People are talking about Smash again. Since before the Switch came out, the rumor mill was churning scuttlebutt that we’d be seeing something with Smash Bros. within the first year or so. Would it be a Mario Kart 8-style re-release, or a new entry? Signs have pointed to the former, and some notable Nintendo tipsters are now saying it’s happening in 2018. So, a port of the 3DS/Wii U Smash Bros. with, perhaps, some new bells and whistles to keep it fresh for the people who already bought it. But what about the sequel? Will there be a sequel? Or, hear me out, what if Smash Bros. became a platform?
There’s been this weird feeling underneath the surface of Smash Bros. over the years that, without Masahiro Sakurai, Nintendo would have no earthly clue what to do with the series. That man has almost single-handedly driven the series to the heights it has gained since the Nintendo 64. One of the stories back in the Wii U days was that “Smash 4” would not have happened unless Sakurai agreed to direct, and if not, Nintendo was leaning towards doing a remastered version of Super Smash Bros. Melee.
But the thing about Sakurai is that he’s getting older, and has already had health problems as a result of overworking himself, something common among creative types. What if he can’t be around to spearhead another sequel to the level Nintendo would demand? Nintendo can’t just not do another Smash Bros., but it also seems afraid to give the reins over to a different lead. But what if this new version of what came before, potentially just called something like, “Super Smash Bros. for Switch,” was it? Like, the only version of Smash to grace the console? But what if it was also supported throughout the life of the console?
Look at something like Street Fighter V. Sure, the game launched poorly. It had a huge lack of content, especially single-player and causal-friendly content, and that turned off a ton of people despite the excellent core mechanics and a clear framework built for extensive post-launch support. But once the seasonal content kicked in, support for Street Fighter V began to swell, and grew more over time. Season Three is running now, and everyone’s hype about Blanka. Smash on Switch could be the same!
One of the coolest parts of Smash on Wii U and 3DS was the post-release support. More third-party characters and stages came to the game, and plenty of return characters also made it back in. So why not just do that? Take the resources that would go into making a brand new game from the ground up, and just add a buttload of new content to what’s already in place and totally great! Nintendo still has plenty of weird stuff it could do with the roster, and there’s probably tons of third parties lining up to cut some licensing deals.
Nintendo has been jumping deeper and deeper into post-release DLC for its games, and has even started offering Season Pass-style content pre-order bundles for its games, such as in Hyrule Warriors, Fire Emblem Warriors, and of course The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. So, multiple seasons of Smash Bros. Whatever Edition that comes to Switch wouldn’t be a huge shakeup in any respect, and would only match it up with many other contemporary fighting games.
What do you all think? Could Super Smash Bros. come to Switch, and use the previous game as a foundation to become a platform for steady content releases? Or does Sakurai have one more run left in him still? Or, perhaps, could Nintendo have something else up its sleeves entirely?