While we saw some nice footage during E3, there's still relatively little known about the new Super Smash Bros. titles that we'll see on Wii U and 3DS. We know that Mega Man and The Villager will be new characters, and that each version will have its own platform-specific stages, while some potential — but in all likelihood limited — connectivity will be possible between systems.
With a loose 2014 release window, it's a game that could still be over a year away, and that's certainly the impression given by iconic developer Masahiro Sakurai in an interview with IGN. Specifics clearly aren't on the agenda right now; Sakurai explains how data transferring on 3DS (we assume via StreetPass and SpotPass) is "something we want to take advantage of – without going into too much detail.” It's an interview where priorities are confirmed and basic principles outlined, without any firm details.
Sakurai has explained that patching could be on the agenda if characters are found to be unbalanced in the final product, even after extensive pre-release play-testing. There's a desire to utilise the improved Nintendo Network online capabilities, and to ensure that online multiplayer doesn't evolve into a "ranking pyramid" where "only the people at the very top can enjoy it." Following up on hints already dropped, Sakurai also explained that customisation would be considered, but not to the detriment of character balance.
We’re planning for a level of customization to some degree and in some form. It’s not completely decided at this point. But it’s very important to point out that we do this in a careful way that doesn’t affect the strength and balance of the characters. One thing we’d like to do is to be able to customize the direction of attacks. But not give characters a stronger jump or a stronger or weaker attack. You can consider customizations like that possible.
Quite simply Melee was something that was targeted more towards hardcore, advanced players. With Wii, on a platform where you were getting experiences like Wii Fit and there was an audience that tilted slightly more towards beginning players, we slowed down the gameplay. This time around, we don’t see a situation where we’ll be encountering as many beginning players, and so as far as the speed and the feel of the game, I think you could say confidently that we’re targeting something right in between those two versions.
Do you like Sakurai's suggestion that the new titles will fall somewhere between Melee and Brawl in style, and are you encouraged by his comments on patching and balancing characters? We certainly are, and also hope that customisation options will be suitably wacky, without distorting balance, of course.