As of this writing, we’ve received three rounds of DLC content for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, all including various characters, stages, modes, and Mii costumes. All in all, purchasing every piece of content costs a pretty penny (particularly if you play both versions), yet Smash fans are all too eager in opening their wallets as they beg for more. And who can blame them, what with all the potential in expanding an already massive selection of characters, stages, and music? Naturally, the question on every player’s mind is, “What’s next?”
While I could elaborate on my own wants and desires for Smash Bros. DLC, I’d rather take on a more objective analysis. The point of this article isn’t to entirely dismiss fan notions, but to determine the likelihood of what’s left to add for separate factors: stages, modes, and characters. The DLC period definitely isn’t over, but what could possibly be left when we’ve already received more than enough content?
In Sakurai’s last video presentation, he mentioned there wouldn’t be “too many” more stages left to add. The wording implied the development team would put their all in just reviving two more stages from the N64 Super Smash, so it’s very possible that Hyrule Castle and Peach’s Castle will be the last stages offered as DLC. Granted, while we don’t know when exactly Smash’s DLC period will end, the amount of work that goes into making these stages (and across two versions, no less!) renders this possibility all the more likely.
If any new stages do come, they’ll probably be more retro stages. As opposed to brand new ones built from the ground up, retro stages have the advantage of having their assets borrowed from earlier titles. While obviously this can’t be done at the press of a switch (Sakurai has noted the difficulty of lifting characters and such from older Smash games), it’s undoubtedly easier than creating an entirely new stage with its own assortment of hazards and remixes.
And speaking of music, have you noticed how every single music track is unique to only one stage? With all the recycled remixes from absent past stages, it’s probable the team won’t bring back any N64/Melee stages that lost their accompanying themes to other stages (for example, it’s unlikely we’d see Rainbow Cruise return since its theme now plays on Delfino Plaza). In that case, the selection pool is awfully small…but all is not lost. Perhaps it’s a blessing the main themes for Fourside and Frigate Orpheon haven’t made their return?
In the event of a completely new stage, like Ryu’s, it’s probable it would accompany newcomers from a series brand new to Smash. After all, wouldn’t it just be wrong for the Inklings to arrive without a Splatoon stage? In regard to potential newcomers from represented series (say, Dixie Kong), I imagine they’d be right at home in what’s already available in both versions.
The latest update provided Tourney and the ability to upload replay footage to YouTube, and what’s interesting about the former is that we’ve had to wait for nearly an entire year for its arrival. Its relegation to DLC obviously means it didn’t take priority relative to modes present at launch, and yet it took quite some time to come out. Hmm.
While it did have to contend with new characters/stages and the various balance patches, that it still took a significant amount of time doesn’t bode well for any new modes. Sakurai has stated numerous times how both versions are a bargain for all the content packed in, and he’s not exactly wrong. Fans may be disappointed with Smash Tour, but that doesn’t mean there’s already plenty of other satisfying modes and minigames to fool around with. In that case, suggestions like bringing back the original Target Test or music uploaded via SD tracks will probably remain pipe dreams…
So can we really expect nothing from this? Not quite; Tourney Mode has actually taken quite some flak for its limited options, so it’s definitely possible the team could continue to patch and improve the mode.
DLC has already graced us with four lovely characters (Mewtwo, Lucas, Roy, and Ryu), and everyone’s still looking forward to more! With the Ballot still underway until this October, we probably still have a couple more characters to look forward to. Everyone’s placing their bets on the fan-perceived return of Wolf from Star Fox, yet the newcomer debate rages as hard as it did during the days of Sakurai’s Miiverse updates. With so little room for new characters, it’s no wonder many are still desperate to get their absent fan favorites in, and the Ballot remains their last hope. After all, it’s about who wins the ballot, right?
What we need to remember here is the ballot isn’t exactly a popularity contest. Yes, Shadow the Hedgehog equipped with an AK-47 may nab the most votes, and popularity certainly could influence the selection process, but it’s just as likely characters will be picked as according to whatever interests Sakurai. For all the votes stuffed in for Ridley, it could take a few measly votes for, say, the Balloon Fighter to catch his attention.
And while we shouldn’t get caught up in any fan-imagined “rules” for Sakurai’s thought process (“no third-parties,” for example), that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t just throw common sense out the window. Much as some of us may want Takamaru and Ashley to make the cut, how likely is that when they’re already Assist Trophies? The same probably holds true for Mii Fighter Costumes, albeit to a lesser extent. While it’s certainly possible the team could strike the Splatoon iron while it’s hot and include the Inklings, wouldn’t that have taken priority over a nearly identical Mii Gunner costume? It may be best to think of those as consolation bonuses– evidence the developers are paying attention to popular character suggestions, but for ones that probably won’t make the cut (sorry, King K. Rool!)
To conclude, while anything could happen in future Smash DLC, it may be time to temper our expectations and take what we can get. As already stated, the bountiful amount of current DLC is the icing on an already very full cake, and while we’ll certainly see several more fighters join the fray, the outlook for more stages and especially modes is relatively slim. Sakurai has to move on eventually, but I’m positive we can look forward to what he has in store. I mean, there’s nothing quite like having our dreams crushed via Mii Costumes of Ridley, Takamaru, and Dixie Kong, right?