Here at GlitchUp we absolutely adore Smash Bros. Many countless nights and hundreds of hours, obscenities, victories, and upsets have been poured into each iteration. After the latest Nintendo direct, we finally have another entry to look forward to once again. In this calm before the E3 storm, as we wait for literally ANY shred of information to come out, we thought this might be the perfect time to take a look at what we’re expecting this Switch entry to actually be, as well our hopes and dreams of what it could be. What started as a small, 1 man article spiraled into a 2 man, 4-part feature. We’ll be posting 1 part each week for the next 4 weeks as Chandler and I reminiscence about several of our favorite aspects of the series as we know it today, as well as what we want to see from the series moving forward.
For Part 1 of our feature, we’ll start off as a single voice, aligned on what we think this next Smash Bros. game actually is (Port? All new game? Some combination of both?) and what we’d like to see it become. But before that, we wanted to give you a quick glance into our “Smash Profile” to see what kind of Smash players we are as we spend the next several weeks talking about the subject. See who we championed as our main and then get to know our secondary characters, characters that we used to play as and were cut between iterations, and characters we choose when it’s just time to troll the competition.
Okay so what IS the new Smash Bros?
Prior to the launch of the Nintendo Switch and even up until the official reveal of Smash Switch, rumors were abuzz of a Smash Bros. game hitting the system. The hottest theory was that it was to be a deluxe collection that combined both the WiiU and 3DS versions into one remastered package. Some rumors even suggested this deluxe edition would make it in time for the Switch’s launch. When that date came and went, the next hottest theory was that the long delayed final WiiU Smash amiibo (Corrin, Bayonetta, and Cloud) would launch aside the Switch version, which is why the wait for these last 3 amiibo took so long. Yet the amiibo came and went without a new Smash. So here we are, some time after the latest Nintendo Direct that finally gave us our first glance at Smash for Switch. But what exactly is this game? Is this a port? Is this a deluxe edition? Is this a brand new entry? Or is it some kind of mishmash of all three? We don’t know for sure yet. But let’s break down what we think it is and more importantly, what we hope it will be.
There are a few things we DO know about Smash Bros for Nintendo Switch for certain:
- We’re getting at least 1 new character (Inklings).
- Nintendo made a conscious effort to show (and linger on) Link long enough so that you could notice he was wearing his Breath of the Wild outfit.
- Series creator and visionary Masahiro Sakurai has confirmed to be working on the title in some capacity.
- While not confirmed, it seems fairly obvious this is going to be the killer app to launch along with Nintendo’s paid online subscription coming this fall.
A new character and an updated costume based on a game that’s hardly a year old are as obvious as you can get that this isn’t a direct port. In the same vein, it’s hard to imagine a full fledged, content rich Super Smash Bros. game ready this quickly. So where does that leave us? Personally, we think the game was originally conceived as a “deluxe” port. But once Sakurai, a notorious workaholic, starting developing the game, he couldn’t stand to put anything less than his full heart into it and it spiraled into a full fledged new entry in the series. While it’s possible that Sakurai started working on this version shortly after development on Smash 4 finished, we would put our money down that we’re not looking at a built from the ground up version of Smash. What we think we’ll see is some sort of hybrid of the two. We think this version will see plenty of new content, but it will heavily reuse assets/engine/physics/characters/stages from the WiiU version, and that’s just fine by us.
Ideally we’ll see a content complete Smash Bros. shipping this fall for Switch. However, one of our biggest worries would be that Nintendo follows a Splatoon style content rollout. The hype train for Smash Bros. is one of the most notoriously exciting and insane rides of any game. We’re very skeptical that Nintendo is willing to allow less than a year of pre-release hype build up before the game launches. Maybe the (perceived) shortened development cycle has Nintendo shipping the game with a roster of only 8-16 characters and a handful of stages and modes at launch with more to be supported via DLC and updates over the next two years? While it’s a neat idea, and it would certainly keep us checking back into the game, (as if that was ever going to be a problem) it would really deflate the hype to have to wait months or even years to be able to play as your favorite characters. While we don’t love the idea of a long content roll-out of Smash as we know it, we do think certain elements of the idea has merit.
SAAS: Smash As A Service
We would never want to give up the integrity of a fully fleshed out release that could stand on its own. However, we do think Smash Bros. could work well if treated as a “Game(s) as a Service”. We know that term is a bit toxic sometimes due to money hungry publishers hoping to drain your wallet, so instead let’s think of Smash as a platform. What we would love to see is a dedicated system life cycle development of Smash Switch, in which the game is never truly “finished”. We’d love to see a game with as much content as they can cram into the game as per tradition, but then have Nintendo dedicate a team and resources into filling out the game until the end of the Switch’s lifespan. I would happy throw my wallet at quarterly content packs or subscribe to a lifetime pass if they kept pumping out new content. Imagine a steady rollout of new modes, new characters, stages, items, all on top of the normal, rock solid, content rich, base game. It would continue to give you reasons to boot it up after the honeymoon phase is over and other games have started stealing away your time. Treating Smash as a platform would be an excellent marketing opportunity to drop cross-promotional content into Smash that lines up with future game releases. Imagine that a few weeks before the next Punch-Out!! game comes out, we get a King Hippo playable character, an event based around all the “fist” based fighters, and a new Doc Louis assist trophy. I know that type of plan would have us hook, line, and sinker, making it difficult to imagine a world in which we’re not checking into and playing the game constantly. I think anyone remotely interested in the game would turn each of these content drops into gaming events and you would see consistently high user engagement as well as a sustained and very active online community.
However Nintendo decides to roll Smash out this generation, we’re excited to come along for the ride and can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.
Next week, we’ll continue our Smash feature by looking back at some of our favorite levels throughout the series that we would love to see included in the Switch version. Then we’ll each pitch a few ideas of new levels that would be awesome to see realized.