Making the Next Smash Bros. a Smashing Success

Maxwell McGee shares his hopes and fears for the next Super Smash Bros. (SSB4) on the 3DS and Wii U.

The Super Smash Bros. games are a valuable series within the fighting genre. Now, I know what some of you are thinking: "Is Super Smash Bros. really a fighting game?" I don't know. Answering that question means defining, in certain terms, what a fighting game is. That's a topic I could dedicate a whole article to, so for the sake of argument, let's say they are, indeed, fighting games. Stop rolling your eyes. What's important is that these games help widen the scope of the fighting genre by attracting consumers who would not otherwise try a fighting game. Maybe some of those consumers go on to try other fighting games, and thus the genre grows. It's a good thing.

On the off chance there is some new Super Smash Bros. news at this year's E3, I would like to lay down my hopes and fears for SSB4. And I'm not just talking about which new characters I want to see!

NIXING TRIPPING In the next Super Smash Bros., there are several fixes from Super Smash Bros. Brawl that need to happen. Chief among these is nixing tripping. In Brawl, tripping was a mechanic designed to help bridge the skill gap between players by causing fighters to randomly slip and fall. I can see the intention, but in practice, tripping was confusing for newer players ("Why did my guy stop moving?") and frustrating for veterans ("I hate this game"). No one likes to have control wrested away from them arbitrarily, especially in the heat of battle.

FEWER SMASH BALLS Reducing smash ball frequency is another. I like the idea of this item: break it and unleash a devastating attack on the other players. This adds an extra element of tension to battle (players get excited when a smash ball appears) and more complexity to the mechanics without making the characters more complicated. Simplicity of control is key to this series' success. However, even on the low items setting, smash balls appeared too often. They should be a rare occurrence that highlights every third or fourth fight. Their overabundance distracts from the fight itself and places your attention solely on controlling these items.

CHARACTER BALANCE Then there are the characters themselves. The roster in Brawl was horrifically unbalanced, with Meta Knight standing tall above the rest. Balance issues are not uncommon in fighting games. However, in any other series, this problem would have been corrected through a simple update (or with the release of a new game). With Brawl, fans were left out in the cold. Thankfully, the community stepped up and released some excellent patches that don't even require a modified console. Balanced Brawl was the one I used, which balanced out the cast without changing any of Brawl's fundamentals (speed, hit boxes, and so on).

SMOOTH ONLINE Finally, the next Super Smash Bros. desperately needs a modern online mode. For me, playing Brawl online basically never happened because it was such a hassle. Finding a game online took forever, and when I finally got into a game it ran like a slideshow. Friend codes were an unnecessary burden for connecting with others, and hampered any replay or level sharing as well. Plus, if I was playing online, that meant I wasn't using the Balanced Brawl patch--unless I knew someone else using it. A healthy online mode adds longevity, builds community, and can even be a teaching tool for players. Hopefully the Wii U's hardware will not hamstring this upcoming fighter.

DON'T SPLIT THE GAME IN TWO In an early Iwata Asks column, as reported by Andriasang, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata discussed plans for the next Super Smash Bros. with lead developer Masahiro Sakurai. Two notes that stood out to me from the article were: "Iwata summed the basic idea nicely: players would spend time on the 3DS version, building up their character and collecting stuff, then show off their skills on the Wii U version" and "While it is important to have both versions of the game be enjoyable on their own, Sakurai feels that connectivity between the two versions will make the experience even more enjoyable."

As we've seen with Street Fighter X Tekken, if the community does not like your customization options, they will find a way to negate them. The choice is whether you support the community or make them disable the options manually (and resent you).
For me, it sounds like the 3DS version will focus on single-player through individual character progression and customization. Once you feel your character is ready, you can transfer your character to the Wii U and play against your friends in multiplayer. Hopefully, this doesn't mean splitting an otherwise complete game between two consoles, thus requiring a $100 purchase to get the full experience. I can see this very easily slipping into a Pokemon Stadium situation, where the bulk of the game is played through the handheld, and the console game is regulated to competitive modes.

This issue would be compounded if using customized characters were mandatory, and players who owned the 3DS version thus had an advantage over console-only players. Thankfully, there's a simple solution: make it optional. Being able to tweak how your character plays is not inherently a bad thing, but it shouldn't be a requirement. As we've seen with Street Fighter X Tekken, if the community does not like your customization options, they will find a way to negate them. The choice is whether you support the community or make them disable the options manually (and resent you).

A WIRED CONTROLLER From a hardware perspective, I have no doubt that the Wii U version of the next Super Smash Bros. will include a touch-control option for the touch pad similar to what will be on the 3DS. It will be novel, but it will not usurp standard controls as the preferred method of play--so long as the Wii U is restricted to one touch pad at a time. And since the Wii U will (sadly) no longer support GameCube controllers, it would be nice if Nintendo packaged a wired controller of similar design with the game, a la the Wii Wheel included with Mario Kart Wii.

Sure, the classic controller is nice, but its wireless design makes it impractical in a tournament setting, and many players who cut their teeth on Melee feel at home with the GameCube controller's design. The additional controller would be a sign of good will toward the competitive Smash community, which has managed to thrive without much support from Nintendo thus far.

I have high hopes for the next Super Smash Bros. With Melee, the game skewed more toward the competitive player, while Brawl overcompensated in an effort to be more widely accessible. After covering both ends of the spectrum, the developers should be primed to hit that sweet spot between complexity and accessibility. As Gonzalo ZeRo of the Smash Boards puts it: "You know what I would really like to see, a game that can be enjoyed [by] every kind of gamer: from the casual, to the hardcore, to the professional…So that everyone can play the game in ANY way and still enjoy it…This would help the Smash community to grow and be a better community overall across the world!"

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559 comments
IceDefenseGod
IceDefenseGod

Very well written. Found myself agreeing with the vast majority of it.

Gamerplayer999
Gamerplayer999

I totally agree with you, execpt with the part that Meta knight is way above everyone else. Meta knight does lack power except for his Final smash , and... never mind thats his only flaw, but there are a few other characters that are on par or at least close to it

scoobdog02
scoobdog02

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ermack103
ermack103

See when people say that Smash Brothers is a "fighting game" I always bring up Mario kart, Would you consider Mario kart the same as Forza or Gran Turismo? No, no you wouldn't. These games fall more into the niche category of "Krazy Nintendo games" or even better, "Mario games" (because at this point Mario has pumped out enough games with Mario Party alone to be called a genre of video games lol)".

YouJustGotCaged
YouJustGotCaged

I already have a 3ds, but I'm not sure about the WiiU. Don't split the game in half!

1995jose
1995jose

i know this has no chance of happening,but optimus prime would be crazy awesome to have. anyone agree?

Blackbeared
Blackbeared

Its true that ssbb is unbalanced :(....to the point that I switched my fav character to op one Pit to play competitively online 

Zero-regret
Zero-regret

I find it strange that you would all fight over which game is better, what should or should not stay in the new SSB, and I find the strangest thing of all to be the fact that people are fighting over which fighter is the best it all depends on your own skill level not on the fighter you choose. I myself find MetaKnight to be a very weak fighter no matter the skill level of the person controlling MK and because of this I tend to beat him easily with any of the fighters thought my fighter of choice is Link because of all the time I spent playing him in the Zelda franchise and on all three SSB. I also use Link the most because he appeals to me more than Kirby's friend or foe MetaKnight.       

firstclassgamer
firstclassgamer

I want the whole character roster to fill my whole tv 

Blackrasor
Blackrasor

Talking about the balance of the roster, altough meta knight is clearly OP and there are some unbalances in the roster, after SSBB after so many years i can safely say that i do not consider the roster that unbalanced, in every characters there are way tou counter it, and dont forget that the same character has many ways to play it, making the battle, and the way to counter the character different, that for me made the game so interesting in multiplayer, even after all those years. 

solidsnake50
solidsnake50

As long as the can squeeze in either a tekken character, soul calibur on anime character ie any of the ninja storm characters. Hell even some DBZ characters. Im cool with that.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

I'll just say I agree that the next version needs a smooth online component.Nix Tripping????? No, you're "trippin".

nixonrocks
nixonrocks

i like all the ssb so far so i hope that this one will be really great

 

Naylord
Naylord

Melee was already that sweet spot. The game was incredibly accessible and deep.

ticasfox
ticasfox

Well, I think tripping has become an important part of the game, since it can result in interesting turns of events, and so it shouldn't be removed from the upcoming game. I usually play with no items at all to keep the games more "classic", so i don't rly have an opinion about the smash balls frequency, except that they're too overpowered (so any frequency is too high for me :p). However, I couldnt agree more about the online improvements - the online features in SSBB were more than just limited. Also, it's really important that Nintendo makes either two completey unrelated version of the next game in the series, one for 3DS and another for WiiU, or otherwise two identical versions, in order for us not to have to buy the 3DS to enjoy the WiiU game. Last but not least, I hope they maintain simple controls at least as an option, as including touch features and so on would kind of ruin the experience of a veteran player. I hope at least some agree with me! :D

Trickymaster
Trickymaster

Well scratch that. Nintendo failed to deliver even on this one. Not only did they fail to show some promising 3rd party titles, they also failed showing traditional Nintendo exclusives such as a 3D Super Mario, Smash Bros, Mario Kart etc. Instead they gave us Nintendoland adding insult to injury.

Anjello9607
Anjello9607

I honestly don't think Nintendo can fuck up on SSB. They've stuck to the formula pretty damn well even leaving the option for players to take whatever new aspect they don't like out of the game they are playing. Of course, in tournament play, guidelines will be set for the new game just like how it was set for Brawl so I don't see any reason to worry about this game at all.

Lattata
Lattata

I always loved Super Smash Brothers. I hope they do well on the next, sucks there was no information on the new one at this E3.

everlong12
everlong12

I am anticipating the next Smash Bro but if the games core enterntainment value comes from the connectivity of 2 seperate systems then I guess i won't be playing SSB4. I think they should have everything on the Wii U and you can transfer characters on to the 3DS and go trhough a single player mode and/or playing with people online throug hthe 3DS.

 

Dyna_Blade
Dyna_Blade

No, I don't trust Nintendo enough to do another Smash, my feelings were hurt with Brawl and the Wii in general. I certainly expect nothing, but if they attempt the risk and want to do something actually -good- and playable, then I might leave the door open for any surprise they want to give me. As a Melee competitive player, I expect nothing from them. 

NightwingUV1
NightwingUV1

One of my favorite racing games on a Nintendo console was F-ZERO GX, and upon Brawl's initial announcement I had hoped that they would add a few characters from the series. F-ZERO GX had 40 characters to choose from. I know they wouldn't use them all but the option for utilizing a few is there. Samurai Goro, Black Shadow, Dr. Stuart, Jodi Summers, Pico are fairly well known  or veteran characters from the series and absolutely none of them were thrown into the roster as I had hoped. If they had used them it might even raise further interest in the F-zero series among other players unfamiliar to it. (Yes I want another sequel already, dammit!) Captain Falcon remained solely alone from his series in Brawl and I really hope they add more characters from this series and of course others.

Dark Samus or a Space Pirate, Tails and Robotnik (if they're still going to have 3rd party characters), the return of Roy (not a clone) and maybe the Black knight from fire emblem, and any of the other members of the DK crew would be pretty cool additions to the roster.

Down with Tripping!

Derpalon
Derpalon

All I care about is getting rid of the tripping mechanic and the rest is just keeping the formula mostly the same and expanding upon gameplay features like making a bigger and better adventure mode again. That tripping mechanic was seriously stupid. The new WiiU pro controller is looking PERFECT and I can't wait to be able to play the next Smash Bros on it.

KaonGheta
KaonGheta

I think the balance was much better this time than in Melee. I've won 4 tournaments on the game (10 on Melee), and not one that I've been in had a Metaknight win. In Melee, when I didn't win, it was a guy playing Fox. Fox, Fox, Fox with some players doing good with maybe some Falcon and Shiek. This time I've seen it all over the place from Mario, Pikachu, Fox, Wolf, Flalco, Falkon, Zelda, etc. But I do agree with the rest. Except the controllers. Wii U announced those nice look Wii U Pro controllers.

Meteor7
Meteor7

I have always been a SSB fan and I still am, but I think some of the new features need to be fixed or removed. The tripping was retarded in my opinion and when you and your opponent have one stock left and enough damage to knock eachother out and your opponent leaves an opening and you trip makes things infuriating! The smash balls were overabundent and should be cut by half for sure. It's a cool feature to do a special attack, but it irritating when 5 show up in 1 min. Though you could use the gamecube controller for brawl, i really hope they add wired controllers or something other than motion controls or stupid motion pads. Internet play could be improved

Ainion
Ainion

First off, there IS a "Pro Controller" for the Wii U, it is like a Gamecube or Xbox controller. No touchscreen, lighter, more familier, and has the same controls as the Pad, so it's just easier to use (or harder, depending on your style). Wires, by the way, make the game HARDER. You can't be anywhere, you have to place the system at the exact right place so both your controller and the TV can connect to it, and I don't see the downside of wireless.

 

Second, Meta Knight is not the overall character, he may be YOUR best, but I've beaten 3 level 9 Meta Knights with OLLIMAR. People are good at different characters, and different play styles, so it truley comes down to how good the players are and how much practice they've had.

 

Third, I know, clones are bad, but the people themselves are different. Gandandorf is more powerful and slower than captain falcon, and his moves have different elements. Though they still are clones, don't get rid of the actual characters, I happend to have Toon Link (not regular Link) as my best guy because of his differences from Link. They are good characters to have in, they just need different moves.

 

Fourth...

Ok, the online sucked, but that WILL change.

 

Fifth, I think the tripping was a great idea. Sometimes in real life, we trip, but just because they're in a video game, they can't? It rarely happened to me. I've been playing Brawl for years, and I never got angry at the tripping. Plus, it adds realism to it. If your ahead, that doesn't mean you trip, nor when your behind. It's a random thing, just like real life, and I have no problem with it.

 

Sixth, the 2 games are optional. These "powered up characters" will probably be banned in online play, and when your in the same room, you can agree not to use them because that would be unfair. It's probably to slightly help you in the Story mode (though I don't know what it's going to be yet) and other single player things. It will be perfectly possible to do these without the powered up guys, but it will help you. It's sort of like the stickers, you CAN use them, and you slightly benefit, but if you choose not to (like me) you can still do it easily.

 

And last, the smash balls. I find them fun, and like them to appear often. That's just me, and if you hate smash balls, or do think they appear to often, don't ask for them to be downgraded, ask for more customization in what appears, sort of like "This I'll put on extremely low and this item I'll put on middle and this item I'll put on high" so you can decide that you like the smash balls appearing often or not while keeping other things normal (or changed, depending on how you like it).

 

I came into this article hoping it would make fine points, which it did, but there were counters to every one of them. This whole thing was your opinion and this is mine, so please don't critisize my comment. From a certain point of view, everything that you said made perfect sense! That's not just my point of view.

 

And now my personal indulgence, the characters I want added, from least to most

 

Toon Zelda (different moves, not a clone, and transforms into Tetra instead of Sheik)

Tails (Sonic needs a companion)Girahim (instead of Ganondrof, final smash is "Demise")

Sora (I know he's not Nintendo, but he's one of my favorite video game characters)

Megaman (Has to be original)

And...

Customized Character! (probably a Mii, or [if technology allows] a picture you find on the internet or draw on your own that they turn into a 3D person. You take different characters moves, edit their strength or elements or color or something, put points [certain number, like 25 or something, can't change] into speed and strength and things like that, and you got your own character!)

AppleberryPocky
AppleberryPocky

I agree with everything except the controller concerns. It may unfortunate that the Wii U will not support gamecube controllers, but how long do you expect them to keep making adjustments for SSB players to be able to play like they did back in 2001/2002? It's a new a game entirely so I don't see the problem with asking the 'experienced' players to learn a controller system just like you did with Melee. After all, they didn't make a N64 controller for the Gamecube so that players could play like did with the original SSB, did they?? :)

0.173596255202
0.173596255202

I've been playing SSB since Melee when I got a game cube. Rented the game once and after that I was hooked. Bought it and never looked back. Melee is better than Brawl cause brawl is totally unbalanced. But I love the additional characters in Brawl. I actually still play with some of my friends online and that is really buggy too. If you are hosting the game you have the advantage for reaction. I was playing with my friends over the web the other night and won all four games cause I was hosting. the night before I lost 3 of four cause I was not hosting it.

 

I agree with the clones; there needs to be less of them. I think Melee only had 2 or three (Young link, Roy and someone else...was it falco?). Brawl has alot of them. And some of them are like clones of people they have no relationship with (Why does Gannondorf fight like Captian Falcon?) If there are clones, they need to have a lot of distinction. Mario and Luigi is a good example. They have alot of different moves between themselves. But, Gannondorf, Lucas, and Toon Link (I hate toon link!) need to be taken out.

 

Definitely agree with the tripping. That is just annoying. The thing about is this: The tripping doesn't always happen just when you are in the lead with lives or points. You could be neck and neck with a person. Say you're doing a five men stock survival game. All the players are on their last man and you're around the same percentage. You can still trip. 

 

We usually play without the smash ball, but sometimes I like to have it in the game. Here's a suggestion: Give us the abillity to control how many smash balls come up on screen. In Brawl, you can change it from I think LOW, MED and HIGH. What would be great is if we could say put only 1 or 2 or 5 balls on the screen...if you're doing a survival match and you have 5 lives and you want 5 balls...maybe when everyone gets to 4 lives a ball appears. I really hate it when my friends gets Sonic..it's like he automatically has the ball no matter what cause Sonic is the fastest character...and he can jump really high...so he almost always get the ball..and super sonic comes out and it's like Insta-Death.

Hydeen
Hydeen

All i want, is skull kid as playable character

vallan2
vallan2

I would have to say my number one request would be more original characters, less clones. If each of the characters can be customized in the next one anyway, whats the point of having characters with very similar moves? More originals would give alot more variety in how ppl can play

ferxooo
ferxooo

Don't worry about the controller, there will be a WiiUProController, its been officially announced!

Mikesta13_
Mikesta13_

Oh and make Star Fox character's dash attack hit-able. If the player is skilled enough to anticipate or fast enough to counter it with a stronger attack, then why not let it hit. They were able to do it in melee but for some reason they took it out in brawl.

Mikesta13_
Mikesta13_

Along with my earlier post I think that character customization would be awewome too, but not in the character strengthening sense but rather each character has a multiple set of special moves, kind of like pokemon and the early dragonball z budokai games. I think that would be awesome and constantly changes the flow of the gameplay. Basically each character would have a set number of each direction special and the player can choose which move they want to use during that fight. Eh, just an idea, for those who are listening.

GonzaloZeRo
GonzaloZeRo

Wow! My post at Smashboards got featured at Gamespot! I'm so happy :D

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

 @lazyathew It isn't so much that wired controllers are "better," but more that in the tournament scene, they aren't acceptable to use because of the potential to disconnect and screw up the execution of players. It's the same reason you can't pause in the middle of a match.

 

@Maxwell I mostly agree with you. The only two things I question are whether the Wii U tablet controller will not be an acceptable choice itself and whether it is reasonable to request a developer create a game that will appeal to all players. I'm pretty sure ZeRo didn't mean it in this context, but A) it's not possible to please everyone and B) TRYING to please everyone leads to us pleasing NOBODY.

 

But I agree with everything else. The next Smash needs to have better balancing in addition to the endless treasure trove of unlockable content we're used to getting from it. The tripping needs to be removed completely, and the Smash Balls need to be toned down. (Personally, I'm of the opinion that there should be some additional requirement to getting it akin to the meter-building that is necessary in Capcom fighters. Perhaps players have to land a certain number of hits before they can obtain the Smash Ball?) And, of course, online play must be better than it was in Brawl, though I attribute that as much to cumbersome Friend Codes as I do to problems with lag.

lazyathew
lazyathew

I don't see how a wired controler is better then a wireless. But yeah, I would love to be able to play it with a gamecube style controler.

28362g
28362g

Well the WiiU Pro controller looks nice. Maybe it'll work well in replacement of the GC controller.

pcty
pcty

Friend codes were terrible!

 

scoobdog02
scoobdog02

If Daisy isn't in it... My life will be over.

and if she's in it as a clone, or costume of Peach... My life will be over.

She's a sporty tomboy! Let her show off her skillz!

 

B- Pull out Bombshell Koopa (Will explode shortly afterwards, and will slide along ground.)

Up B- Daisy Trampoline Bounce (Olympic Games)

Down B- Crystal Smash (From Strikers)

Side B- Send Pokey towards enemy (Rises out of the ground, one ball at a time, only 2 allowed on field at once)

She is the princess of Sarasaland, so why not have desert creatures?! 

 

She is my favorite Mario character and she deserves more recognition! She's been in 40 Mario Games to date. So come on, let her join the fight and not stupid little Toad! 

 

Thank you.

 

SUNDRAGONJ
SUNDRAGONJ

I actually had all 3 Super Smash Brothers games and they were all great. What I would like to see is the roster from brawl just expanded more. Smash balls are great, the game up until then is just fight, but once they appear it's an all out war for the ball and even if you get it it can still be knocked right out of you and takes some skill to use it right unless you're Kirby. And it should be call Super Smashed Bros. Rumble or something or other not just Super Smash Bros. 4

nintendians
nintendians

i want it ssb4 to have the throwing power of ssb and the other to be like melee, so i can have at least a have a fighting distance when fast opponent are to close for comfort.

lightning_kf
lightning_kf

I grew up with the first Super Smash Brothers on the Nintendo 64 and loved it.  I missed out on Melee sadly and Brawl was kinda good.  The 4th game, yes, had better get rid of tripping (which was annoying) and those damn Smash Balls.  It's stupid to play a match with my siblings and they demand that Smash Balls be part of the items.  Even with them, I still kick their asses every time.

 

As long as they don't go overboard with third-party characters, I'll be happy.  Sonic and Snake were pretty good additions to an already good roster.  And please, give a lot of the 'clones' more variations.  Even tone down some of the overpowered ones.  I mean, Metaknight is my favorite overall but damn.  I see why people hate him so much.  Then again, I don't stoop to those levels just to win a match.

flawless75
flawless75

They need to to take out tripping in the game. I hated that when they put it in Brawl.

Videogal1993
Videogal1993

I've grown up to the original SSB and played every single game of the series since then. I just bought a 3DS for this and two other games for the system. Can't wait for this! (But if the 3DS is more customized, what it will be like Dissidia Final Fantasy?)

randomrings
randomrings

I'm going to instantly assume that Nintendo isn't going to listen to its fans and make the new SSB more of another marketing ploy than an actual installment in the series. With that in mind, I will get the 3DS version and be content in whatever it gives me, because I bought a 3DS (for Kingdom Hearts) and have absolutely no motivation to buy a Wii U. The fact that they made two versions almost seems like they're admitting that the Wii U is going to be a waste from the get go

I_am_Epicus
I_am_Epicus

OH MY GOD THAT IS SO CREEPY. I looked at my play time for SSB2, Melee, and brawl. And these are the exact times in order, 100h 4m, 100h 9m, and 100h 5m. Theyre all within 5 minutes of each other. And i just noticed that right now!

donebythebook
donebythebook

The controls will make or break this game.  If they offer a controller like the GameCube, we're good.  If we're forced to use Wii remotes or the Wii U's pad, this game is doomed.

LoganWesker
LoganWesker

melee is awful...i guess a majority of the people who are saying its good werent old enough to play SSB1...SSB2 basically killed any potential the franchise had. Brawl is a decent game but the online was pitiful. Alas, the series has gone down the road of Marvel Vs. Capcom...Ill be skipping this. 

 

I still play SSB1

kkthesonicfan
kkthesonicfan

Don't know why everybody likes Melee more than Brawl. The only differences were that Melee was faster, you could wave dash, and air comboing was easy because dodging in the air sucked butt. To me Brawl was better, more characters, more items, better graphics, easy to pick up, but you could still grow into a pro and you can see the difference between a pro and a newbie. Story mode, bosses, it was all around better. The only thing they need to do is add more characters, stages, base the Story mode stages on actual levels in Nintendo games, take of slipping, and stop making clones.