Recently, Nintendo announced that Namco Bandai will be developing the next entry in the Super Smash Bros. franchise, allegedly due out in 2013 for the WiiU and 3DS. Masaya Kobayashi, the main man behind the Ridge Racer series, and Yoshito Higuchi, the mind behind the Tales series, are heading up the project. Have no fear: Masahiro Sakurai, creator of the Smash Bros. series, is still overseeing the title.
This situation is receiving mixed views from Smash Bros. fans, and understandably so. Rather than spout off with the fanboys, we have compiled a list of pros and cons regarding Namco Bandai’s takeover of the title. How you feel about the situation is up to you, but keeping yourself informed is important.
+ Namco Bandai has a huge library of licensed titles and original IPs. Dragon Ball Z, .hack, Soulcalibur, and Xenosaga are just a small few of the titles in the company’s catalogue. A brawl atop an Ace Combat plane? Yes, please.
+ Namco Bandai has a proven track record with fighting games. Tekken 6 and Soulcalibur IV are just two recent fighters from the company, and the upcoming Project X Zone is prepping them for taking up the crossover-heavy Smash Bros. mantle.
+ Not only have Namco Bandai proven themselves on the fighting game front, but all of their fighters utilize online play that actually works. Super Smash Bros. Brawl boasted an online feature, but it was plagued by crippling lag and the Wii’s general online density. While the WiiU may still suffer from some of these issues, at least Namco Bandai has experience in online play that works.
+ Namco Bandai has handled Nintendo properties before. They developed the Mario Kart GP arcade cabinet (Japan only) and Mario Super Sluggers. In addition, other companies have handled Nintendo IPs; Capcom developed Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, and SEGA developed F-Zero GX. The point is, fans should not worry about outsiders handling their franchise. It has happened before.
- It is possible that Namco Bandai could favor their properties over Nintendo’s, leading to unbalanced gameplay. A similar incident happened with the Capcom characters’ power levels in Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
- While Nintendo has yet to truly crack the DLC market, Namco Bandai has a grasp of additional content; the upcoming Artorias of the Abyss pack for Dark Souls shows this. Downloadable content may be the way of the future, but Nintendo games have remained separate from the concept. Super Smash Bros. Brawl was one of the last games to actually have unlockable content rather than paid add-ons.
- This is purely fan-driven, but the purity of the Smash Bros. franchise is now completely gone. The original entry and Melee sported Nintendo characters exclusively, but that changed when Brawl included both Solid Snake and Sonic. Although these two were received positively, the Nintendo flavor was diluted. Now, it may be completely flushed out.
So is Namco Bandai taking over this Smash Bros. entry good or bad? Truthfully, we will have to wait until we get our hands on the game to make a call, but the game will not be playable until PAX Prime at the very least. Until then, feel free to share your thoughts on the franchise in the comments below, and be sure to check back here at Front Towards Gamer for any Smash Bros. updates.