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3DS Limitations Won't Allow Smash Bros. Character Transformations

by Clay Johnson - October 1, 2014, 10:58 pm EDT
Total comments: 30 Source: Famitsu, via siliconera

The reason for splitting Zelda/Sheik and Samus/Zero Suit Samus into separate character slots? 3DS wasn't up to it.

Super Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai revealed in a recent interview with Famitsu that limitations in the capabilities of the 3DS hardware prevented the inclusion of characters who transform into alter egos with completely different appearances and move sets.

That's why Zelda and Sheik now occupy two discrete character slots in the 3DS and Wii U Smash Bros. games, and the same holds true for Samus and Zero Suit Samus. In previous series entries players using these fighters could switch from one form to the other mid-match, and Sakurai was asked to explain the reason for the change.

"It’s basically due to the 3DS’s limitations,” he responded. "“It was impossible to have both characters exist together [as one] on 3DS." Sakurai seemed to think, however, that the change might be for the best, as he postulated that "reaching that limit can sometimes lead in good directions. Transforming characters had the drawback of ambiguous tactics and such, and I believe that they have become more fresh now."

This isn't the first time we've heard that the 3DS's relative lack of power has affected the series' newest entries. For instance, it was revealed not so long ago that Ice Climbers, veterans of the last two Smash entries, were cut from the roster of the new titles because the development team couldn't get them running properly on the handheld. Another recent Sakurai quote revealed that the Circle Pad Pro doesn't work with the game because it is already pushing the portable system to its limits.

Talkback

broodwarsOctober 02, 2014

The 3DS: making the Wii U Smash experience worse due to being a technological piece of **** since 2012.

Seriously, the more Nintendo reveals about concessions that had to be made to the Wii U version just so they could get the Japanese to buy A version of the game, the less I want to buy the 3DS version.

So instead of limiting one character, they expand a few more? I think the lack of Grass representation in the Pokemon lineup is worth the sacrifice.

AdrockOctober 02, 2014

Quote from: broodwars

Seriously, the more Nintendo reveals about concessions that had to be made to the Wii U version just so they could get the Japanese to buy A version of the game, the less I want to buy the 3DS version.

The only concession that has really affected the Wii U version is the loss of Ice Climbers. The lack of Circle Pad Pro support doesn't affect the Wii U version, and I'd argue that splitting up the characters was mostly for the better. I can't speak for Pokemon Trainer since I didn't use him. Brawl already discouraged switching between Sheik and Zelda by making the transformation time too long to be useful (e.g. switching to Zelda to use Nayru's Wind to jump back into the stage couldn't be done anymore). The damage was done in Brawl so splitting them due to technical limitations on 3DS doesn't change the fact that the transformation was neutered over six years ago. Even if it were technically possible, if they weren't going back to the speedier transformation from Melee, I prefer the new moves.

More importantly, Zero Suit Samus was handled pretty poorly in Brawl. She didn't have her own character select box so you had to hold R or something to play as her, and the transformation was permanent so if you were playing with the Smash Ball on, you either had to avoid it or just deal with being stuck with Zero Suit Samus even if you didn't want to play as her. Samus' Final Smash wasn't even good enough to justify the permanent change to a much weaker character either.

CericOctober 02, 2014

I think the problem is more that why I don't think its bad to split them.  I rather have that decision made for the sake of balance or what was better for the game than due to technical reasons.  More importantly the WiiU and 3DS versions should have been there own separate games not effecting each other.

AdrockOctober 02, 2014

Quote from: Ceric

More importantly the WiiU and 3DS versions should have been there own separate games not effecting each other.

I agree, the games shouldn't be affecting each other. Since they already are, I think it's best to look at each instance individually before determining how much it really affects the game. Losing an entire character and an entire franchise is pretty much the worst fallout from the way the games were developed together (though I'm still hoping Sakurai reconsiders on cutting the Ice Climbers in the Wii U version).

ObbyDentOctober 02, 2014

Fuck console parity. Fuck you Sakurai.

ObbyDentOctober 02, 2014

And by asterisk asterisk asterisk asterisk, I mean LOVE you Sakurai.

Ian SaneOctober 02, 2014

Okay if I was Nintendo I think I would be telling Sakurai to shut the fuck up about all the concessions they've had to make because of the 3DS.  Technological limitations aren't something you brag about.  "SSB could have been so much better if the 3DS wasn't holding me back."  Come on, that's not going to build interest in your game.

Or is this like some subtle marketing campaign for the New 3DS?  "Buy the more powerful New 3DS and ensure that the next time we release a game on both platforms we don't have to compromise things!"

What significant update is this SSB going to offer in the end other than tweaks?  The demo is lots of fun and a handheld SSB has a reason to exist but the Wii U version?  It should be able to try some cool new stuff out because of the hardware upgrade from Wii to Wii U but then because of this 3DS version they're actually going backwards and removing things even Melee had.  What the hell will the Wii U version do better than Brawl aside from removing tripping and having new characters?  You have this powerful new hardware and then you do this two versions crap that removes your ability to make use of it.

I actually think separating Samus/ZSS and Zelda/Sheik, regardless of why they did it, is an improvement to the game. I'm with Adrock here, the only thing that bugs me really at all from this is losing Ice Climbers, and even there I almost never played as them. Smash Bros has never really been about flexing the hardware, so I don't think this is a huge issue.

AdrockOctober 02, 2014

Quote from: Ian

Okay if I was Nintendo I think I would be telling Sakurai to shut the fuck up about all the concessions they've had to make because of the 3DS.  Technological limitations aren't something you brag about.  "SSB could have been so much better if the 3DS wasn't holding me back."  Come on, that's not going to build interest in your game.

That's kind of a trap though. We all pretty much knew that hardware limitations were affecting the game. If Sakurai didn't say anything, people would just complain that he didn't say anything. In this instance, I appreciate the transparency.

Mop it upOctober 02, 2014

I could have sworn this was confirmed back when Sheik, Zero Suit Samus, and Charizard were first shown as individual characters.

The ideal solution would have been to leave in the transformations as options in the Wii U game. Since there are custom movesets then this should have been easy to do. The real loss here is Pokémon Trainer since the other two Pokémon aren't even in the game anymore.

ClexYoshiOctober 02, 2014

Quote from: Ian

What significant update is this SSB going to offer in the end other than tweaks?  The demo is lots of fun and a handheld SSB has a reason to exist but the Wii U version?  It should be able to try some cool new stuff out because of the hardware upgrade from Wii to Wii U but then because of this 3DS version they're actually going backwards and removing things even Melee had.  What the hell will the Wii U version do better than Brawl aside from removing tripping and having new characters?  You have this powerful new hardware and then you do this two versions crap that removes your ability to make use of it.

Move and stat customization? much needed updates to the ledge mechanics and the upgrade to DI that is Vectoring? Arguably the best roster a Super Smash Bros. game has had regardless of these admitted roster oddities thanks to the 3DS Version? More Trophy/stage/fun extras between the two of them then any one SSB game?



I've always approached my thoughts of what Sakurai has been doing this like I did with things like the Camelot Mario Sports titles or to a lesser extent, Sonic 3 and Knuckles. These games stand alone as fine titles, but the true symbiosis between the two versions is what makes something excelent. The Wii U version is going to likely have some sort of mode that just outright caters to the custom built characters. something that fun and probably multiplayer in some co-op and competitive fashion that when you have that custom character that you've worked so hard to personalize and give strong equips to that drop more frequently in Smash Run and other 3DS modes then they do on the Wii U, it works beautifully. I'm thinking some sort of co-op endurance mode that's really long and requires saving and rests as you dungeon crawl/fight event match style challenges together.


Adding Ice Climbers back in  for the Wii U version only or such would make them not favorable in this mode, as you wouldn't have the 3DS version to build them up on your own personal system to send up to you or your friend's console to play this mode. I do believe that the Wii U version has to feed back to the 3DS version somehow, and I'm interested in seeing just what that could entail.

Ian SaneOctober 02, 2014

Quote from: Adrock

Quote from: Ian

Okay if I was Nintendo I think I would be telling Sakurai to shut the **** up about all the concessions they've had to make because of the 3DS.  Technological limitations aren't something you brag about.  "SSB could have been so much better if the 3DS wasn't holding me back."  Come on, that's not going to build interest in your game.

That's kind of a trap though. We all pretty much knew that hardware limitations were affecting the game. If Sakurai didn't say anything, people would just complain that he didn't say anything. In this instance, I appreciate the transparency.

For this one example he could probably have said nothing.  I just assumed they separated the transformations as a design decision.  I didn't assume the 3DS can't handle the concept until Sakurai pointed this out.  I wouldn't even have made an assumption about the Ice Climbers because characters in fighting games come and go all the time (Mewtwo for example).  Then Sakurai told me otherwise.

So you're arguing in favor of Nintendo being less transparent and going out of their way to avoid admitting to anything they feel makes them look bad?

ObbyDentOctober 02, 2014

I'm more in favor with them not making completely idiotic game design decisions, but I think I'm in the minority.

"King Gong" KhushrenadaOctober 02, 2014

Quote from: ObbyDent

I'm more in favor with them not making completely idiotic game design decisions, but I think I'm in the minority.

Yeah! If they made good decisions, we'd have nothing to complain about and then we might as well shut this whole place down. If it's dumb, man, that is like 4 - 5 threads of instant gold along with 3 editorials, 4 news stories, 2 reviews, and enough fodder to keep Ian Sane and Broodwars posting about it for another 10 years.

Thank you Nintendo for caring about the NWR forums and making sure our needs are met. I bet Billy's covertly helping to ensure this as well. Ah synergy.

Quote from: broodwars

The 3DS: making the Wii U Smash experience worse due to being a technological piece of **** since 2012.

At first I was upset about this but then I read further and saw this:

Quote from: ObbyDent

And by asterisk asterisk asterisk asterisk, I mean LOVE

I surprisingly agree with you Broodwars. I think the 3DS is the best thing Nintendo has put out since 2012 also and I love it as much as they do and I guess you do.

All hail the king! Long may the 3DS reign! Smash Bros. this weekend, y'all! Time to get pumped!

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterOctober 02, 2014

I would have played as samus in brawl alot more frequently if ZSS wasn't involved. Honestly splitting alot of these characters makes sense.

Bman87301October 02, 2014

"The reason for splitting Zelda/Sheik and Samus/Zero Suit Samus into separate character slots? 3DS wasn't up to it."
That may have been the reason for for splitting Zelda/Sheik and making Charizard a standalone (there's no way the 3DS could have handled a 4-player online match comprised of only Zelda/Sheik and Pokemon Trainer users, all repeatedly using the transformation mechanic at once)... However, the Samus/Zero Suit Samus transformation, didn't work in the same manner... Since only one Smash Ball appears at a time, only one transformation can occur at a time-- and don't forget that other Final Smash transformations for other characters still occur (Giga Bowser, Wario-Man). They DEFINITELY could have kept the Samus/Zero Suit Samus transformation if they wanted to... But let's face it, the idea was good in theory, but it simply wasn't practical in Brawl. THAT'S reason for the split in Samus's case. Hardware was NOT the factor.

nickmitchOctober 02, 2014

I'm with Ian, I thought splitting the characters was to fill roster spots and motivate the team to flesh out the characters.  That seemed to be the popular theory and it benefited the fans.  Saying that was intentional (or rather not saying it wasn't) makes Sakurai look much better than saying that it wasn't.

GKOctober 03, 2014

Well on the bright side everyone will now have a down-special attack instead of switching characters.  On the down side, even less of a chance of the series ever adding a Rival Pokemon Trainer to the roster.

Ian SaneOctober 03, 2014

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

So you're arguing in favor of Nintendo being less transparent and going out of their way to avoid admitting to anything they feel makes them look bad?

No, just questioning this from a business perspective.  It's a totally avoidable PR snafu.  "Totally avoidable" describes probably a good 90% of the things Nintendo screws up.

ThePermOctober 04, 2014

from a programming standpoint i dont see the difference between instantiating a second character or instantiating an assist character

its probably a memory issue.

StratosOctober 04, 2014

I'm wondering if the NEW 3DS will actually allow these extra features and characters. Imagine that on the NEW 3DS launch day they announce a patch for Smash allowing DLC and the new characters are cut characters who could not run on the old 3DS hardware.

nickmitchOctober 04, 2014

Could it? Maybe?

Will it? Probably not.

I don't think Nintendo will let the quality of the game be determined by which version of the hardware you own.  That'd be way off from even GB games having color features on the GBC.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterOctober 04, 2014

Quote from: nickmitch

Could it? Maybe?

Will it? Probably not.

I don't think Nintendo will let the quality of the game be determined by which version of the hardware you own.  That'd be way off from even GB games having color features on the GBC.

they did have some gba perks for the Oracle games, which by the way, cannot be accessed using the 3DS vc release.

marvel_moviefan_2012October 05, 2014

Are we sure it is CPU hardware restrictions or perhaps he just meant lack of buttons as the issue? Just curious, haven't played a Smash Bros. game since the weekend Brawl released.

AdrockOctober 05, 2014

Quote from: pokepal148

they did have some gba perks for the Oracle games, which by the way, cannot be accessed using the 3DS vc release.

If I remember correctly, it was just a special store that sold two GBA exclusive rings, one of which didn't even do anything. I wouldn't remotely consider that the same thing as reinserting Ice Climbers into the Super Smash Bros. roster.

Additionally, I'm not sure how that would even work. Would people only be able to play as Ice Climbers online and locally with other New 3DS owners? I doubt that's worth the effort.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterOctober 05, 2014

Quote from: marvel_moviefan_2012

Are we sure it is CPU hardware restrictions or perhaps he just meant lack of buttons as the issue? Just curious, haven't played a Smash Bros. game since the weekend Brawl released.

Transformations don't require extra buttons,

marvel_moviefan_2012October 06, 2014

I wasn't sure I haven't played since like I said it released so I couldn't remember but I did remember someone bitching about the New 3DS controls affecting Smash or something.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterOctober 06, 2014

Quote from: marvel_moviefan_2012

I wasn't sure I haven't played since like I said it released so I couldn't remember but I did remember someone bitching about the New 3DS controls affecting Smash or something.

It just adds a c-stick, that's it.

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