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Smash Bros Ultimate Direct Recap

by Donald Theriault - August 8, 2018, 7:32 am PDT
Total comments: 25 Source: Nintendo

How many of Justin's dreams died - or lived - today?

Nintendo's Smash Ultimate Direct revealed a group of new fighters and modes for the December 7 release.

New Characters And Echoes

As rumored last night, Simon Belmont of the original Castlevania series has entered the roster, and Richter Belmont as an Echo fighter. Simon wields the Vampire Killer and some of the original Castlevania's sub weapons, and his whip has full control and longer reach than any other regular attack. The axe, cross, and Holy Water from the original Castlevania are his specials, and his Final Smash is called Grand Cross. Dracula's Castle is the new stage, which spawns items from candlesticks and features appearances from Castlevania bosses including Dracula, and 34 songs from the series.

King K. Rool has climbed aboard the Smash Ultimate roster. The Donkey Kong Country villain can fire his crown as a boomerang and summon a giant cannon for his Final Smash.

Chrom from Fire Emblem Awakening is finally appearing in Smash as an echo fighter of Roy.

Dark Samus of the Metroid Prime series will be an echo fighter as well. Echo fighters can be separated or stack in the character select menu. More characters will be announced in the future.

New Modes and Features

The My Music mode has been expanded to allow any music from the game series to be used on a thematic stage (eg: any Zelda theme can be used on Hyrule Castle).

There are over 900 tracks in the game including fanfares and menu music, which can be accessed from an in-game sound test menu. Playlists can also be created in the game for playing, and used in handheld mode with the screen off.

Match rules can be saved and loaded at any time.

Stamina battle is a full mode, joining time and stock.

Final Smashes now have a meter that can be filled to perform a slightly weaker version of the attack than the Smash Ball allows.

A new mode called Squad Strike will use three or five fighters to create elimination matches.

Tournament support has returned, with up to 32 entrants each.

Smashdown mode is a new mode that removes characters from the selection as they are chosen for battle.

Training will feature an exclusive stage that measures the distance of moves both at low and high health.

Classic Mode will return, with each combatant having their own set of opponents.

Assist Trophies, Poké Balls, and Items

  • Alucard transforms into a bat and assaults enemies.
  • The Banana Gun is a new gun type weapon.
  • The Killing Edge does more damage when used while glowing.
  • Bomber can be held up and creates a massive explosion after a few seconds.
  • Death's Scythe instantly kills higher-damaged opponents.
  • The Staff does more damage at longer range.
  • Ramblin' Evil Mushroom reverses the opponent's controls.
  • Rage Blaster increases damage as the user takes it.
  • Alolan Exeggutor, Abra, Solgaleo, Lunala, Mimikyu, Pyukumuku, Vulpix (both regular and Alolan) forms, Morelull, and Ditto are new Pokemon.
  • Zero, Knuckles, Krystal, Klaptrap, Kapp'n, Chef Kawasaki, Gray Fox, Nikki, Shovel Knight, the Majora's Mask moon, and Rathalos (Monster Hunter) are new Assist Trophies. Rathalos is also a boss character.

Stages

Pokemon Stadium, Garden of Hope, Brinstar Depths, the Summit (Ice Climbers), Unova Pokemon League, Magicant, Gamer (Game and Wario), and Final Destination are returning.

New Donk City Hall from Super Mario Odyssey, complete with Pauline performance of "Jump Up, Super Star" will be a roving platform stage.

N64 version stages were designed to keep the old school style.

The game will feature 103 stages, or 100 if Battlefield/Big Battlefield/Final Destination are excluded, and all stages are unlocked from the start. Stage hazards can be disabled, and any arena can be set up like Big Battlefield or Final Destination. Morphing stages - switching between two stages mid-fight - have also been added.

Other

A dashboard is available on all menu screens by hitting the ZR button on the Switch.

There was a blurred icon on the first page of the main menu, with a purpose to be revealed later.

Talkback

EnnerAugust 08, 2018

The Belmonts are here! They look awesome. Good to see K. Rool and Dark Samus in the game. Smash could use more baddie characters to play as.


They... he...
HE CAN'T JUST SHOW A MONHUN STAGE AND RATHOLOS WITHOUT A MONSTER HUNTER CHARACTER.
He wouldn't do that to us, would he?


I wonder if the mystery mode is another try at Subspace Emissary? Or maybe it's Smash Board 2 or Smash Run 2.

broodwarsAugust 08, 2018

I'm a bit disappointed that the game doesn't have any real Single player content outside of Classic Mode. Still, other than that? Wow.

AdrockAugust 08, 2018

I just want to be placed in cryogenic sleep until December.

The menu looks like it isn’t a colossal clusterfuck anymore. 💯

I think the mystery mode is an improved Smash Run. An Adventure/Story Mode is a lot of work, but I should probably not underestimate Sakurai.

Luigi DudeAugust 08, 2018

Quote from: Adrock

I think the mystery mode is an improved Smash Run. An Adventure/Story Mode is a lot of work, but I should probably not underestimate Sakurai.

Smash Run was already kind of a lite version of an Adventure mode with a unique map to explore and enemies to fight.  I could see Sakurai turning Smash Run into an Adventure mode of some kind for this game.  Maybe various maps and with some smaller ones being a 5 minute time based like 3DS but the larger ones with no time limit and bosses the players need to fight to complete.

Mop it upAugust 08, 2018

The new characters aren't anything which interest me, but they're good for fans. I'm glad to see some new modes, I hope there's more stuff where that came from. I wish they'd bring back Melee's Classic Mode.

Zach from SacAugust 08, 2018

That was more info than I expected. I wasn’t expecting King K. Rool which is awesome!

Shorty McNostrilAugust 08, 2018

Quote from: broodwars

I'm a bit disappointed that the game doesn't have any real Single player content outside of Classic Mode. Still, other than that? Wow.

I'm with you.  As good as it looks I don't have any interest in playing online at all and I have next to no friends and aquaintances who are interested in Smash so even couch MP is few and far between.  If they don't reveal a nice comprehensive single player mode then I'll quite likely be passing on it.  My copy of Smash for Wii U has probably had less than 3 hours play time.

MythtendoAugust 08, 2018

Quote from: broodwars

I'm a bit disappointed that the game doesn't have any real Single player content outside of Classic Mode. Still, other than that? Wow.

We don't know what kind of single player mode it will have yet, Sakurai said that would be revealed later. I think he wants to wait as long as possible, i'm guessing it will be unveiled in like October (Subspace Emissary got revealed close to it's launch date too).

ShyGuyAugust 08, 2018

Rest in Peace Luigi, you were a good man.

Shorty McNostrilAugust 08, 2018

Quote from: Mythtendo

We don't know what kind of single player mode it will have yet, Sakurai said that would be revealed later. I think he wants to wait as long as possible.

I really hope so.  Wii U single player was abysmal.

BeautifulShyAugust 08, 2018

I don't understand how people are thinking that there isn't going to any other single player than Classic mode or they won't reveal it before release.  Are people of the mindset that Nintendo thinks that single player isn't important and that only multiplayer and online are all that matters like a lot of other devs in the industry today.

Evan_BAugust 08, 2018

To be fair, it is a party platform fighter, so buying it to play as your favorite Nintendo characters by yourself and complaining about a lack of single player content is...

KhushrenadaAugust 08, 2018

There's been an All-Star Mode in every game since Melee. Highly expect that to be present in this game so there is another single player mode that I really think will be in.

I'm sure there will be the usual Sandbag and timed enemy fights like 100-Man Melee or Cruel Melee. There will most likely be Event Mode and scenarios as well. Would like to see a return of Break the Targets.

I'd expect some kind of checklist of things to play to unlock for trophies or songs. Still, it doesn't seem like Sakurai is bothering to keep some stages unlockable unless some of the 17 stages from the past Smash games not shown so far are hidden in the game as extras to find. Same goes for characters. Not sure if any are going to be kept unplayable at first or not. From the way the game is being presented, it kind of feels like all stages and characters are going to be available at the start but maybe there will be a few kept as hidden features to unlock.

As far as single player goes, it's how I've mainly played Smash games and I've always enjoyed the challenge of acquiring all the trophies and unlocking all the secrets and other collectibles including playing through all the modes with each character. It's part of the reason why I liked Melee so much. A lot of characters and stages required some effort to unlock and gave motivation to keep playing through different modes and being surprised by their addition.

I wasn't a huge fan of Subspace Emissary compared to Adventure Mode in Melee although I did like playing through it to unlock some of the fighters and see their entrance videos that played with them. What I disliked about the mode is that Adventure Mode inspired this idea of interesting shared mash-up of all the Nintendo Franchises and characters together. I could be Pikachu or Kirby and yet I played through a bit of a Mario sidescroller attacking Goombas and Koopa Troopas like Pikachu or Kirby might in their games. I had to escape an exploding Brinstar like Samus hurrying to safety at the end of a Metroid game with a timer ticking down. I had to climb the Icicle Mountain stage for a bit dodging the Ice Climber enemies as if I was climbing a mountain in Ice Climbers before facing them "high up" the stage. It was this interesting blending of getting a glimpse of Nintendo characters in other Nintendo Universes and I expected more like that in the future. What about a Donkey Kong Country of fighting some Kremlings? A Fire Emblem type map/level where you fight some other foes along the way to a goal and bring their HP down to 0? Play a Game & Watch game to reach a certain score to move on? There's a lot of interesting ideas I think are possible to blend these games altogether and sort of feel like an Adventure through Nintendo's franchises and worlds giving you a taste of them but with an interloper or out of place main character aside from when they visit their own franchise.

Subspace Emissary attempted to tell a story with bosses and cutscenes for you to play through as the characters all worked their way through the land to meet up at the final boss. I find it lacking, however, because you can't play Subspace Emissary all the way through as the same character. It's divided up and your switching characters or choosing from a few that are available for one part of the story before moving on to the next. So, it's not a cohesive complete journey like it is in Melee Adventure where the character you choose goes from Mushroom Kingdom to Bowser/Giga Bowser at Final Destination in the end. Plus, Subspace is its own thing and universe with its own set of enemies and look. As such, it doesn't have that same sense of a Nintendo Mash-up like Adventure mode and Samus playing in a Zelda dungeon/cave beating up LikeLikes and Octoroks. The Subspace Emissary is foreign to all the Nintendo characters so Samus beating up the Subspace enemies doesn't feel silly, crazy, cool, what have you. It doesn't matter if it is Link or Mario beating up these enemies. They just aren't iconic of anything. Plus, the Subspace levels aren't really that interesting or highly creative. They're just simply things you move from one end to the other on beating up these enemies on the way. Adventure Mode had you running a lap on an F-Zero track of Big Blue while ducking for cover when the super face racers whizzed by as they zoomed along the track. The idea of hitting enemies with trophy stand bottoms to collect them is sort of like the Pokemon idea of capturing the monsters with pokeballs but it wasn't always that fun to pull off and was frustrating if you messed up and had to get some more trophy bottoms to try again. Thus, to me, Subspace Emissary was a step back from the future possibilities that Adventure Mode seemed to potentially have.

With Smash Run on the 3DS, it felt like a blending of the two. You had all these familiar enemies of various games that could pop up along the map so you got a bit of that sense of blending of franchises and characters from other franchises having to deal with them using their own moves. I liked racing around to collect as many treasure chests as I could and getting myself powered up for an unknown final battle that could just be a race to the finish or climb as high as you can. The map/world itself wasn't really based on any Nintendo franchise but at least you played as one character in the five minutes you explored through it and since every character explore the same map it felt like a more shared user experience than Subspace and its divided fighters and levels.

Honestly, as simple as it was, I really did like it and played through it a lot with all the characters to unlock all their custom moves. I got a lot of play out of the 3DS as a single player experience thanks to Smash Run and liked it way more than Smash Tour. Can't really comment much on Special Orders since I have hardly played Smash Wii U. Smash 3DS gave me my fill of Smash as I unlocked all the trophies, special character moves, Smash Run power and beat all challenges. So, I've actually still got pretty much of all Smash Wii U to really play through and try to do the same but I just haven't gotten around to it because it just seems quite similar after doing all of this stuff in 3DS and with Ultimate coming out soon, it just feels like it is going to be more obsolete to bother playing through. For me, a lot of the Wii U stages are like new stages to me whereas the 3DS stages are a lot more memorable and special to me and I'm glad to see almost all of them returning.

Anyways, jumping back a bit to single player objectives. In Melee, it was about working to unlock all the characters, stages and trophies by playing through the various modes and meeting certain objectives. I loved it then and I still do as I've been working on the trophy and achievement hunt with Melee again after losing all that data in a corrupted memory card. There's something special about that game which still holds up. Love seeing all the Melee stages in HD with Ultimate. In Brawl, there were trophies and challenges to collect and beat along with songs to unlock and some characters and stages but there was also a lot of stickers to acquire as well to help you in the Subspace Emissary. Though I wasn't a fan of having to play the Boss Battle mode so much. I've never cared much for Boss Rush modes in any game really. With Smash 4, stickers were replaced with bonus effects and custom moves along with the usual fare of trophies, songs, challenges. Characters weren't really hidden away though. Every 10 Smash battles gave you a chance to unlock the next character in the unlock rotation. Stages also weren't really hidden away that much which kind of disappoints me. I understand about tournaments and needing save files with characters and stages unlocked on all the consoles/game files being used and all that unlocking can be a pain but I've always liked that as the carrot at the end of the stick for me to work towards. At the moment, Smash Ultimate seems to be taking the approach that characters and stages are all there up front with nothing to find or unlock. That will leave trophies to collect and challenges to work on but I wonder if there will be some new type of collectibles in this game based on the hidden mode not shown. Stickers in Brawl, custom moves in Smash 4 (which don't seem to be returning or were that highly received or welcomed from players) so what will Ultimate bring to the party? Or will it actually bring nothing at all in that regards as the focus often goes to the multiplayer aspects first with single player secondary so why add extra stuff no one is going to use?

Shorty McNostrilAugust 09, 2018

I want something like Subspace Emissary.  I want a full blown single player experience and story.  The amount of effort they seem to be putting in I am reluctantly confident there will be something cooking. 

But Smash Wii U's single player was abysmal so I don't want to get my hopes up.

BeautifulShyAugust 09, 2018

Few corrections Khushrenada.  It looks like all the stages in the game will be playable from the start when you boot up the game. As to characters I think the game starts with the first 8 from the N64 game. Mario, DK, Link, Samus Aran, Fox, Yoshi, Kirby and Pikachu and then you unlock the rest of the characters as you play.    Yes the game will include every character that has been in the series and then some but you have to work to find them.   


I imagine that that blurry green section of the menu which was shown in the direct is going to be the mode to unlock characters or some sort of huge single player.  There has already been speculation on what it says and some people are saying it says Spirits so maybe you have to find the other characters spirits like poor Luigis to unlock them.

KhushrenadaAugust 09, 2018

Ah, yes. Your post triggered a memory in mind so I went back to see the E3 Smash video and Sakurai does mention that the starting roster may be as small as the N64 cast. I had remembered that detail at the time because of my interest in unlocking and collecting things in Smash Bros. games but forgot about it soon after. Sakurai then says they've tried to do something interesting to stream unlocking the remaining characters so it always feels like you are constantly recruiting popular characters to your side. Perhaps, like you've mentioned, that has something to do with the mysterious mystery mode not yet shown after all. Still, I feel Smash 4 was already pretty basic / streamlined in unlocking all the characters so I wonder how this will compare.

With the addition of Stamina mode (HP) and choosing a team of different fighters to play as, I wonder if Sakurai is taking some direction from the Pokemon series in this game and having you collect and use fighters against other opponents like you would Pokemon. That could have potential.

AdrockAugust 09, 2018

Stamina Mode was introduced in Melee. Sakurai finally decided against burying it under “Special Smash” menus so perhaps it won’t it feel like an afterthought in Ultimate. Brawl allowed players to adjust HP up to 300 HP (Melee fixed stamina to 150 HP). That was pretty much the last time the mode saw any significant changes. There are other things that can be done to make it a mode people want to revisit such as adjusting the damage percentages, adding stock etc. that may be more work than Sakurai and his team can spare. I hope they make time for improving Stamina Mode because it has tons of potential.

A lot of this discussion about the single-player modes springs from what we (don’t) know about the user interface. Sakurai is doubling down on “Games & More” which was painfully asinine on Wii U (and 3DS to a lesser extent as there were fewer options) because it was just menus upon menus and it was easy to get lost in there. Then, for some reason, “Challenges” was on the main screen.

Ultimate’s user interface looks much cleaner, particularly with the Dashboard (looks like there’s a “Home” button). “Vault” is now on the main screen. I presume “Challenges” will return except filed under “Games & More” where it belongs. Should “Smash Run” return, it would likely be there as well. I don’t want to judge too harshly without knowing exactly what is filed under “Games & More.” Many of those items may be better on the main screen. Point being, if you’re itching for single-player content, it’s likely filed under the vaguest menu item we know about right now.

nickmitchAugust 09, 2018

Quote from: Adrock

Stamina Mode was introduced in Melee. Sakurai finally decided against burying it under “Special Smash” menus so perhaps it won’t it feel like an afterthought in Ultimate. Brawl allowed players to adjust HP up to 300 HP (Melee fixed stamina to 150 HP). That was pretty much the last time the mode saw any significant changes. There are other things that can be done to make it a mode people want to revisit such as adjusting the damage percentages, adding stock etc. that may be more work than Sakurai and his team can spare. I hope they make time for improving Stamina Mode because it has tons of potential.

Adjusting the damage percentages would be cool, and I think it could be feasible since we already know damage is adjusted for 2-player versus 3+player from the E3 Direct.

KhushrenadaAugust 09, 2018

Quote from: Adrock

Stamina Mode was introduced in Melee. Sakurai finally decided against burying it under “Special Smash” menus so perhaps it won’t it feel like an afterthought in Ultimate. Brawl allowed players to adjust HP up to 300 HP (Melee fixed stamina to 150 HP). That was pretty much the last time the mode saw any significant changes. There are other things that can be done to make it a mode people want to revisit such as adjusting the damage percentages, adding stock etc. that may be more work than Sakurai and his team can spare. I hope they make time for improving Stamina Mode because it has tons of potential.

What?! Huh. I guess I need to do some more exploring in my Melee menu. I mean, it makes sense since Master Hand is based on HP so setting up HP to the rest of the fighters might take advantage of a system already in place but I just always though Melee had Time, Stock and Coins for different battle modes. I guess because it is mainly stock battles that anyone would play when I've done multiplayer so it was usually just setting that up and getting into the action. I'm glad to know this.

Mop it upAugust 09, 2018

Quote from: Khushrenada

I just always thought Melee had Time, Stock and Coins for different battle modes.

And Bonus! I'm seemingly the only person who liked that mode and want it to return...

But yeah there were additional fun ways to play under the Special Melee option in Vs Mode, and Stamina was one of them. It basically had all of the options you'll find under the special rules selection in the later games, but you couldn't mix and match them back in Melee.

broodwarsAugust 09, 2018

Quote from: Evan_B

To be fair, it is a party platform fighter, so buying it to play as your favorite Nintendo characters by yourself and complaining about a lack of single player content is...

...perfectly reasonable considering the history of Smash Bros. From the original through Brawl, we had a steady increase of Single-player content from classic mode to Adventure mode, and then finally to Subspace Emissary. It wasn't until the Wii U version that Nintendo cheaped-out on the single-player offerings.

And no, glorified ladders (Classic & All Stars) isn't compelling single-player content. I want to run around in the worlds & explore. That's why I liked those aspects of Adventure mode & Emissary. Never played much of Smash Run on the 3DS, but it seemed alright.

Luigi DudeAugust 09, 2018

The reason for the Wii U version lacking in single player is mostly because they were developing the 3DS version at the same time which was splitting resources as well as the Wii U being the first time Smash Bros was in HD which I'm sure caused some extra trouble for development.  Plus after all the complaining about the Subspace Emissary, Sakurai probably felt at the time the fanbase didn't care much about an Adventure mode when they first started development.

For Ultimate there's no separate version they have to worry about so they can focus on just one complete package this time.  Plus they're able to reuse a lot of assets from Wii U which I'm sure has made development go a lot quicker as well.  Plus with Sakurai going all out with the fanservice, he knows people where just as angry at having no Adventure mode last time so I'm pretty sure they're making something to deal with that complaint.  I doubt they'll make something as big as the Subspace Emissary but making an expanded version of Melee's Adventure mode or Smash Run are pretty doable.

AdrockAugust 09, 2018

Quote from: Luigi

The reason for the Wii U version lacking in single player is mostly because they were developing the 3DS version at the same time which was splitting resources as well as the Wii U being the first time Smash Bros was in HD which I'm sure caused some extra trouble for development.

Didn’t each version have its own development team? The resources weren’t split outside of the top people like Sakurai. If there was only one version, they just wouldn’t have contracted as many people. As far as HD, the project started in 2012. Namco Bandai has been making HD games for over half a decade. It seems unlikely that any contractor would have been brought on without HD experience. Nintendo itself was like the only major developer who was ihavenoideawhatimdoingdog.jpg.

The likeliest explanation is also the simplest: Sakurai didn’t want more single-player content than what was included. Not counting the 3DS version because it just had less content in general, the Wii U version didn’t have an Adventure Mode. In its place, there were Master/Crazy Orders, Trophy Rush, and more Challenges. Saying the games lacked single-player content isn’t entirely fair. You can sink a lot of time in those modes. The single-player content in the Wii U version isn’t as quantifiable as The Subspace Emissary.

Had the Wii U version included Smash Run, we may not be having this conversation. It was such a fun mode (okay, the platforming was sub-par) with loads of potential. Smash Run can be expanded and improved upon fairly easily.

Evan_BAugust 10, 2018

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: Evan_B

To be fair, it is a party platform fighter, so buying it to play as your favorite Nintendo characters by yourself and complaining about a lack of single player content is...

...perfectly reasonable blah blah blah

It would be perfectly reasonable if each Smash Game didn't already have a substantial amount of stupid stuff to do on the side. But, this game seems to be designed with the competitive scene in mind with quality of life changes that trickle down to the casual scene, so if the latter group ends up feeling slighted about not getting what they want despite having an insanely large roster and absurd amounts of content and customization, maybe they need to check themselves lest they wreck themselves.

SorenAugust 10, 2018

Quote from: Evan_B

...so if the latter group ends up feeling slighted about not getting what they want despite having an insanely large roster and absurd amounts of content and customization, maybe they need to check themselves lest they wreck themselves.

Thankfully that's never happened with any fighting game franchise so Nintendo has nothing to worry abou---dude are you serious with that??!?!

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