‘Super Smash Bros.’ for the Nintendo Switch: known information and predictions

Newest ‘Super Smash Bros.’ video game release 

(Super Smash Bros. Official Facebook Page)

By John Buday, Collegian Staff
March 26, 2018

As an avid fan of video games since early childhood, there’s nothing quite like hearing the announcement of an upcoming title in one of your favorite franchises. That said, this month’s reveal of “Super Smash Bros.” for the Nintendo Switch shook me to my core, and I’m beyond excited for it. The best-selling fighter series stands as one of the most respected and iconic of its genre (UMass even has a club dedicated to it.) Each iteration since the original for the Nintendo 64 has sold millions of copies worldwide, and the upcoming version for the Switch promises no different. If anything, a household name like “Super Smash Bros.” is perfect for the Switch given the its outrageous success so early in its life span (over 4.8 million units have sold in the U.S. alone thus far.)

The Japanese gaming giant likely has another system seller on their hands, but just what features this newest entry will include currently remain a mystery. Other than it being slated for release later this year, with the Inklings from “Splatoon” joining the roster as playable characters, the Nintendo Direct showed no actual gameplay. Since then, creator of the SSB series and longtime game director, Masahiro Sakurai, has confirmed via Twitter that he worked on the project in some capacity, but the extent is unknown.

It appears we won’t know anything for certain until the Los Angeles’ E3 event in June, where Nintendo confirmed the game will be featured in an exhibition tournament. Until then, the only option left for fans is to speculate. I think if anything, it’s safe to say this will be a new game for the most part (with some borrowed elements from the previous entry). Nintendo would have said otherwise were it just a deluxe edition a la “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” (a Switch port from the Wii U version with added content). Plus, the logo revealed during the Direct is unlike any seen in the series so far.

The lack of detail only has me itching to find out more. However, in the meantime, the only option left for fans is to speculate, which is exactly what I’m going to do. Continue on to see a few of my own predictions for what the latest entry of the classic franchise will bring to the table:

  1. New Characters — Again, only the Inklings are currently confirmed as new members of the roster, but I’m certain others will be revealed soon. One of the most realistic picks I can see is a boxer from the game “Arms,” which came out on the Switch last year. It’s also safe to expect a new representative from the “Donkey Kong Country” series: probably either Dixie Kong or Funky Kong. Another character I think has a chance is King Boo: Luigi’s main foe from the “Luigi’s Mansion” game. Hearing him announced as a playable character would certainly fit with the upcoming 3DS port for the original “Luigi’s Mansion.”
  2. A Returning Favorite — Nana and Popo, better known together as The Ice Climbers, were veteran SSB fighters beloved by many. They made appearances in both Melee and Brawl and were scheduled to be in the SSB4 games, but unfortunately had to be cut due to technical errors with the 3DS’s hardware. Given the Switch’s superior specs and processing power, count on them making their long awaited return to the upcoming game.
  3. The Return of the Stage Creator Mode — This was one of my favorite modes in SSB games. I poured hours upon hours into making stages in Brawl, placing blocks, spikes, platforms and props wherever my heart desired at the time. Those stages ended up being a blast to play on, so I’m hoping for some similarities with the SSB5 suite. SSB4 went in a bit of a different direction: retiring the block-based system in favor of a drawing tool for different textures. I appreciated the concept, but think a good compromise would be a combination of both mechanics: keeping blocks and props along with a drawing tool (though, perhaps it should be a rule that you can only place blocks and structures on flat surfaces, as opposed to rounded or jagged ones that could cause the map or characters to glitch out).
  4. New Stages from Newer Games — It’s all but assured newer games like “Splatoon” will get representation, especially since the Inklings are playable characters. Count on them getting at least one stage from the original “Splatoon,” if not a secondary stage from “Splatoon 2” as well. Personally, I’m most excited for stages based on “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and “Super Mario Odyssey.” Given BotW’s diverse over world (featuring a giant volcano, snow covered mountains, a lush tropical forest and so on), I think a roaming stage would be a wonderful idea — one that rotates the terrain every few minutes (similar to stages like Delfino Plaza from Brawl). Mario Odyssey would also benefit from a similar treatment, though I could also see individual stages based on isolated areas of the game — perhaps a fight atop the buildings in New Donk City.
  5. Downloadable Content — Upcoming games like “Metroid Prime 4” and “Bayonetta 3” will likely continue the momentum of the already successful Switch. Since “Super Smash Bros.” is coming out first though, this is the perfect opportunity to make use of the hype surrounding such titles by releasing related DLC. A couple stages, trophies and assist trophies for these incoming titles would fulfill that role. Depending on the game, we might even have some new fighters join the fray as well — perhaps the long-awaited Shovel Knight, from the famous platformer series of the same name, will join the fight (a new game is set to release later this year).

John Buday can be reached at jbuday@umass.edu.

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