By Josh Speer / June 14th, 2014
Well, I knew going into E3 that Sakurai would have some tricks up his sleeve for Smash Bros. reveals. I knew. What I didn’t know was how big said reveals would prove to be, nor how freaking many there would be! Suffice it to say, if you somehow missed the Smash coverage at E3, it was momentous. Without exaggeration, this was the most interesting week of Smash reveals since the Smash Direct. Multiple new character reveals, a firm release date and more. So I won’t waste any more time blabbing.
Let’s get Smashing!
Monday started off slow but nicely with a new Pokemon revealed. Meloetta can now be released from pokeballs. To hear more of how her attacks work, I’ll let Sakurai speak for himself – “Remember the video that introduced Greninja joining the battle? Every Pokémon that appeared in that video will make some kind of appearance in Super Smash Bros! By the way, here’s one of the Pokémon that didn’t make an appearance in that video–Meloetta. Its vocal attacks reflect off land forms, so they’ll be especially effective in a closed environment.” Nice! But that’s downright boring compared to Tuesday and Wednesdays reveals!
I have to admit, of all the things I expected from Sakurai at E3, Mii Fighters was not one of them! But the more I heard, the more I loved the idea. Not only can you use your own personal avatar to fight, you can use custom ones, allowing for “celebrity” Mii Fighters such as President Lincoln, Elijah Wood or even Ice-T! Better yet, there are three flavors to choose from – Brawler, who fights up close with fists and feet but no weapons; Swordfighter, who does Link proud; and my personal favorite, Gunner, whom fights from afar and close up with a Mega Man inspired arm cannon! If that wasn’t exciting enough, players can choose from a maximum of 12 special moves, 3 per type, to make their Mii Fighter play in a way truly unique to them. I cannot express how happy I am by this level of customization. If we also get the level creator in the new Smash, I am beyond sold.
Oh, and if that wasn’t exciting enough for you, Tuesday had ANOTHER shocker of a reveal –
So a while back, there was a rumor floating around that Lady Palutena from Kid Icarus would be a playable Brawler. I laughed at this madness until Sakurai proved me utterly wrong. And I couldn’t be happier to be proven wrong! Ladies seem to be the new focus in Smash, and each and every one looks to be very different from each other. Palutena herself seems to have a vast armory of moves, including what appears to be a deflection move or two. Take a look at these screens and the official trailer below!
I’m saying it right now – the Goddess of Light is supplanting Peach as my favorite lady Brawler! Looks like a blast to play, even more so than newcomer Rosalina! Though the next reveal technically happened on Tuesday, it didn’t go on the Smash site till Wednesday. Plus, it broke me even more than Mii Fighters and Palutena’s reveals combined… Are you ready?
No, you’re not hallucinating. Pac-man is now officially a playable Brawler! I know many suggested the possibility early on, since Bandai Namco is assisting Sakurai with making the game. But I always thought it was mad fancy and nothing else. Though it took me a while to get my brain around the concept, I am actually pretty happy about Pac-man’s debut! He’s another weirdo, for sure, but his playstyle looks to be a hybrid of Sonic, Game and Watch, and Peach. He seems to fight by plucking fruit and other random items, can transform into his classic form and, for some reason, uses a fire hydrant to fight. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the following screens and trailer.
Oh and take special note of the fact that Mr. Game & Watch shows up in the trailer. There is a bit of speculation on whether or not that confirms his return to Smash. Though he isn’t on the site yet, I’ve never known Sakurai to do anything without a good reason. So I’m relatively confident the 2D weirdo is gonna be back.
I’m honestly still a bit emotionally exhausted by E3 and all these exciting Smash announcements in general, but still a couple more left! Thursday revealed that the Home-run Contest is coming to the 3DS version with a couple of new features, such as sturdier glass and doubled speed for long hits. Plus, it will now be tied in with Global Smash Power to rank you and give you further incentive to beat the ever loving tar out of the punching bag! Palutena has a mean swing with that staff…
Friday’s screen was just icing on the cake. Smash Bros. continues to make its mark as perhaps one of the most original and creative fighter games ever, as attested to by the reveals this week! Speaking of which – the 3DS Smash Bros. is officially releasing October 3rd 2014! A bit later than the initial Summer window, it’s true, but I am ecstatic to know it’s coming out sooner rather than later. I painfully remember the year long delay for Brawl, so a couple months extra really doesn’t bother me.
Also, if that doesn’t whet your whistle enough, be sure to check out the site for hands on impressions and other articles about all things Smash from E3! And make sure to keep tuning in to Smashing Saturdays for every weekend up til the release date. But that’s not all! We also have a great Character of the Week for you by Guy Rainey!
Character of the Week
GUY: Ah, Mr. Game and Watch. When you think about it, this guy is as iconic as Mario, since he’s the star of Nintendo’s first handheld outings, the Game and Watch series by legendary Nintendo hardware designer Gunpei Yokoi. At the same time, certainly there are more well known characters that are worthy of a slot in Smash Bros.
A little history is in order for some of you younglings out there. While Mr. Yokoi was traveling to work on a train, he noticed a young man who was obviously bored out of his mind, since he was playing around with a LCD pocket calculator. Yokoi was famous for coining Nintendo’s hardware philosophy: lateral thinking with seasoned technology. That simply means using older, cheaper technology in fresh, new ways. Yokoi knew exactly how the calculator display worked, and thought, “I can make something more fun than that.” Thus, was born the Game and Watch series. The games used the same basic idea as those old calculators your parents might have. The screen was segmented, like the digits on an old calculator. So, these Game and Watch games were as cheap to produce as a pocket calculator, perhaps even cheaper. The Tiger LCD games were built on the same principle. 43 million units later, the Game and Watch games fell into obscurity next to the more technically advanced systems and games Nintendo would create.
So what prompted Sakuri to put him in Melee? I actually think the answer is simple: Sakurai always likes to put in one character that nobody expected or asked for. In the original it was Jigglypuff. In Melee, it was Mr. Game and Watch. In Brawl, it was R.O.B. And in the new Smash Bros, it is the Wii Fit Trainer (which may have been a bad decision, but that’s a topic for another time). Sakurai knows that we all have certain characters we would love to see in Smash Bros (just look at all the “Characters we’d like to see” articles on various gaming websites, not to mention all the petitions), and tries to come up with a character that nobody is asking for. That said, they were really scrapping the bottom of the barrel to find useful moves for Mr. Game and Watch. I’m not talking about the bad animation; that’s intentional, and fits with his roots. I’m talking about how he actually attacks. Just look at this.
Mr. Game and Watch is a really weird character, but that’s what makes him so interesting. That’s probably part of the reason that Sakurai chose him to begin with. In his original form, Mr. Game and Watch doesn’t have the most promising moveset; indeed, he doesn’t really have a moveset at all. That makes him a real challenge to make him a playable character. And they did a pretty good job, at least in Brawl. Fan sites tell me that Mr. Game and Watch received a significant boost in power and utility for his Brawl appearance. I haven’t really played Melee, so I can’t really confirm.
We don’t know whether or not Mr. Game and Watch will appear in Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS, but it seems like a safe assumption. He’s appeared in two games so far, he clearly isn’t a clone of any character, and his diverse moveset makes him really interesting. Also, he’s one of the easiest characters to model, so that has to be worth something.
Game and WatchMii Fighterspac-manPalutenarelease dateSmashing SaturdaysSuper Smash Bros.Week 32