While some video games lack story, characters, plot, or overall game mechanics, one gaming series that does all of those well is Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros franchise. Over the five games in the series, Super Smash Bros is able to capture the eyes and hearts of millions of people around the world, both because of its unique concept of fighting mechanics and the vast roster of iconic gaming characters to choose from. But how will this game franchise change the gaming industry?
If you don’t know what Super Smash Bros is, the creator of the game, Masahiro Sakurai, explained the concept of it as “an action game about smashing beloved game characters off the screen.” Going into more detail, Super Smash Bros is a competitive crossover fighting game. Players select characters from other games like Super Mario, Pokemon, Legend of Zelda, and many more to fight each other to see who will be the last character standing. This franchise has been around since 1999, starting on the Nintendo 64 with only 12 characters from about nine different videogame franchises. Super Smash Bros Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch’s latest game in the series has 89 characters from over 190 different franchises. The more characters added will have a massive effect on how gaming companies create crossover games in the future.
With the variety of characters in the roster to choose from, you know at least one character. Do you like sword-fighting characters? There is an abundance of characters ranging from Ike, Marth, Cloud, and the latest released character Sora from Kingdom Hearts, where they all have sword attacks. Want to go old school and represent the retro characters? Choose between characters like Mario, Link, Pickachu, Banjo Kazooie, Pacman, Sonic, and so much more! Then some characters give you the challenge to master their abilities, like Steve from Minecraft, Pyra/Mythra from Xenoblade, and Kazuya from Tekken. There’s something for everyone, and that’s what’s so important about this game!
With each generation of the game, more and more game companies got involved with the project, which would mean big things in the future for video games. Over the past two years, Nintendo has released DLC characters for people to get and play as, and let’s just say some of the announcements broke the internet.
In the first DLC pack that was released, the character Banjo Kazooie from the popular Banjo Kazooie games back in 1998 was a huge step forward in crossovers. Microsoft, the parent company to Xbox, which owns the Banjo Kazooie character, agreed with Nintendo to add the character to the game. This announcement of Banjo made the whole community go insane because this really meant anyone could join Smash that was owned by Microsoft, and could possibly hint towards other collaborations with different companies.
Masahiro Sakurai explained to everyone that they don’t just pick names randomly out of a hat, but instead go through research on popular game characters that everyone should know and that would be happy that they added. This tactic is what they used for the DLC character, Steve from Minecraft. Minecraft at the time had recently passed Tetris as the #1 most bought video game in the world, so Sakurai wanted to get one of the best-known games and characters to join Smash. On the announcement day of Steve as a fighter, no one was expecting it. People all over the world wanted to express their thoughts and went to Twitter. Because of the massive spike in online users, Twitter servers crashed for about half an hour all due to an announcement in a video game.
The release of Steve not only broke Twitter, but it also broke the boundaries again on how game companies collaborate. This was the second character that was owned by Microsoft to get into Smash Bros, but this wasn’t the final time collaboration of this size occurred.
October 5th, 2021, after 3 years of Super Smash Bros Ultimate being released on the Switch, the last and final DLC character was announced. Sakurai introduced the trailer by thanking the community and for everything that has happened throughout the franchise. The trailer begins, with a million viewers at the time, and so many predictions, but only one will come true. Mario walks up to a spark on the ground. Grabs it and throws a flame into the air. The flame takes the shape of a sword in the air, and the first thing we see is a Mickey Mouse charm. The flame turns into a key blade and opens up a lock for the new character to arrive. The last, and final character for Super Smash Bros ultimate was Sora, from Disney’s Kingdom Hearts franchise. This was the most requested character for years and most people thought it couldn’t be done – because it’s Disney – but Sakurai and Nintendo were able to pull it off.
But in the end, do these collaborations and introductions to new characters really impact gaming?
With the introduction of Microsoft characters and Disney characters, Super Smash Bros shows us what the future of video games will look like. Companies will be more open to collaborating on ideas and stories after the success of Smash Bros. In fact, just this past week, leaks have come out saying that Warner Bros Entertainment is making their own version of Super Smash Bros with the characters and properties they own. a roster image has been circling the internet containing the following characters:
- Steven Universe
- Batman/Harley Quinn
- Superman/Wonder Women
- Rick and Morty
- Tom & Jerry
- Bugs Bunny
People who have posted the image of the roster and have included them in videos, their posts have been taken down, which is all the more reason to believe that a crossover game with Warner Bros franchises could be coming.
Besides the supposed leak, I still think Super Smash Bros has done something incredible with the resources and skills to pull off something of this scale. This gaming franchise will have lasting effects in the gaming industry, and it is exciting to see what types of collaborative games will come in the future.