New Super Smash Bros. characters have been getting announced regularly over the past few months, the latest of which is about as much of a letdown as Ultra Street Fighter IV‘s Decapre.
Clone characters aren’t exactly new to the world of fighting games. In the original Street Fighter II, Ken was basically a palette swap of Ryu with a different head. In the original Mortal Kombat, Sub-Zero was basically a blue version of Scorpion with different special moves. In each case, their fighting styles were mostly identical as a shortcut toward filling out the roster.
Decades have passed though, and fighting games have higher standards now. If you aren’t bringing something new to the table, most gamers won’t bother with it. In the case of Decapre (a Cammy clone), she was part of an update which gamers had to get used to in order to compete with the latest and greatest. The problem is that clone characters are just lazy in an era where Scorpion and Sub-Zero are literally wearing different outfits now.
The new addition to the Super Smash Bros. character roster is Lucina, another character from the Fire Emblem series. What gamers these days might find unacceptable is that she is almost exactly like Marth from the same game of origin. The differences are subtle, but we already have multiple versions of the same character in that game (Link, Zelda, Mario). This is 2014, and adding a new character should mean a new move set and everything.
Director Masahiro Sakurai detailed the differences between Lucina and Marth:
“Her physical abilities are identical to Marth’s – it must be in her D.N.A.. However where Marth’s power is concentrated in the top of the sword, Lucina’s attack strength is balanced throughout the weapon, which might make her easier to control. She’s also a bit shorter than Marth.”
Some gamers aren’t going to be satisfied with Sakurai’s explanation for why the latest addition to the roster of Super Smash Bros. characters is basically a Marth clone. Yes, she is Marth’s descendant, but that doesn’t mean she has to attack the same way.
Is it time to start demanding more original characters in fighting games? If NetherRealm can do it, surely Nintendo can.
[image via deviantart]