Super Smash Bros. (universe)
The Super Smash Bros. universe (大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズ, Great Fray Smash Brothers) refers to the collection of characters, stages, and properties that are original to the Super Smash Bros. series. It is featured alongside other non-original licensed game characters and properties within Smash games. It is the universe of the Smash Bros. series in-and-of itself. The easily recognizable Super Smash Bros. logo represents both the series and universe.
Main article: Super Smash Bros. (series)
During 1998, Kirby series creator Masahiro Sakurai, working at Nintendo second-party developer HAL Laboratory, pursued an incidental interest in making a fighting game for four players. From the outset, he did not have any ideas and used exceedingly basic character designs. When he presented the concept to his superior, Satoru Iwata - then the president of HAL Laboratory - Iwata helped Sakurai find ways to make the game original since many fighting games did not sell well, and Sakurai's first idea was to insert a wide variety of popular characters from different Nintendo franchises and have them fight in a crossover. Sakurai knew he would not receive permission to do this by asking, and therefore secretly created a prototype of the Nintendo 64 fighter in advance and only informed his superiors of it after carefully balancing his first four character inclusions: Mario, Donkey Kong, Samus Aran, and Fox McCloud. Fortunately, the idea was later approved, and Sakurai developed the game, Super Smash Bros., as a low-budget crossover fighter that was intended to be released exclusively in Japan. The finished product's nearly-unique spin on free-roaming, multi-directional fighting on two-dimensional platform-filled planes is said to have been inspired by an obscure 1994 arcade fighting game by Namco titled The Outfoxies.
Super Smash Bros. was released in Japan on January 21, 1999, and despite little promotion, the game was a surprise and breakout hit, ultimately selling nearly 2 million copies domestically and selling nearly 3 million copies in the United States after the logical decision was made to localize the game for international release. The game received mostly positive reviews and was praised both for being the most original fighting game on the market and for its simple-to-learn, accessible, and responsive multiplayer, with the primary focus of criticism being its lack of single-player content. It can easily be guessed that the game owed much of its popularity and success to its mix of fan-favorite aesthetics, characters, and music, with the most notable franchise represented being Pokémon, which had recently reached the height of its initial explosion of worldwide popularity.
Following the success of Super Smash Bros., Sakurai became the head of production for a sequel that was intended as a borderline launch title for the next Nintendo system, the GameCube. The game was in intensive development for 13 months and was considered by Sakurai to be the biggest project he had ever led up to that point, and Sakurai described his lifestyle during this period as "destructive", with no holidays and short weekends. Unlike the first game, which was an experimental venture, Sakurai felt great pressure to deliver a quality sequel that would undoubtedly be regarded as the system's undisputed killer app. Another priority for the development was that the game would exhibit an enormous graphical advancement beyond the Nintendo 64, and to this end, the game's opening FMV was developed by HAL in conjunction with three separate graphic houses in Tokyo. The game was released shortly after the GameCube's launch in both Japan and the United States near the end of 2001 as Super Smash Bros. Melee, and received critical acclaim as both a strong fundamental improvement and a massive expansion of content over its predecessor. The game became the best-selling GameCube game, with more than seven million copies sold worldwide. By this point, the series' relevance as a potent advertisement vehicle for all of Nintendo's IPs represented within it, past and present, was apparent; the representation of two characters from the then-Japan-exclusive Fire Emblem series, who were nearly cut out from international versions of Melee, prompted Nintendo's future decision to release almost all subsequent installments of the series worldwide.
During what became a seven-year hiatus for the Smash Bros. series, Sakurai left HAL Laboratory in 2003 to start his own company, Sora Ltd., so that he could create games separately from the sequel-heavy schedules of HAL. Meanwhile, Satoru Iwata succeeded Hiroshi Yamauchi as Nintendo's fourth president in 2002. At a pre-E3 2005 press conference, Iwata announced that the next installment of Super Smash Bros. was soon to be in development for its next console and would be a launch title that utilized the console's Wi-Fi based online capabilities. The announcement came as a surprise to Sakurai because he was not informed of Nintendo's intent to release another Smash Bros. game, and was only asked after the conference by Iwata to again serve as director; Sakurai agreed, and development of the third game began in October 2005. What followed was a development project handled by roughly 100 individuals working full time. The game was officially showcased at the E3 2006 conference as Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but its actual release dates, set for early 2008, were well over a year after the Wii console's launch. Prior to release, among the most noteworthy and publicized inclusions in the game were a vastly redesigned Pit, representing a revival of the long-dormant Kid Icarus series, and the first-ever inclusions of third-party characters in the series: Snake from Metal Gear, which rumor claims series director Hideo Kojima had asked to be included in Melee, and Sonic from his respective series, satisfying a long-awaited crossover with historical rival mascot Mario. Brawl had also encouraged an enormous amount of pre-release hype and speculation by regularly posting blog updates fivedays a week, detailing new features, characters, and other elements of the game on the official website, the "Smash Bros. DOJO!!", for over eight months straight.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl was critically and commercially successful upon release, garnering praise for its new focus on improved single-player content, an expanded and more varied cast, and one of the largest video game soundtracks in history, and became the fastest-selling game in Nintendo of America's history and a seller of over 10 million units total. However, the game also drew reviewer criticism for long loading times and a laggy online experience. Multiplayer aspects were controversial among the established player-base (such as the competitive circles of which had long been accustomed to the gameplay styles of Melee) for a comparatively slower pace and scale of gravity, the removal of some advanced movement and attack mechanics, and a much heavier slant towards defensive gameplay. Most universally disliked was the game's inclusion of tripping, a non-negotiable element of randomized chance that could easily dictate the outcome of a competitive match in a manner that rewarded luck over skill. In an interview two-and-a-half years after the release of Brawl, Sakurai revealed that he himself retrospectively considered Melee to be "the sharpest game in the series."
Immediately after Sakurai employed his redesign of the Kid Icarus series' aesthetic in the 3DS title Kid Icarus: Uprising, released in March 2012, he announced the beginning of development of the fourth installment in the Smash Bros. series, which would be a joint venture between Sora and Namco Bandai Games and would be co-directed with Yoshito Higuchi, who had previously directed and produced several games in Namco's Tales series. The first showcase of the project took place at the Nintendo Direct presentation preceding E3 2013, where it was shown that the series would, for the first time, develop and release a pair of titles simultaneously for separate platforms: Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Prior to the showcase, Sakurai indicated that the games would receive a different development approach for measuring competitive character balance, and after the showcase, Sakurai confirmed the removal of randomized tripping while dashing.
Soon after the release of the Nintendo Switch console, Sakurai started work on the next game in the series. His goal was to "make the impossible possible," by including all characters from the past games. When he announced his intentions to the boardroom of directors, the room fell silent. In March of 2018, a teaser trailer was released in the middle of a Nintendo Direct presentation, featuring the male and female Inklings. The game was formally announced as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate during E3 of the same year, showcasing all the previous fighters and the "Everyone Is Here" tagline, and revealing that Namco Bandai would again be the co-developer. The game was shown to have an increased focus on competitive play, while keeping it accessible for newcomers as well. During a Smash Direct showcase in October, Sakurai announced that trophies were quite tricky to program, and so they were being removed in favor of Spirits, equippable items that augmented fighters, similar to stickers and equipment in the previous games. Spirits were also confirmed to be replacing Event matches, by augmenting opponents in ways similar to the depicted character, and the focus of the returning adventure mode. Ultimate ended up becoming one of the best-selling games in the series, becoming the fastest selling Nintendo game.
The Super Smash Bros. series is a large departure from the traditional fighting game formula, where two characters trade and block each other's blows until one's health meter is reduced to zero; knock-outs in these games are strictly achieved by sending opponents hurtling away far enough off the stage with powerful attacks that they cannot avoid coming into contact with one of the four "out of bounds" screen borders surrounding the stage. Instead of a life bar that decreases, each character has a percentage-based damage meter that raises each time they are hit by an attack, which translates into all subsequent attacks incurred by that character sending them away farther than before. Every character is designed and intended to feel and play uniquely from the rest in terms of the different moves and movements they are capable of, among many other things about them, and when a character is sent flying away from the stage horizontally, they have the opportunity to return to the stage without falling off into the abyss below the stage with both a mid-air double jump and a special move that constitutes a third jump. Many options are available to diversify casual play, such as items that may be picked up and used, selectable stages that may feature their own dynamic hazards in their designs and layouts, and a large variety of different modes and settings for customizing matches.
Many players and groups in the competitive playerbase and community for the series choose to play each game with very specific settings and disallow much of the available content in order to minimize luck as a factor. This leads to developed metagames for each installment where top-tier players, often playing for prizes and prestige under accepted professional rulesets defined by players that organize Smash Bros.-centered tournaments around the world, and regularly use precise skill and exploit game physics in order to compete. Like many games that allow for competitive play, such as Pokémon, each character in each game's cast of playable characters is graded by the community on how much inherently "better" or "worse" it is in comparison to other characters in competitive environments, and these "tier lists" spawn much community debate of their own. A further point of contention is the practice of creating and distributing unofficial modifications that fix perceived flaws and degenerate aspects with the core game design and character balance. However, the most publicized mod for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Project M, has since been featured alongside the official games themselves at national video gaming tournaments and events.
Every game adds new franchises, either published by Nintendo or involved with a third-party company closely associated with the history of Nintendo as a company, that may be represented with at least one playable fighter, and may additionally be represented with stages, items, and collectibles themed after that franchise. Meanwhile, existing franchises and modes receive new and expanded content with each additional installment of Smash:
In Super Smash Bros.
The first game in the series, Super Smash Bros., can be said to feature much more than a standard universe's worth of content based on the universe introduced in the game itself, compared even to the Mario universe - despite its lack of a playable character or a stage selectable in multiplayer.
The first Smash game features a lot of environments thematically original to the game itself, and none of these are selectable in the game's multiplayer mode (hacking aside); they are only available as single player content. The following stages would work as multiplayer stages if they were available in the multiplayer mode:
A large proportion of the game's items are original to the game itself.
These are the main musical tracks unique to the game found within the Sound Test:
There are also many short pieces counted as "music" heard in response to in-game occurrences. These tracks original to the game itself include 29, 30, 31, 34, 36, 37, 40, 41, 42, 43, and 44.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
The sequel to Super Smash Bros., Super Smash Bros. Melee, is noted for being an immensely larger game than its predecessor. The number of original properties featured in the game is seemingly increased proportionally.
Like in the previous game, none of the game's characters aren't considered true "characters" in that they aren't selectable for play (without hacking, anyway). These all make specific appearances as single-player opponents.
The Sandbag from the Home-Run Contest mode might be considered a character because it registers damage as an opponent, and can even be played as when the game is hacked, though it has no moveset past movement and a single jump.
There is also a character named NONE which can be selected when the games debug mode is selected. It is most likely a removed testing character, as the game crashes upon its selection.
The game contains more environments thematically original to the game itself than the previous game. The two Multiplayer-friendly stages that follow, however, are indeed unlockable for selection.
The following stages are more "mini-game"-centric stages featured as single-player content:
Like the previous game, there are some environments that can be seen only through hacking. TEST is intriguing; it is a very wide white-ground stage with several aerial platforms shaped differently. Like the previous Kirby Beta Stage 2, this is clearly the "testing ground" the developers used during development. The background actually features a photograph of a pub. Hidden in the game's debug menu are the titles of two other stages that crash the game when selected: 10-2 and DUMMY. DUMMY can be opened up with a special hack, however, and the stage reveals itself to be completely empty, black space without any death-line borders. For fun, some players like to hack in death lines and activate an infinite double-jumping hack to allow for a completely aerial bout.
Compared to the characters and stages, Melee's collection of original items is not much different at all from its predecessor.
In addition, a lot of tracks original to the Smash Bros. series are listed as "music", but do not loop and are merely short pieces meant to signify occurrences. These include 64: Classic Intro, 65: Adventure Intro, 66: Stage Clear 1, 67: Stage Clear 2, 68: Continue, 69: Game Over, 70: New Trophy!, 71: Rare Trophy, 72: Challenger!, 73: New Feature 1, 74: New Feature 2, 75: New Feature 3, and 79: Ending. There is also a remix of Track 53 that plays only when battling Giga Bowser on Final Destination.
Full Trophy List
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
There were plenty of things introduced in the Smash Bros. series not introduced elsewhere appear in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Most prominent among them is a major single-player mode of the game called The Subspace Emissary, a side-scrolling Adventure Mode game where characters contend with the machinations of an interdimensional force called the Subspace Army. Plus between Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl there are three differences. None of the unlockable characters (if the Subspace Emissary method is not used) are unlocked on the stages Battlefield or Final Destination (as they're not considered home stages) except Ganondorf. Super Smash Bros. universe stages on Classic Mode only occur on the final two stages, and Battlefield and Final Destination are never fought in All-Star Mode.
The following distinctive entities who are original to the series make big appearances:
In The Subspace Emissary, characters are to contend with all sorts of common enemies, with many classes and distinctive builds of generic enemies and obstacles new to the Smash Bros. universe seen in screenshots and trailers. The most notable example is a type of dark robot that was shown on Super Smash Bros. DOJO!! in a mini-trailer and was later identified as the Primid. R.O.B.s are also seen as henchmen whose purpose is to detonate weapons of the Army called Subspace Bombs. However, the R.O.B. is a part of the R.O.B. universe.
Of the ten bosses in Brawl (all fought in the Boss Battles Mode), five are original characters while the other five hail from other game franchises:
Main article: Music (SSBB)
See main article, List of SSBB trophies
Aside from Classic Mode's final stage unchanged, in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS the unlockable character Duck Hunt is the only unlockable character whose unlock battle takes place on a Super Smash Bros. universe stage in that game, being Battlefield.
Fighting Team Characters
Fighting Mii Team: A team of Mii characters that appear in Classic Mode as well as Multi-Man mode. The Mii's appear as Mii characters that are registered in the game and in the player's personal Mii Maker. They appear in Stage 5 of the 3DS version, and in Stage 6 of the Wii U version. The Mii's can appear as any type of Mii Fighter. All Mii's appear wearing a black version of the default Mii Fighter outfit, however with some changes, such as a large white "M" in the center of the shirt. Like every other Multi-Man character, the Mii's can not grab ledges or use special moves, except with the added ability to use smash attacks.
Mii Fighter Costumes
Main article: List of SSB4 Music (Super Smash Bros. series)
Tracks and remixes unique to SSB4.
Tracks and remixes from previous Smash titles.
Main article: List of SSBU Music (Super Smash Bros. series)
Tracks unique to Ultimate. There are 24 original tracks in total.
There is one new remix in Ultimate.
Tracks from previous Smash titles. There are 60 returning tracks.
Remixes of tracks from previous Smash titles that are returning. There are 6 returning remixes in total.
Main article: List of spirits (Super Smash Bros. series)