Super Smash Bros 3DS and Wii U launch windows revealed. Tons of new details.

The exclusive Super Smash Bros Nintendo Direct is done and dusted, and as you might expect it was full to the brim with new details.

Let’s start with release dates. The 3DS version will release this Summer, with the Wii U version releasing Winter 2014.

The 3DS version is expected to run at 60FPS standard, even when using the 3D. Some Pokemon will run at 30FPS.

Nintendo have reconfirmed that the fighter lineup for both versions of the game will be the same, however the stages will be completely different. Where the 3DS version will have two samples of music per stage, the Wii U version will have a treasure trove of music from all different stages and allow you to access any sort of musical pieces as you see fit. Lots of new stages were shown in action for both versions of the game, including a Balloon Fight stage on the 3DS version. Meanwhile, the Wii U version has a Wii Fit Stage, Halberd and even Wily Castle. During the demonstration of the famous Mega Man stage, Nintendo took the opportunity to demonstrate boss appearences. Here, the fighters were pitted against Yellow Devil and had to focus on his eye in order to beat him. Masahiro Sakurai discussed strategy on these levels, whereby players could work together against a mutual enemy or take advantage of their opponent fighting the boss. Other boss appearences were also teased, such as Ripley from Metroid fame.

Multiplayer

Online multiplayer was discussed. The Wii U version will allow you to play with friends or random strangers. 3DS will also have its own form of online multiplayer, however, the Wii U version definitely seems vastly superior. When playing random strangers, you can either play For Fun or For Glory – When playing for Fun, you can jump on a random stage, with balanced conditions, and just record the amount of wins you have without them going against any sort of record. For Glory, however, is much more competitive. It only allows you to play on the Final Destination stage and wins and losses will be recorded. Nintendo revealed that almost all stages have final destination variety and anonymous online matches are no more. Nintendo Network IDs will be assigned to every player.

Nintendo are also working on an anti-cheat system, which actually seems pretty proactive. There will be temporary bans from active play if players are caught cheating or abusing match conditions by quitting early. The online element on Wii U will also see Global Smash Power, a score-grab for solo modes. This is a new type of ranking system that shows how your score stacks up against other players, revealing a stat that shows how you’ve outscored them. The game will say that you’re stronger than x amount of players and boast your score above your Mii.

Nintendo confirmed that there are no rankings for multiplayer, but matchmaking will be based on skill-level. However it doesn’t seem as if Nintendo themselves know all the details on this yet.

If you just want to play against friends, however, everything is fair game. You can even customise move-sets and have some random fun.

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Items and Pokemon

New items were shown off, as well as old favourites. While the Beam Sword makes a return, players will also be able to use rocket belts and a steel diver. Assist Trophies are also back and figure into the All-Star Mode. Characters include Lyn, Nintendog, Skull Kid, Waluigi, Dr Wright, Chain Chomp and Color TV-Game 15.

There are also a ridiculous amount of Pokemon. In fact, the new Super Smash Bros seems like it might be a Poke-fans dream. Master Balls will appear in-game, and each one will feature a random, legendary Pokemon with their own unique ability set that can be used against an opponent. Names include Arceus, Meowth, Staryu, Fennekin, Gogoat, Deoxys, Kyurem, Victini, Keldo and Xerneas.

There are also some mysterious special attacks, but details of these are limited so far.

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Returning Fighters

Next, Nintendo talked about returning fighters. Samus Aran has an improved Zero Laser Final Smash, but a notable change is that characters will not change forms during battle, making it easier to concentrate on specific strategies. Zero Suit Samus will also return and now has Jet boots, an improved recovery ability, stronger kicks, power and speed.

Zelda has a new summon attack: Phantom Slash. This works defensively and offensively, and can even be reflected back onto the princess. Sheik also returns and has two more special attacks. Burst grenade and bouncing fish, which is an acrobatic kick using his heel. 

Kirby has two new powerful abilities. A Hammer Flip and his Final Smash is an Ultra Sword that will hack through anything.

Dedede now throws Gordos instead of Waddle Dees. Lucario has strenghtened aura attacks and does more damage. When in Mega Evolution, his ultimate attacks will also produce maximum damage.

In a more strategic change, only 3 Pikmin at a time will now follow Olimar. Pikmin are now plucked in fixed order, making it easier to see the Pikmin and making the management more important. Recovery Mode will also see Winged Pikmin take Olimar away from damage, but the more Pikmin he has at his side, the heavier he is to carry.

Pitt has seen his gliding mechnic cut, but he has been powered up with more lethal attacks. His Power of Flight is an easy recovery move and his Final Smash has changed to Three Sacred Treasures.

Finally, Yoshi is now stood upright, which makes his attacks much stronger and harder to deal with.

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New Fighters

Rosalina and Luma work together and almost act like two characters. Rosalina fires a Luma Shot which sends Luma out around the screen, then back to Rosalina. Kind of like a Star-Boomerang. Except, Luma can wander around the stage with the player controlling attacks. Rosalina and Luma also have different sets of moves and lots of individual attacks. Rosalina’s side attack is called Star Bits and can be used to defend Rosalina when the two are seperated. Up attack is Launch Star, a long-distance recovery move. Down is Gravitational Pull and renders shots ineffective against Rosalina. Her Final Smash is Power Stars – Shooting Stars rain down on the screen, ending with a big one.

Little Mac is perhaps the most interesting of the new cast.  His ground attack is overwhelmingly strong, so much so that he can shrug off some attacks. Also, his smash attacks hit at megaton levels. To balance, he is extremely weak in air and very vulnerable while airbourne. Also his recovery ability is, in the words of Nintendo, terrible. Unlike other fighters, Little Mac has a power meter. Straight lunges will fill power meter and allow him to pull off some of his big moves. Little Mac even has a move that, in one hit, can KO an opponent. The KO uppercut is a one punch, insta-KO, so just pray you’re not on the receiving end of that! The Joly Haymaker also lets him avoid attacks. The Rising Uppercut is recovery and the Slip Counter show Mac feint like he is about to go down, then he counterattacks with a crushing blow. As for his Final Smash? He morphs into an over-sized Giga Mac, making him bigger and more ferocious. As a homage to the original Punch-Out! a wireframe Mac costume will be available for the little boxer.

The Villager from Animal Crossing was shown with a Pocket Move, Lloid Rocket, Balloon Trip and Timber where he cops down tree that falls down on top of his enemies. His Final Smash? Dream Home, which sees a bunch of  little Tom Nooks build a house on enemies. The ultimate nightmare!

Mega Man was next shown off, but briefly. His moveset includes Spark Shock, Flame Blast, Slash Claw, Hard Knuckle, Super Arm, Metal Blade, Crash Bomber, Leaf Shield and Rush Coil. His Final Smash sees all of Mega Man’s favourite co-stars come together for one big assed beatdown.

Wii Fit Trainers are the quirkiest members of the new cast. The Sun Salutation is the biggest projectile esque move and Sakurai explained that a combination of the breathing techniques – which make attacks stronger – with the Sun Salutation is the way to defeat enemies and wear them down quite quickly. It’s player choice whether they want to be the Male or Female trainer.

It was also revealed at the end of the Direct that two Pokemon have been added to the playable roster. Charizard with devastating flight and fire attacks and Greninja with fast and furious swordsmanship.

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Exclusive 3DS Mode

The Direct ended with details of an exclusive 3DS mode: Smash Run. Play as a trainer through dungeon-like stages, searching for power-ups and beating enemies. The mode is designed for four players and has a five minute time-limit. When the time-limit is up, all four players must go head to head and fight each other with the powers-up they’ve collected across the course of the level. You can augment your fighter specifically, sure to make the final collision a fascinating affair. You can also equip items as pre-battle prep and select a random fighter to enter the Smash Run.

Interestingly, enemies are from all different Nintendo franchises and different enemies will appear randomly every time you play, which means you could be fighting a Goomba one minute, then a mother brain the next.

Overall

We’re impressed. Nintendo really delivered and offered a lot of detail on a game that has been shrouded in secrecy for sometime. We’re concerned about the release schedule, however. To be honest, the priority should have gone to the Wii U version. Having said that, Mario Kart Online is sure to take up a lot of people’s time this Summer and having Smash Bros there as well could pose a big distraction. It seems Nintendo want this game to be their posterchild online product for the console and are investing in the online component unlike any other Nintendo game before it. The new characters all seem interesting, the modes exciting. We’re just looking forward to further announcements for super secret characters closer to E3.

Let the guest-star speculation commence…

About the author

Ray Willmott

Ray is the founder and editor of Expansive. He is also a former Community Manager for Steel Media, and has written for a variety of gaming websites over the years. His work can be seen on Pocket Gamer, PG.biz, Gfinity, and the Red Bull Gaming Column. He has also written for VG247, Videogamer, GamesTM, PLAY, and MyM Magazine,