Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[a] is an upcoming crossover fighting game developed by Bandai Namco Studios and Sora Ltd. and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. It is the fifth installment in the Super Smash Bros. series, succeeding Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. The game follows the series' traditional style of gameplay: controlling one of various characters, players must use differing attacks to weaken their opponents and knock them out of an arena. It features a wide variety of game modes, including a campaign for a single-player and multiplayer versus modes. Ultimate includes every playable character from previous Super Smash Bros. titles—ranging from Nintendo's mascots to characters from third-party franchises—and several newcomers.
|Super Smash Bros. Ultimate|
Cover art, featuring a number of the game's playable characters
|Series||Super Smash Bros.|
|Release||December 7, 2018|
The concept for a new Super Smash Bros. game was completed in December 2015 during the development of 3DS/Wii U's downloadable content. Series creator and director Masahiro Sakurai returned along with Bandai and Sora, the studios that developed the previous game; the studios' return sped up the preparation process. Sakurai's goal with Ultimate was to include every character from previous games despite the various development and licensing problems this would cause. The game engine was built from scratch and upgraded the textures and lighting effects of previous games. Ultimate was announced at E3 2018 and is scheduled to be released on December 7, 2018.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a fighting game in which players use different attacks to weaken their opponents and knock them out of an arena. Each fighter's status is tracked by a percentage meter, starting at 0% and increasing as they take damage. The higher the percent meter, the more vulnerable they are to specific attacks that can knock them into the air and potentially off the screen. In most modes, players are given a fixed number of lives at the start of a match, and when knocked off-screen, they lose one life and respawn shortly thereafter if they still have at least one life remaining. If the player has lost all their lives, they are out of the match. Prior to a match players have the ability to adjust the match rules, including the time length, lives, and knock-down conditions for matches, saving these as presets for future matches.
The game has a number of multiplayer game modes: its base "versus" mode where up to eight opponents, either human or computer-controlled, can battle against each other. Ultimate introduces several new modes: a Tourney mode for up to 32 players, creating the elimination playoff brackets for the players; a Smashdown mode where once a character has been selected and used in a round, the character no longer becomes available to play; and a Smash Squad mode where two players or teams use a set of either three of five selected fighters; when one fighter is eliminated, the next fighter for that side is brought into play. The game also includes single player modes for practice and training, as well as a return of its Classic single player campaign, where the player is given a unique set of battles to complete specific for each playable character in the game.
Each character has a unique set of moves and abilities, as well as a powerful Final Smash attack that often affects all opponents on the field, triggered by activating a Smash Ball power-up that appears on the field. All characters have been updated with new moves and abilities, with many characters rebalanced based on feedback from players of past games. Some characters with abilities that require a charging-up or cooldown period will be given visible meters on their on-screen character icons for players to track the status of these abilities; for example, the icon for Final Fantasy's Cloud will show his progress to a special ability, his "Limit Break". Players will not have access to all characters on starting the game, and will need to unlock them by completing various challenges in-game; Nintendo anticipates making it easier for players to unlock all of the game's characters compared to previous games.
New power-up items based on the included franchise properties, which trigger unique effects to some or all players, are being added atop previous items, such as a Launch Star from Super Mario Galaxy that propels those passing through it to a different area of the field. Ultimate includes both Assist Trophies and Poké Balls power-ups, which, when activated by a player, briefly summon non-playable characters to aid in battle. These characters will include those previously featured in past games and additional new characters, such as Konami's Bomberman, the Rathalos from Capcom's Monster Hunter series, and Yacht Club Games' Shovel Knight.
In setting up a match, players have the option to select a stage to fight on, or let the game randomly pick a stage from approximately 103 that are available. Each stage, typically based on the included franchises, has a unique configuration of platforms and environmental hazards, along with themed background music. Ultimate will include new stages, such as Moray Towers from Splatoon, in addition to returning ones. Each stage can be customizable by switching off random elements known as stage hazards. Each stage will also include an Omega form where the game field is reduced to a simple single platform, similar to the stage Final Destination, or can also be used in a standard Battlefield layout, a standard three-platform field featured in previous Smash Bros. games but using the visuals and musics from the stage. A new feature in Ultimate is a Stage Morph option, allowing players to select two stages prior to a match; during the match, the stages will swap at fixed or random intervals to mix up the match. Ultimate features over 800 music tracks from the various games it sources; players can customize the game so that matches on battlefields take from game series can use any track associated with that game series. Ultimate also enables players to use the Switch unit like a music player to listen to any playlist of the tracks while on the go.
The game will have vast compatibility with controllers, including compatibility with the GameCube controller through the GameCube Adapter for Wii U. Ultimate will also support existing Amiibo figures for any of the fighters to provide unique abilities when used with the Joy-Con and Pro Controller NFC sensors. New Amiibo figurines will also be introduced alongside the game for characters that did not appear in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, as with other games in the Super Smash Bros. series, features a crossover cast of fighters from several different Nintendo franchises—such as the Mario and Metroid series—as well as fighters from series by third-party developers such as Sega, Konami, Capcom and Bandai Namco Games. Ultimate includes every character from previous Super Smash Bros. titles, including those offered through downloadable content in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Some characters are classified as "Echo Fighters", each possessing similar attributes and basic movesets to another character, albeit with slight differences in animations and abilities (e.g. Lucina is classified as Marth's Echo Fighter). Within Ultimate, these will be unique characters selectable within the roster.
Select characters will have alternate variations that can be selected or randomly picked as costumes, such as Bowser Jr. who has a selectable appearance to be any of the other Koopalings, but otherwise have the same set of powers and abilities. Several of the characters have received updates to their outfits, such as Mario having Cappy from Super Mario Odyssey accompanying him and Link wearing his outfit from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Newcomers to the series include the Inklings from Splatoon, Ridley from the Metroid series, Simon Belmont from the Castlevania series, King K. Rool from the Donkey Kong series, and Isabelle from the Animal Crossing series. New Echo Fighters include Princess Daisy from the Mario series, Chrom from Fire Emblem Awakening, Dark Samus from the Metroid series, and Richter Belmont from the Castlevania series. The currently announced roster of playable characters in Ultimate is 74, the highest number of playable characters in any Super Smash Bros. game. Due to the large number of returning fighters, Nintendo cautioned players that Ultimate may not feature as many newcomers to the roster compared to the previous games in the series.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is being developed by Bandai Namco Studios and Sora Ltd., the same studios that developed Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, for the Nintendo Switch, with series creator Masahiro Sakurai returning to direct. Unlike previous Super Smash Bros. games, the team was not assembled from the ground up, which sped up preparation time. The project plan for the game was finished in December 2015, when the downloadable content for 3DS and Wii U was in development; staff gathering was done soon afterward. The development period was shorter compared to previous entries in the series.
Sakurai's goal for Ultimate was to include every character from previous games, knowing that this would be a complex problem for both development and licensing; it would also drastically increase the cost of development. The return of Bandai and Sora made it easier for this to happen. Sakurai also wanted to adjust character abilities as to speed up the game, although not to an extent to which it would alienate players unfamiliar with the series. Sakurai knew that Ultimate was a core title for Nintendo, and that it had a dedicated playerbase that he did not want to disappoint, and believed that completing this goal was necessary to satisfy the fan base. Sakurai was also faced with the decision to create a completely new game system or build off of pre-existing ones; he chose to build off pre-existing ones because there would only be about a third of the characters he desired in the final game. All the returning characters' abilities had to be re-balanced so they could work in Ultimate.
David Hayter, who was replaced in Metal Gear Solid V, reprised his Solid Snake voicelines for Ultimate. The addition of Ridley from Metroid as a playable character has been something that the Super Smash Bros. community had been requesting from the series for some time. In 2008, Sakurai had said that he knew Ridley was a high-demand character, but thought that he was "impossible" to add unless they were able to sacrifice the character's speed for balancing purposes. So Ridley could be included in the game, Sakurai studied art of the character and redesigned him so he could stand upright. Ultimate's game engine was built from scratch and was not an updated version of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U's engine. Localization manager Nate Bihldorff stated that it had significant upgrades in lighting effects and texture rendering to improve upon the already high-definition graphics of the Wii U game. Bihldorff also said "the biggest thing" for them was comparing stages from Melee to their Ultimate equivalents.
Like previous games in the series, Ultimate features a large cast of well-known video game music composers and arrangers providing a mix of original music and rearrangements of various tracks for the represented franchises, with over 800 tracks in total. New to Ultimate however, is the tying of tracks to franchises instead of individual stages, as well as the ability to create custom playlists to listen to outside of the game in handheld mode, a feature first used in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS. Sakurai stated that he began contacting composers over a year prior to release, and provided them with a database of over a thousand suggested track ideas. In addition, he allowed them to submit their own personal favorites, with those choices being given priority for inclusion. While Sakurai oversaw the process and preferred that the music retain the spirit of the original games, the direction of them was generally handled by the composers themselves.
Ultimate was teased during a Nintendo Direct presentation on March 8, 2018, under the working title Super Smash Bros., with the release year shown to be 2018. The game was formally announced during Nintendo's E3 2018 event in June 2018, revealing that the full roster of characters from past games would be included, as well as its release date of December 7, 2018. A special edition containing a Super Smash Bros.-themed Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and a Switch containing a download code for the game will also be released.
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