The Final Smash Presentation has come and gone. With Cloud released and the last two DLC characters announced for February, we’ve reached the end of the road for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. All in all, to say the two versions are an amazing accomplishment is an understatement: together, the two games amount to 58 fighters, 84 stages, 186 Mii outfits, 1450 trophies, and 507 music tracks (not including victory jingles!).
And yet, fans can’t help but wonder: will all of that be confined to Wii U and 3DS? Since the quiet announcement of NX, many Smash fans have speculated that the latest game would be an optimal port for Nintendo’s next home console. Not to sound ungrateful for all of Sakurai and co.’s hard work, but with Wii U being shoved out the door soon, why not prop up the new system with a title that’s still generating hype over a year after release? It makes perfect sense!
Or does it? Truth be told, while there have been good ideas presented for such a concept, there have been just as many unrealistic expectations put forward as well. Smash fans expecting the impossible is nothing new, but with the game’s DLC coming to an end, it’s probably time to come down from our Bayonetta highs and review the facts. For this article, I’ll not be discussing the case for why an NX port could exist, but realistic expectations for such a venture (in some ways, you could even say they contribute to a case against the idea).
The Case For
So why exactly is everyone expecting Nintendo to port over Smash for its next console? Because, well, let’s face it: it’s not going to have Sakurai find another studio and get to work on yet another Smash title. The man’s been working for over three years on two different versions of the same game, all the while dealing with calcific tendonitis and muscle ruptures in his right arm. When considering that a) Smash Bros. is a notoriously difficult game to develop and b) the man is legendary for using two controllers at once, it’s simply just not a feasible expectation. That’s not even pointing out how he’s practically synonymous with Smash; developing a new Smash title without him isn’t likely, either. And he’s going to want to move on to new projects.
However, it’s not like Nintendo would want to skip a Smash iteration on NX; after all, the games practically print money. So if a brand new game isn’t feasible, why not port the current game over to the new system? For one thing, the game’s still attracting much attention from the Wii U crowd, so retaining that momentum is only logical. Not only could it release a complete package with the DLC already installed, but this would further extend the life of the immensely popular Amiibo figures. With over 50 figures for this game alone, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say they constitute a large chunk of the 21 million figures sold.
Furthermore, consider that a) Sakurai owes himself a long vacation following next February and b) Namco is likely to want its staff back at some point. But who’s to say they’d be the ones doing the porting? Remember back when Nintendo was prepared to port Melee to Wii in the event Sakurai declined to develop Brawl? The same could happen for this prospective scenario, although it’s anyone’s guess at which studio would be chosen for a remaster. At the very least, many suspect Sakurai could simply serve as a consultant. Not too far-fetched of an idea.
Finally, think about this obvious factor: Nintendo wants to sell NX systems. While you could argue for a number of other “evergreen” Wii U titles for an NX remaster, the pieces fall into place for Smash. In the event a remaster arrives on or near the NX’s launch, the game would already support the majority of Nintendo’s Amiibo and is already host to a large, dedicated following. You could say Nintendo would be at risk in diluting the series’ brand, but what does it have to lose?
So, Nintendo just has to capitalize even further on that money-maker immediately, right? While the above reasons may be valid, we’ve yet to discuss the opposite side of the coin: realistic expectations.
The Case Against
Ever since fans came up with the Smash NX port idea, we’ve all heard the same wild wishlists. Have the dev team brush up all 3DS stages to current-gen standards and bring them onto Wii U! There’d be nothing holding back the Ice Climbers, so bring ’em back! In fact, they should add five, no, ten more characters! More and more music! Bring on Smash Run!
Now, I love Smash Run as much as the next guy, but let’s stop and be realistic here. While an NX port ideally wouldn’t be quick n’ dirty, there’s no way there’d be enough time to add in all that. We’ve just arrived at the tail end of DLC, so why expect another metric-ton of content that could fill another Smash game all on their own? This isn’t to say an NX port shouldn’t entice fans by including a couple of 3DS-exclusive goodies (Magicant!) and several new options (I know I still desire a custom music feature), but expecting characters and whatnot when development of the main games has finished is rather…optimistic, to say the least.
Also, how exactly would save transfers work? Consider how NX Smash supporters visualize a port using the Wii U version as a base. An ideal proposal, but would that mean you could only import saves from that version, if at all? Would 3DS-only users have to collect all Wii U-exclusive trophies and complete all the non-3DS challenges? There’s just no easy answer. Most may consider the Wii U version to be superior, but such a port should consider users of both versions in mind.
Not to mention…aren’t we getting a little ahead of ourselves here? I mean, patents aside, we still don’t have a solid idea of what NX is going to be. For instance, is it backward compatible with Wii U games? If so, could that cut into sales of a potential Smash remaster? If not, you might point to PS4 and all its successful remasters as to why a Smash one could be similarly successful, but let’s not pretend Nintendo doesn’t march to the beat of its own drum.
Which brings me to my final, most important point. Even if the idea makes sense, even if it has the resources available to pull it off, it doesn’t mean Nintendo is going to go through with it. Again, as far as the public is concerned, NX is merely a nebulous concept privy only to the inner workings of Nintendo. Whether a Smash remaster gels or conflicts with the plans Nintendo’s building for its upcoming console is far too early to call at this point.
To recap, while a Smash Bros. Wii U remaster for NX might make financial sense, there are simply too many unknown factors for us to forge a well-researched opinion. At the very least, such a port would require much forethought for the convenience of all potential users, so there’d be no advantage in rushing it out in time for launch (whenever that is). Personally, I’d be all for it, but why rush? I continue to invest dozens, perhaps hundreds, of hours into two separate versions of gaming’s greatest love letter to not just Nintendo, but video games as a whole. Even if nothing arrives after February, I know I’ll be playing Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS for years to come.