Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS are easily two of Nintendo’s most anticipated upcoming releases. At first glance, the 3DS version looks like a great idea that will grow the franchise and help it reach the portion of Nintendo’s audience that doesn’t play its home consoles. While the hype train slowly but surely chugs along as new and returning characters are revealed regularly, I can’t help but worry. Having a full Super Smash Bros. experience on 3DS might undercut the Wii U version, stunting the Wii U’s already minuscule growth. If Nintendo doesn’t want consumers settling for the 3DS version, it needs to communicate to them that Super Smash Bros. is still a game worth purchasing a Wii U for. Here are some ideas that just might help them accomplish that.
Anyone who happens to purchase both versions of the next Super Smash Bros. probably doesn’t want to be bothered with unlocking every character twice, so allowing players to sync their progress across both games would be quite handy. Players wouldn’t have to worry about outpacing their progress on the Wii U version of the game when they take their 3DS’s on road-trips or otherwise play while out and about. When they get home and sync their games, any content shared between the two games that is unlocked in one will automatically unlock in the other. A feature like this would also reinforce the value of the 3DS version as a way to expand upon the traditional home console experience of the Super Smash Bros. series. Sadly, this is most likely a pipe dream given Nintendo’s sloth-like pace of creating congruity between the 3DS and Wii U networks, but it isn’t impossible.
Bonus Characters for Linking Games
No matter how many new Super Smash Bros. stages, modes, items, or other unlockables are unveiled by Nintendo, new and returning characters always steal the show. Nintendo would be wise to take advantage of this phenomenon to leverage both versions of the next Super Smash Bros. Fan-requested veteran fighters like Ike and Mewtwo could return as characters only obtainable when both versions of the game are linked in some way. Casual fans might not care enough to buy a Wii U for a couple extra characters, but Nintendo needs all the help it can get to make the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. more appealing.
Super Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai seems adamant about keeping the character roster consistent across both games, but if that happens, then he will have missed a great opportunity to push more copies of the Wii U version. Each system should get at least one new character as an exclusive. Stages and trophies on the 3DS version are primarily from handheld games, while the Wii U version’s are based on console games. Exclusive characters should follow this pattern as well. The 3DS might feature Chrom from Fire Emblem: Awakening and Nintendo could call more attention to the Wii U version by giving it a more unexpected character, like someone from the Wii U-exclusive Monolith Soft RPG.
Give the Wii U Version More Content
The Super Smash Bros. series has developed a reputation for massive games with enormous amounts of custom options. Super Smash Bros. Brawl left some over-sized shoes to fill, and it’s doubtful that the 3DS version of the next Super Smash Bros. can fill them on its own. The Wii U version needs to either match or surpass Brawl’s amount of content not only to set itself apart from the 3DS version as the definitive experience, but to live up to the Super Smash Bros. name as well. Nintendo shouldn’t neglect the 3DS version’s content, but the Wii U version shouldn’t be constrained to make the 3DS version appear comparable. Nintendo could also use some clever timing to put more momentum behind the Wii U version’s release. Instead of releasing both games side-by-side, they should release the 3DS version first. Once that whets everyone’s appetites, Nintendo can finally release the Wii U version to give fans what they really crave.
The 3DS and 3DS XL have already come in several special edition bundles, and Super Smash Bros. will almost undoubtedly receive its own. It would be an injustice for Nintendo not to create a special edition Wii U for such a high-profile game. Extra goodies couldn’t hurt, either. I’d personally love to see some kind of Wii U-compatible GameCube controller made specifically for Super Smash Bros. Another cool extra sure to please Super Smash Bros. fans would be a free DLC pack that includes classic stages and characters from past games that wouldn’t normally make an appearance in the new ones. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I was on the fence about getting the Wii U version, a bundle like that would win me over. We won’t know if any of these ideas will see the light of day until more details are revealed closer to launch later this year. All we can do for now is hope Nintendo acknowledges that Super Smash Bros. for Wii U needs to be a system seller, not a companion game.