Here’s what we know: Super Smash Bros. games are in the initial stages of development for both Wii U and 3DS. The two titles will likely interact with one another in some fashion, but there will be fundamental gameplay differences between them.
That’s not a lot to go on, but it’s certainly enough to ignite the imaginations of passionate Smashers worldwide, including me. In this two part series, I will explore 10 hopes and dreams I’ve got in mind for the games. Note that although I’m picturing two games, the pair will likely have a lot of overlap and I’ve written this piece with that assumption.
You can read part two of this article here.
1. A Massive Roster
The most talked-about component of any Smash Bros. game leading up to its release is always its roster of fighters. Each sequel has introduced a dozen or so new combatants to the mix, and there’s no reason not to expect the same thing from these titles. Sakurai has mentioned that he feels the new games need a greater selling point than a stack of new characters, but 50 is the number he’s thrown around, and that sounds about right for the new games.
Arguments over “clones” always arise in these discussions, as players sometimes latch on to the roster-inflating likes of Pichu and Wolf, but I’m going to say it right now: I don’t care. Like just about every series, Smash could do with a shake-up. Drop Wolf, end this silliness of Ganondorf playing like Captain Falcon (can’t he just be Ganon and play as a hulking bruiser with a trident?), and swap a Fire Emblem sword-wielder for another character in the series with a different weapon.
I’d love to see an end to character transformations (Pokémon trainer possibly excluded), as character switching mid match is always a pain. I think both sides of the Zelda/Sheik and Samus/Zero Suit Samus combos could stand on their own. This is especially true in Sheik’s case, who will have been refreshed in gamers’ minds thanks to the remake of Ocarina of Time.
Potential new additions from Nintendo’s catalog of heroes include the likes of Samurai Goroh (F-Zero), Isaac (Golden Sun), a balloon fighter (Balloon Fighters), Ridley (Metroid), Starfy (Starfy), Little Mac (Punch-Out!!), Saki (Sin & Punishment), and the practically requisite Mii. With Sakurai working on a Kid Icarus, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another character of there (most like newcomer Magnus, who will play a major role in the title).
Potential fighters from third parties are virtually unlimited, but a few that spring to mind: Mega Man, Leon Kennedy (Resident Evil), Ryu (Street Fighter), Bomberman, Professor Layton, and Phoenix Wright (Ace Attorney). Really though, practically anyone or anything could show up.
Of course, that’s just a quick sample of potential fighters pulled from obvious franchises. Sakurai loves to surprise with wacky choices like Mr. Game and Watch and R.O.B.
2. Handheld Grinding
Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai has explained that he feels handhelds allow for a more “personal” experience, where things like character customization through experience points and other rewards are more suitable. He imagines the Wii U will be the place for players to bring characters developed in the 3DS game over to battle one another.
Sounds good to me. I think this concept could be implemented in a pretty obvious fashion: you beat down computer opponents in all the various modes of the game, you get experience points. Of course, each character’s experience should be tallied separately. Might as well give players one more excuse to play copious amounts of the game.
One aspect of Brawl I didn’t see the merit of was stickers. The very light RPG element was out of place and felt like one set of collectibles too many. This feature could be left out of the Wii U version of the game, but given greater prominence in the handheld version (perhaps replacing trophies there).
3. Tell Me What I Can Unlock and How
Brawl had a pretty cool system in place to clue you in to what could be unlocked, called the Challenge Board. There was a massive board of compartments with different features, trophies, and other assorted unlockables to check in on. Those which bordered the ones you had already opened told you what you needed to do next.
I want that, but a lot more of it. I’m thinking of multiple boards, one for each category of unlockable, and make sure all achievable-s are listed within this system. I hate not knowing which trophies I’m missing, and I shouldn’t have to consult an FAQ to find out.
Give me a board for music, a board for trophies (in the home version), a board for stickers (in the handheld version), a catch-all for big things like modes and characters, etc.
4. No More Coin-Based Mini-Games
Neither Melee nor Brawl allowed you to buy collectibles with the coins you earned through play directly. Melee had you play that lottery, and Brawl had the arcade shooter board. I’m done with those. They were both tedious and out of place. I’d like to earn coins through play as normal, and then simply buy what I want out of a gallery of purchasable items. The quest for coins would be as relevant as ever, if not more so, as players would be able to check the store to see how many they needed and could subsequently shoot for it. I stopped paying attention to the coins I was raking in in Brawl soon after discovering the tedious effort I had to go through to spend them.
5. Stages New, Old, and Custom
Smash Bros. games have never been short on stages, and I expect these new games to be no exception.
Brawl featured 31 original stages and 10 additional stages lifted from Melee. I think the new game could make it up to an even 50 total, but there’s just not a lot of need for so many of them to be original. Considering how wacky (and dare I say semi-unplayable) some of the original Brawl stages were, I think limiting the original stage count 25 could be a benefit.
Make up the other half of the tally with classics lifted from Brawl, Melee, and yes, the original Smash Bros. please (come on, Saffron City!).
Of course, this sizable stack of stages should also be supplemented by all the custom stages players can dream of. There’s no doubt an improved version of Brawl‘s Stage Builder needs to make a return. The touchscreens available on both Wii U and 3DS should make this especially intuitive.