Sakurai Addresses Missing Ice Climbers in Smash Bros

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

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Super Smash Bros - Ice Climbers | oprainfall

With the whirlwind news of the Super Smash Bros for 3DS and Wii U roster becoming more and more prevalent, especially now that the 3DS version has hit store shelves in Japan, people are beginning to notice that some characters from previous games are absent from the new roster. Most specifically, it seems that Popo and Nana, better known as the Ice Climbers, who were present in both Super Smash Bros Melee and Brawl, did not make the cut for the newest game.

Super Smash Bros - Ice Climbers | oprainfallIn the latest issue of Famitsu magazine, Smash Bros director, Masahiro Sakurai, discussed the reasoning behind this cut. According to Sakurai, the pair originally appeared in the Wii U version of the upcoming fighting game, but “due to the required hardware power,” they were not able to work in the 3DS version, and were ultimately dropped altogether. Sakurai went on to say that franchises that didn’t have much hope of getting new installments were given a lower priority than more popular ones.

Personally, I’m not sure Sakurai’s reasoning washes. Hardware limitations are one thing, but if the Ice Climbers were cut because they don’t have any new games on the horizon, they aren’t the only ones who should have been destined for the chopping block. Ness, who is also a veteran of the series, hasn’t had a new game since 1994. Captain Falcon hasn’t seen a new entry in the F-Zero franchise since 2004. Even Samus doesn’t seem to have much going on after Metroid: Other M in 2010. Heck, the new Smash is seeing the inclusion of Little Mac, a character who saw a major gap between Super Punch-Out!! in 1994 and the remake of Punch-Out!! in 2009.

Granted, I’m not losing any sleep due to this cut — Ice Climbers were on the lower end of the spectrum of my preferred characters — but I get the feeling that players who did main as the lovable duo are not going to be satisfied with this official response. What about you? Are you going to miss the unique mechanics that Popo and Nana brought to the series? Does the reasoning make sense to you? Sound off in the comments.

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About Tyler Lubben

Tyler is a lifelong gamer, getting his start on the Intellivision when he was three years old. After receiving his English degree, he discovered all those jokes about getting a job in his field were true. As Head Editor with oprainfall, Tyler is able to bridge his two passions; playing and talking about video games at any given opportunity, and being a total grammar nazi the rest of the time.




  • Nick McGuire

    I was beast with them, I don’t like it one bit.

  • Mabase

    I love the Ice Climbers and I’m going to miss them since I did actually play them regularly in the past games, but they’re really not comparable to the rest of the cast. They had a single game that came out almost 30 years ago. F-Zero and Metroid are major IPs for Nintendo regardless of their recent inactivity, Punch-Out!! is a classic that had a fairly successful reboot just 5 years ago, and Ness is a Mother rep, not an Earthbound rep, and Mother 3 only came out 8 years ago. While Mother is basically confirmed to be finished and there’s nothing new on the horizon for some of the other series, they’re all still a lot more fresh in the minds of people who play Smash Bros. than the Ice Climbers, and they’re all also a lot more likely to get new games.

    What really annoys me about the whole thing is that the Wii U version has to suffer because of the 3DS version. There’s no reason Ice Climbers couldn’t be in Smash for Wii U, but they won’t be because Sakurai doesn’t want any differences in the rosters.

  • This makes very little sense. Rosalina comes with a Luma partner, and has no trouble on the 3DS.

    Hoping they might still be added via DLC.

    • Tara

      Well, Luma isn’t exactly as big as a second, full-sized fighter model… so less power might be in use there. (I honestly have no idea, the way all of that sort of thing works is over my head.)

      However, I will say that I’m in agreement, and I do hope they might get added via DLC… hell, I have a wishlist (and it’s all fighters from previous games, so not exactly unfeasible!)

      Honestly, if they do come back as DLC, I do wonder if Sakurai will end up breaking his “both rosters have to be the same” thing, and make them Wii U only. I honestly would not be against this, since they’ve confirmed the 3DS and Wii U versions can’t even play against each other, anyway.

  • Tara

    I personally didn’t use them, and I found them difficult to play as in Melee and Brawl. But I feel for the folks that are losing them that were good with them. (I was great with Mewtwo in Melee, though I mained Fox. In Brawl, I mained Snake… and we all know he’s not back.)

    Anyway, I personally hope that they do release a lot of DLC for Smash this time around, because I think Nintendo is really doing DLC completely right for everything lately… I mean, Hyrule Warriors and Mario Kart 8 are basically getting literally THE BEST DLC packs I’ve ever seen, and I see no reason why this can’t be the case with Smash. In fact, I think it WILL be the case. My greatest hope here? They bring back all of the fighters that have been removed over the years. (I know there’s evidence to suggest they won’t do that, but… I can dream, right?)

  • AzureKnight274

    His reason is completely flawed. Characters with games of little chance of getting another installment were less a priority? Then why is Duck Hunt Dog even there? And the hardware could have been a good excuse EXCEPT its not. Rosalina is a duo character JUST like Ice Climbers and how is it he could make her work but not them? I love smash but the why is the roster of characters consisting of clone characters and characters no body asked for? I have nothing against seeing the Dog but who asked for him? And I love Lucina and Doctor Mario but why couldn’t they be a skin? If the Koopalings can do it and if Alph and Olimar can do it then cant the others do it? I feel things where added for the sake of adding and trying to make the game seem bigger then what it was.

    • Kongk4

      Nana is a full ai/player controlled character. Luma is a small model that is mostly part of Rose and isn’t ai controlled. Having one the Ice Climbers on screen would probably be so bad, but 4 of them with items on? The 3DS is powerful, but, like every other system, it has limitations that both devs and consumers have to deal with.

      Ice Climbers could become DLC (hopefully free) to move around the limitations, but we’ll have to wait and see if that ever becomes a reality.

      However, I somewhat agree “they didn’t have a new game” excuse is flawed but a little understandable, it’s really just an excuse for himself to not have the team spend a month(s) worth of resources to make them work. He probably didn’t want the Ice Climbers to hinder the release date.

  • Thanatos2k

    This is why you don’t release inferior versions of console games on handhelds. LOOKING AT YOU VALKYRIA CHRONICLES.

  • Koohii Twowii

    Doesn’t this mean that “Every” Character in Smash will have a game come out sometime soon on WiiU and 3DS….or is the WiiU version of smash will have more characters…. hmmmm