Some problems signal troubled times ahead for Super Smash Bros.
Last June, Nintendo put out a prerecorded Nintendo Direct video detailing its plans post-E3. This happened on the last day of the conference, and to say it felt disconnected is an understatement. It certainly wasn’t disjointed though; company president Satoru Iwata felt on point, maybe too rehearsed, knocking out a string of announcements in little over half-an-hour.
The big attraction was the new Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, normally a monumental title that spurs the common interest of Nintendo fans. However, that crippling excitement has been muted. What was once roaring enthusiasm is now replaced with general ire over the Wii U, even though Smash is a console seller. The impervious Nintendo can’t even escape fan dismay with its most desired series.
Negativity towards Smash isn’t shocking; a myriad of issues plus incoming competition put its home console in disarray. The game will definitely perform better on 3DS at least initially because handheld sales have skyrocketed this year. Recent attention from games like Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Shin Megami Tensei IV spell good news, proving Nintendo might be riding out the waves on the 3DS alone.
Can Mega Man help the game then? In a field of regulars, he stands out as the noteworthy addition, as fans have been calling for his inclusion for years. I can’t say though if one wanted character is enough to convince people to buy a console. From the looks of it, Nintendo is playing up on his history, having a custom death animation and some of the original animations of earlier Mega Man titles.
Smash Bros. is a special franchise, allowed to get away with sometimes ridiculous things. It’s famous for covering most of the Nintendo landscape, with some inclusions from other Japanese-born games. But Sora Limited, under the guidance of series creator Masahiro Sakurai, may be pushing its luck by making Animal Crossing‘s Villager and the Wii Fit Trainer playable characters.
I understand the Villager. Animal Crossing is a predominant fixture on Nintendo systems, and now that New Leaf is out and people are playing, that may convince some to take to the battlefield. He was to be a fighter in Brawl, however the team couldn’t find a way for him to work.
On the contrary, the Wii Fit Trainer is a unique choice. Her inclusion was a genuine surprise, but if Sakurai can make her meld with other brawlers, all the power to him. Though, her ghostly complexion and lack of expression are to say unsettling to watch. (But we’ll be too busy kicking butt, of course.)
It’s difficult to judge currently if Smash Bros. will be successful. Only 14 characters have been shown, and we likely won’t know more until the Tokyo Game Show next month. That’s unless Nintendo waits for next year, which is possible so as to nit distract from this Christmas.
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