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Filed under: Industry People, Masahiro Sakurai, Super Bros. Smash For 3DS, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Super Smash Bros. Series, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Smash Speculation 101


Holy shit! Excuse my minor cursing, but this is the 1,000th post on Source Gaming! It’s been an amazing journey, and I would like to thank everyone that has been involved with SG up until this point (and in the future!). Thanks to the wonderful staff who help great content and improve my own stuff. Thanks to all of our readers and viewers who regularly tune into the site and our YouTube channel. Special thanks to our Patrons who allow us to afford the site, and keep us running. Really, thank you.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find ways to celebrate milestones like this. For the 2nd Year, we did SG Choice of “What’s Your Favorite SG Article” which was pretty meta (can that article be my new favorite?). For the 500th post, I did an epic on Wario. I would’ve loved to do another epic on a different character or a new Sakurai On article, but my schedule has been jam-packed these last couple of months. Therefore, I decided to make a brief guideline on Smash speculation. In this post, I will try to contain the essential information that you need to know for the next Smash. Note: I originally planned for a video version of this article, but I haven’t had time to make it. I will be making it soon! 

Character Selection:

Sakurai has stated,

“The amount of stress I feel, it’s almost to the brink of death, because it’s not just a matter of me personally thinking this character or that character is going to be in the game; it’s that we also have the game balance, animation, graphics and sound to think about in order to make that character fully fleshed out in that universe. I have to think about all of that when I go through this decision-making process.”

Character selection is a big deal for Smash, it’s the bread and butter of the series. Where else can you have Mario, Cloud, Sonic, and Ryu duke it out? Sakurai is insanely proud and humble to work on such a massive roster.

Characters are very important in Smash. When DLC was wrapping up, Sakurai wrote this noteworthy column:
As a result, the mindset I had when developing this game was that the game’s “rules” are set in stone, but the fighters themselves are very flexible and allow for new, exciting elements. The fighters themselves become the sources of new excitement. That’s why the new fighters can do things the others cannot, to bring to life a number of battles that did not previously exist. Smash is much more extravagant in its design than other fighting games, development is difficult, and I have to deal with oversight from the original creators, but I have to do my best.

As for character selection, the single best resource on this is Sakurai’s own GDC 2008 speech. We’ve translated the slides here. There, he stated four rules.

  • The character must display personality in their game.
  • It is important to have something that the character can do.
  • Potential development issues and game balance is also taken into consideration.
  • Distribution among the franchises is also taken into consideration.

Personality, Unique, Development and Roster Balance. Those are the four key words you will need to remember. For more information on character selection, check out Sakurai On: Character Selection.


Special thanks to Frezhor for having an actual picture of the roster on Google Images.

Cut Content for Smash for 3DS/Wii U:

Source Gaming has done some incredible research on the development of Smash. We’ve organized a timeline for the development of Smash for 3DS/Wii U, which everyone can use as a reference. In addition, we organized the Definitive Unused Fighter List in Smash, which continues to be one of the most popular posts this site has ever produced. The following information is fully sourced in that post:

  • Takamaru, Heihachi, Ridley, Geno, Reggie Fils-Aime, Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata were momentarily considered.
  • Chrom, Rock Pikmin/Alph [Clone], Special rules for 8 Player Smash were planned/possibly cut development.
  • Ice Climbers, 4th Custom Move and Co-Op Smash Run were confirmed to cut development.
  • A Rhythm Heaven character, Dr. Mario Stage, Brain Age Stage, Swapnote Stage, Kirby Yarn Stage, and a Mario Land were possibly cut development.

The reason that cut content is so important is Sakurai sometimes revisits things that were cut. 8 Player Smash was on the drawing boards since Melee, and Final Smashes, which were introduced in Brawl, was first attempted in Smash 64. There are surely other things that were attempted in Smash for Wii U/3DS but had to be cut due to time or system constraints. The more Sakurai shares, the more we can take note.The project proposal for Smash for 3DS/Wii is a great piece to read if you haven’t.

Is Sakurai Coming Back?

That’s currently a mystery. We don’t know if Sakurai will be involved with the next project or not.

There was this exchange in the Fire Emblem anniversary book:

Sakurai: Yes, that applies to Lucina as well. How much a character will please the players, how unique they are—there are a lot of factors that go into deciding a character’s inclusion. I don’t know whether Fire Emblem will have many more games in the future, but it’s not as if we have a stipulation that says “we have to include the protagonist of the next Fire Emblem game.” Moreover, we don’t even know if there’ll be another Smash game.

Interviewer: You do say that every time, though, so I do wonder if maybe it’ll just keep on going forever.
Sakurai: And I’ll become the Smash craftsman? (laughs)
Interviewer: Yes. After all, including the DLC, you’ve been involved with Smash since the beginning.
Sakurai: Well, DLC is coming to an end soon, too, y’know.
Together: (laughs)
Interviewer: By the same token, I think there are a lot of people who want you to make a new original game.
Sakurai: It’s pretty difficult. If I keep making Smash, I get to work on interesting things like Ryu, but if I leave, I don’t know if the staff could do it by themselves.

Afterward, Sakurai stated he was taking a breather. Later, Sakurai did casually confirm he was working on a game in November. It might be Smash, or it might be something different. We don’t truly know.



Last week, I debuted some information that I was told about a Smash for Switch (the name is not final). You can find the full details in this post.

Before that, Dr. Toto stated that he had heard a Smash for NX was incoming.

Particularly relevant is The Case for Smash NX. Some information is now a bit outdated, but it has a lot of great information on how the next Smash might shape up.

Additional Information:

If you want to read all the columns that we’ve translated from Sakurai, go here. If the amount overwhelms you, I’d suggest checking out the columns linked in Character Design 101 as those are particularly noteworthy. We are also doing weekly discussion videos on Smash for Switch, to help you guys be completely informed on Smash and speculation.

This was a quick overview of what information you might need to know for the next Smash. I hope it’s been helpful…let me know in the comments if I’ve missed anything. Again, thank you for reading Source Gaming, and I’m proud that I’m able to share this milestone with you today. Make sure to follow us on Twitter so you can stay up to date.

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  1. This is interesting to know how much a single character can have an impact on the game as a whole. I really love games that have an emphasis on characters, and I really want my favourite character Daisy to be in the next entry. I mean, she has been in these kinds of games along with Mario and co for so long now, but few games (Mario Strikers, Mario and Sonic Rio) have fully explored and defined each character’s physics, AI and playstyles.

    Smash would be perfect for her!

  2. I really don’t buy the Sakurai’s humility part. In the words of Ryu, “Talk is cheap.” How can any man arrogant enough to think that he cannot be replaced be considered humble? He is the George Lucas of video games, and I am waiting for episode VII.

    Arthur 97 on December 14 |
    • So you’re waiting for a remake of Smash 64?

      anonymous SG fan on December 14 |
      • Not quite what I was going for.

        Arthur 97 on December 14 |
    • So your waiting for the Smash Bros. that rehashes the first game and panders to SJWs?

      MagcargoMan on December 15 |
      • Only the SJW part.

        Ar on December 16 |
  3. Congratulations of reaching 1000 posts!

    Happy to see you guys are still going strong.

    Mettaur on December 14 |
  4. “Yes, that applies to Lucina as well. How much a character will please the players, how unique they are”

    Lol. Putting “Lucina” and “unique” in the same sentence.

    MagcargoMan on December 15 |