Fighting games haven’t really ever gone out of fashion – just look at how well Street Fighter 5, Tekken 7, Injustice 2 and Marvel Vs Capcom Infinite have performed recently for proof of that. However, for all their success not one of them has felt quite as timeless as Super Smash Bros.
A fighting game with Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach? If you’re not a fan of the series (yet) then it’s a pretty barmy idea at first glance, but spend a few rounds brawling your way through a four-player showdown and you’ll be forever convinced of its unique brilliance.
You can imagine, then, just how much the Super Smash Bros community wants a new entry in the series, particularly now that the Nintendo Switch is consistently proving itself to be a system worth investing in.
Super Smash Bros has featured on most of Nintendo’s major systems (including Nintendo 64, Gamecube, Wii, Wii U and 3DS) so a Switch version certainly seems likely. It’s also become a staple at fighting game tournaments such as Evo, so Nintendo clearly isn’t going to waste such potent eSports potential, either.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The highly anticipated fifth entry in the Nintendo fighting game series
- When can I play it? Not anytime soon
- What can I play it on? Nintendo Switch will likely be its next home, although a 3DS version could follow (as it did with Super Smash Bros 4)
As of right now, there’s been no official announcement regarding Super Smash Bros Switch - but considering we have had/are getting a new Zelda, a new Super Mario, a new Splatoon and a new Metroid, a fresh Super Smash Bros feels like a certainty for 2018 and beyond.
It certainly seems, however, highly unlikely that we’ll see a new entry before the end of the year. For a start, there's been 6 to 7 years between each of the previous games (2001’s Melee, 2008’s Brawl and 2014’s Wii U/3DS versions) so history would suggest we’re not going to see it anytime soon.
However, with The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey all arriving in 2017 (and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 also slated to arrive by the end of the year), Nintendo is going to be keen to ensure Switch’s second year is just as heavy on the first-party hits.
We’ve already got Metroid Prime 4 booked for 2018, so it would make sense for Nintendo to slate Super Smash Bros Switch for next year as well and ensure the handheld/tabletop console can keep rolling out new games you won’t find on PS4, Xbox One or PC.
If we had to make an educated guess, we’d say we’re (hopefully) going to see a brand new Super Smash Bros Switch in time for Christmas 2018.
Super Smash Bros Switch - what do we know so far?
There are two schools of thought when it comes to what the next Super Smash Bros might be. One argument says the next entry will likely be a ‘deluxe’ re-release of Super Smash Bros 4 (the one that appeared simultaneously on Wii U and 3DS in 2014).
This is based on Nintendo’s decision to re-release Mario Kart 8 (which originally arrived on Wii U in 2014) as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Switch. The same thing happened with Pokkén Tournament, which debuted on Wii U in 2016 before dropping on Switch this year with a similar complete edition earlier this year.
Taking this approach would be an easier and faster way for Nintendo and developer Bandai Namco Games to release a Super Smash Bros Switch as the base game is already there. Adding new content would make the game seem fresh and exciting, and it'd also justify slapping on another big price tag.
Bundling in new characters and stages (much in the same way Nintendo included fresh racers for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe) would be a great way to sell a remastered version, as would including new skins for the current 58 characters on the roster. Gearing these skins around recent Switch/3DS releases (such as Link’s new look for Breath Of The Wild and Mario’s revealing attire for Odyssey) would also make a lot of sense.
The other argument is that Super Smash Bros Switch would be a brand new entry, built from the ground up for Switch. The new console is the most powerful bit of hardware Nintendo has ever released, so offering a bespoke entry just for Switch would make the next Super Smash Bros entry extra special and a much more attractive sell to new and existing players.
The flipside is such a brand new entry would likely take a lot longer to develop. While we doubt the development cycle for it would be as long as previous games, we’d imagine we wouldn’t see an entirely new version of Super Smash Bros until 2019 at the earliest.
Super Smash Bros Switch - which characters will appear?
As we mentioned, the previous entry in the series had 58 characters (including on-disc ones and DLC) so we'd expect to see a similarly big number this time around.
There are plenty of characters that have become staples in the series (such as Mario, Peach, Captain Falco and Kirby) and others (such as Sonic The Hedgehog, Ryu and Pac-Man) that have come and gone over the years.
The updated Inklings from Splatoon 2 seem likely, as do Rex and Pyra from Xenoblade Chronicles 2. The meme-inducing popularity suggest Breath Of The Wild’s Prince Sidon could get appear alongside Nipha. We’d love to see the new version of Zelda, too, considering how well-received her makeover was.
We could see some off-the-wall additions as well. Could Skyrim's arrival on Nintendo Switch mean we’ll see the classic look of the Dovahkiin in the new Smash Bros? Those dragon shouts would certainly come in useful, that’s all we’re saying...