It’s time to get that hype train rolling again for Smash!
Rumours and speculation of a Super Smash Bros. port of the Wii U and 3DS titles have been brewing since the Switch’s release. But after analyzing the teaser released in today’s Nintendo Direct, more evidence than not points towards a brand new sequel, rather than simply a port of the 2014 game.
But why were fans expecting a port over a sequel in the first place? As shown by the Direct itself, Nintendo is hot on porting older games right now. Given the Wii U’s low sales numbers in comparison to the more popular Switch, it just makes sense to breathe new life into old games the mainstream might have missed out on.
With games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Donkey Kong Returns: Tropical Freeze, and let’s be honest, even Splatoon 2 feels like a bit of a 1.5 over the original, Smash Bros. seemed to be no exception. This trend, along with Smash’s infamously long development cycle (7 years from Melee to Brawl and 6 years from Brawl to the Wii U and 3DS) meant Smash for Switch would have to just be a revised port.
At least, that’s what we thought…
Right off the bat, we know the Inklings from Splatoon are joining the game, and that’s our first clue.
Every other new character announced for the previous Smash iteration followed the same theme:
Why would that suddenly stop now? Shouldn’t the Inkling’s be “Splatting into Battle” or something?
Next up we’re given brief silhouette shots of returning series veterans, Mario and Link. But Link appears much different than his Wii U and 3DS look.
Now sporting his Breath of the Wild appearance, Link is no stranger to costume changes between Smash Bros. iterations. Would a port be enough to warrant a new model? Sure it could be a simple alternate costume, but those have rarely, if ever, been shown in official promotional material.
The general vibe of the trailer doesn’t fit that of Smash for Wii U and 3DS either. The dark and fiery look doesn’t match up at all with what we’ve seen previously, and could indicate a shift in tone or aesthetics, like the jump from the original 64 to Melee.
We’re also given a shadowy look at some more returning characters. While there are a couple distinct figures to make out (Samus, Bowser) nothing concretely showcasing any of the characters featured in the last installment. Could this indicate a clean slate for a new roster?
We then get the logo, which is curiously not the same one shared by the Wii U and 3DS version. Also mysteriously missing is a subtitle of any kind, further pointing towards this game being it’s own separate entity.
Finally we’re given a date of 2018, the most damning evidence against this being a new game, with only four years of development. Nintendo, and infamously the Smash Bros. series itself is no stranger to delays however, so anything is possible.
It’s all just speculation at this point, but despite expectations of a port, almost all signs indicate this game being Super Smash Bros. 5. If it really is releasing this year, we’re sure to get more news to settle the matter soon!