In a bi-weekly column in Famitsu, Masahiro Sakurai, the famed developer for the Super Smash Bros. series, confirmed that the upcoming Wii U and 3DS Smash Bros. titles will not involve a story mode. Sakurai quoted the Internet, of all things, as being the reason that Nintendo has decided against creating a story mode. Supposedly, information simply travels too fast these days for such a mode to be enjoyable.
v"Unfortunately, the movie scenes we worked hard to create were uploaded onto the Internet." Sakurai said. "You can only truly wow a player the first time he sees [a cutscene]. I felt if players saw the cutscenes outside of the game, they would no longer serve as rewards for playing the game, so I've decided against having them."
More intricate details on the modes of the new Smash Bros. release were not given, however, Sakurai confirmed that the 3DS version will have a mode “separate from the standard versus play.” He also confirmed that both stage and character customization will be included, and that character customization won’t simply be aesthetic. Instead, you will actually be able to affect the power and physics of characters’ moves via the alterations you make.
Hardcore Smash fans and professional Smash players have been worrying about the direction Nintendo has been taking the Smash Bros. franchise since the release of Melee. Brawl was fraught with gameplay mechanics, such as random tripping, that specifically discouraged hardcore, 1v1, no-items style gameplay. Many have taken the reveal of customizable characters as a step away from a balanced tournament experience and a step toward a more casual fighting game.
Smash was recently played as one of the main events at EVO 2013, the biggest fighting-game tournament in the world. A charity drive was held to determine one of the main events, and Smash Bros. fans raised almost $95,000 for breast cancer research in order to see Smash Bros. Melee, long considered the most competitive-friendly Smash title, played on the main stage.
Even so, Nintendo briefly attempted to prevent EVO from streaming its Smash Bros. tournament. A reason was not given, but many fans theorized that Nintendo thought a professionally competitive tournament might harm the Smash Bros. name by showing off gameplay inaccessible to casual players. In the end, Nintendo did allow EVO to stream the event, which drew in 134,000 unique viewers--the second largest viewer count of any EVO event, trailing only behind Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which came in at 144,848 viewers.
The Smash community has traditionally been at odds with Nintendo, which has not supported its fighting-game franchise nearly to the extent that Capcom and other big name fighting-game developers support their own. There has always been a feeling that Nintendo and Sakurai are purposefully pushing Smash toward an unbalanced, casual experience. Some professional Smash players are looking at Sakurai’s decision to omit a story mode this time around as a renewed focus on what matters--the actual fighting. However, the greater mechanics of the Wii U and 3DS Smash Bros. games are still unknown. So we will have to wait and see which direction Nintendo takes this franchise, much loved by casual and professional gamers alike.
The new Smash Bros. for the Wii U and the 3DS will be launching in 2014.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Senior Contributing Writer