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Why Is Smash Announced So Early?

Why Smahs so early

During E3 2005, late Nintendo President Satoru Iwata asked the audience, “Do you want a Revolution?” He then reached into his suit, pulling out a black box and exclaiming, “Well, we got one.” Nintendo announced what would be the Wii for the first time to the world, but it wouldn’t be his only big announcement that day. He also announced that Super Smash Bros would be coming to the system as well. The crowd erupted in cheers. The only problem. Series director Masahiro Sakurai knew nothing about it.

When Nintendo announced the game, Sakurai wasn’t even contacted about it. As Sakurai stated in a Famitsu column, “However, I hadn’t been informed about anything, and it was at that time that I first heard that there was even a Smash project in the works.” In fact, Iwata only asked him to come on board after he announced the game during the biggest video game trade show. It doesn’t seem like a bright idea to announce a game that isn’t even being worked on. Heck, the game wouldn’t start development on the game until October of that same year.


Iwata holding the Wii (then known as Revolution)


You’d think Nintendo would learn, but they did it again during E3 2011. Iwata announced that Super Smash Bros would be coming to the newly announced Wii U and the 3DS. This time, Sakurai was on board, and the official reason for the early announcement was to attract new team members. Bandai Namco’s involvement was confirmed a year later in June 2012.

So what is with Nintendo’s strange habit of announcing Super Smash Bros before the game is even being worked one? It’s because Nintendo wants to sell consoles. Consoles are huge investments, costing anywhere from $200 to $400. Consumers want to make sure they are getting their money’s worth when they buy a console. So having hit software is critical, and they need a good amount.


Game System Sales
Super Smash Bros ** N64 5.55
Super Smash Bros Melee ** GCN 7.07
Super Smash Bros Brawl Wii 13.10
Super Smash Bros for 3DS 3DS 8.23
Super Smash Bros for Wii U Wii U 4.90

** Sales are estimates

And Super Smash Bros is a big series. Each Super Smash Bros game has been a huge hit and they have been some of the best-selling games on Nintendo’s systems. The series has been a huge draw. On release, Super Smash Bros Brawl was Nintendo of America’s fastest selling game. The company claimed the game was selling 120 units a minute! Super Smash Bros for 3DS sold 3.22 million in about a month’s time. The game also sold 1 million in Japan on the weekend of its release. It’s clear that Super Smash Bros is a crucial series for Nintendo. It’s one they know consumers will go out and buy systems to get, which is Nintendo’s ultimate goal.



So what about Super Smash Bros and Nintendo’s upcoming system, the NX. It’s clear Super Smash Bros will appear on the system in some form. There has been a new Smash game on each system since the Nintendo 64. Nintendo of America’s Chief Operations Officer Reggie indicated that Nintendo makes certain games once a console, contrasting Nintendo’s method to other large publisher who release games ever year or two. While this doesn’t confirm a Super Smash Bros game for each system, it does indicate they look at having their big series for each console (as he states, getting them to sell 5, 10 or 15 million).

So, will Super Smash Bros be announced early again? It’s hard to say. While Iwata announced Super Smash Bros early for various reasons, the current president Tatsumi Kimishima may not. The outflow of news has certainly changed under Kimishima. Nintendo may not be as open about saying that a Super Smash Bros game is on the way. Moreover, Nintendo has seemed to be very tight-lipped about their new system, codenamed, the NX. Moreover, Iwata would announce Super Smash Bros early for other reasons, such as courting a developer for Super Smash Bros for Wii U/3DS (as noted above).

Regardless of how or when Nintendo will announce a new Super Smash Bros, it’s safe to say the series will be a big part of the NX. But, like the NX, we’ll have patiently for Nintendo to announce when the next iteration of the series will appear.


one comment
  1. I have this image in my mind, Sakurai was in his house in Japan watching the E3 presentation, having a good time, drinking a tasty cup of coffee and eating a sweet pastry, humming kirby’s “gourmet race” tune in his mind… then Mr. Iwata drops the news and… well… Imagine Etika’s reactions, but instead of a Hype explosion, a really confused explosion…

    Also… wow… Smash WiiU has really low sales =(, and the “divisive” Brawl doubles even Melee…BUT, an interesting calculation might be comparing the Sales of the game with the Console Sales, as the Wii has sold over 90 million units (as told in wikipedia…), so around 15% of the Wii Owners have Brawl… but the GCN sold “only” 20 millions units and 7 million “Melee” units, meaning that around 35% of the GameCube owners own Melee. meaning that in perspective, Melee was more important for the Gamecube than Brawl was for the Wii.

    I hope Smash NX will be important to the NX itself, as it appears that poor Smash for WiiU wasn’t a system seller =(

    Rafael Mauna (@Fire_Voyager) on September 6 |