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Masahiro Sakurai is back with another of his famous weekly Famitsu columns, this time delving into the latest Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct. While he didn’t reveal a ton of previously unknown information, his comments and decisions are as interesting as ever. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Sakurai notes that Ken has a number of differences from Ryu, making him wonder if the former really should be considered an Echo Fighter… but, “Nope. I said he was, so he is.” Evidently one’s status as an Echo is less a hard or technical definition and more up to the whims of Sakurai. Regardless, he hopes that those “that like to make use of the frames they’re given” appreciate Ken’s nuances.
  • Incineroar was chosen after the release of Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon — Sakurai left a Pokémon fighter slot open in the initial planning around December 2015 and made the decision later in development. He’s always wanted to incorporate some kind of pro wrestling character. He also notes that Unshō Ishizuka (the late voice of Professor Oak and countless others) provided new lines for the character, and hopes he can rest in peace.
  • There will be amiibo released for all characters who weren’t in Smash 4, but it takes roughly a year to produce them from a prototype, so he asks for patience as you wait for them to come out.
  • The decision to remove trophies came early on in planning. Because of all the other content plans in place, Sakurai decided that it was “rash” to continue doing so, and notes that developing trophies took a lot more work than some people think.
  • He isn’t going to go too deep into Spirits at the moment, preferring to wait until a later date, but happily claims that it’s allowed him to collaborate with a whole host of new titles previously uncovered.
  • Matchmaking is based primarily on preferred rules, Global Smash Power, and proximity. In previous titles they used both asynchronous and synchronous communication for matches, but this time they’re only using the latter — if the signal drops from either end, the match will “freeze” so neither player can act.
  • Elite Smashes are intended (as you might expect) for those with high skill levels. In them veterans can enjoy not having to deal with beginners, and also the sense of bragging rights that come from it.
  • He’s pretty proud of developing the game for 11 languages.
  • As a final note, Sakurai draws attention to the “biggest, baddest enemy” in the World of Light cinematic, and wants to write about them… but will hold his tongue for the moment.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releases for Nintendo Switch this December 7th.

Translation courtesy of Nintendo Everything.


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Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.