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Published:April 9th, 2014 17:53 EST

Game Preview: Update on Super Smash Bros. 4

By Derek Sanders

Tuesday April 8th was the latest Nintendo Direct video announcement and it was devoted entirely to one of the most anticipated Nintendo releases of this year: Super Smash Brothers 4. As the game that popularized the platform fighter genre of video games, Super Smash Bros. has a roster of characters, stages, items, and other content from different Nintendo games like Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, Metroid, and more with occasional additions of third-party franchises like Sega`s Sonic the Hedgehog, Capcom`s Mega Man, and Konami`s Metal Gear Solid. In Tuesday`s Nintendo Direct, Masahiro Sakurai, the main director behind the Smash Bros. series provided some information about its 4th entry.

There are two different versions of the game being made, one for the Wii U console and one for the 3DS handheld. Both games will have the same roster of characters and will be able to connect with each other in some way but both games will have their own unique roster of stages and exclusive features. The Wii U stages have more emphasis placed on console games like The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Punch-Out, and Super Mario Galaxy and the 3DS stages have more emphasis placed on handheld games like The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Pokemon X and Y, and Fire Emblem. In addition, some stages may feature boss characters, like the appearance of the Yellow Devil in the Mega Man stage, Dr. Wily`s Castle.

One of the modes exclusive to the 3DS is the Smash Run. It is essentially a platforming game where players have five minutes to explore a randomly generated level, collecting power-ups for their character. When time runs out, the players are put into a match with up to three other players using their powered-up characters.

More changes have been made to the game`s online multiplayer mode. For Smash Bros. 4, it has been divided into two modes, For Fun and For Glory. For Glory Mode is meant for ranked competitive play, where characters will battle on the Final Destination arena (essentially a flat platform with no gimmicks) with all items turned off and wins and losses will be kept on record, while For Fun Mode is meant for casual play, with all stages and presumably all items available for selection. It also includes the Global Smash Power feature, which will essentially function as the game`s leaderboard.

For months now, announcements of new characters have been slowly revealed. On Tuesday, five new characters were announced with four returning veterans and one newcomer. One of the characters was Yoshi from the Yoshi`s Island series, who has been one of the game`s main characters since its first entry, and the newcomer was Greninja from Pokemon, the fully-evolved form of one of the three starter Pokemon from the latest games. 

The three others were Sheik from the Legend of Zelda, Zero Suit Samus from Metroid, and Charizard from Pokemon, now as their own separate characters. Previously, these three characters were accessible through choosing other characters (Zelda, Samus, and Pokemon Trainer respectively) and doing something special to switch to each different character, but in the announcement, Sakurai stated that all transformations and switches previously tied to characters have been removed so that the developers can focus on creating full movesets for each character. He also gave a vague statement about "custom movesets" being available, but what this means will be revealed at a later date.

The releases for these games are still a long time away so until then more details can be expected to come out over the next few months. Different release windows for each game have been announced. The 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. 4 will be in stores in summer 2014 and the Wii U version will be in stores in winter 2014.