After a bustling opening day at E3 2014 on Tuesday, the first night brought a Nintendo-hosted presentation and developer’s roundtable in the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center for arguably their biggest titles of the year, Super Smash Bros for Wii U/3DS.
Presented by game director Masahiro Sakurai and translator Tim O’Leary, last night’s event gave a slew of new information on what we can expect from both of the upcoming versions of Super Smash Bros, and showing just how exactly the Wii U and 3DS editions will interact to give Smash Bros fans (like myself) and entirely new experience than we have seen in previous iterations of the fighting franchise: let’s break down what we saw.
New Challenger Approaching: Pac-Man
Sakurai and O’Leary started things off early with some exciting new reveals, most notably showing the “new challenger approaching”: Pac-Man. A new trailer shown at the start of the event heralded the arrival of Bandai-Namco’s Pac-Man, who will be a playable character in both the Wii U and 3DS editions of the new Super Smash Bros. titles. In addition, the trailer also showed a tease for the return of veteran fighter, Mr. Game & Watch, though the trailer did not officially confirm whether the character will be making it into the new title just yet as a playable character, or in a cameo.
Using the character design from Pac-Man World, as Sakurai noted the difficulties of trying to use solely the 2D “pizza Pac-Man model,” Pac-Man will still honor his roots in many of his attacks, such as throwing 8-bit fruit at enemies, gobbling power pellets, an even (temporarily) transforming into classic Pac-Man to chomp at enemies.
Ending that section of the presentation with a fight between Mario, Sonic, Mega Man, and Pac-Man, it’s safe to say getting to see four of the most iconic, classic video-game characters in history all on one stage is going to surely make up many Smash Bros. dream match-ups, and Pac-Man looks to be bringing his A-game.
More Options Than Ever Before
One of the bigger news items to be delivered by Sakurai at the event was the reveal that customization and equippable items will be making their way into Super Smash Bros., and will be giving players more options, and more strategy, into their movesets than ever before.
Sakurai revealed at the Smash Bros. event that in both versions of the game (specifically in the “With Friends” mode), players will be able to modify the various special attacks and abilities of characters to their choosing.
Demonstrating the new abilities on-stage with Mario’s Fireball (his classic “B” special move), essentially each character will now have “12” special moves, rather than the usual four default options. With Mario’s Fireball, for example, players can choose between three options: his standard fireball, a slower but more powerful variant, or a faster but weaker version. Each of the special moves will have their own variations that players can choose to their own liking, for their own particular play style.
Amiibo All the Way
Nintendo’s “Amiibo” platform with its character figurines made a big splash yesterday during the company’s Digital Event presentation, and likewise the Amiibo figurines will play heavily into the next Super Smash Bros. titles on Wii U and 3DS.
During the presentation, Sakurai showed that the Amiibo figurines will interact with Super Smash Bros. and provide a way for players to progress with evolving opponents. By purchasing and using compatible Amiibo figurines, such as Mario, Link, Samus, etc., and placing them on the Wii U Gamepad, the character will then pop up on-screen, with the character taking up a “Figurine Player” slot, rather than a normal Player or CPU character. “FP” characters cannot be controlled: therefore, they act in matches as CPU characters.
However, the big variation is that after each match played, “FP” fighters will level up and gain experience, making them stronger and able to exceed Level 9 CPUs in the game, the highest-level difficulty in previous Super Smash Bros. titles. In addition, the FP characters can also evolve and adapt to your playing style the more they are used: if you prefer to attack in the air, the FP will find ways around those moves, or if you prefer landing hits on the ground, they may thrown in wrenches to your strategies, such as dodging or grabbing.
A New Way to Smash
At the conclusion of Sakurai’s presentation, it was clear that both Nintendo and Bandai Namco have big things in store for the Smash Bros. series in its newest entries.
With the next titles to appear on both home consoles and portables, the connectivity between Wii U and 3DS will play a key role in letting players take their Smash play on-the-go. Customization and items equipped on characters will be able to transfer between the Wii U and 3DS versions, letting players mess around or experiment with their strategies on the 3DS version then switch to the Wii U, or vice versa. In addition, while the roster of characters will be the same between both versions, the varied selection of stages between each will ensure that while each game intends on providing a shared experience, the Wii U and 3DS will each be able to provide their own unique moments.
Super Smash Bros. has always been one of Nintendo’s flagship series with a solid fighting experience, but the next versions of Super Smash Bros. may just show you a whole new way to play between the Wii U and 3DS.
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS releases on October 3rd, 2014, followed by a Holiday 2014 release for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.