A character pair that had been rumored to not be returning received confirmation this week.
It wasn't an incredibly eventful week, but the fan favorite character pair of Nana and Popo got return confirmation, and we got to see both a new Pokemon and a new Assist Trophy.
New Pokemon: Munchlax
It's been a while since a new Pokemon has been confirmed for the Pokeball item. In many ways, the Assist Trophy has been overshadowing the popular staple from the earlier Smash Bros. games. Munchlax was announced this week though, and it has an interesting effect on the battle. It won't directly cause damage or affect in any way the combatants on screen. Instead, it will seek out items and devour them, living up to his title of the glutton Pokemon. Probably the most interesting aspect of this ability is the amount of time he will probably remain on screen. The Pokemon in the previous games only showed up for a very brief amount of time. As made evident by this quote, “It’s kind of hard to tell it to stop, though," Munchlax may stay on the screen for quite a while. As an interesting addition to this announcement, the screens also confirmed that the Lip's Stick item will be making a return.
New Assist Trophy: Lyn
In an announcement that initially tricked several Dojo readers into thinking it was a new playable character, Lyn, from the Fire Emblem series, was confirmed as an Assist Trophy. The post described her as similar to the already announced Assist Trophy, Samurai Goroh. She also wields a sword and slashes at opponents. Unlike Goroh, who frantically cuts repeatedly, Lyn will charge and slash just once, similarly to her critical hit attack in the Fire Emblem game for Game Boy Advance. This single stroke will presumably carry a much harder hit than any one of Samurai Goroh's swings.
New Stage: Battleship Halberd
In an update that falls into the "we've already seen it" category, Meta Knight's Battleship Halberd was announced as a new stage. Like the Castle Siege level, Battleship Halberd will transition between different areas. It begins inside the hangar, with the actual battleship stationed behind the combatants. As the ship takes off, the platforms on which the characters are fighting float with it, following the scene. Eventually, they become stationed on the deck, and the cannons mounted behind them will fire periodically. This is especially interesting because of the angle at which they are firing. Coming from directly behind the battle means that the characters can dodge the fire by going in virtually any direction. While this stage will appear in the multiplayer battles, the last paragraph of the blog post confirms that it will play an important role in the Subspace Emissary single player mode, as was evident in the trailer shown earlier.
New Game Mode: Special Brawl
Following up what may have been one of the most entertaining features of Melee, the Special Brawl game mode was revealed on Thursday. In this mode, players will be able to set each of eight different rules that will remain for the duration of the battle. Unlike the Special Melee mode, in Special Brawl, you can combine as many of these effects as you want. The first one is simply choosing between normal damage (starting at 0%), sudden death damage (starting at 300%), and stamina mode. In stamina mode, players will have a more traditional (for fighting games) HP amount that counts down to 0. The second option is just the size of the characters, which can be normal, mega, or mini. Third is what goes on the character's head. As was confirmed by the Munchlax update, one option is to put a Lip's Stick flower on everyone's head. Another option is to add bunny ears, which confirms the return of that item. Characters' bodies can be either clear or metal, which confirms the metal Mario cap as well as the cloaking device (if that's what they mean by clear). The fifth option lets you change the status of your character, which means that you can set either the Super Spicy Curry or the Franklin Badge effect to be permanent for the entire battle. As was confirmed in the flying segment of the Pokemon Stadium 2 stage, gravity can be adjusted in Brawl, and the sixth option of Special Brawl allows players to set that. The last two options are more passive, as you can change the speed of the battle and the angle of the camera, which means all of those angled screenshots of stages weren't just for show. This update begs the question, what will happen if you compete in a battle with low gravity and the bunny ears? Will everyone just jump right off of the top of the stage?
New Character: Ice Climbers
There were plenty of rumors flying around that Nana and Popo would get the axe in this version of the game. These rumors were proven false in Friday's update to the site, as the Ice Climbers were officially unveiled. As with most character announcements, not a heck of a lot of hard details were revealed, but we know that their basic mechanic will be the same. The player controls Popo, while Nana follows him around and helps with the battling. The screenshots revealed that at least one of their special moves from Melee will be returning, and that's the one that freezes their opponents. Visually, their models feature improved textures that make the fur on their snow suits look more furry, and their mallets look more grainy and weathered.
It was an interesting week. The inclusion of Nana and Popo means that every game that had a character in Melee has been represented in some form or another in Brawl, except for Game & Watch. Many intrepid fans on the Internet have discovered some numbers that are associated with the game icons on the blog. There's a thread about this over in our Brawl sub-forum. Basically, there seems to be a simple sorting being done that could confirm the return of Mr. Game & Watch. HadesGigas summarizes the theory nicely with this post...
1 is the Smash Bros icon, 2-12 are all returning franchises, so is 14, 15 and above are new franchises.
Logically that would mean 13 is also a returning franchise. And Game & Watch is the only SSB/SSBM franchise which is yet to have an icon.
You heard it here first, Mr. Game & Watch returns!
*Unless the numbers mean nothing and it is just an extremely unlikely coincidence that all the new franchises and old franchises are not mixed together*"
Is this official confirmation? Hardly, but the logic is strong. Maybe we'll see Mr. Game & Watch next week. Then again, while the Franklin Badge gave the Earthbound/Mother series an icon, we still haven't officially seen Ness as a character, but plenty of people expect that to happen soon enough.