Could the 3DS Revolutionise Super Smash Bros?
With all the discussion about how Namco is now helping develop Super Smash Bros 4 and the talk about how the 3DS and Wii U ones could be extremely different to one another, it seems fair to say people’s expectations for the games are extremely high. But could Super Smash Bros 3DS turn out to be the more interesting game, the one which has a whole bunch of interesting features and gameplay mechanics only possible on the 3DS? I definitely think so, and here’s why.
1. The Arena is much less limited than before due to no camera issues
Now this is the big point. You see, previously Super Smash Bros matches were always fought on one screen, correct? As a result, you had to zoom the camera out to accomodate all the action on screen and couldn’t really be particularly ‘clever’ with stage designs due to the limited camera angles. However this could change with the 3DS.
This is because now, everyone has their own screen and hence own view of the action. It’s an advantage theoretically also possible on the Wii U with the Game Pad and its mini touch screen, and the amount of interesting new things that can be achieved as a result is exceptional.
For one thing, stages can now have proper ‘depth’ to them. Not like 3D movement or even graphics, but you can have all kinds of neat tricks where players can take the fight away from the rest of the pack without the camera having to be accomodate it. Imagine if for example in Luigi’s Mansion that those fighting inside the building could do so even while the rest of the fighters just saw the front of the mansion. Or if you could have a New Super Mario Bros/Yoshi’s Island style cut away effect where if you entered a building, you could see the interior on your own screen, but anyone not currently in the area could merely see the outside. Completely impossible in Melee or Brawl, completely possible in the 3DS and Wii U versions.
Similarly, how about if players could actually drop down or go off ‘screen’ and continue their battles in a different area? This is obviously impossible in the older games, but could be a nice way to add a lot of depth to the game in the 3DS and Wii U ones.
Invisibility could benefit greatly from this as well. Remember the Cloaking Device in Super Smash Bros Melee? It was pretty useful, pity you couldn’t see your character:
Spot the characters in this picture and who they are!
This makes perfect sense in a game viewed on a single screen, since any way used to let the person playing as a certain character see them when invisible can be used against them by human opponents in the same room. It’s generally why Mario Kart games viewed on the TV screen (Double Dash and Wii especially) don’t have the Boo/ghost item, because anyone else in the same room can see what items are being stolen and where the user is.
But in a game with multiple screens, they can show the character (maybe with an effect like the Vanish Cap’s in Super Mario 64) to the person using them, but not to their allies/opponents. Much better, and it stops people randomly crashing into things like pits and stage hazards due to not being able to keep track of their character.
It could also help with things like Captain Falcon’s final smash, which currently makes it so anyone not attacking/being attacked with/by it can’t keep playing until the short cut scene is over. Imagine if instead the fancy view was kept to the person using it and their targets, whereas the rest of the players just saw the F-Zero car come hurtling across the stage and knock the unfortunate victim flying to their doom.
Finally, it’d really help with single player modes that have co-op functionality (or in other words, all of them bar Classic Mode). Because at present, if one person goes too far ahead, the other gets killed as if they crossed the blast lines at the sides of the stage. This issue is present in near enough all current 2D platformers to date ranging from New Super Mario Bros Wii to Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, but could be fixed entirely by making it so each player just sees their own characters ‘view’. Unfortunately, one game never got this idea…
For some stupid reason, New Super Mario Bros 2 still brings back the ‘bubble’ system…
So in some way, merely having seperate views of the action adds a whole ton of new possibilities to the Super Smash Bros series. But it’s not the only thing possible on the 3DS…
2. Augumented Reality Opens up a whole new dimension of Smash Bros gameplay
Face it, given the whole premise of trophies coming to life and fighting each other, everyone’s considered the idea of real life Super Smash Bros trophies they can use to host battles on their desk, right?
But with Augumented Reality, this possibility has got much better! Now not only does it seem possible to make fictional characters appear in ‘real life’ and all the possibilities that brings (seriously, look up the amount of ingenious things people have done with AR cards and their Miis in real life settings), but also much more.
Like the ability to make them actually fight for one thing, like the AR stuff in Kid Icarus Uprising:
But even this could be improved. How about making it so you can actually control the characters as they fight each other on your desk and making it so any area you can put the AR cards down in becomes a proper Smash Bros style battle arena? And while I don’t quite see it being quite advanced enough to somehow auto figure out what parts of the environment would act as slopes, jump through platforms, etc, just having a flat stage like Final Destination wherever would open up a lot of creative possibilities. Don’t like how they didn’t put your favourite stage in? Make a real life model/diorama of it and just have the AR generated characters fight each other on it!
Maybe then have it so the game can generate virtual objects the characters can interact with, like virtual versions of other stages in the game or features from them. Imagine getting to build your ideal stage in Stage Builder, then use it with the AR features to make an in game level which acts like the real life model, if you get what I mean.
You could easily turn the AR feature into something that’s unmatched by any other fighting game ever made, something allowing for literally infinite possibilities and potentially any ‘crossovers’, legal or illegal the fans could ever imagine!
3. StreetPass and SpotPass could improve the game significantly
Now, I’d hope this wouldn’t mean they’d require a certain amount of StreetPasses to unlock things ala Mario Kart 7’s Golden Glider, but there’s still an awful lot of neat things you could do with Super Smash Bros and StreetPass.
Like making trophies based around the feature. This way, you’d still get trophies in game, but if you met someone out and about, a random trophy they have that you don’t would get added to your game’s trophy collection and vice versa. Like that virtual Pokedex app available on the eShop. The same could work for the stickers in the game too, and it’d really make collecting them that much easier for a certain amount of people.
That’s not to say characters and stages couldn’t transfer like this too, wouldn’t it be pretty neat if any unlocked characters and stages you got in game could be passed on to anyone you StreetPassed with? It wouldn’t replace the old fashioned methods of getting them like playing a certain amount of matches, beating classic mode, playing the single player adventure mode, etc, but would be a nice additional one for people who want to get everything a different way.
SpotPass could be neat too. You know how sometimes you get Miis of famous Nintendo employees sent to celebrate events, or Swapnotes doing the same? Imagine if you could get additional characters, stages and options this way too. Like if a new Yoshi game was coming out or even just announced at E3 and Nintendo celebrated it by sending you a few trophies based on the game, or even a new character like Kamek. Or when Donkey Kong Country Forever is released, voila a new Donkey Kong stage is sent to everyone for free and Funky Kong might be added as a playable character.
Note to K Rool fans: I only mentioned Funky Kong because K Rool and maybe Dixie Kong would be default characters available at launch, not distributed via events.
In fact, quite a few things could be sent this way. Imagine if when Super Mario 3D Land, you got this music attached with a message saying to buy the game:
That’d be a lot more interesting than just a boring Swapnote with some special stationary, right?
You’d also get to share your records with others the same way, like how Mario Kart 7 sends you random time trial times close to yours via SpotPass every now and again. Imagine if your best record on Break the Targets or Home Run Contest was being sent out to everyone and you got to see theirs in the same way. Could be a nice way to foster competitive spirit (along with the inevitable online leaderboards).
So yes, both StreetPass and SpotPass open up a lot of possibilities, but so does this next item on the list…
4. QR Codes could be used to distribute characters and stages
Like in Mario Tennis Open how they distributed the different Yoshi colors and Metal Mario, but with much more interesting content. It’d solve a lot of issues, namely that Nintendo could use it to release ‘downloadable content’ without the pesky ‘cost’ thing. It also allows said content to be shared online in an almost ‘viral’ way, anyone can post the QR codes on their site and turn it into a gallery of unlockable Smash Bros characters and stages.
Like that, except with Smash Bros characters and stages rather than Yoshis
The region locking thing would ideally go, since it’d be much better if you could just get the codes from any site you wanted, English, Japanese, whatever, but still, the concept could be extremely interesting. It’d also mean Nintendo could run a sort of post launch Dojo site where each day’s ‘update’ is new content being distributed as QR codes. That’d be a really clever way to gain a lot of publicity fast.
5. Downloadable Content means everyone ends up happy
Okay, maybe not quite everyone, it’s impossible to make the unpleasable mob they call a fanbase online totally happy with anything, but the majority would be happier with at least some downloadable content, especially if it were free.
The obvious thing would be that you’d only have to add the stuff you wanted to add, Nintendo would basically maintain an official ‘download’ service giving out characters, stages, items, trophy packs, sticker packs, etc for free, and you’d just download the ones you want to use. So if some people really liked Pichu or Dr Mario, sure they can add them to their copies of the game, but others aren’t forced to and it wouldn’t cost money to do so.
But I think the real best thing they could do here would be to make every single element in the game adjustable. Not only could you add new characters, stages, items, etc, but you could disable/delete existing ones. So let’s say you really, really dislike the character of Snake or Sonic or whoever. You could outright delete them from your copy of the game, or even overwrite them with a character you downloaded from Nintendo online. Absolutely everything would work with this system.
So if you made a new stage and prefer it to New Pork City, you could then overwrite the former with your custom stage made in Stage Builder and then, whenever it comes up in the story, classic mode/all star mode, events, etc, it loads your custom level rather than the default one. Absolutely everything would be editable this way, to the point you could outright disable items across the whole game and make even classic mode act like a tournament if you felt like it, or maybe even download a new final boss to use for the main adventure mode if you hated Tabuu. Maybe there’d be a ‘boss downloads’ option too, so you could go to Smash Bros.com then say choose between these five possible final bosses:
1. Giga Bowser
5. Tiki Tong
Of course, the selection would be better/more varied, but you get the point. You could download content officially from Nintendo, and then either add it to the stuff in the game or outright replace stuff in the game with the new content.
Obviously, there would potentially be drawbacks to this idea, namely the absolute hell of trying to ‘balance’ it (to which part of my argument is ‘don’t bother, the pro gamers will do that themselves’) and the sheer confusion which would result from a trip online (imagine having to think of ways to counter over 200 unique characters, a few hundred stages, a hundred or so items and potentially even a custom stage played with Augumented Reality cards…), but it would certainly expand the scope of Super Smash Bros to the point it’d be the best crossover game ever made.
Besides, the player is king, not the developer. If the player wants to make their offline play into a chaotic mess like a kid smashing a toy with a sledgehammer, let them. Most of the customisation would only affect offline stuff anyway, since anyone could face anyone using any character or stage, even the ones they removed/disabled or didn’t add in the first place.
So with that said, it does really seem like the 3DS could be used to make the next Super Smash Bros game one of the best games ever made, with an almost unlimited number of possibilities and who knows what else.