In order to promote upcoming games, Nintendo releases announcement videos through a video series entitled Nintendo Direct. Masahiro Sakurai, the director of the games, hosted the most recent Nintendo Direct, which streamed on Apr. 8, and covered the highly-anticipated new addition to the Super Smash Bros. series. These as-of-yet-unnamed games follow the 2008 hit, Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
For the uninitiated, Super Smash Bros. is a series of fighting games that star Nintendo characters and utilize an unusual system of gameplay. Instead of a health bar, characters have a percentage; the more damage taken, the higher the percentage. The higher the percentage, the easier it is to launch the character off the stage, which is the only way to eliminate enemy players. A medley of items and guest appearances from a variety of Nintendo franchises assist the player.
One of the greatest draws of the series is this menagerie of Nintendo characters coming together to beat each other senseless. The most anticipated part of every new entry into the Smash Bros. series is the roster. Nintendo Direct confirmed that the upcoming games will change previous traditions with the roster.
Some characters had the ability to change into different characters with new movesets. These include Zelda to Sheik, Samus to Zero Suit Samus and Pokémon Trainer, who could switch between three Pokémon. In the new games, this metamorphosis is eliminated. Instead, these will be treated as separate characters.
Charizard was announced as his own character, now unshackled from the bonds of the Pokémon Trainer. Ivysaur and Squirtle, the other two which completed the triumvirate in Brawl, are as of yet unconfirmed as returning. However, a new Pokémon character was announced in the form of Greninja, a water/dark type ninja frog. Besides confirming the return of Zelda, Sheik, Samus and Zero Suit Samus as four individual characters, Yoshi was announced as a return character as well. While not surprising, there are still a few veteran characters that have yet to grace the confirmed final roster.
The roster now boasts 29 playable characters. Newcomers include MegaMan, from the eponymous series, Villager from Animal Crossing, a Wii Fit trainer, Rosalina & Luma from Super Mario Galaxy, Little Mac from Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! and the aforementioned Greninja.
Both the 3DS and Wii U versions will boast the same roster, but each will have exclusive stages. All stages will have a Final Destination mode, meaning each stage can be flattened. Since Final Destination is used most in tournaments, this is designed to allow some aesthetic variety for competitive play.
Sakurai spent a fair amount of time discussing the online features of the games. Nothing revolutionary jumped out in terms of how online video games operate, but the proposed features seemed to be leagues better than the current system for Brawl. Two systems, titled “For Fun” and “For Glory,” will allow players to either play informally with friends or be paired with random players for a competitive system.
For Fun features random stages with all items and smash balls unlocked. However, if playing with all friends, then the rules can be adjusted. Sakurai also hinted that players could create custom movesets for their characters but failed to provide any details. For Glory follows the tournament meta. All stages will be in Final Destination mode with no items. 1-on-1 is possible, and wins and losses are recorded.
In an inverse fashion, under the competitive system there will not be a number one in the world. Instead, the more skilled a player, the higher his “score” will be. As with most online video game systems, players will be grouped with those in the same skill area to avoid newcomers being placed against nationally-ranked veterans.
Release windows were also quoted in the video. The 3DS version of the game will release in Summer 2014, while the Wii U version will hit store shelves Winter 2014.