Recently, there was a claim from leaker Dr. Serkan Toto about Nintendo’s mysterious NX machine, specifically that one of its launch titles would be a new Super Smash Bros. game. Not counting the month between Smash for 3DS and Smash for Wii U, this would be the shortest time between releases seen in the series since the one between the original game and Melee. It allegedly is also being made by Bandai-Namco, and that plus the relatively short turnaround suggests that it could be a port, “director’s cut,” or expanded version of Smash for Wii U – and considering how well that game was received, it’s unsurprising that there seems to be an interest in expanding it, instead of going back to another one made from the ground up. That being said, the source says that “Smash Bros. is planned to be a launch title,” and we don’t know when the NX will launch– something that is in flux at the moment.
Now, this is still very early. We haven’t even seen the NX, and final updates for the most recent Smash iterations haven’t even been released. So instead of our normal Source Gaming “Choice” type articles, where we each post a single opinion, this will be more of a roundtable conversation between all of us as we try to organize our thoughts.
Wolfman_J: The first thing I felt when reading the rumor was a strong sense of fatigue – these last two games were the longest period of hype and speculation Smash has ever had, and I’m not sure how excited I am to jump back in before Corrin and Bayonetta are even out. At the same time, I still feel a little excited about the potential. Anyone feeling similar?
Soma: Personally, first thing I’ll say is that I don’t find Serkan reliable, and I don’t really see a reason to trust this leak…But putting that aside…It depends on when the NX launches. I still think a Holiday 2016 release is more likely than not– anything past that and it feels like far too long of a wait– and if that’s the cause, I think this is likely to be a “Director’s Cut,” or Smash 4 NX Edition or what have you. And while I do think hype fatigue is definitely a thing, if Smash 5 is coming late 2017…that’s a pretty long time, and even if there is some fatigue, that probably won’t be a factor for a casual audience. They’ll still get it…assuming the NX is a popular platform, of course.
Delzethin: I agree that it’d be an updated port on Smash 4…well, you know, if this rumor turns out to be true. When the 3DS and Wii U versions still have one more round of DLC coming in the next few weeks and potentially an unknown amount of balance patches after that, a completely brand new Smash would just be impossible. It would, though, make sense for Nintendo to give their new system a shot in the arm by porting a Smash game that at that point would only be a couple years old.
So yeah, it seems pretty plausible at least. The question is if there’d be any new content, or if it’d only be a “Game of the Year Edition” kind of deal, an update of the Wii U version with all the DLC added and nothing new.
Wolfman_J: I think, Delzethin, that pretty much everyone’s expecting something new, even if it’s only something comparatively minor. If it’s an expanded port (which, given the short time, it likely is) then we’re probably/definitely not going to see a massive influx of new content, but I definitely think it’d be odd to see something. Nintendo and Sakurai are less inclined for those kinds of “Game of the Year” editions, and the latter has historically been adamant about adding new content for players.
However, that does lead into what’s probably a more “exciting” question: what new content will, could, or should be added? Personally I’d really love to see a ton more music and maybe a Story Mode (possibly to accommodate the DLC fighters), but what about everyone else?
Soma: Given Sakurai’s distaste for remakes without content, I can see how the idea of a straight port seems unlikely, but I’m also not sure that Sakurai is going to be behind Smash for NX. I personally don’t really expect new content– I’m banking on a GOTY edition type deal with all of the DLC characters and stages included. It would be something Nintendo has never done before, granted, but they’ve also never really done DLC in a way that would even allow them to make a GOTY edition for any of their games. Obviously, I think people want more, but whether they’ll get it is a different story. Maybe a merge of 3DS and Wii U content– I’m not privy to how easy that process would be, but it seems somewhat doable– and then, of course, there’s the question of Ice Climbers, a notable example of a character that was cut solely due to 3DS system limitations.
Things I would like to see fixed, regardless of whether I think they’ll happen or not? Better drop rates for customs, general improvements in single player across the board (I thought Smash 4’s single player was worse than Melee or Brawl’s, frankly), as noted previously the addition of more stages would be nice (purely anecdotal, but among my friend group, the stagelist for casual play is smaller than it’s been in any iteration of Smash thus far).
Delzethin: Yet at the same time, Sakurai insisted on the 3DS and Wii U versions having the same roster, so that anyone who only bought one version wouldn’t miss out. Whether he’d be willing to change that for an NX port would depend on how he views it. Would it be just another version of the game to him, or the definitive version of the game, an enhanced “Smash 4.1” with new content in the vein of Ultra Street Fighter IV?
If there was to be new content, though, it’d be interesting to see what got in. As far as characters go, they’d probably focus on the same things they did with the base game and DLC. Any speculators out there would be best off focusing on characters who are relevant at the moment–whose “windows of opportunity” are open, as Sakurai put it–and have unique elements or abilities that’d help them stand out among an increasingly crowded roster.
LIQUID12A: Oh no, please. We just endured an absolutely toxic speculation period with the Ballot and all. If this ends up being true, I sincerely hope it is just an NX port of the Wii U title, MAYBE 1 or 2 characters more, but good God, let’s not enter another speculation period so soon. The only thing guaranteed from that right now is salt.
Though…I will say it gives a semblance of hope for some of those who didn’t get their characters in the last speculation period, including myself. But I’m not getting my hopes up until we hear official word. We saw people back some mysterious source in the past and look where that got us, judging by Shovel Knight’s inclu-OH WAIT.
Delzethin: I think that’s the silver lining to take from this. While there’d be the same vocal minorities and zealots and salt storms as there were before…it’d still mean a few more characters or concepts got a chance. It’s a good thing in the long run, despite the short term immaturity on the part of some of the fanbase.
LIQUID12A: Oh yeah, good in the long run. Watch as another so-called likely character gets skipped over for the second time and expectations get shattered again, whoever it ends up being. Unless the community were somehow pleased in it’s entirety with a theoretical new game (not happening unless Smash literally turned into M.U.G.E.N), there WILL be long-term salt. There’s always going to be that, and with how fresh the wound still is to some, it’ll end up being worse if we get a new entry right now.
Soma: I think a significantly smaller portion of the fanbase than you think actually gets that emotional over character inclusion. I don’t really care about any of that stuff, honestly. If a few more people get the character they want, great for them. Actually, what’s more interesting to me is the likelihood that, if this rumor is true, that the NX is likely not backwards compatible with the Wii U, which would make the NX the first non-backwards compatible home console Nintendo has released since the N64.
Wolfman_J: I definitely agree with Soma that most of the Smash fanbase isn’t that obsessive about characters; if Sakurai’s count of only 1.8 million votes is accurate, most fans are probably less interested in specific fighters than perhaps any. Though I really don’t think this can be taken as indication that the NX lacks backwards compatibility at all – maybe Nintendo’s just planning to cut the Wii U’s online play like they did with the Wii, or they want a “newish” game to help sell it early?
There was one other point Soma noted I’d like to consider: the Ice Climbers. It’s possible that they could return due to the lack of 3DS limitations (and potentially the Wii U’s, though that’s purely speculation). This question is harder since we really know little about what the NX is, but do any of you think there might be any content that couldn’t have been done on Wii U?
Soma: Trying to stay as grounded as possible…Ice Climbers, possibly. More “robust” 8-player stages? In terms of physically running the game, that seems to be about it, as far as I know.
Smashchu: It’s hard to say what the game will have, or, really, what the game will even be. A port like what some are suggesting is new to Nintendo. If Nintendo releases a port, it is either a much older game (such as the Super Mario Advance games) or is due to consoles being released so close to each other (such as The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess). It would be strange to make a port of a game that came out two years ago. Nintendo will likely make a new Smash Bros. It makes too much business sense. But I’m not so sure they will make a simple port. The new game needs to attract consumers to the system, and a port would not give consumers a big reason to up on the NX bandwagon.
Delzethin: Yet at the same time, a port of an older Smash wouldn’t be a system seller on its own, except for a small niche of fans of that particular game. As well, we know the Wii U has been…well, kind of lukewarm as far as sales go, and what better way to launch a new system meant to have such greater appeal than with its own version of a game that’s been so widely praised by both casual and competitive fans?
Based on a lot of these points, we have reason to think that if this rumor ends up being true, this Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo NX will probably have some new content. Maybe there could be a Hyrule Warriors Legends kind of deal? The NX version could come with some new stuff that is exclusive at first, then becomes DLC for the other two versions a short while afterward.
Soma: I agree with Delzethin– not too many people own Smash 4 on a home console, simply because the Wii U didn’t sell very well. If the NX can appeal to the “core” audience again, something Nintendo has alluded to, then for a lot of people this would be the first chance for them to own a Smash game since Brawl, most likely. This sort of thing isn’t uncommon. Sony has basically said that the reason why they’re releasing so many HD remasters and remakes is because there are a lot of people that own PS4s that didn’t own a PS3, and what better way to experience those games than on a new console? You’re right that a port wouldn’t attract consumers if the userbases of the Wii U and NX were identical, but that’s not a situation Nintendo wants.
Wolfman_J: Yeah, there’s definitely a strong interest in Smash tempered by the Wii U’s poor sales, and having a (maybe slightly buffed) one would be a strong way to entice players who skipped the console – though I’d recommend Nintendo have more than just that waiting in the wings.
One final question, albeit one that’s maybe less exciting: if there is new content, from where is it going to draw? Will it continue the trend of looking to modern games, or is it going to look to other sources? And if that’s the case, is there anything – perhaps the DLC costumes – we could use to make predictions?
Soma: I’ll stick with my prediction that we won’t get much, if anything, new, but since that’s a cop-out to the posed question…well. If this game that’s being worked on, or planned, right now is a port, then I don’t think it’ll add anything. If it’s the next game in the series? Well, I think they’ll try to keep up by adding more third party characters– if not on the same scope as Pac-Man, Megaman, Ryu, and Cloud, at least go for some of the fitting, beloved ones that are out there. I’d also like to see them tighten up the extra content, which felt relatively barren and sparse in Smash 4. That being said, I’m probably not going to get an NX, so I’m probably not the right person to ask. Wake me up when Melee HD comes out (aka never).
Delzethin: I think they’d definitely continue what they were doing before, looking at more modern characters and ones whose windows are open at just the right time, so to speak. If we were to see a few more newcomers, then there’d probably be a focus on giving a chance to those who could bring something new to Smash that might not have had a chance had they been forced to wait several years for Smash 5. So…watch for characters who could pull a Corrin, basically.
And because I get way too curious about these kinds of scenarios, I have a few guesses–I hesitate to call them more than that after all the times we were blindsided with DLC. Elma from Xenoblade Chronicles X is a compelling option, a futuristic soldier who holds her own with dual guns and dual swords, with a long list of Arts to pull attacks from. The Inklings could find their way in after missing out during DLC (possibly because their IP was too new and untested), as Splatoon’s sustained success for almost a year may have proved them to be worth the risk. Star Fox’s impending return to relevance could finally give Wolf a chance to come back to Smash himself. And with the announcement of Pokémon Z or a similar game all but inevitable now, perhaps we could see another Pokémon newcomer?
I’m…skeptical about third parties, though. How likely is it that Nintendo would negotiate with a company for the rights to a character that would only appear in one version of the game? I could maybe see one or even two total from the companies that are already involved with Smash 4–Sega (who owns the rights to Bayonetta), Capcom, Namco-Bandai, and Square Enix–but I don’t think we’ll see any from the outside. I also don’t know about the Ice Climbers–it’ll depend on if their retro appeal can overcome their lack of relevance, something that (presumably) doomed a lot of fan favorites in the Smash Ballot and may still doom the ICs despite the fact that they were planned for the base game and held back by the 3DS’ RAM.
Other than characters, I’m also hoping for some new single player content, whether that be a more traditional Classic Mode, (less likely) a fleshed out Adventure Mode, or even bringing Smash Run from the 3DS version. Speaking of 3DS, I wouldn’t mind seeing a handful of its stages being brought over–namely Yoshi’s Island (Brawl) and Prism Tower, and maybe by some miracle some old, competitively viable fan favorites like Fountain of Dreams could come back. And can we please get more alternate costumes for non-Mii characters? There’s so much potential there!
LIQUID12A: Just to get it out of the way, no, I don’t personally expect any Metroid characters. At best a nod or two to Federation Force. I think it’s much more likely to see someone such as the Inklings or another third party in the event we get characters. What I really want is some more single player content, arguably the Wii U version’s biggest downfall. I liked Boss Battles and would kill for a second campaign mode, but neither are particularly likely.
Wolfman_J: I definitely think it’s good to be more cautious about any new content. But with that I think we’ve exhausted most of the theories from this roundtable. Assuming this is true, we’ll surely delve further into it further in the future.