance of the loudest (but not most numerous) fans.

Can't wait to see what the next entry is going to look like, but I know it'll be awesome.



WaxxyOne said:


So.... Target Attack isn't a minigame that takes place between matches? I'm confused by your statement.



Percentful said:

I prefer a balanced game over a giant one. Fun fact: from July 2011 to April 2012, Meta Knight was used 1669 times in tournaments, while Ganondorf was used only 37 times. That's the extreme, but it goes to show how unbalanced the game is. Unless you're some sort of prodigy, to have a chance in a real tournament, you can't just pick whatever fun character you want, you have to pick one of the 9 or so characters that are "viable". There may as well not be 35 characters if it only pays off to learn 9. While talent is still the ultimate decider, often times character selection can have a bigger impact on who wins. I don't think that's how a fighting game should be, especially if it wants to be fun for both tournament and casual environments.



danschemen said:

i wouldn't mind a new direction but i never really got to play ssbb online since online was garbage, so i wouldn't mind a more classic approach to see how my skills compare with the world online.



Akely said:

I wish that they could input an online mode where you can make the room more accessible (Stocks, items,etc.) Without having to add them as a friend. Or something like that...And I can see a lot of Fire Emblem people coming tell you the truth.



WOLFER said:

It needs to be competive.... yes casual play will be there also but it just needs to have good competive gameplay as well...



BulbasaurusRex said:

I read that article a month ago. I should be receiving my next issue of Nintendo Power any day now. Give us some current news.



FluttershyGuy said:

As long as they wouldn't make the ENTIRE game like that, I wouldn't mind 3D stages. Or more done Donkey Kong Country Returns-style with interactive backgrounds (which has been done with SSB). However, it'd seriously turn me off if this turns into Super Tekken Bros. Tekken's is probably my least favorite fighting system.



Luffymcduck said:

They should make different characters for both 3DS and WiiiU versions, about same amount of characters we saw in Brawl each. Not that all characters need to be different in both versions, but it would be nice to see more different Nintendo characters in it that are balanced. Oh well, as long as I have Falco and it´s one of the best characters in the game I´m happy.



-KwB- said:

Hmm .. Really NOT trusting Namco Bandai in producing such a big game. HAL Laboratory was just fine .. and the gameplay is the one that makes it so amazingly good.



Gridatttack said:

How about redoing the character roster,not using a character that has already appeared? (however, keep the original 8 from the n64)
It would leave space for new characters and would add variety if they don't want to add more slots for characters.



Lalivero said:

A Pikmin as a playable character? Now that will be interesting to see, haha. Hopefully Shantae is allowed to join the roster.



Korbin64 said:

They should take the characters that are almost identical (Captain Falcon and Gannon) and kind of make it like a color change. That way all of our favorite characters can join without taking up too much data (possibly). Now that would be cool!

I kind of wish that they would make Ghirahim a playable character, though...



grimbldoo said:

@Korbin64 #78
No, they just need to make fine tuned adjustments, add more original moves, they can use certain references to in game events for moves, when capcom used Phoenix Wright he attacks were sneezing, coughing (both references to when you defended him while he was still in college), the "objection" finger, and some other things.



AG_Awesome said:

I can't believe what I'm reading. If people want a major fighting game go buy street fighter or tekken or mortal kombat. Smash bros appeal to me is the roster and the simple moves. I don't want some bs combo system that requires fifty inputs to do a punch!!



Marioman64 said:

@AG_Awesome amen to that. Nintendo PLEASE don't do another "Mario Party 9." You completely threw off one series by ripping what made it fun out with a rusty spork, don't do it again with Smash Brothers. a random side note "spork" does not seem to be in firefox's auto-correct dictionary



Teaqq2 said:

They better have Luigi, Falco, and Ganondorf or I'll flip (especially over Luigi)!

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