Nintendo gave fans a big swerve Thursday.
After 30 minutes of unremarkable reveals and teaser trailers at the latest Nintendo Direct -- which was defined more so by what wasn’t on display (any details on the new Metroid Prime or the Switch Pokemon game) than what was (a port of Okami HD and a May 25 release date for Dark Souls Remastered) -- the Big Red Machine seemed ready to close out the show in bland fashion; with a hype reel for the upcoming expansion to Splatoon 2. Instead, jaws were dropped when it was instead used to reveal a new Super Smash Bros. game for the Nintendo Switch.
You can see the reveal for yourself below (the teaser starts at 33:02, but Nintendo fans can find the full Nintendo Direct video on Nintendo’s official YouTube channel)
Despite being a short clip, there is quite a bit to dissect here. So what do we know about the new release from this? And what mysteries are still to be revealed? Read on and find out!
What We Do Know
This is Probably a New Game- While the glut of WiiU ports on the Nintendo Switch had many expecting that the next Smash game would be a remaster or Game of the Year version of Smash 4, this trailer suggests that this is going to be a new game.
Prominently featured during the clip are the Inklings from Splatoon (who were not included in Smash 4), as well as the Breath of the Wild version of Link (who breaks from the traditional version of the character in many ways). While there’s a chance Nintendo could be suckering fans with an enhanced port along the lines of Pokken Tournament DX, all signs point to a brand new game!
It’s Probably Coming During the Holiday Season- While the trailer closes with a simple “2018” for the release date, let’s be honest here! If a Spring or Summer release was in the works, the game likely would’ve had a more exact release date attached to it.
While Autumn is hypothetically possible (if Nintendo basically makes a heavily modified port of Smash 4, this game wouldn’t necessarily take long to develop), why would they do that? It would make much, much more sense that Nintendo would be looking to drop this in November or December, setting it up as Christmas’ must-have game.
Of course, all of that is assuming that it doesn’t end up getting delayed…
Confirmed Characters- The final scene of the trailer featured a series of silhouettes set against the backdrop of the Smash Bros. logo, seemingly revealing many of the characters set to be included in the game. Not every silhouette can be made out clearly, but many are fairly easy to identify.
You can check out InvenGlobal’s guesses as to who was revealed above (though we didn’t have a clue as to who some of them were!).
What We Don’t Know
A 3DS Version?- Before Smash 4 was released on the WiiU, a 3DS version of the game dropped over a month prior, and sold a boatload of copies by, essentially, offering early access to the WiiU version. Could Nintendo do the same thing here?
One of the most surprising things from Thursday’s Nintendo Direct was the company’s renewed commitment to the 3DS platform. While many were expecting Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon to be the final major releases for the handheld, Nintendo announced three new titles during the event which extend the platform’s lifespan all the way into 2019.
While Nintendo of America made no mention of a 3DS version in its tweet on the reveal (see above), there’s no denying that there is money to be made by going back to that well.
What Will Get Cut?- While there’s no question that the Nintendo Switch is an impressive piece of hardware, it’s still unclear what it’s technically capable of. Smash 4 pushed the more-powerful WiiU with eight-player melees and over-the-top level design. There’s no question that the hybrid portable console is capable of some impressive things, but can Nintendo wring that much out of it this early on in its life cycle?
Will Nintendo Finally Get Behind Smash as an Esport?- Nintendo was incredibly slow to embrace esports, but that started to change last year with...Splatoon? And ARMS? Though Nintendo is sitting on one of the most enduring franchises in all of esports, Team Reggie’s feelings on the community have ranged from indifferent to openly hostile.
Could Smash 5 be the game to change that? We don’t know, but we certainly hope so!