SSB: Why Custom Fighters Have a Place Online

Earlier this week on Miiverse, Super Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakuri teased two new game modes that will be exclusive to the title’s Wii U version. Yesterday on Famitsu, Sakuri stated that he’s “not done yet” on the development of SSB Wii U, adding that created characters that were made on the 3DS can be transferred over to Nintendo’s home console. With the effort in bringing over custom fighters from 3DS to Wii U, could we finally be able to use our augmented roster in online matchmaking?

In my Super Smash Bros. review, I lamented about the game not including custom fighters in online matchmaking, only reserving such access to matches against friends locally or online. Nintendo justified the exclusion of Mii Fighters because they wanted to avoid copyright infringement and potential “bullying” against other players.

Let me unpack that for a moment.

Nintendo’s concerns about copyright infringement gives the notion that Nintendo believes everyone else is just as crazy as they are about properties. Modern games have gone so far in the direction of allowing players to customise their characters that almost anyone or anything can bear some resemblance through player creation. Hell, in theory, someone could take a Mario head and place it in front of the Kinect camera for NBA 2K15 and create a 6’ Mario baller. It’ll be ugly as sin, but the possibility is there nonetheless.

When discussing their concerns with “bullying”, Nintendo stated that in addition to their reservations towards possible copyright infringement, “it’s probably not as fun to play against someone using a character based on someone you may not know.”

That sounds like a Nintendo problem.

In my time playing SSB before unlocking all of the characters, I faced up against yet-to-be unlocked characters constantly, none of which I knew. And if Nintendo’s concerned with the Mii Fighters being over-powered (understandably so), then I would question why their movesets weren’t balanced in the first place.

With all of that said, this gives me little confidence that Nintendo will include Mii Fighters in online matchmaking with SSB for Wii U. However, one thing they haven’t been clear about is why the remaining roster’s custom movesets weren’t found in matchmaking, which gives room for their inclusion on Wii U.

The most fascinating thing about tweaking the present roster’s movesets is that it offers players the wiggle room to feel more comfortable with their characters. If you don’t like Mario’s Cape, you can equip Gust Cape that inflicts some damage; if you don’t really care for Link’s regular bombs, you pull giant ones out of his butt. Fans have responded well to the inclusion of custom movesets and have even called for their inclusion in Smash tournaments. Equipment, however… well, that’s another story.

Customisable fighters is easily one of the best features added to the Super Smash Bros. franchise as it personalises the brawler in ways we’ve never seen before. It’ll be a shame if such an addition only exists in SSB in a limited capacity. – JR

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