Nintendo is rolling out not one but two – count ’em! – two editions of Super Smash Bros. this year, and the game giant dumped a whole slew of information on the forthcoming titles today. If you’re a Smash Bros. fan, you can look forward to gaming both on the go and at home by late this year.
Last night brought a massive Nintendo Direct focused entirely on Super Smash Bros. for both Nintendo’s 3DS portable console and its struggling Wii U home console. The most important news was that Nintendo will stagger the releases of the titles, so as to allow gamers’ budgets time to recover between purchases. The 3DS version will drop some time over this summer. Wii U owners – all 12 of them – will have to wait until the winter quarter to pick up a copy.
As Kotaku notes, the two versions will have quite a few differences, not the least of which being graphical quality. The 3DS is pretty powerful for a handheld, but it’s no home console. Looking at video of the 3DS Smash Bros. in action, the graphical step-down is undeniable, but Nintendo assures us that both the 3DS and Wii U Smash Bros. versions will run at 60 frames per second, meaning you can relish those knockout blows in exquisite detail.
Super Smash Bros. will also have some stages that are exclusive to either the home or portable version. Kotaku says that the Wii U version will feature special stages that have appeared in previous home console installments, while Smash Bros. on the 3DS will have the exclusive on some previous handheld stages. The 3DS version will also have a special “Smash Run” mode – previously leaked in January of this year – wherein players will push through dungeon-like levels filled with power-ups. At the end of each stage, of course, players will battle it out, with their abilities in the battle depending on what power-ups they grabbed over the course of the stage.
Nintendo has, of course, included online modes, further demonstrating that it has caught up to the last console generation with a competent online component. Online, the next versions of the fighting free-for-all will have a For Glory mode and a For Fun mode. If it wasn’t readily apparent from its name, the For Glory mode is a Smash-fest for the hardcore players, those with something to prove. Meanwhile, the For Fun mode is not, as its name might lead you to believe, for gambling Smash Bros. players; it is, instead, meant to be played more for fun. Imagine that.
The new Super Smash Bros. games will also feature an array of new characters. In addition to the blank-eyed Villager from Animal Crossing – who always wears the same smile, even as he fights you, even as he brandishes an axe – Nintendo has tossed in a number of Pokemon. Greninja and Charizard will be at players’ disposal, as will Yoshi, Zelda, Zelda’s alter-ego Sheik, and Zero Suit Samus.
Super Smash Bros. is the sort of title that typically gets the Nintendo faithful all antsy in their pantsy, and that’s exactly what Nintendo is counting on with its staggered release of the 3DS and Wii U versions of the game. While the 3DS has recovered from a slow start, the Wii U continues to struggle. Wii U sales were up 25 percent year-over-year for February, but that’s nothing to crow about, given the system’s poor sales before that.
The new Super Smash Bros. titles could wind up being just the sort of thing Nintendo needs to jumpstart sales of its drastically underperforming home console. It’s well known in the gaming industry that Nintendo’s first-party titles are the things that drive Nintendo console sales, whereas Sony and Microsoft – which provide powerful but similar devices – can bank on a few exclusives and differentiate on other features. Nintendo is absolutely aware of its need for strong first-party offerings, and the company is already at work on the next Mario game, according to Edge Online. Nintendo won’t say, though, whether that next Mario title is going to see release on the reliable 3DS or whether it will be aimed at breathing some life into the Wii U. Then again, Nintendo could just follow the Smash Bros. route and release it for both.