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Super Smash Bros. is a series that comes down to numbers. The number of stages, the number of lives someone has left, the critical percentage of damage a character has taken, and the number of characters in each game are just a few of the most important numbers to keep in mind when thinking about Super Smash Bros. In the original Super Smash Bros., there were 8 fighters with 4 unlockable characters, bringing the original roster to a total of 12 unique champions.
The second game in the Super Smash Bros. saga, Super Smash Bros. Melee, added 14 new combatants to the original 12. Seven years later, Super Smash Bros. Brawl expanded that character selection from Melee’s 26 to a much larger 39 playable characters. But that doesn’t necessarily mean there are 13 more characters based simply on those numbers. The jump from Melee to Brawl actually included the removal of some characters, whilst adding newer ones. Because of this, there were actually 17 new characters with the release of Brawl, since 4 characters did not make it into Brawl’s roster.
With this analysis, there are some expectations to be made about the upcoming release of Super Smash Bros. for WiiU/3DS. There is an interesting point that everyone must understand when judging the amount of possible characters in the new Super Smash Bros., and that is with more characters makes a harder game to balance. It would be easier for the Nintendo team to maintain, balance, and patch 12 characters than it would be to balance 50. At the same time, with the assistance of Bandai-Namco, the development and patching team will have more hands to help keep the game as balanced as possible, regardless of roster size. This is also assisted by the Wii U and 3DS’s evolved online structure.
At the moment, there are 36 confirmed fighters that will be playable, and many veterans from the previous games are expected to return as well. At this point, it isn’t too outlandish to expect maybe 50 characters in the final product. Let’s be clear on something though: 50 characters means only 11 more spots than Super Smash Bros. Brawl. In the past versions, the added character spots between games was 14 from original to Melee, and 13 (17 including transformations) from Melee to Brawl. Adding 11 more characters would actually be the smallest expansion in comparison to the earlier two. The rest of the fighters are yet to be seen, and it could very much be left up in the air until the release of the 3DS version in Japan this September.
What is also important to note is that we have seen the most representatives from different Nintendo game series than other iteration of Super Smash Bros. Punch-Out, Wii Fit, and Animal Crossing now all have playable characters in the new Super Smash Bros. It wouldn’t be crazy to expect characters from games like Xenoblade Chronicles or Golden Sun, as at this point, anything can happen. The character reveals on July 14th (Robin and Lucina) threw everyone a curve ball, and all we can do now is speculate and look at Super Smash Bros. by the numbers.
So you tell me, would 50 characters be an understandable amount of characters, or is that too low when you consider the past expansions on the game’s roster size? – JT
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