There are a number of reasons that gamers enjoy the Super Smash Bros. franchise. Some like the unexpectedly technical gameplay elements, others simply enjoy the couch-centric multiplayer sessions it inspires. That said, the largest appeal is and has always been the wide array of playable characters. Ranging from Mario to Pac-Man, there are a number of iconic gaming mascots playable in the new games, but narrowing down that list can't be an easy process. Taking that into consideration, it's interesting to learn a little bit more about the actual process behind deciding which characters will make the cut and, during the latest issue of Nintendo Dream magazine, fans received just that. The creator of the Super Smash Bros. series, Masahiro Sakurai, revealed several aspects about finalizing the roster this time around.
Some of the more interesting answers, however, arrived when Sakurai was asked if he keeps an eye out for potential all-star recruits for the fighting series' next entry during project gaps. The legendary game designer stated that he almost certainly did not because he approaches every title in the Smash series as if it'll be his last.
"I'm always thinking that doing Smash Bros. again will be impossible. Impossible, impossible...is what I always think, but I ended up making it again (laughs). But once I decide to do it, I'm very fast about creating moves and such. For example Greninja, even before his name was decided I received several illustrations. I took them home in the evening and around midnight I had already done all his actions, normal moves, special moves and pose-pictures and sent them around asking "What do you think?""
Greninja's quick addition was something that fans already learned about during the Super Smash Bros. developer roundtable at E3 2014, but what they may not have pieced together was that the final roster originally started out much larger than its final form. How much larger? Sakura won't say, but fans can speculate for themselves.
"This time our project-proposal is dated May 2012, at that time all characters were decided already. Then as production moves on we will say "We won't put that character in" and cut out low-priority-characters."
Suffice to say, some fan-favorite fighters ended up getting the axe this time around (most prominently the Ice Climbers), but Sakurai only removed each veteran and possible newcomer as a result of time restraints. This is likely where Brawl newcomers Wolf and Lucas met their end, but him and his team had just enough time to extend the roster through clone characters like Dr. Mario, Lucina and Dark Pit.
"Each and every character has fans, we wanted to drop as few as possible. About the order of which character has priority, the characters that don't have a new title coming up have an overwhelming disadvantage... even characters that we ended up including could have been left out if development had progressed differently."
Despite cutting out a handful of beloved fighters in the recent iterations, Sakurai revealed that one newcomer was almost left on the cutting room floor. That new addition was none other than Bowser Jr., the heir to the Koopa throne, and it turns out that he (and his Koopa Kid allies) only stayed in because the development team said they could get it done.
"But even if 1 former character is left out, for the fans this is a huge thing. On our side, we are re-creating characters from the previous title, and keep on adding more, so the word "reduce" is not appropriate. There are cases where we simply couldn't make it in the end, but on the whole we did a good job I think and the people at Bandai Namco Games did a great job. We had discussions on giving up on something many many times, Bowser Jr. was on the brink of being cut but the staff said "We'll do our best!" and we made it."
Suffice to say, including Bowser Jr. is something that many fans have come to appreciate. The character is a very unique fighter with some high launch potential, which makes fighting as the Koopa prince a very rewarding endeavour. Meanwhile, characters like Mewtwo could be a sign that other veterans are on the brink of returning to the fray. That remains to be seen of course, but given the stellar sales of both versions of the latest Super Smash Bros. it wouldn't be surprising to see the roster grow even larger in the coming months.
Super Smash Bros. is currently available on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
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Source: Nintendo Dream (via NeoGAF)