Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 14, 2014

Email: Super Smash Brothers

Hi Malstrom,

A little while back you mentioned how Nintendo is done with the 3DS now, and are unlikely to spend efforts developing more games for it. While this makes sense, I was wondering why it is that the 3DS version of smash brothers has been getting more focus.

I would have thought that Nintendo would have wanted to use the new Super Smash Bros. (as an aside, why have we gone back to the name of the first game? It’s annoying when companies do this) to sell as many Win Us as possible, but the big draw to Smash Bros. Is the character roster. Having confirmed that both the 3DS and the Wii U will have the same characters, people will find our the entire roster when the 3DS copy is released a couple of months earlier, including the hidden characters which people are usually desperate to find out about. Removing this excitement from the Wii U version seems like an odd choice.

As well as this, there has even been an exclusive play mode revealed for the 3DS, which has actually Nintendo enemies like Goombas to fight (unlike the subspace emissary of Brawl, which had Sakurai “exercising his creativity” to create goofy looking enemies). While the Wii U may also have exclusive modes, we haven’t heard of any and it’s not that long until the 3DS version is released. People who don’t have a Wii U need to start being shown reasons to get it over the 3DS version (anyone who would buy both versions already has a Wii U, showing new features after the 3ds version comes out won’t cause more Wii Us to be sold). At the moment, the main things that the Wii U has over the 3DS version is better graphics (matters very little), the “console experience” (can be gained from Brawl, which I saw in a GAME store for £5), and different stages (which doesn’t matter much as all the stages tend to be the same with different skins on them).

So what exactly is the plan with this new Smash brothers?

I think Smash Brothers for both 3DS and Wii U is Nintendo wanting to share development assets between the two platforms. From the el cheapo Nintendo, this is like getting two games for one development budget. 3DS may be getting more attention because it is coming out first.

It’ll be interesting to see how Smash does on the 3DS (which has a larger install base). It could likely sell much better on the 3DS than on Wii U which means, like Animal Crossing, the future of Smash would always be on the handheld. 3DS Smash sales will be pivotal in Japan where the Japanese are more handheld centric.

One voice in my head keeps asking, “What if they release Smash and no one buys it?” What if the game doesn’t end up being a blockbuster? Look at the insane sales projections Nintendo had for Super Mario 3d World. High excitement on the Internet doesn’t translate to real world sales. Smash Brothers Melee, as good as it was, still made the Gamecube sell like the Gamecube.  I think Smash’s momentum projections are being overestimated.


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