By Alex Irish / November 5th, 2018
With the final Nintendo Direct for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in the bag, pretty much everything that is anything has been shown off for the anticipated fighter. We now know there are 74 characters in the base game, 103 stages, 59 Assist Trophies, and more content than you can stick a shake at. The more that is revealed, however, the more it draws attention to what’s not included.
For all the vast content included in Ultimate, plenty of past series features and modes didn’t seem to make the cut. It’s been confirmed that Trophies won’t be back, but what else didn’t make the cut? Whatever their reasons for exclusion, here lies everything we know won’t be coming back for the ultimate Super Smash Bros.
The popular Stadium modes Home Run Contest and Target Smash have been around since about the beginning of the franchise, and are most conspicuous in their absence from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Both could be considered to be “throwaway modes”, but these mini-games are both training tools to test your skills with each character and a form of bragging rights when you get a high score. Based on footage of Ultimate‘s menus, both did not make the cut for whatever reason, perhaps from low usage among players. Perhaps as a form of consolation, other Stadium modes like Multi-Man Smash (now known as Century Smash) are back.
Effectively playable demos for past games featuring the Smash Bros. cast, the Masterpiece section doubled as a thinly veiled promotional plug for the Virtual Console, to the point where the Wii U Masterpieces came with built-in links to the eShop. Because the Switch has no equivalent Virtual Console section, and Nintendo Switch Online subscribers can play NES games through a separate app, these classic game demos are highly unlikely to be present.
Since the introduction of the Stage Builder ten years ago, people have wildly exploited the creative tools in both Brawl and Wii U to make dazzling and hilarious original stages for the fun of it. With the Switch having a capacitive touch screen when in portable mode, it’s puzzling why the feature has not been hinted at this close to launch. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely you’ll be making original stages to play and share this time.
The Photo Studio of Smash Wii U allowed users to pose their Trophies to snap creative pictures to share. With Trophies out for Spirits, it doesn’t appear that you’ll be able to pose what are (effectively) clip art images the same way. Photos taken in battle can still be shared online, albeit through the upcoming Smash World phone app starting next year.
Although the full 103 stage list has been announced, with many past stages returning with a new coat of paint, it’s interesting that not all past stages are included. Fan favorites like Melee‘s Poké Floats and Mute City, along with Brawl‘s Rumble Falls are among those left in the past. While every single veteran character can be included in Ultimate, that courtesy does not extend to every stage ever. With the Fighters Pack promising new characters, new, original stages seem more likely than the return of past ones.
Character Customization is back in Ultimate, but now applies to the new Spirits rather than the Equipment and Custom Moves used in Smash Bros. 4. The myriad of wild and crazy Custom Moves and stat boosts for each and every character weren’t popular (or allowed) in tournament play, and were a pain to collect all of, so their rejection from Ultimate makes sense. Fans who made tons of customized characters in the past games will have to adjust their brains to take advantage of the new Spirits in the same manner.
The way Spirit mode works to unlock the myriad of character power-ups, both Event Match and Special Orders from past games are likely MIA. Spirit matches work similar to both of these past custom battles, so adding them on top of Spirits would have been largely redundant.
The exclusive console-based extras from Smash Bros. 4, Smash Run from 3DS, and Smash Tour from Wii U, are unfortunately left behind in the last-gen releases. Both modes, one a timed challenge to power up across a giant maze and the other…a party board game, could have been refined and perfected in Smash Ultimate, but the new Spirits mode, World of Light, and multiple new rules for multiplayer, were given top priority instead.
Something had to give to make Super Smash Bros. Ultimate the so-called ultimate in the series. Based on everything we’ve seen so far, that meant many series staples were left out to make room for new ideas and other areas of the game richer. Change is both a good, and sometimes scary, thing in life, and that goes with the giant strides Ultimate is making to become the best Smash Bros. sequel it can be.
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