Much ado is being made about Super Smash Bros., with many claiming that the it could be one of the games that saves the Wii U. And sure enough, if you check forums online and comment sections on stories, you'll see claims that this will be the one. This game will get people investing in the system.
Except, it won't.
I'm not going to say Super Smash Bros. will be a bad game. Personally, I have high hopes for the title. I get excited about every newly announced character. I wonder whether I should go for the "safe" 3DS version, or to give myself a reason to turn on the Wii U and grab the console iteration. I'm excited. But, I don't think it will be the system seller everyone makes it out to be.
The first reason is, we have to look at the Wii U's history. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD was supposed to be a system seller. So was Super Mario 3D World. Even Lego City Undercover was an alleged heavy hitter. That isn't even mentioning games like Pikmin 3, Rayman Legends, and ZombiU. These are great, sometimes even wonderful games. Each one was supposed to help turn the console's fortune around, and each one failed.
Which means if people weren't investing when, say, Super Mario 3D World came out at the end of 2013 and suddenly made the Wii U seem a lot more viable, how will Super Smash Bros. help now? Especially since the library isn't looking to make a big push forward this year. The next few big names are Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Mario Kart 8, and Bayonetta 2.
Of course, people could think that maybe Super Smash Bros. will push people over a ledge. Fine, but let's look at some other factors. The Smash Bros. series has always been very big on the multiplayer element. You're going to need other people to play with, if you want to get the most out of this game. That isn't going to happen with the current Wii U install rate. Sure, you can have friends come over to enjoy the fighting game as a group, but fighting game communities thrive with online tournaments and matches. Are people really going to chomp at the bit to join up, when they aren't assured they'll have people to fight against?
And it's not like you'll have a Super Smash Bros. Brawl style The Subspace Emissary Adventure Mode to occupy your single player moments. Masahiro Sakurai has already said it won't have a story mode, because people started putting images from the cut scenes online. There will be a single player adventure, but the one leaked image makes it clear that it could be more of a platformer style adventure, perhaps similar to the Adventure Mode in Super Smash Bros. Melee. While this could have potential, I can't see it comparing to the incredible mash-up of a story we experienced in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Besides, buying a new console is a big investment. It's easy to say now that Super Smash Bros. will be the game that sells you on the Wii U. That's just talk. It's easy to say when you don't have to put $299.99 down on a system and $59.99 on a copy of Super Smash Bros. now. But, by the time it does come out, it will probably be close to the end of the year. The PS4 and Xbox One will undoubtly be in full swing by then, and it may be a lot more appealing to put that money towards a next gen system that's guaranteed to be a success in the years to come.
Really, it would be awesome if just one game could turn things around for the Wii U, and if Super Smash Bros. could be that game. But, the console has too much against it right now. One title won't fix the mess Nintendo is in with this system, and the only way to make a difference is to put together a concentrated effort that makes the system more appealing, ensures fresh major releases each month, and turns the eShop into a thriving ecosystem for AAA games, indie titles and Virtual Console releases.