State of Smash 9-5-2014

So, less than a week until Japan receives their copies of Super Smash Brothers for 3DS.  I’m a little late on this one due to various issues, but also holding off to see if anything popped out of the woodwork this week.  Apparently not, so let’s recap.

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During the Japan-only direct, Nintendo unveiled Shulk as a playable character to go along with the announcement of the “new” 3DS and a port of Xenoblade Chronicles for it release sometime this holiday season.  Shulk as been circulating around the rumor mill for awhile, so it’s nice to finally get him out of limbo.

Shulk hails from the Wii title Xenoblade, and is yet another sword fighter.  Unlike other swordsman in Smash, however, he comes with a plethora of various modes his weapon can cycle through that change his stats.  Jump improves his recovery; Speed increases his run speed; Defense increases defense, etc.  However, each of these come at a disadvantage, such as his Defense mode having less attack power.  It’s unclear if he has an easy way to cycle through all these, or if he starts off in one particular mode or has a default with no buffs turned on.  Still, he seems to be another newcomer that leans on the more technical side, which will make him a very interesting addition to the game.

Prior to Shulk’s unveil however, we had a huge leak come pouring out.  For those wanting to avoid possible spoilers, be sure to stop reading now…

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Several images circulated, but the big one was the roster picture shown below.

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Many were questioning the leak’s legitimacy until video surfaced that included Shulk, Ganondorf, and Bowser Jr (this was before Shulk’s reveal as well).  Now it seems that this screenshot is all but completely accurate, especially when compared to the roster depicted on the japanese e-shop.

This only leaves a few questions:

Is this the final roster?

Based on the layout of the last two rows and the empty space at the bottom, I’m inclined to say that it’s not the complete roster.  There are also images with this leak that showed the lock symbol on All-star mode, which Sakurai explained this week indicates that it is not complete.  Therefore it is likely that this roster isn’t quite finished yet.

Is this the Ninka/Vanroose leak?

To clarify, two leakers spoke earlier regarding many of the characters featured in this roster.  The two seemed to have similar sources so they were compounded together as the Ninka/Vanroose leak.  This leak also featured info on Bowser Jr and Shulk’s play-styles that was confirmed both in the videos and in the Shulk reveal.  It also detailed characters having 8 different palettes of some kind, which Sakurai just confirmed.  So, as far as the first few posts on this leak go, yes.

When most refer to this leak in context of these characters now, they are referring to another post associated with it, claiming Dixie, Ridley, Mewtwo, and Chorus Men are also in the game.  This last part I have to contend with.

Problems with adding all four of these characters are as follows:

-1) characters will not fit with their franchise according to the Brawl-style of unlocking

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This may require some explanation.  In Smash Brothers Brawl, characters were set on the roster in order from the left to right, in spite of their franchises being sorted in vertical columns.  As characters unlocked they were put in the appropriate spot based on who they were adjacent to horizontally.  As the roster expanded, columns would eventually be added to accommodate it until the roster filled out.

In simpler terms, it’s like every character going left to right had a sequence number, and they would always line up according to sequence despite someone missing.  Example: Pikachu is 7, Marth is 8, Game &Watch is 9, Luigi is 10, Diddy is 11.  In the starting roster Pikachu is next to Diddy.  If Marth is unlocked, however, Marth moves next to Pikachu, while Diddy moves down a row.

Comparing the E3 demo roster, the Japanese e-shop roster, and leak roster, we can see evidence that this is the case at least in the 3DS version of Smash Brothers, as seen here ( http://ssb4dojo.com/post/96404874181/rumor-mill-gamefaqs-5).

Trying to add Dixie or Ridley into the middle of leaked roster throws the entire roster out of order, and splitting up franchises who are now ordered horizontally.  Trying to add all four just makes the problem worse.  Meanwhile, adding just Mewtwo or Chorus Men doesn’t affect it much at all.  Therefore, if we’re presuming the Brawl method is being used here, only half of the proposed characters will work.

2) Even as clones the proposed extras don’t work

The leaked roster has Dr. Mario, Dark Pit, and Lucina segmented off the from the rest of the cast.  Based on the information Sakurai revealed that Lucina was a last minute addition, this has been dubbed the ‘clone corner’.  If we still presume the Brawl method stands, then any additional clone characters would have to go into this corner in line with them.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t really work either, as even with Mewtwo and Chorus Men added into the roster, Dr.Mario sits on row 5, with the other clones on the bottom row.  It also sits them next to Shulk, who we’ve seen doesn’t appear to be a clone of anyone.

Even so, Dixie wouldn’t be expressly clone characters either.  Ridley’s other M form, while much more humanoid than other forms, wouldn’t really fit very well over top other characters.  The closest we could get would be Charizard, and even that seems a bit of a stretch.  Dixie, while having the same body structure as Diddy, has a different style and set of abilities that wouldn’t be fully conveyed as a direct clone.

3) the black space has been at the bottom in every iteration

While it could be explained that the roster has never been fully filled, it seems suspect that 3 different rosters would keep the dark space on the very bottom in every iteration, especially when it would be more prudent for it to not be there.  Case-and-point, the leaked roster does not fill up row 5 but still keeps four characters at the bottom.  There is some significance to that space being down there, though what is still a mystery.

Therefore, while I still don’t think the roster is complete in the leak, I’m inclined to think that the characters proposed in association with the leak are not entirely accurate.

Am I satisfied with the roster so far?

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Admittedly, no.  The only character on the roster I know I’m going to pick up and play thoroughly right now is Donkey Kong.  I played primarily as him and Wolf in Brawl, but with Wolf likely cut, I’ll be looking for a secondary.  That being said, the sheer size of the roster grants plenty of possibilities —  Little Mac, Greninja, and Rosalina being top contenders right now — and I’m mostly okay with that.

It’s less to do with holding out for any particular character, though, so much as it seems to be a puzzle missing some pieces and I’d like to solve it.

How about you?  Are you satisfied with the leaked roster?

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