Smash On Switch
As we all know, Nintendo dropped a collective bomb on all of us with their direct yesterday, and the biggest of those, for many, was Super Smash Bros., and that it was coming this year!
We didn’t get much other than an indication that the inklings would be joining the fray, and BotW style Link. There was also a silhouette at the end that the internet is trying to decipher which indicates the roster…but that’s only part of what I want to discuss.
A Quick History
A quick history of me and the Super Smash Bros. franchise. I remember seeing the commercial for the original release on television when I was a kid, but since I was a PlayStation owner at that point, I quickly forgot about it and moved on. Fast forward a few years, and a great friend of mine bought a Gamecube, and presumably, Super Smash Bros Melee. This would encompass about 90% of my Gamecube experience at the time it was still on the shelves, and I had a ton of fun battling against my friends and playing through the adventure mode. While couch co-op is definitely at the core of the Smash series, I am a single player experience gamer at heart. As such, I enjoyed this part of the game far more than battling against computer opponents in the absence of my friends, and always considered it essential to the Smash Bros experience. Fast forward a couple of years, and I finally bought a used Wii with Smash Bros Brawl. Now, at the time I didn’t have anyone to play with, and I only owned a few Wiimotes and a nunchuck. So, I always viewed Brawl as sub-par because controlling Smash with a Wiimote and nunchuck leaves a lot to be desired. I didn’t even pay attention to the existence of Spacestation Emissary, and Brawl quickly became a shelf piece until I sold my Wii a few months later, being disappointed with basically every game that I played on the system (including Super Mario Galaxy).
Jump forward another couple of years, and Smash for Wii U/3ds released, and I was super excited about playing Smash Bros again. I picked it up at Best Buy during a sale for $20 and immediately dove into it. I had a lot of fun for my first week, and was super excited about all of the third party classic characters, meanwhile enjoying my time with my longtime main, Mr. Game & Watch. However, that novelty quickly wore off, and I was heavily disappointed with the single-player mode. Playing against online opponents just wasn’t the same, and I again put Smash Bros on the shelf. A few months later, a buddy lets me borrow his Wii U, along with Smash and Mario Kart. I had a blast fighting against my kids, and them with each other. Then it came time to return the Wii U, and I wasn’t convinced to buy the system based on those two games alone. I kept telling myself that I would buy a Wii U and give it a proper chance, but eventually, that time dragged on long enough that NX rumors started flying, and I knew that it would be worth holding out for Nintendo’s next console.
So, I bought a Wii U at launch, and everyone was clamoring for Smash from the jump. Not me, though, because I just didn’t care that much. I knew that if it came early on, it would just be a port, and unless the deluxe edition came with a new single-player campaign, I just wasn’t that interested. I’d probably still buy it to play with my girls, but I would not have to get it immediately.
Now, I knew that a lot of people were anticipating Smash for Switch, but I’ve never been one to get too caught up in the hype over a game that I just wasn’t all that excited about, to begin with. So, while Smash was the most exciting part of the Direct for many people, it was just another “oh, cool” moment for me. Of course, this brought on the speculation that it HAD to be a port to be releasing so early. However, I don’t think that is true. This looks like a new Smash Bros game. How is it possible that it could come so soon after the last? Smash Bros games take a long time to program and balance properly. Nintendo isn’t known for rushing anything, but they’re also smart enough to know that they needed a heavy hitter to come in the second year. How could they release a new Smash Bros so soon? Well, they can use the existing engine of Smash 4, to begin with. Despite me not enjoying it as much as Melee for my own personal reasons, I did recognize that Smash 4 was incredibly well balanced. It is the best fighting experience in the series, for newcomers and seasoned veterans alike. Building on that existing framework, they could also give Sakurai a bigger team to work with, and I suspect that the game will launch with a cleaner opening roster. Instead of just including everyone from Smash 4, they could pull it back to the essentials. This would reflect where the Nintendo franchises stand now as opposed to where they have been, and most of the opening roster will be those characters that have been staples of the series, and a few new additions that have current games (even if they’re ports). More characters can be added as free DLC in the months after release, a la the Splatoon model. Other characters could be paid DLC/season pass fodder later down the road. So, instead of having to meet an insane deadline with 48+ characters by September or November of this year, we might only start with 24. Think of it as how gen 5 of Pokemon played out- start with the original roster and some new additions (Crash Bandicoot?), then add in skins and minor characters later.
Some have already argued with me that many would be disappointed in a comparatively small roster, but I feel as long as those fighters that are included have solid move sets, have the novelty of being new characters, and are well balanced against each other, the protests won’t last very long. I also think that there are a lot more fans of the single player modes out there than people would like to believe, and I am chief among them. Give us well loved characters with fun interactions, and then top them off with an engaging story mode where we can traverse the different worlds of Nintendo, and we will all be very happy.
So, which new characters would you like to see join the battle?
I’d love to see Shovel Knight, Crash Bandicoot, and Banjo/Kazooie. Shovel Knight already has an amiibo, and they could program in compatibility with Crash’s Skylanders figure. Comment below!