Remember how excited you got when Iwata-san told us at E3 that the next Smash Bros. was coming to the Wii U and 3DS simultaneously? And then remember how you immediately came down off of that high upon hearing that development would not begin on it until at least the fall? Every Nintendo fan amongst our reader-base surely does, and now we’re offering them a chance to grow even more disgruntled over the project’s status. S eries creator Masahiro Sakurai recently spoke about the games in Japan’s Famitsu magazine — he has a regular column — and the news isn’t pretty for Smash fanatics.
“Right now, we’re devoting all our manpower to working on Kid Icarus,” Sakurai said. But we already knew that; his Project Sora team will not shift over to Smash until after the 3DS game releases this fall. Here’s where things get really disheartening: “We’ve got no plans whatsoever — we’ve got two new games out in the open when there’s no extra time to work with them at all. It makes me cringe, and I’m not sure it’s the smartest thing to make gamers wait for several years, but the early announcement was made chiefly in order to attract new team members.”
So work hasn’t begun yet, there’s no plans for the game at all and, worse yet, the very thought of it makes Sakurai “cringe”. Not exactly a rosy picture. That being said, it takes Sakurai and his team years of unbelievable dedication and hard work to create these games; so don’t take it personally that he isn’t looking forward to pulling out of one majorly anticipated engagement and jumping right into an even more ambitious project.
Unfortunately, the news gets even more somber from there, though. His crew is not as prepared for Wii U development as they were for 3DS work. “Project Sora had intended to make a 3DS Smash Bros. once it had finished up a game on the system and had gotten used to the hardware’s feature set,” Sakurai wrote. “With the advent of the Wii U, though, we had a choice to make. Iwata asked us if [we] wanted to make the next Smash Bros. on the Wii U or 3DS, and my thought was that we had to go on both platforms.”
The reasoning behind that decision? “If we went solely for the Wii U,” he said, “the HD graphics would really bump up the visual effects, but then we’d be stuck in another arms race. If we made this game another extension over previous one, we’d have to cut out the new things we could possibly do on the 3DS hardware and compete with ourselves again over the size of the character roster and the amount of gameplay we can put it. It wouldn’t be a fruitful competition, but doing something completely new would be difficult for many reasons, not least of which that the gamers may not be satisfied with it. That’s why we decided to think about ways to link the personal connection one has with his portable system to the gather-around-and-play aspect of console systems.”
Despite the lack of a game plan, the director feels that the early announcement was necessary to attract the type of high-level talent he will require. c “The hardest part about game development is the burdens it places upon me,” he admitted. “With previous projects I had a game design document in place before forming a team, but with this I don’t have the time for that. I won’t be able to look at every aspect of the game and balance out all the characters by myself this time. I’m trying to think about how this is going to work out, but probably I’ll have to discuss it with my future development team. The future of this project really depends on the people I can get involved with it.”
Sakurai had previously stated that, unlike with the other Smash games, he will not be the one to personally handle all of the balancing aspects of the next Smash titles. It’s going to be a long wait, but I’ve no doubt that it will be worth it to see what he and his creative team produce. Patience friends, patience.
[Images via Mario Mayhem and Wired.]