Is Super Smash Bros for Switch a new game or a port?

Eric Abent - Mar 9, 2018
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Is Super Smash Bros for Switch a new game or a port?

Unquestionably, the biggest announcement from yesterday’s Nintendo Direct is that Super Smash Bros is coming to the Switch. Switch owners have been hoping for a Super Smash Bros announcement ever since launch, with many of them assuming that Nintendo would port Super Smash Bros for Wii U over to its new console. This begs the question, though: Is the Super Smash Bros heading for the Switch a port, or is it a new game entirely?

Obviously, we won’t know for sure until Nintendo shares more details about the game, but there are a few things we can look at to make an educated guess. The first is, of course, the trailer that Nintendo premiered yesterday during at the tail end of its Direct livestream.

Though the trailer doesn’t tell us much, it does tell us two important things. The first is the more obvious of the two, with the trailer revealing that the Inklings from Splatoon will be playable characters in the next Super Smash Bros. The second is a little easier to miss – when the camera shows a quick flash of Link, it’s very clearly the Link from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild we’re looking at, not the green-tunic-wearing Link we’re used to seeing in Super Smash Bros.

Both of these could be indications that we’re looking at a new game in the Super Smash Bros series. Via Twitter, we also have confirmation that Smash director Masahiro Sakurai is returning for this game, which means that this could be bigger than a simple Wii U port. Sakurai has flirted with the idea of ending his involvement with the Smash Bros series in the past, so if Nintendo was able to tempt him back in for Smash Bros on Switch, this could indeed be a big project.

One big unknown is whether or not Sakurai and his team have had enough time to develop an entirely new Smash Bros game from the ground up. Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS aren’t very old games, as both launched at the end of 2014. Looking at the development history of Super Smash Bros, it seems that it takes two or three years to develop each game, and with Nintendo’s initial announcement of the NX back in 2015, that puts a pretty tight timeline on development if this is a brand new title.

We should also consider Nintendo’s current fondness for porting Wii U games over to the Switch as a way of bolstering first-party support without investing a ton of resources into development. It’s a strategy that makes sense, as there are a lot of Nintendo fans out there who never got the chance to play these Wii U games because they never owned the console. Super Smash Bros for Wii U was an excellent entry in the series, and one that Nintendo knows is worthy of a wider audience.

With that in mind, it’s entirely possible that this is neither a game that’s completely new nor one that’s a direct port, but rather something in between. Recent rumors have claimed that this could be an enhanced port of sorts, recreating arenas from the Wii U and 3DS versions on the Switch while at the same time adding new content. That seems to be the most likely scenario here, but at the end of the day, this is all just speculation.

For now, the only thing we know for sure is that Super Smash Bros for Switch is happening and that it’ll be here sometime this year. We’ll have to wait on Nintendo for the rest, but while we do, head down to the comments section and share your thoughts – will this be a new game in the Super Smash Bros series, or is the Wii U version about to get a second shot at life?


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