Goddammit, Luigi Dude. Well, I'm going to post this anyway.
Sakurai said that there were going to be less characters than in Brawl.
Not explicitly. That was mostly how people read into it. If you're referring to the quote I think you're referring to, he talks about limitations on 3DS and how that may lead to cutting some characters.
The reality of the situation unfortunately is that there are certain limitations on the 3DS, so we’re forced into a situation where we may need to reduce some characters to a certain degree, but we’re really working hard to include as many characters as possible.
The implication is that some characters may have to be cut. That isn't really news; we've seen cuts before. There was also this earlier quote:
It isn’t a matter of "if the next game has 50 characters, that’ll be enough." There is a certain charm to games that have huge casts of playable characters, but they tend to have issues with game balance and it becomes very difficult to fine-tune each character and have them all feel distinctive…. In terms of quantity, we’ve probably already reached the limit of what’s feasible. I think a change of direction may be what’s needed.
That part seems most important, but the media seemed to latch into the part about characters. My understand (which may or may not be right) was Sakurai didn't think adding characters was enough, that they needed new idea to keep the series fresh. Smash Run is a good example of this kind of thinking. Then, there's this one:
I can answer that: no. We don’t have the time to fully recreate every single character who’s been in Smash Bros at this point. Adding new characters is not a simple addition – it’s really multiplication. The amount of work, adding a character is multiplied and becomes bigger and bigger as you go. We can’t because of the amount of work it takes. However, I do believe I understand that each character has its own set of fans out there who really like that character. So we’re not going to cut characters out of the way, we’re going to put in as many characters as we can, we really want to do that, because it’s good for the fans and good for all of us. But in the event that we do have to cut some characters, I’d like to apologise in advance to those fans.
I think the verdict is still out on what all of this means. Sakurai also said:
I am planning on doing my best to bring old characters back in Smash Bros.
Based on the current list of newcomers, this hasn't happened yet. In fact, Wii Fit Trainer, Rosalina, and Greninja are all fairly new. That's almost the exact opposite of what Sakurai said he was planning.