Friday, June 10, 2011

A Lot of Info for the Break

Well as you can see from the title, I have some great information for all my followers. First of all, we have some Smash 4 news. I pointed out in my last blog that a new Super Smash Bros. has been confirmed. That is kind of a surprising fact since previously Sakurai mentioned he had no intention of another for a good while but we've grown to expect a new Smash with a new generation console. We know that we're getting one and it's going into development after the Kid Icarus game (sounds like we're getting an updated Pit moveset then). Here's some highlights that we have from an interview with the creators.

- Sakurai is using his experience working with Kid Icarus 3DS to smooth the development process of 3DS smash. Mentions he would randomly think about Smash during Kid Icarus development

- "While I'm sure some people just want a new DX (Melee) or X (Brawl), that is not the answer I'm looking for"

- There's a lot of implied differences between the 3DS and WiiU versions. The issue of limitations (or lack thereof) come up ("I could make 50 characters, or double the stages, or make everything prettier (graphically), but with the WiiU I don't have to choose just one of those options"), while he runs into that problem with the 3DS, "maybe something fun like the original smash bros." adding something about a handicap.

- 3DS version will be more "personalized" than the WiiU version, as most likely the handheld machine will only be played by one person. This regards "personal data and achievements." He's probably referring to the stat-keeping mode the Smash games have had and how a handheld version would most likely only be tracking a single person's stats.

- Sakurai feels conflicted, saying something to the effect of "On one hand, a player feels a great sense of accomplishment by beating something really difficult. On the other, if it's too hard, they'll feel a sense of frustration by constantly losing to it." (implied differences between versions)

- Iwata goes on to add that a handheld experience is typically a "fun experience in a short amount of time," and that adjustments would have to be made to work around that.

- "So, for the 3DS version, since you must enjoy it alone, it has a system of rewards that you can customize your character with. And then you can bring these characters from the 3DS to the WiiU to fight on. So one "individual" on a handheld will appear in the "stadium" of the home console." Iwata summarizes by saying "The 3DS version is where players will earn individual achievements for themselves, while the WiiU version will be a place to show those achivements off"

- Sometime late in the Melee development cycle, Iwata told Sakurai "you can never have enough Smash Bros!," to which Sakurai replied "YES YOU CAN." Sakurai apparently doesn't remember this.

- Iwata mentions that he likes how in Smash, both high level and beginner level players can feel a sense of accomplishment in comparison to other fighting games. If you don't know what you're doing in other fighting games, you'll typically get destroyed, in Smash you can earn a few more hits. Sakurai adds onto that saying "You'd think it'd be natural to help new players improve, but when the goal of a fighting game is to beat your opponent down, that becomes difficult." Iwata "feels helpless and weak when he loses badly," and lastly Sakurai adds that "the 3DS version will have ways to help beginner players," going on to suggest co-op "There will be a reward system for good players helping bad ones"

- Apparently the balancing and rebalancing of characters was entirely up to Sakurai, but he's going to ask for some help from other members of the team this time around. He still feels the creator of the game will have the clearest vision of how the balance should look like, but definitely welcomes the help. Iwata asks what type of balancing he's referring to, and Sakurai responds talking about balancing animation/frame/hitbox data, while making sure it makes sense in the scope of the game. It has to "look natural and feels good to land the attack"

- There's implied distinction between casual and competitive play made by Sakurai, saying "all these claims of 'this character is too strong' or 'this character is too weak' varies from person to person." When he looked at the sets of data from Wifi games, all characters had relatively the same level of success. "However, according to the competitive scene, that doesn't seem to be the case elsewhere."

- A balance regarding the difficulties of surgical balance changes, and how they don't want characters to "feel the same," adding that specific traits/strengths/weaknesses are intentionally built to differentiate characters. Along with the "oh now that we nerfed this, this other thing is broken," etc. Iwata comments that this type of balancing is ridiculously hard and congratulates Sakurai for pulling it off with every single character by himself.

- Sakurai mentions that while new developers might see this initially as a learning opportunity, it'll eventually turn into a lesson of pain.

- More commentary regarding the extreme level of difficulty regarding balance vs uniqueness in a fighting game cast, with Iwata joking that "I knew I had an eye for talent when I picked you"

- Sakurai comments "the mechanics of a game better fit the system the game is on." The 3DS's small screen, for example, is something they have to work around, making sure the backgrounds and stage structure are clearly visible.

- Iwata comments that some designers enjoy gimmicks like FMVs and cutscenes, because it's where developers get the most free reign to show off their skills.

- Sakurai mentions "I think it'd be best if we can design something that works well and looks good regardless of whether it's on a portable or on an HDTV, but having a different team for each version is also good because we can still make very specialized additions to each." Each individual project will take advantage of each developers "specialty and where they're most likely to apply it."

- Essentially boiling down to "while keeping coherence between the two version is important, they don't want to use that as an excuse to compromise potential features for either version"

- Apparently Sakurai had no direct involvement with either Sonic's or Link's implementation in Brawl.

- He's slightly concerned by the fact that the various branches of Brawl staff worked on different schedules so the development process has gotten rather long. Iwata asks "but now you get to be a lot more hands-on with Smash 4, right?" to which Sakurai answers "Yes, but I'm coming into development right after Kid Icarus finishes, with no rest inbetween. So any help I can get is much appreciated"

- Sakurai says as a game designer and head developer, he really enjoys making something himself and seeing it turn into something good, but if he takes it in the wrong direction he won't reach the people he intends to. With Smash he wants to reach out to as many as he can. Iwata comments "this leaves a lot up to chance when it comes to the finished game," but Sakurai responds "I prefer it to a "stable" series where every sequel is juts the same game with a little bit added on. While it's painful to make something new, it's fun to figure out how." While with Smash, each iteration has a different fun twist, and even someone who doesn't know much about the series can pick apart the differences fairly easily.

- Iwata anguishes over how expensive the project is and that it requires a lot of people.

- Sakurai "Anyway, I look forward to the people you bring to this project, since the success of it is dependent on who you gather for me! Still, even if you don't gather enough people, I wouldn't want to see the project stretched thin, so we could focus on only one system." Iwata: "What? Even after we announced at e3 that we'll be developing for both systems?!" Sakurai: "Well either that or I take a small team and we take five years"

- in the conclusion, Iwata thanks Sakurai, and Sakurai says "thanks, but my time is currently focused on making sure Kid Icarus is perfect for launch!"
  • In a separate interview from IGN, we got some especially tasty information about potential guest characters.

“I can’t say that it’s entirely out of the realm of possibility that some Capcom character could appear in the next Smash Bros. The big problem, though, comes from the idea of trying to get characters from a completely different universe to fit with the style that has been dictated by Nintendo’s characters in a fighting game.
“In fact, I actually think it’s a miracle that we got Smash Bros. and all the Nintendo characters to work together in the first place. Especially when you bring Pokemon into the mix and a lot of the complications that are caused by that being an almost completely different entity on its own, it’s really something. So this is something that obviously will come up more as we get started on the new Smash Bros. development, but keeping those things in mind I think is important.”

So is there a possibility of Megaman making a showing FINALLY in this series? Only time will tell.

Special thanks go out to Ankoku, a Smashboards translator for the majority of this info. I personally can't wait for it to be released.


  1. All I have to say is.. money talks. That would be my bet on why he decided to make another.

  2. If Megaman makes an appearance then I can't wait to buy it. I'm not sure why anyone would want to use the Wii U controller for playing fighting games though

  3. omg a new super smash bros!
    hopefully they make it as good as the classic N64

  4. I feel like this will either be really good or flat out suck.

  5. Can't wait for more smash bros. :) Love the blog.

  6. i cant wait for the Wii u And kid icarus!

  7. I am still very confused by this new Wii thing. I keep thinking it will be more like a PsP.

  8. u could beat someone to death with that thing xD

  9. More Smash games to sink hundreds of hours into. Yessss.

  10. I'd love to see some square enix characters make cameos in a new super smash bros =)

  11. agreed with xenototh. money rules all. if he got the $$, he'd do what was needed.

  12. You know who needs to be in a Smash Bros. A BELMONT! i mean snake was a little to much for my taste but Simon, Trevor or Richter Belmont i think would fit Awesomely

  13. i can't wait to play this new smash bros game, hopefully it will be better than the previous ones

  14. nice review! thanks for sharing

  15. This looks so sweet! cant wait to check it out myself ;D

  16. the WiiU looks SO awesome! too bad i won't have to money to buy it D:

  17. cannot wait to get my hands on one of these!

  18. I'm personally more interested in Street Fighter V Teken

  19. I can't wait for a new Smash Bros. I think the future is looking bright for the Big N.