Super Smash Bros. 4
Super Smash Bros. 4 (also referred to by shorthands such as Smash 4, SSB4, or more informally Sm4sh, and officially as Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U) is a term used to collectively refer to Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, two games in the Super Smash Bros. series created by Namco Bandai and Sora Ltd. However, in an interview with Kotaku, Masahiro Sakurai has stated he considers the 3DS version the fourth installment and the Wii U version the fifth installment. The games feature mostly identical gameplay, but with several differences in other areas. The 3DS version is the first game of the series to be released on a handheld.
The 3DS version launched in Japan on September 13th, 2014 and in most other parts of the world on October 3rd, 2014. The 3DS version was released in stores one day earlier in Germany on October 2nd, 2014 to avoid coinciding with German Unity Day, and was released one day later in Australia on October 4th, 2014 because of time zone differences. Hong Kong and Taiwan received a release of the game over 10 months later, on July 24th, 2015, while South Korea got its release on September 10th, 2015, nearly a full year after the game's initial launch in Japan. The Wii U version was released in North America on November 21st, 2014, and was released on November 28th, 2014 in Europe, November 29th, 2014 in Australia, and on December 6th, 2014 in Japan.
Both versions received positive reviews; critics applauded the fine-tuning of existing gameplay elements but criticized some issues with online play. Both versions sold quickly, with the 3DS version selling over 7.37 million copies worldwide as of September 2015, and the Wii U version selling over 4.03 million copies during the same time period.
Both games feature identical character rosters. The roster contains a total of 56 characters, 34 of which return from Brawl, 3 of which return after being cut in the transition from Melee to Brawl (Dr. Mario, Mewtwo, and Roy), and 19 of which are new to the series. Of these 56, 39 are starter characters in both versions and 8 are unlockable characters in both versions, while 4 characters are unlockable in the 3DS version but starters in the Wii U version. Additionally, 5 characters, Mewtwo, Lucas, Roy, Ryu, and Cloud, appear as downloadable content. A further 8 other 'characters' exist as alternate costumes for other preexisting characters, Alph as a palette swap of Olimar, and each of the seven Koopalings as palette swaps of Bowser Jr..
Bold denotes unlockable characters in both versions. Bolded italics denote characters that are unlockable in the 3DS version, but default in the Wii U version.
The two games feature considerably different stage selections, which is one of the primary differences between the two games. The 3DS version features a total of 41 stages with 7 unlockable stages and 7 DLC stages, 29 of which are new and 12 of which are familiar. The Wii U version features a total of 54 stages with 6 unlockable stages and 8 DLC stages, consisting of 33 new stages and 21 familiar ones. Only 12 stages are shared between the two versions.
In general, the 3DS version features more stages based on handheld console games, while the Wii U version features more stages based on home console games. However, several stages in both games ignore this distinction.
Bold denotes unlockable stages.
Wii U version
Bold denotes unlockable stages.
SSB4 was announced in passing at E3 2011; however, the game's development was not slated to begin until sometime after October 2011, after the completion of Sakurai's other project, Kid Icarus: Uprising. He had stated, in response to a fan asking him about whether a "child Link" would appear in the game, that he had not at the time decided on who would appear in the game. However, he had also said that he "can't say that it's entirely out of the realm of possibility that some Capcom character could appear in the next Smash Bros." Indeed, Capcom's Mega Man was ultimately confirmed as playable, and Ryu was made available as DLC. The paired versions of the game were officially revealed at E3 2013 in the form of a trailer on June 11, 2013, with a projected release in 2014.
Development of the game began in early 2012, but it went unmentioned during E3 2012, something which many fans were disappointed about despite the known extremely early state of the game; the "first step of the process" was taken shortly after in mid-June. Sakurai expressed disappointment that fans would be waiting for longer than expected for the game to be released due to the earliness of the initial announcement. Shortly afterward, it was revealed during a Nintendo Direct that Namco Bandai was the primary developer alongside Sora Ltd., and had already completed a working prototype.
On July 2nd, 2012, Sakurai posted a whiteboard drawing on Twitter which was drawn by the game's staff. It depicts Donkey Kong, Fox, a Heart Container, Kirby, Link, Luigi, Mario, Marth, Meta Knight, Mr. Game & Watch, a Mr. Saturn, Pikachu, a Pikmin, Pit, Sandbag, Wario, and Zero Suit Samus; some argue that the curved lines in the background form the shape of Master Hand. The sketch also has what appears to be large block letters hidden below the visible area. While the post came with no explicit confirmation of any of these characters or elements as reappearing, it did show that they were in some sense acknowledged by the staff; everything depicted would in fact turn out to appear in the final game. The image itself was later removed from the original Twitter post.
Shortly after the initial E3 2013 trailers, Sakurai said there would be a single-player story mode included in the new Smash Bros., but that it would be different from Brawl's Subspace Emissary in that there would be no cutscenes, since he did not want said cutscenes to be uploaded to the Internet. However, he would later recant this, and announce that he decided to cut any sort of story mode altogether .
Sakurai had stated that there were no plans to implement downloadable content or touch screen controls of any variety. However, he also stated that once the game was released DLC was something they would take into consideration.  Downloadable content was eventually implemented through several additional fighters, stages, and costumes for Mii Fighters.
Changes from Brawl
Aesthetic and sound changes
The Wii U and 3DS versions of the game were shown to have distinct art styles from one another in that the 3DS version uses flatter shading and optional black outlines to make characters easier to see at a distance, a graphical style reminiscent of other 3DS games such as Fire Emblem: Awakening and Pokémon X/Y. These outlines are customizable as Sakurai stated players can change the size of the outlines or get rid of them completely. As stated before, many of the stages are version specific, with the 3DS version having more stages based on handheld console games, and the Wii U having more stages based on home console games. There is no cross-platform gameplay between the Wii U and 3DS versions due to the exclusive stages to each version; however, one can create customized fighters in the 3DS version using the character customization feature and send them to the Wii U version. In addition to this, by connecting the two games (or using a special downloadable application), the 3DS can be used as a controller on the Wii U version; this, however, cannot work vice versa.
In the 3DS version, there is up to the usual amount of fighters on one stage, with four. The Wii U version features up to eight players at once, though this is only available on a limited selection of the stages.
When it comes to music, each stage on the 3DS version has only two music tracks available, as was the case in Melee. On the other hand, the Wii U version sees the return of Brawl’s My Music option, with a large selection of tracks available for each stage.
The 3DS version mainly received positive reviews, with a current rating of 85/100 on Metacritic and 86% on GameRankings. The game has been praised for its large and diverse character roster, its improvements to game mechanics, and its variety of multiplayer options. Some criticisms include a lack of single player modes and issues concerning the 3DS hardware, such as the size of characters on the smaller screen when zoomed out and latency issues during both local and online multiplayer. There were also reports of players damaging their 3DS Circle Pads while playing the game excessively, and to an extent the circle pad can easily fall off. The 3DS version sold over a million copies in its first weekend on sale in Japan, and had sold more than 3.22 million copies worldwide as of October 2014. The 3DS version was nominated for both "Best Fighting Game" and "Best Handheld/Mobile Game" at the 2014 Video Game Awards, but lost to the Wii U version and Blizzard's Hearthstone, respectively.
The Wii U version received critical acclaim, with a Metacritic score of 92/100 and a GameRankings score of 92.39%, being among the highest rated games of 2014, is also awarded the Metacritic's Game of the Year and the second-highest rated game of the series after Brawl. The 2014 Video Game Awards even awarded the Wii U version with the "Best Fighting Game" award. The game was lauded for improving everything the 3DS version offered and significantly improving the online experience.