Sakurai Addresses Clone Characters in Smash Bros.

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

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Super Smash Bros. for 3DS | oprainfall

Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS has been out for a little over a week now, and it is a fun time. While everyone is happy to be able to play Smash on the go, there is one thing that still seems to bother fans: clone characters. In case you are completely unaware, clone characters are characters who either look similar to one another or have very similar, if not identical, movesets. Examples include Ganondorf and Captain Falcon or Marth and Roy in Smash Bros. Melee. In the new game, there are three characters who are being labeled as such; Lucina to Marth, Dark Pit to Pit and Dr. Mario to Mario.  Many fans have expressed online their concern and disappointment to see these characters and comments like “They are a waste of a slot” or “No more clones pl0x” have been very common on message boards. In the latest issue of Famitsu magazine, Smash Bros. director, Masahiro Sakurai, decided to tackle the issue. He started off by saying:

There are 3 fighters [Lucina, Dark Pit, and Doctor Mario] that are alternate models (clones) in the game. Each was originally a color variation, but during development, they were given balanced characteristics. Since their functionality had differences, forms were separated from each other. However, it was vital that this didn’t increase the required man-hours. Some relative tuning was sufficient as it wasn’t necessary to create balancing from scratch.

He then explained some of the differences between the clones. For example, Marth and Lucina’s swords act a bit differently and, by making Dark Pit a separate character, he can have a different Final Smash and arm. He also explained that he gave Dr. Mario a different custom move set so he would not anger fans. He tried to relate all of this to eating out at restaurants by using this analogy:

This is like a free dessert after a luxurious meal that was prepared free of charge. In a restaurant with this type of service, I don’t think there’s anybody who would say, “Change this to a meat dish!!”

Yet, I’m told [to do that] about Smash Bros. But, I guess since a lot of them are children, it cannot be helped.

Could you please leave it to me to select [characters] with man-hours and costs in mind? However you look at it, the game is a great bargain buy as a result.

Interesting analogy, but it seems like he does not want us to let clone characters be a deal breaker. How do you feel about clone characters or what Sakurai has to say about it?


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About Justin Guillou

Justin joined Operation Rainfall after visiting the site numerous times and reading the articles on Xenoblade Chronicles. He enjoys searching for and collecting some of the more obscure video games out there.

  • Pedro Rosas

    I personally love the clones, specially Dark Pit. They are all more agressive variations of the originals and can result in different play styles in the end.

    • Siveon

      Except Lucina. She’s exactly the same, except that whole sword business they were talking about.

    • Pedro Rosas

      What are you smoking? Lucina is slower, not to mention her sword damages the same wherever you hit with, Marth is faster and more technical since hitting with the tip is a priority and deals much more damage.

    • Siveon


      I only stated they are pretty much the same due to the lack of differences between move-sets. It’s no where near as drastic as Ganon or Toon Link, even when fighting against the AI they play they play the same way. I don’t mind the inclusion but it’s not exactly the best clone out there. Even Roy was better.

    • Pedro Rosas

      Wow, Lucina IS Roy minus the fire, not to mention Pit and Pitoo have the exact same moves and yet you didn’t complain -_-

    • Siveon

      I never even used Pit or Dark Pit, so I couldn’t compare/”complain”/whatever.

      Roy was only marginally better, because of the fire.

      Glad you can still act high and mighty though.

    • ZigTheHunter

      Pit and Dark pit don’t have the same moves though, He has the Electroshock arm instead of the upperdash arm as well as a different final smash; plus most of their special moves have some notable differences between them in addition to some of Dark pit’s moves being stronger and his movement speed being a little slower then Pit. Overall they have more differences then Lucina and Marth.

    • Pedro Rosas

      And that was my original point? Pitoo is by far more aggressive than Pit, but their attacks are exactly the same animations, its the same with Lucina and Marth, Lucina being stronger (or actually more balanced since Marth’s tip is deadly) and slower, and i don’t count the final smash (which Pitoo’s is still a copy of light arrow btw)
      Also, Marth’s and Lucina’s special have differences as well, Marth having a stronger more precise counter than Lucina’s, Lucina charges shield breaker faster, and the other two, again, Marth’s sword tip.

  • Siveon

    Dr. Mario > Mario anyway. I don’t have to deal with that useless water attack, and the Fire Ball is easier to catch people with.

  • Tyrannikos

    Sakurai is talented and I can’t think of anyone else who can make a SSB-like game with the same quality as SSB itself. That being said, I’ve always thought Sakurai is kind of a self sanctimonious prick.

  • Antagonist

    Poor gamers get “clone” characters. Wah wah. Someone bring out the Dunlop.

  • Ari

    Didn’t he give the same reason for why Chrom from Fire Emblem is not a playable character in SSB?

    • Pedro Rosas

      He said it was just another “sword” character and had nothing truly interesting about him, just look at how many sword wielders there is already

  • Brian Stevenson

    See, all he had to do was SAY that at some point; just SAY that, originally, they were going to be simple pallet swaps (old terminology, you get the idea though) and they decided to upgrade them just a little and make them stand-alone character, but that they couldn’t do more than that for budget reasons.

    In other words, just TELL US that they were add-ons, and that they DIDN’T steal a slot from some other character. Just explain that; don’t go firing off about how anyone that has a complaint must be a child and we should all just shut up and be grateful.

  • Steven Shemwell

    he killed lucas I don’t care about his reasoning 🙁

  • Alexis Goitia

    Can we not care about the clones and please demand he stops butchering the WIi U version? Cutting characters left and right, forcing us to use inferior versions of the Ice Climbers, using low polygon counts and distributing almost no information from the game because it is probably a barren game filled with content hauled from Brawl.
    That’s the real issue here, the Wii U game being crippled over “fairness” but I tell you, it isn’t gonna cost the same as a 3DS game, is it? That’s the end of the fairness.

    • Pedro Rosas

      Wow you are seriously uninformed, the 3DS version is just a slice of the cake, the U version will have a bosses, not to mention more stages, modes, and there is a hint of extra characters, not to mention amiibo and the sweet HD graphics. There is also rumors of an 8 player mode, so in all FAIRNESS, its looking much better than its handheld counterpart and justifies the price.