A Smashing Collaboration for Next Smash Bros.?

Namco Bandai is lending its fighting game expertise to the next Smash Bros., but what can we expect from this collaboration?

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Nintendo has announced that developer Namco Bandai Games will be collaborating with Smash Bros. developer Sora Ltd. on the next game in the series. According to series director Masahiro Sakurai, this project has "just gotten started" on both the Wii U and 3DS platforms. Namco Bandai producer Masaya Kobayashi added, "All the top creators from Namco Bandai are gathered here to create a never-before-seen dream team for this project. We will fully utilize our experience and knowledge in action/fighting game development, technical capability, and organizational strength."

So, what does all this mean for the next pair of Smash Bros. games? Let's take a closer look and see what can be gleaned from this announcement.

The announcement itself was a smart move by Nintendo. As I covered in a previous editorial, Super Smash Bros. Brawl had several fundamental issues that blemished an otherwise enjoyable game. As we move into the fourth Smash Bros. game, fans are understandably concerned over whether Nintendo will learn from Brawl's mistakes. This announcement is Nintendo's way of saying: "Look, we get it. It won't happen again." It should help curb fan trepidation and transform it into excitement. Let's just hope this pairing is not merely a change in who's doing all the grunt work.

The Namco Bandai collaboration is also a chance to take some of the wind out of the sails of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Since the game's conception, Sony has been positioning All-Stars as a Smash Bros.-style game for the competitive player and has been hiring fighting game community members to work on it. Nintendo isn't going to roll over and let Sony take the mascot brawler crown uncontested. By appealing to the competitive community, Nintendo is acknowledging their importance, and it will be interesting to see how this sentiment translates in the final game.

As a development partner, Namco Bandai was an obvious choice for Nintendo. The two companies have worked together in the past (Star Fox Assault, Mario Kart Arcade GP), and Namco Bandai has an extensive catalog of fighting games, including the Tekken and SoulCalibur series and various anime-based fighters. They have a large pool of experienced developers to draw from when addressing the unique issues the next Smash Bros. will undoubtedly present.

Even so, I do not believe the core fighting mechanics in the next Smash Bros. will change drastically as a result of this collaboration. A large part of this series' success is that it's not tailored for the core fighting game community. A lot of people love these games just the way they are, so Nintendo likely doesn't feel pressure to change the formula that much. Instead, I picture the next game as more of a response to Brawl and the complaints people had, with Namco Bandai aiding with character balance, slight mechanical tweaks, and suggesting that perhaps tripping wasn't the best idea.

I picture the next game as more of a response to Brawl and the complaints people had, with Namco Bandai aiding with character balance, slight mechanical tweaks, and suggesting that perhaps tripping wasn't the best idea.
Where I think we'll see the most change is in all the additions surrounding the core fighting game, primarily in the campaign and character customization options. As Sakurai has previously noted, the Wii U and 3DS versions of the game will connect in some way--with the Wii U version focusing on competitive play, and the 3DS version focusing on character advancement and customization. This is the area where I think Namco Bandai could do the most good.

Brawl's campaign was certainly long, but to me felt dull because players could use any character on any stage. This choice required the developers to design stages to accommodate every character's limitations--leading to generic enemies and level designs that did not take advantage of the game's strongest element: the wild and diverse abilities of its cast. A Smash Bros. campaign mode still holds a lot of potential, and Namco Bandai has experience designing campaign modes in many of its fighting games.

As for the possibility of Namco Bandai characters appearing in the next Smash Bros., I'd say that's a distinct possibility so long as the character in question has appeared on a Nintendo console. However, there is still a massive backlog of Nintendo icons that have yet to appear in this series, so don't expect the entire Tekken roster to show up! Still, it would only be fair for Namco Bandai to receive a little representation for all its hard work.

Even if Heihachi Mishima isn't playable in the next Smash Bros., I believe this collaboration is a positive announcement for fans--just keep your expectations in check. I don't think this means we'll see the next Smash Bros. transformed into a traditional 3D fighter unrecognizable from its past. Namco Bandai should be able to provide a great eye for balance while still maintaining what makes this series unique. But what do you think? How much latitude do you think Nintendo will grant Namco Bandai when developing this game? Let me know in the comments below.

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Discussion

0 comments
PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

I really don't want Heihachi because he has nothing to do with Nintendo. IMO Snake also never should have been there and even Sonic is very dubious despite all the history.


Megaman is a must. Going with the same train of thought Hayabusa, Belmont, Bomberman, Pacman, Haggar and Ryu wouldn't be bad choices. But knowing the abundance of licence games in the past the real winner would be getting a TMNT, a Power Ranger, Spiderman, Batman and a Biker Mice from Mars. A fight between Leonardo, Red Ranger, Spiderman and Batman in some Ultimate Carnage stage would be a true blast from the 90's.

pmlh98
pmlh98

thank you namco bandai... we might actually see naruto since they made all the ultimate ninja games!

scoobdog02
scoobdog02

Please everyone who loves Super Smash Bros. Go check out my page!

MahamutZ3ro
MahamutZ3ro

There are loads of things people would love to see in a game as popular, diverse and simply lovable as Super Smash.

I believe nailing all requests or a moderate slice of what people'd like to see is completely impossible...... thus, I'd love to see downloadable contents (free!) for future, say, characters, stages... etc (or at least leave it open for later use).

 

As for characters I'd seriously want to see: Demise (TLoZ Skyward Sword), Roy (Fire Emblem), and (for gods sake!) Isaac (Golden Sun).

 

deafcat5
deafcat5

Lloyd Irving will finally make his smash debut. RISING FALCON

 

Mister_Re
Mister_Re

I think they should add 3d arenas, sort of like Naruto has but with a Smash bros. feel.

NeoCloudZero
NeoCloudZero

Ace Combat fighter plane support as one of the items! lol put a beacon on the ground for air support around that target.

NightFox313
NightFox313

Namco/Bandai could do quite an amazing job with the next SSB. Just look at Project Soul of Namco's work with SoulCalibur II. Characters in that game were pretty much balanced if two experiencd players duked it out. Namco Sound Team did a mind-blowing and an amazing job with the music of the Ace Combat series, so maybe some musical tracks from them would be neat. Years ago when I played Soul Calibur II I found the characters quite balanced, and so Namco could definitely help with that.

Deathstalker83
Deathstalker83

Just  add a few new characters like double dragon, battletoads, maybe even come clayfighters sounds good to me.

kazzu
kazzu

Getting the 3DS Version. Skipping the Wii-U entirely for reasons of my own. SSB has been a favorite of mine since I was young. Melee and Brawl did a great job to add to it. I just want a portable version for myself.

nintendoman555
nintendoman555

I think that the 3DS version and the Wii U version should have different rosters. Obviously the same core characters like Mario and Link would be there, but changing up some of the non-core characters would provide incentive to buy both games and also provide a wider range of characters cumulatively. I mean, not everyone's favorite character can feasibly be included in just one game.

Autony
Autony

The World Ends With You should make an appearance, please do.

Fabian33
Fabian33

any character from baten kaitos!!! =D

Black_Man85
Black_Man85

Klonoa!  Yuri Lowell!  KOS-MOS!  1 or 2 Soul Calibur characters!  Pac-Man vs Mario has been a match waiting to happen for decades!  PLEASE no Tekken fighters! It's they got their time with SxT.  Hell, put a Gundam in there too.....

 

My wishes for this game has my grammar all messed up.

EsyudoDragon
EsyudoDragon

If it has to be a character that appeared on an Nintendo console, then I'll go with Lloyd Irving from Tales of Symphonia, all the way!!!

EsyudoDragon
EsyudoDragon

If it has to be a character that appeared on a Nintendo console, then I'll go with Lloyd Irving from Tales of Symphonia, all the way!!

Skyt_Aura
Skyt_Aura

How's about putting Sora from Kingdom Hearts into the next Smash bros. game? Neku from "The World Ends With You" wouldn't be so bad either :)

Beaugita
Beaugita

So since Wii exclusives are probably the most likely additions... Why not Travis Touchdown and Jack Cayman?

00LiteYear
00LiteYear

No way, tripping is HILARIOUS! =D

JOTLD
JOTLD

everyone needs to stop complaining about the tripping, if your as hard core as you think you are, it shouldnt make a difference.

Croatia31
Croatia31

they should add in crash bandicoot, and spyro

 

harold317
harold317

The fact that they are bringing Namco for this speaks words of how ambitious this project is. Any other company with an IP as big as Smash Bros would just add new characters, HD graphics and call it a day, but not Nintendo. They just admitted that they can't make a fighting game as good as fans are demanding, so they bring in a company with a track record of proven excellence in making fighting games to show how committed they are in pleasing their fans. The same person from the older Smash Bros is still ahead of the project. Can't quite make out where the "bad" is in this article.

a1450358509
a1450358509

I think a lot of this game will rely on Nintendo's ability to patch initial mistakes. Assuming that Wii U will allow patches, itll be interesting to see how they handle any imbalances/glitches that come up. 

Hanebud
Hanebud

What about Banjo-Kazooie?  I want them in the game.. as one character of course.

NELSQNFTW
NELSQNFTW

F'ing smash bros!!maybe they'll finally put Dry Bones in the game

firstclassgamer
firstclassgamer

Keep Princes Zelda Dins fire was awesome I was aways trolling with that move Lmao

cheesepirate
cheesepirate

I think pacman is going to be in the game

Just_A_Box
Just_A_Box

add Django and Isaac to the character roster plz. :D 

Fragasnap
Fragasnap

I don't consider Namco a shining example of balance, but I struggle to imagine how they could make the balance any worse than it already was in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Sakurai is still heading the project, so I have nothing to complain about at this moment, but I shall continue watching this game warily.

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

As long as they keep all of the characters from Brawl...

Giancarlo
Giancarlo moderator

I want all of the characters in the game. ALL OF THEM!

CybrexLee
CybrexLee

The character roster better be spectacular. I've waited far too long for another SSB game. Long enough to lose most interest in Nintendo. Besides The Legend of Zelda: SS I haven't bought a Nintendo game in three years. I'm definetly not buying a Wii-U. The concept doesnt catch me.

 

I may buy a 3DS, but only when their prices drop down(which will probably take a considerably long time). I will get a 3DS not because of the 3D graphics. I heard the 3D wasn't even that great. Titles have been developed on the 3DS to catch my interest. I used to be a die-hard Kingdom Hearts fan. I'm not so much one now, but still follow the story. Kingdom Hearts 3D is one of my main reasons. Then there is Ocarina of Time 3D. I'd also like to follow any new Pokemon games they might make on the 3DS. Now SSB? That makes it more probable for me to buy one. I just wish the 3DS version isn't story based. I want to recapture Melee(with some unique new changes to make it feel like Melee, but be totally new at the same time).

 

I wouldn't be so mad if they added Goku. That would serve me some laughs and good playing time. A Sora wouldn't be bad either in my opinion. Both are highly unlikely. I'm betting on Pac-Man and Mega-Man. I'd also love add-ons to it. The more characters the better in my opinion. Just as long as they don't get repetitive, and make carbon copies. I mean... Pichu? Really?

Kazmo-Khan
Kazmo-Khan

It would be really cool to see someone from the Tales franchise step into SSB. I know there are other more popular characters from Namco to draw upon, but seeing Lloyd Irving and the like would make my day!!

craigprime
craigprime

Alright, so the game is going to be great. That much is already assumed. Let's talk about the characters.

1: Get rid of Ike, or make him less annoying.

2: No more Sonic characters, except Knuckles, as he can actually fight.

3: Chrono Trigger must be represented.

4: More Pokemon. Actually, scratch that. Have the Pokemon Trainer customizable, so you can make your own team of Pokemon.

5: No more clones.

6 : Something that makes fun of Sony.

LewRobz96
LewRobz96

 @nintendoman555 I agree, Nintendo and 3rd party characters should differ between portable or home franchises. So like Olimar and Ike wouldn't be on the 3DS version, whereas the Wii U version wouldn't have a character from Golden Sun or Advance Wars.

Blaze25
Blaze25

 @harold317 Yea I couldn't really see it either. The tripping does get on my nerves but I'm usually so into the game that I keep on going and forget about it. I'm not exactly sure what the lack in balance is, but I know for sure one of the things they have to be talking about is the Final Smashes. Regardless, I've always enjoyed this game since the first one and I doubt that's going to change.

zjCHICKEN12
zjCHICKEN12

 @Jedilink109 Yeah, like Lucario's not going to get replaced by Zoroark or anything..

 

Even so, the 3rd parties (Snake/Sonic), a few clones (Wolf) and probably a few others will get replaced.

Spahettificator
Spahettificator

 @CybrexLee If Kakarot is in there then Vegeta should be as well. Can't have one without the other :)

GamespotSux_IKR
GamespotSux_IKR

 @Spahettificatorheh! You made me think about Melee. When I played Melee, I didn't know anything about Pokemon.. All I knew was STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM SCIZOR... and some other pokes too ;)

 

Yakushi23
Yakushi23

 @craigprime

 I completely agree with you on this. But I don't honestly think that this SSB game will be a smashing hit like melee or brawl because most portable games, that have the original on a different console, aren't really that great. It tends to cut off a lot of many different things that the console version of the game can do.

lmaocarrots
lmaocarrots

 @craigprime 1. Why get rid of him? The roster is pretty balanced in my eyes, just get rid of or change the clone characters.

2. The more the merrier as far as I'm concerned, and we'll definitely see Sonic return because the Mario + Sonic games are still be made.

3. Yep

4. No doubt that they'll add more Pokemon.

5. Indeed, and even if they're going to have clones at least make a couple attacks different (like Mario and Luigi) or at least their final smashes.

6. No. Battle Royale looks like a blast, and I'm sure Nintendo doesn't even care 1/3 as much as all the fanboys online that they're copying them.