The possibility of a Smash game for the Nintendo Switch is exciting. Whether it be Melee, Brawl, or Smash Wii U, fans have waited anxiously for every new iteration since the series’ debut back in 1999. Our community especially is intrigued by the idea. As competitive smashers, we understand a new iteration of Smash has far-reaching implications for our community. Consequently, amid the recent release of the Switch there has been much speculation and guesswork concerning the future of our beloved series.
There seems to be two options for Smash Switch; either we get a Smash Wii U port or an entirely new game. It is doubtful that Nintendo would ever release both of these, so let's assume that only one ever does get marketed. Which one, as Smash fans, should we hope for?
It is too early to tell definitively, but a Smash 4 port would leave it’s original game untouched except for a few changes in characters and stages. It’s alternative is a well-polished, wholesome new Smash whose release date would pushed back in the pursuit of originality. Both games can be equally argued for, but strictly speaking, it is in Nintendo’s best financial interest to simply release a port. Not only would a port save them considerable amounts of effort to what would otherwise be a laborious venture, but it would also provide them with a strong addition to the Switch’s somewhat unremarkable game line-up.
Developing a Smash game of any sort for the Switch in the near future is a convincing selling-point could be huge for the console. Therefore it is reasonable to believe that Nintendo will follow through with a Smash Wii U port based off of pure financial reasons alone. The answer for we Smashers, however, is less clear-cut.
In our melting pot of a community, many find themselves disagreeing on what direction Smash should head towards. Some may think that uncommitment leaves little room for metas and cultures to grow, while others may believe that the community ought to be dynamic when it comes to new iterations to maintain rejuvenation of the scene. These two arguments butt heads, creating a community rift in priorities: what's best for the Smash scene? Having time to develop older scenes, or getting new ones?
The answer is unclear. But the phenomenon is ripe throughout Smash’s history. Considered the birthplace of competitive Smash, Melee had a dedicated following early on. Its fans were bonded together via a rare adhesive: mutual adoration of the game. Nevertheless, people were willing to try out a new Smash game, Brawl, when it came out. The new iterations slow playstyle, however, proved to be antithetical to the one that Melee players so enjoyed. Here, the answer was straightforward: there was no reason to neglect Melee because the alternative wasn’t anything they wanted.
Brawl still formed it’s own separate community, but what it lacked was the inherent competitiveness of Melee. It gave new-age smashers a chance to play a Smash that wasn’t Melee, but that’s about it. Players fled to the sight of Super Smash Bros. Wii U when it came out simply because it reconciled the want for a more novel experience with their want for a more competitive Smash game than Brawl. In both cases, the ‘direction’ of the community largely depended on how well the new game aligns with the fans’ collective competitive interest.
The Case For A Port
Developing a port would be the perfect compromise for a ‘new game’. That’s because even though a port would be different from Smash 4, it wouldn’t be to the point where the latters’ metagame is left to rot. That’s because, as Source Gaming put it, Smash for the Switch “...is a combination of 3DS and Wii U content, a ‘director’s cut’, so as far as we know nothing fundamental is changing. Yet it will presumably be tweaked just enough to allow for some interesting, nuanced gameplay made possible by the addition of never-before seen characters and stages . All in all something that would be good for the scene.
More importantly, a port would probably not cause the same kind of divisiveness within the community as an entirely new game would. I doubt there will be much hesitation from players and TO’s when the time comes to drop Smash Wii U and adopt a more updated alternative in its stead. That’s simply because we’re not risking much; at its roots the game it’s still the same.
However, the case changes with an entire new game. Arguments abound, varying, but all are alike in having the ‘best interest of the community’ at their hearts. Start from scratch or settle down at last? That is the question, and it is one without any objective answer. It is drama best to steer clear of, or at least put off, for the time being. However, I am still curious what both TO’s and top-players think of transitioning to a new standard.
In conclusion, there is little debate over whether or not the Switch deserves a Smash game. However, there is much clamor over what the pattern the new game should conform to. Should we stay or switch? The community is a kettle whistling for answers, yet our fears and hopes are left empty until the new game actually does get released and we witness the outcome firsthand. We're about due for a Smash game for the Switch. And port or not, I have high hopes for the future of our community.
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