Project Sora may be dead but Masuhiro Sakurai lives on! The outspoken developer behind Kid Icarus: Uprising and the Super Smash Bros. series is hard at work developing Super Smash Bros. 4 for the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii U alongside a veritable who’s who from Namco Bandai’s Tekken and Tales franchises. So the guy has an all-star team of designers and artists from a publisher with myriad iconic characters in its stable, as well as two platforms with touch screen interfaces. What will his new game be like? Will Super Smash Bros. 4 cure all the ails of the world and usher in a glorious new age with improved controls, characters and features?
According to a new interview with Sakurai, not really. It’ll probably just be another Super Smash Bros. game.
Speaking with IGN, Sakurai said that restraint is the driving factor in Super Smash Bros. 4’s development. “The game system is complete, so we don’t want to make it 3D or introduce complicated controls just for the sake of it,” said Sakurai, taking a laudable approach to development on Nintendo’s idiosyncratic platforms. “However, I am thinking of ways we can introduce a slightly different, fun experience all the while keeping the usual frantic gameplay.”
Those slightly different experiences won’t involve radically rethought controls. The Wii U won’t support the Gamecube controller which has been the standard for Smash Bros. competitive play since Super Smash Bros. Melee released in 2001, but the controls will be very familiar. “The Gamecube controller is not the only way to control Smash Bros., so we will look into ways that fits the Wii U.”
Don’t expect a cavalcade of new characters from outside the Nintendo pantheon to put in appearances either. Just because Namco is doing the heavy lifting on the game, that doesn’t mean Soul Calibur’s Ivy is going to swing in and slap Yoshi in the mouth.
“I think Snake and Sonic joining were fantastic. It made many fans happy, and it broadened the Smash Bros. arena. However, introducing more non-Nintendo characters willy-nilly will lose the focus of the game, so I also recognize the need to narrow it down.”
More does not always equal better and Sakurai is clearly taking the proper approach with Super Smash Bros. 4, focusing on play fundamentals rather than packing in too much content just for the sake of it. Still, that doesn’t mean that the roster shouldn’t be expanded. Nintendo has many, many characters that haven’t popped up as proper fighters yet. Punch-Out!’s Little Mac and the hero of Captain Rainbow need to get in on the action.