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The Super Smash Bros. series has become a mainstay of Nintendo consoles at this point. More than a decade old, and with three highly acclaimed games, the series has come to be recognized as one of Nintendo’s best, as well as some of the best multiplayer fun to be had around. No other game can act as a ‘bridge’ title between the casuals and hardcore gamers like a Super Smash Bros. game can, and with 24 million units sold so far, it’s not hard to see just how wide the series’ appeal really is.
Therefore, it’s pretty much expected that every time there is a new Nintendo console, there will also be a new Smash Bros. game to go with it. Going into Nintendo’s E3 2011 conference, everyone was eagerly hoping for at least a hint of the next game in the main series. And sure enough, Nintendo obliged by informing us that Super Smash Bros. was headed to not just the Wii U, as expected, but also to the 3DS. That’s double the action for a franchise that has had a curiously muted number of games so far.
Obviously, we’re excited- almost more excited for Super Smash Bros. 4 than we are for the Wii U itself. And whereas it’s been confirmed that development on the next game hasn’t even started yet- and won’t until January next year- we can still eagerly hope and make our wishlists about what we want the next game in this massive franchise to have. The list below is, what we hope, the definitive list of what Super Smash Bros. 4 needs to have, if it is to reach the same soaring heights as its predecessors did.
7. MORE CHARACTERS
This is more or less obvious. One of the more obvious ways of seeing how the series has evolved from the N64 days has been by observing the number of characters per game. Whereas the original Super Smash Bros. on the N64 started out with 14 characters, Melee upped the ante by raising that number to 25. Brawl ultimately came along and totally blew the previous games out of the water with a mind boggling 36 characters in the game. That’s a hell of a lot of characters, and it makes you wonder if there’s scope for any more, particularly seeing as how almost every single Nintendo universe has been tapped by this point.
But that’s not the case, as in spite of literally straining at the seams because of the sheer volume of characters it had, Brawl still had some glaring omissions. For instance, why is Ridley still not in the games yet? I know he appears as a non playable character, but wouldn’t it be incredible to be able to play as him too? Also, why not bring back fan favorites like Mewtwo and Dr. Mario?
And speaking of more characters, Brawl let us have a sneak peak into the series’ future by including two third party mascots in its roster- Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario’s old rival, and Solid Snake, perhaps the unlikeliest candidate for an appearance in a Nintendo game. Now that the floodgates have been opened, why can’t we have more third party characters? For instance, Megaman looks like he’d be a nice fit (although something tells me he’d play identical to Samus). Why not have Simon Belmont from Castlevania? Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden? Phoenix Wright? Professor Layton? The list of potential candidates is endless. Really, Nintendo should get onto it, and make the character count in Super Smash Bros. 4 touch fifty. It’s not impossible.
6. MORE STAGES
Barring the more characters demand, this one is probably the most obvious one that we could make.
Super Smash Bros. has seen a gradual increase in the number of stages it includes with every game. The original N64 game had nine stages, based on various locales to be found across all of Nintendo’s universes. Melee came along and more than tripled that with 29 different stages on offer. In case you think that’s a lot, Brawl had a staggering 41 stages, 31 of which were all new, and 10 of which were remixed fan favorites from the Gamecube game.
So clearly, the scope of each Smash Bros. game is huge, as the number of characters and stages per game can only attest to. With Super Smash Bros. 4, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a similar advancement in the number of stages. More stages can be created, by firstly focusing on some of the more neglected and ignored Nintendo franchises. We could also have some based on the third party characters in the game (a Megaman themed stage would be awesome).
Give us more stages, Nintendo. Pack the game with so many of them that it’s impossible to master them all. Oh, and also, while you’re at it, include a stage creator with this game. Brawl had a good start on this front, as it already featured a pretty decent stage builder. However, a more full fledged one, which also allows for co-operative building and sharing online a la ModNation Racers, would be awesome.
Of course, for that, the next Super Smash Bros. game would need online that doesn’t suck…
5. ONLINE THAT DOESN’T SUCK
Super Smash Bros. Brawl was a big step forward for the series in that it included online play. Easily its most touted feature leading up to release, fans were excited to take each other on in some high quality competitive Smash matches online. However, things went wrong- from its crippling dependence on Friend Codes to its horrible lag, from the limited options in random match ups to a complete lack of unification (there was no way to see which of our friends were online, no way to share or track statistics, no way to share our stages, no way to share our trophies and accolades) led to the game’s online being a source of frustration more than it was of fun and high caliber Smash matchups.
People might point to the Wii’s stunted online and say that the game itself wasn’t to blame, but I disagree. As maligned as the Wii’s online is, games like Mario Kart and Monster Hunter had excellent, full featured online modes. I see no reason why Nintendo’s premier, marquee title could not have had at least reasonably competitive online modes.
For the Wii U game, Nintendo needs to address every single issue that Brawl had, fix it up, and then add more. For instance, allowing extra stages to be downloaded (released weekly as free DLC, for instance) would be a great addition. Hosting tournaments online on the basis of ranked leaderboards, not dissimilar to the feature in Nintendo’s own Pokemon Black and White, would certainly add to the longevity of the title.
The new game deserves to become the premier online game of next generation. Not just because it can, but also because of the unfulfilled promises to all the fans made leading into the release of Brawl. The fact that Brawl was so gimped online only added to the frustration, because some fundamental core mechanics of the series had been messed up to make the traditionally fast gameplay of the series fit for online play. One thing that Super Smash fans would love would be to see a return to the mechanics that made Super Smash Bros. Melee so revered…
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