The recent announcement that Captain Falcon, Lucina and Robin would be joining the cast of Super Smash Bros. on the Wii U and 3DS was both thrilling and somewhat disappointing; although the reveal trailer featured Fire Emblem favourite Chrom — leading many (us included, for a short time) to believe that he would also be making the cut — he's not actually going to be playable in the final game.
In his regular column for Japanese magazine Famitsu, Director Masahiro Sakurai has explained why Chrom was left on the cutting room floor and reveals that the character was in contention at one point, but was dropped because he simply wouldn't have added anything new to the roster:
I played all the way through FE:A and really wanted to include a character from that rich cast in Smash Bros. Naturally, I considered adding Chrom to the roster, but the decision wasn't easy by any means.
At the end of the day, Chrom would just end up being another plain-old sword-wielder like Marth and Ike. Compared with other characters, he lacks any unique characteristics.
Conversely, when the idea of including Robin came to mind, conceiving the character was so easy that I immediately saw how it would work. From standards to specials, grabs to throws, all aspects of his moveset just fell into place. Not only did he possess characteristics unlike other fighters, but he also captured the essence of the Fire Emblem series. It was perfect!
In the end, if a game isn't fun, then there's no point. Of course, it would be really easy to make a game by churning out a ton of similar characters, but that's not how I produce games.
He also went into detail on why he decided upon Robin and Lucina for inclusion in the game:
Robin appears in the game as a Tactician and functions much like a Mystic Knight (note: FF terminology, but equivalent to magic swordsman). I thought to utilize his all-around nature by assigning swordplay to his Smash attacks and magic tomes to his special attacks--that is, allow him to use magic.
His neutral special is thunder magic that grows stronger the larger you charge it. He uses fire magic for his side special, and wind magic for recovery as his up special. Although Robin doesn't use dark magic in FE:A, I decided to assign it as his down special. It isn't the first time I've given moves to a character that they don't use in their respective game in order to capture certain aspects of the original title.
I also implemented the system used in FE:A, in which tomes break after overuse. Likewise, I included a similar system for the Levin Sword, which breaks after a certain number of uses. However, both the tomes and the Levin Sword will quickly regenerate after a set period of time.
Lucina uses the same techniques as Marth, a fighter with whom I'm sure most of you are already familiar. I even went so far as to make their strength, speed, and special attacks almost identical.
However, what sets Lucina apart is the fact that the strength of her attacks is uniform along the blade. Marth's playstyle emulates the elegant swordplay of a fencer by dealing more damage when he strikes with the tip of his blade, but the damage Lucina deals is evened out. Thus, I think that Lucina will be much easier than Marth for novice players to play with.
Finally, Sakurai reveals that Lucina was very nearly an alternative costume option for Marth:
Initially, I had considered including Lucina as one of Marth's alternate costumes. After all, she has a close relationship with him in FE:A. In such cases, even if two characters' names and voices differ, as long as they function the same way, I assign them as alternate costumes. The Wii Fit Trainers, Villagers, and Robin are examples of this setup.
However, even though Lucina shares her physical stats and techniques with Marth, the characteristics of their attacks differ. When two such similar characters function in an even slightly different manner, I give them a separate spot on the roster since that will affect battle records and whatnot. In that sense, you could say she was very lucky to join the fray!
Are you still disappointed that Chrom isn't going to be playable in the game, or do you think Sakurai's reasoning is sound? Cut up the comments below with your mighty blade and let us know.