That post stirred up many emails. Let us go through some:
I’ve looked at your comments about Western characters for Smash 4
I heavily agree that Smash Bros is now becoming an anime Japanese swordsmen celebration. I can think of a lot of characters made for a Western audience with unique movesets.
Solid Snake from Metal Gear
Snake is an ideal but unique ‘Western character’, he was designed by a Japanese man and caters to the Western audience due to its military themes.
Frank West from Dead Rising
Frank was created by Capcom to target an American audience starring a strong, American protagonist in a game with zombies and uncovering a conspiracy from an American government.
Albert Wesker from Resident Evil
Wesker is a villain, (something that Smash fans are in a high demand for) and he’s from a game series that is [now] focused on shooting zombies.
Also, as a certain reader stated, these people aren’t just ‘generic white dudes’, they have personality and a huge following from the fans of those games. They also have great potential for movesets.
Also I know Snake was already included once in Brawl but he seriously needs to come back just for the sake of having more Western characters. Also, I know that Snake was made by a Japanese man but he has that Western appeal as mentioned before.
You do not understand, reader. Cloud is Final Fantasy 7, yes? Final Fantasy 7 is EXCLUSIVE to Sony platforms (yeah, there is a PC port and maybe some other ports). In addition, Final Fantasy 7 is being REMADE which will be on non-Nintendo systems. We all know Smash characters serve as a form of advertisement for the game. Marth advertises Fire Emblem. Lucas advertises Earthbound. So why the FUCK would Nintendo be advertising a hardware selling game that is available for their competitors and not Nintendo? WHY!?
We already know Nintendo has been lying to their audience. At first, Smash was about Nintendo characters. Then it became about characters that have appeared on a Nintendo platform (Snake and even Sonic). Heck, Sonic sells best on Nintendo platforms anyway and Sega doesn’t make hardware anymore. Final Fantasy 7 isn’t just a game from the PS1 Era, it is a game COMING OUT TODAY ON THE COMPETITORS’ PLATFORMS.
Based on this, Nintendo could just as well put in Smah characters like Master Chief from Halo, the Uncharted people, Kratos from God of War, etc. What are the fucking rules? Nintendo doesn’t seem to have any.
Except there is one consistency Nintendo is doing. All the characters are Japanese cultural exports. It isn’t about Cloud, it is about Japan. It isn’t about Snake, it is about Japan. It isn’t about Sonic, it is about Japan. I wish Nintendo would just say, “Smash isn’t a celebration of video game characters. It is a celebration of Japanese video game culture. It’s all Japanese Pride baby!”
The issue is not ‘what Japanese characters have Western appeal?’ The issue is why are there no non-Japanese characters there in the first place? Video games has characters made from all over the world. What is with the Japanese Pride Parade? The investors need to ask, “Why isn’t Nintendo’s mission to make profit? Why is Nintendo putting ‘pride’ before ‘profit’?”
The irony of your rant is that many Japanese seem to hate that Nintendo is putting Cloud in Smash Bros. Apparently they feel FFVII is more popular in the West (it is) and could barely give a rat’s ass about him. But you didn’t know that, did you? You just saw a character with spiky hair and anime eyes and said “Those durn Japs are at it again!”. The more your rant about this issue, the more out of touch you seem. I mean, you actually, without a shred of irony, claimed that Jazz Jackrabbit and Dizzy belonged in Smash Bros. As if anyone in Nintendo’s intended audience knew who those characters were! As if there were some relevance, either current or nostalgic, to Nintendo in fucking JAZZ JACKRABBIT.
You’ve officially lost it.
The emailer says I have ‘officially lost it’ multiple times a year. And what is wrong with Jazz Jackrabbit? He was to the PC as Sonic was to Sega or Bonk to Turbographx-16 or Mario to Nintendo. Now that I think of it, Smash could use some Lemmings!
What the Japanese people feel is irrelevant to the discussion. Final Fantasy VII is the best selling Final Fantasy not just in the West but in Japan as well. If Smash had another FF character, how about the Black Mage from Final Fantasy 1 or the Moogle from Final Fantasy 6? Why have a FF character that is part of a FF game that never came out on Nintendo’s hardware? There is so much smoke here, you know there is fire.
Another couple of characters that would’ve been great for Smash are Crash Bandicoot and Spyro. Both were loved back on the original Playstation. Activision has already collaborated with Nintendo for the last Skylanders as well and hasn’t been able to use Crash for anything, so there wasn’t much of a barrier for Nintendo to use those characters. Plus it would’ve been a giant middle finger to Sony for letting those beloved series go neglected for so long.
Hell, even different Final Fantasy characters would’ve been better. Would anyone be complaining if dark knight Cecil were in Cloud’s place? How about Terra, for all the whining about female characters? I’m betting that Nintendo did this not only for Japanese-centric reasons, but to gain favor with Square Enix for helping promote the FF7 remake coming up. Seems to me that Nintendo is starting to play the same game as the other two in wooing big 3rd parties to their system in some way. I even like Cloud and I think this was a mistake Sean. There is no reason for that character, being an icon of Sony era Final Fantasy, to end up in a Nintendo game. It reeks of behind-the-scenes dealing in my opinion.
I’m going to split this emailer’s second part into another email (not shown above).
You ask the right question: why is Nintendo advertising Sony’s system seller? I don’t think it is behind-the-scenes dealing so much as a ‘pride parade’.
To use a Star Trek example (god I love doing this), in DS9, Worf asks Dax for her opinion. She declines. “Tell me, he says.” Then we hear this:
The truth of the matter is that Japan is dying… and that it deserves to die. They do not have children. They keep entering recession after recession and have been totally eclipsed economically and culturally with South Korea. Their ‘cultural exports’ have been utter crap lately. What is the last great Japanese video game that took the world by storm? Can you name one? The only one has been Nintendo with Wii Sports, Wii Fit, and Nintendogs… all of which are completely devoid of Japanese ‘culture’. In Generation 7, longtime game reporters noticed the downfall of Japanese creativity and have written much on it. There is a reason why Square keeps remaking old games and why even Nintendo keeps remaking old games.
If you have to celebrate one’s culture, then you are probably losing it. Smash is becoming a museum with the headline: “Remember when Japanese gaming was cool?” Because it certainly isn’t cool now. Japanese games don’t sell in the West anymore. At least, not on the level they used to.
The prince from the Prince of Persia series
Guybrush Threepwood from the Monkey Island series
Tommy Vercetti from GTA: Vice City – oh noes, he is white and has a gun. And more personality than most of the characters yet seen in Smash
Ezio from Assassin’s Creed 2
The Lost Vikings
Super Meat Boy
Isaac from the Binding of Isaac
I don’t play much World of Warcraft, but I’m sure there are some well known NPCs you can pull from that game.
Tali from Mass Effect
Ratchet and Clank
Jak and Daxter
Garret from Thief series.
The weaboos are like the “hardcore gamer” in that they are ignorant of anything outside of their japanophilia and console nostalgia. For the “hardcore gamer” it’s anything before Halo. I read an article at some game site where the writer said that Japan invented the RPG. A paid writer printed this! LOL and facepalm worthy stuff
On a side note: why do people keep writing “RPG game” recently? Role-playing-game game? I see this more and more. Gamers are bad with language.
I like the Guybrush suggestion. The point is that there ARE Western made characters out there. If this was about deal making, then there would be a priority to put Western characters in Smash because Nintendo BADLY BADLY needs Western third party support. The last time I can think of a Nintendo home console having Western third party support had to be SNES Era or maybe early Gamecube. They didn’t support the Wii for sure.
Hey there master malstrom,
I just got to date with your posts and the one about western characters in smash was interesting. When you mentioned that Smash was a japanese brothers fest…well it has always been that way. But having western characters would be awesome!
On the other hand, which ones? An emailer just sent you an email about and I read your answer. That’s a huge list of western characters you suggest and I have to admit that many of them , I never knew about them and the others I just forgot about them. Anyway…something you missed or may not know is that Sakurai has a criteria to add characters at the smash brothers roast:
1.it should have been originated from a videogame. Not a cartoon or movie or else.
2.It should have appeared in a Nintendo console
Of all those characters you mentioned, the only ones that fit that criteria are:
Mortal Kombat characters
Considering that Smash Bros. is, for better or worse, a fan-service fest, the only ones fans would like are Mortal kombat, lara croft and earthworm jim. Ms. pac man may be created by midway but it belongs to Namco nowadays and kinda useless with Pac man there. The rest…well nobody cares about them anymore. Sad but true, because I like earthworm jim a lot.
The rest: minecraft, star craft, berzerk, larry and alice never appeared in a nintendo console game. Neither Lollipop chainsaw which is actually japanese, not western. And Transformers started as a cartoon.
(of course, if one of the winners in the smash ballot is Goku, as many fans apparently voted for…I guess they will have no choice but break that criteria…Dear God I hope not!)
Yeah I know what you are thinking: Cloud doesn’t belong there because Final Fantasy 7 was never released in a Nintendo game console. Well it KINDA did:
far fetched? you bet! but it fits the criteria.
You’re right about Lollipop Chainsaw. It was made from Japan. That means Nintendo might actually put it into Smash, right!? Hah!
The addition of Cloud is revealing that Sakurai is full of shit about his ‘criteria’. I know people keep wanting to defend it and are trying to rationalize an answer, but there is none. The only one I can think of is ‘Japanese Pride Parade’. I believe Nintendo’s mission statement is to, in addition to everything else, export and celebrate Japanese culture.
Remember Miyamoto dissing other games by saying, “What is that? It looks like a PC game!” PC games look better than console games, so why does Miyamoto say that? It is because Japan is not about PC gaming (South Korea loves PC gaming). PC games = Western gaming. Besides, the console games today are PC transplants anyway.
Take a look at this box art. Nintendo just HAD to include Tingle:
“It’s a handheld game. We can get away with it!”
That’s all Nintendo cares about anymore. Getting away with something the market doesn’t want.
Oh, and I’m sure you saw the new Dragon Quest game announced in the Nintendo Direct. Gotta push that Dragon Quest!
The biggest revelation about Nintendo I had was seeing Aonuma’s 2004 GDC speech where he says he HATED Legend of Zelda and Link to the Past. He hated the gameplay. He liked LTTP’s cutting the grass and sprite work. Another big revelation was hearing Miyamoto say how much he hates Zelda II and thinks Super Mario Brothers 3 has ‘terrible level design’.
Everything you love about gaming… Nintendo hates it. Nintendo doesn’t just hate it, THEY HATE YOU. It is because of our existence, they have to keep going back to it. Nintendo never, ever wants to make another 2d Mario again. Yet, because of us, they have to make them. Sakamoto blames the failure of Other M on Metroid fans expectations that Other M be a ‘Metroid game’. Oh, those dirty, evil fans! We keep ruining their creativity and ‘big ideas’!!!