The latest Nintendo Direct, admittedly, would have done nothing for those not enamoured with Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series. We suspect, however, that many with a love for Nintendo have at least a passing fondness for the series, albeit we're not all pros that specialise in unpicking the intricacies of move sets and physics. The power of the franchise comes from its absolutely shameless and delightful fan-service, and that it can conceivably be enjoyed by less experienced players happy to button mash as well as brawlers that have skills to pay the bills. We'd suggest that even if the franchise hasn't appealed to you up to now, it's worth considering and anticipating ahead of its arrival this year.
Masahiro Sakurai's Super Smash Bros. Direct, undoubtedly, excited the Nintendo Life community and our team a great deal. It says much for the sheer depth of these titles and their predecessors that 39 minutes positively whizzed by, and at no point did it feel like Sakurai-san was short of subject-matter. In fact, some questions were even left unanswered — including some that we raised beforehand — with more information promised for the future.
As always we want to give you a handy one-stop-shop, a day after the event, to catch all of the most vital information from the stream. This time we'll add a bit of flesh and opinion to the article links, however, while you can click on the titles to see the news articles themselves. On top of that, we've outlined some exciting details that we didn't cover under the 'News' banner after the broadcast, while at the very end you can enjoy the whole thing again.
This was a surprise, but the 3DS version is coming before the Wii U iteration. There had previously been hints and suggestions that the games may not arrive together, yet prior to the broadcast thinking in NL HQ had been that if they weren't going to hit stores at the same time the Wii U would be given priority; not only are the majority of footage videos and Miiverse screens of the home console version, but it's the Wii U that most requires the boost in sales this franchise can deliver. Will the 3DS version arriving first suck momentum and hype away from the HD version? It's possible, to a degree, and we certainly hope that exciting Wii U-exclusive modes — we'll come to 3DS exclusives shortly — will ease the wait and tempt the majority to double dip.
To end on a positive note, however, we'll be playing a new Super Smash Bros. game this Summer, which is terrific news.
We certainly recommend checking out the above article by one of our resident Pokémon experts, and it covers what was a surprisingly prominent role for the franchise in the Direct. It had its own sections in the broadcast, including one that confirmed Master Balls joining Poké Balls, with the former having rare and Legendary 'mon jumping out and into battle; this will include monsters from Pokémon X & Y — Master Ball 'mon such as Xerneas, Arceus, Deoxys, Palkia, Entei, Victini, Kyurem and Keldeo will appear. Poké Ball 'mon will include Eevee, Metagross, Fennekin, Meloetta, Gogoat, Electrode, Meowth and Staryu. Lucario's new Final Smash will incorporate a Mega Evolution, too.
Let's not forget that two new challengers were also confirmed from the iconic franchise, Charizard and Greninja. The franchise will be very noticeable in the new titles, which may even tempt non-adopters of the Game Freak series to take a look at X & Y.
In total five new Challengers were confirmed, including three that have absolutely, positively nothing to do with Pokémon. First of all, it was explained that character's forms will no longer evolve during battle, therefore putting appearances of Zero Suit Samus and Sheik in danger. Thankfully these characters will now appear as separate challengers, with adopted move sets and abilities to match. On top of that Yoshi was confirmed, with its reveal up to now being held back due to preparing a major change in the character — Yoshi now stands more upright, which will impact moves and abilities.
It's an interesting move to give character tweaks formerly part of mid-battle changes their own spots on the roster, but will likely go down well with some that enjoy mastering the intricate details of each fighter. Zero Suit Samus has jet boots, as an interesting change, and a design — in terms of her body shape — reminiscent of her Metroid: Other M, for better or worse.
While we've been aware that the new entries in this series would have online play, we had no idea what that would entail. Sakurai-san has thankfully lifted the lid on two modes that can be enjoyed with friends or in worldwide matches — 'For Fun' and 'For Glory'. The former is catered to all players of varying abilities, with random stages selected, all items and only wins being recorded against your profile. For Glory, meanwhile, is one for dedicated players — it takes place in Final Destination variations of stages, there are no items, 1v1 battles are possible and both wins and losses will go on your record.
Playing with friends will be a feature, naturally, and this mode will allow customisation of items and fight conditions. More details may emerge in future, but these seem like solid core online modes.
One issue with various online games, including Brawl, can be cheating and unsporting conduct from rival players, such as going idle, singling out opponents, self destructing and deliberately dropping out mid-match. Sakurai-san has made clear that a rigorous code of conduct will be applied, including an ability to report other players. Those guilty of not playing in the right spirit could face temporary online bans, while it should also be noted that reporting other users frivolously will be an offence.
While online matchmaking will aim to pitch players of similar abilities together, the Global Smash Power ratings system will be perfect for bragging rights. This accumulates a score based on your progress and performance in the game, including single player modes, and the rating shows you how many players you've bested — in other words, the higher your number the better you are. It could be hugely satisfying to know you're a stronger player than hundreds of thousands of others, just for confidence if nothing else.
These features are typical of Nintendo's approach of encouraging fair play but also rewarding good performance in a positive way — the focus is on doing well and achieving, with a style that draws attention away from any negative perceptions. If the online code of conduct is enforced properly, meanwhile, it could be invaluable.
Aside from unique stages, it's becoming clear that the 3DS and Wii U will have other key differences. One that's been revealed is the local multiplayer mode — online is notably not mentioned in the broadcast or accompanying press releases — on 3DS called Smash Run, which won't appear on Wii U. Up to four players are dropped into a large, dungeon-like area and must explore, fight Subspace Army units and find power-ups and items. Players will all be in the area at this point, though Sakurai-san emphasized that this isn't the point for getting into fights, but grabbing those items and abilities — these include boosts to speed, jumping ability, normal attack power, special attack power, and throwing power. After five minutes in this area players are then taken into a standard brawl, but with the bonuses and buffs gathered in the first area now applied to their characters.
Inspired by the City Trial mode of Kirby Air Ride, this does look like fun, with the pre-battle environments also looking diverse and full of platforming elements. The different environments and enemies, as well as the ability to use items in the pre-battle area, should give this a sense of organised chaos, and with like-minded friends in the same room could be a blast. We can see this being a favourite at meet-ups where we're all soaking up StreetPass hits and keen for some portable gaming.
A 'technical' detail handled early-on, unsurprisingly given the fact the 3DS version is arriving first, was to address the actual performance on the handheld. It seems that after early days in the system lifespan of games typically running at 30fps (frames per second) in stereoscopic 3D, titles such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds how shown that a gloriously smooth 60fps is possible with 3D enabled.
Super Smash Bros. will be included, thanks to an "efficient" engine that Sakurai-san and his team at Bandai Namco have put together. It's clever on a technical level, as the fighters themselves will run at 60 frames while other elements — such as assist-trophy characters running rampage — will be moving at 30 frames. This is no doubt to ensure that the animations that matter are as smooth as possible, with footage shown looking impressive despite YouTube being locked at, yep, 30fps.
Stages, Items, Trophies and More
We chose our news article subject matter fairly carefully, but below are loads of details we left out that may be of interest.
- The 3DS version will have two tracks per stage, whereas on Wii U there will be a "treasure trove" of tracks in the My Music section.
Mysterious Special Moves
- We were told to expect Custom Move Sets, which allow you to change special moves and give "added nuance" to your fighter. They can't be used in online matches with random opponents, but can be utilised in locally or in online friend matches. More will apparently be revealed in the future.
Boss Character Appearances
- We were shown the Yellow Devil boss in the Dr. Wily stage, which all characters can fight when it appears. Its weak spot is its eye, but the player with last definitive hit gains an explosion that acts as an attack on all other players. That's one example, with Ridley teased and more to be revealed in future.
Confirmed 3DS Stages:
- Reset Bomb Forest
- 3D Land
- Spririt Train
- Gerudo Valley
- Arena Ferox
- Tortimer Island
- Living Room
- Prism Tower
- Rainbow Road
- Find Mii
- Balloon Fight
- Jungle Japes
Confirmed Wii U Stages:
- Mario Galaxy
- Town and City
- Boxing Ring
- Pilot Wings
- Windy Hill
- Garden of Hope
- Wii Fit Studio
- Palutena’s Temple
- Beam Sword
- Smart Bomb
- Motion-Sensor Bomb
- POW block
- Fire Bar
- Back Shield
- Fairy Bottle
- Ore Club
- X Bomb
- Hocotate Bomb
- Rocket Belt
- Steel Diver
Confirmed Assist Trophies:
- Knuckle Joe
- Saki Amamiya
- Dr. Wright
- Skull Kid
- Mother Brain
- Dark Samus
- Chain Chomp
- Elec Man
- Color TV-Game 15
- Tiki (Fire Emblem Series)
- Fi (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)
- Pseudo-Palutena (Kid Icarus: Uprising)
- King Kihunter (Metroid series)
Confirmed Subspace Army Units — Smash Run mode
- Tiki Buzz
We're well aware that Masahiro Sakurai covered move sets extensively, too, and we have coverage related to that on the way soon.
Lots of information to take in. Let us know whether you enjoyed this Super Smash Bros. Direct in the comments section below; you can also watch it all again, of course.