Super Smash Bros! That is, Super Smash Brothers if you want to talk about the Nintendo 64 original or, Smash Wii U for that specific one or Smash 3DS if you want to talk about the one everybody abruptly stopped playing after after about 2 months because the Wii U one launched. Maybe you refer to it as Brawl if you enjoy watching youtube videos from 2008 or maybe you call keep things simple and refer to Smash Bros by its real name: “No, I wanted to play Dairanto Sm~Of course we’re playing Melee you moron!” Ever since Nintendo first uttered the letters ‘n’ and ‘x’ side by side with hints to this being their next big console, those familiar old whispers began springing up again that where there is a new Nintendo there will soon be a new Smash Bros. When the Nintendo Switch launched in early March of 2017 it came out with a new Splatoon that looked very much like a 1.5 and news that a surprising number of Wii U games were in development for the new Nintendo console.
I think this is a good place to start when it comes to this latest season of Super Smash Speculation! The reveal trailer for the next Smash Brothers game only really guarantees a few things. The first is that the Squid Kids will be in it (wouldn’t it be a cruel irony if they were just assist trophies?). The next thing we know for sure is that Link is going to be modelled after his incarnation in Breath of the Wild. We see other character models but they’re completely covered by shadow. I swear Mario looks off but I can’t really put my finger on how and while there is an obvious silhouette of Samus present, her armor looks very much like how it does early on in the remake of Metroid 2. The only other thing we know for sure is that this new variation of Smash Bros is being developed for the Nintendo Switch but that’s incredibly obvious. What isn’t as obvious is whether or not there’s going to be a 2DS or 3DS version of this game that launches soon before or else on the same day as this game launches. Speaking of, the end of the trailer shows a 2018 launch window which wouldn’t seem possible a year ago but ever since Nintendo made it happen with Xenoblade Chronicles 2, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the latest Smash’s release date.
(Oh hey, it's that thing)
So there really isn’t a whole lot of information to go off of at the moment. We’re not even completely sure if the new Smash Bros game is going to be a true Super Smash Bros 6 or if this is going to be Super Smash Bros 4.85. Before I give my 10 cents on this question I just want to point out that the first dedicated Smash 4 Direct happened on April 8th 2014 and I just think it would be neat if another happened on April 8th of 2018. Nintendo drops directs with no warning whatsoever roughly 24 hours before they’re posted and I’d guess that if Nintendo does go this way, that would hint at Super Smash Bros for Switch being closer to a Deluxe version of the 3DS and Wii U versions of that game. I’m positive we’re going to see dedicated Smash Directs this year and if this game is really going to launch before 2019, we’re going to see the first one sooner rather than later, almost certainly before E3. Without Miiverse, I feel like we’ve lost a pretty good resource for new Smash Bros information but Nintendo has opened up dedicated Instagram groups to advertise upcoming games recently; for this example I’m thinking primarily of Rabbid Peach on Instagram. It’s not far fetched to assume a dedicated Smash Bros Switch twitter, instagram, pintrist, etc page will be created to showcase new developments daily or weekly. I’m embarrassed to admit this but I’ve never actually used Smash Dojo back in the day so I’m not even sure if that’s still a reliable source of information.
Before I continue, I strongly recall there being an interview (or possibly even a Nintendo Direct) where Masahiro Sakurai refers to Smash Bros for 3DS essentially being Smash Bros 4 and Smash Bros for Wii U essentially being Smash 5. Even if I imagined that factoid in a fever dream, I’m going to roll with it and I may continue referring to Smash Bros for Switch as Smash 6, just for the sake of making things a little easier on myself. Anyway how close to a 6th installment will Smash 6 actually be though? If Smash Switch is going to be a Deluxe or Mastered variation of Smash 4 and 5 then we already know a whole lot of information about the game; things like the stages that are going to be there, characters, gameplay modes. The only things we wouldn’t know is how much from each game is being brought over and what will be left on the cutting room floor. If Smash for Switch turns out to be the next full installment of the Smash Brothers series however, then we have an incredible amount of details to speculate on. Personally I am hoping Smash 6 will be a true successor to the 3DS and Wii U games and based on what we have and haven’t seen in the Inklings reveal trailer, I’m going to guess that Smash for Switch is going to be Smash 6. When Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon 2 were announced for the Switch it was unclear if either were new or if they were going to be updates of their Wii U counterparts. We got clear gameplay videos of new characters, weapons, customization items, etc and it was soon revealed what they were. While the Inkling reveal trailer played out in the style of other Smash reveal trailers from 2014, there were enough differences to cast doubt that this is just a modified port. When Robin, Greninja and Mii Fighters were officially introduced, their intro videos usually ended with gameplay footage showing off how they would handle in-game. If the Inklings were an incentive to buy a new version of a 3DS/Wii U game there absolutely would have been accompanying gameplay and the revelation of the full title of Smash 6. Another potential smoking gun which would indicate Smash for Switch is Smash 6 is how the Smash Logo appears on-screen and has an extra cross centered in the upper-left of the logo, both details being different from the Smash 3DS/Wii U logo.
(If you're not excited to play Smash Bros 4 after watching this then YOU ARE WRONG)
Let’s assume that Super Smash Bros for Nintendo Switch is going to be its own brand new game and continue from there. Assuming this is a new game in the series, there are a lot of changes that could happen and the first one that I’m hoping for, really, really, begging for is an easier to navigate menu. Smash Bros for 3DS and Wii U had some really convoluted menu layouts which I’m sure could have been streamlined if us ravenous Nintendo fans would have been willing to let those games launch a few weeks later. I can see it in my head now: a 4-sectioned circle very much like the Smash logo itself with Smash in the upper left, Connected Smash in the upper right, options/settings in the bottom left and Trophies in the bottom right. That’s not perfect but I’m sure we could all come up with a better layout for Smash menus than what we wound up with in Smash 4 and 5. When it comes to my menu layout idea, another hope is embedded in there and it’s the hope that everything you can do in single player can also be done in multiplayer both online and off. Things like challenges, Home Run Derby, the next trophy collection mini-game, even the main campaign which again, I hope is present in Smash Bros for the Switch. With a main campaign comes over the top cutscenes and character interactions! This was my favorite part of Smash Brawl and even though it is really easy to upload those videos to youtube, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment every time unlocked and watched a new one fresh as I played through that games subspace emissary mode. Besides, Nintendo has never been shy about attacking youtube channels that posts content Nintendo doesn’t want people to see.
There’s a lot more that I would hope makes its way to Smash Bros 6, some things being quality of life improvements. I understand that Smash has always been a game played using an analog stick for movement but I have always been more comfortable playing 2D games with a D-Pad. I would love to be able to remap movement controls and I really don’t see why you can’t swap out taunts and movement control. Nintendo has always been sticklers when it comes to how you play their games and while I realize this is an unpopular opinion, I would much rather control my characters with the buttons on the left joycon than with any variation of the Gamecube controller. Speaking of the gamecube controller, there’s no reason to exclude support for that thing. At this point the Gamecube Controller feels like a more important part of Smash Bros than Mewtwo and it should be easy to make a new peripheral that allows you to play with those old controllers (and of course the not-so-old ones that have been on the market for years now). Even though I’d like to see Gamecube Controller support in Smash 6, I would rather Wiimote and Nunchuck support stay at the retirement home with the N64 controller. A neat addition to Smash for Switch though would be keyboard and mouse support. If those leaked patents are real and the Switch eventually gains the ability to use a keyboard and mouse than I just think it would be a fun way to tempt those PC Master Gamers over to our side.
Here’s an annoyance that I really hope gets fixed in the next Smash; as cool as it is to fight the Yellow Devil and Ridley, I would love to have the option to turn off those character interactions without swapping those stages to final destination mode. Again, I’m not against fighting those bosses but I’d much rather fight them in the context of their inclusion in a story or quest mode. A boss rush mode would be great too but it would need the context of a plot or quest mode behind it to work or really be worth mentioning at all. Another thing that may not be worth mentioning are game demos. I really like this feature in Smash: being able to play games that player characters had been in and even though this is usually a none-too-subtle means of pointing players to the eShop, I really wish I had more time to play those demos. Another thing I wish was different in Smash, and it seems like this is going to be remedied soon, is how alternate costumes seem to be basic for the most part. Shulk can go in a bathing suit and Little Mac and go out in a green wireframe but for the most part all you get if you’re player 2 is a (sometimes out of nowhere) color swap. In a post-Mario Odyssey landscape though I’d like to see strange and out-there costume concepts that could potentially even be unlocked like you would new fighters. Some fun examples of this could be things like Wario as he appeared in Wario Land Shake it, as in hand-drawn or clay-textured Nintendo Power Mario or, yarn textured Yoshi. A really strange one that I would love to see attempted would be puppet Link, either puppet toon Link or the Puppet Link used to advertise Link’s Awakening in Japan.
(Don't Hug Me, I'm Link)
Speaking about strange, out there additions to the latest addition to the Smash Series consider this. I’ve always wanted to play a Smash that let me play using the characters represented as either their original or mocked up 8 or 16 bit sprites. I think that might be a bridge too far since that might limit character animations too much but a happy medium would be a Smash 64 mode which remodels everybody to make them look like they would have looked if they were on the Nintendo 64. This would be a neat throwback for 12 characters, a neat “what if” for characters like Bowser and Mewtwo and, an even cooler sort of “What if” if characters like Bayonetta and Cloud return for Smash Switch. Another addition I’d love to see added to Smash Switch would be something like Mega Mode. Pick 8 to 12 characters who would be too large for normal Smash Bros action and give us some giant fights. This could be a neat shortcut to get characters like Ridley, Super Meowser and Metal Face in as playable characters. Speaking of playable characters, and I realize this is a common request, it would be great to have fewer modified characters. Except for Robin, the Fire Emblem crew feel almost identical except for obvious changes in movement speed, attack power and, Ike’s hatred of the floor. Ganondorf, Link and Zelda have been in their Twilight Princess forms since the days of Melee which is baffling considering Zelda was always able to turn into Sheik (a character from Ocarina of Time). We know that Link is likely going to at least have his Breath of the Wild duds but he’s a wildly different character from the hook-shooting, boomerang chuckin’ bomb-tosser we’ve been playing as since the original Smash. If Toon or Young Link return I think that increases the urgency to update Link’s moveset, especially if Toon and/or Young play like they always have.
Super Smash Bros for the Nintendo Switch is likely going to launch within the next 9 and a half months. With that much of a crunch it’s understandable if we see another instance of Falco playing like Fox or Luigi, Dr. Mario and, Mario feeling very similar but I really hope we don’t get yet another repeat of Ganondorf fighting like Captain Falcon. There is a lot that can be done to make Super Smash Bros for Switch the best in the series but even if it’s just a port of Smash 4 with the Inklings and every DLC character and costume being available on the cart, it’s going to find success. I can’t wait to learn more about Super Smash Bros for Switch and I can’t wait to hungrily eat up every scrap of new and fake information as its drip-fed to us throughout the rest of the year. So what do you think about the next Smash? What do you think about my few predictions and my unlikely hopes and my peculiar love of Smash 3DS? I feel like I’m forgetting something though...Oh crap, the characters I want to play as!