Saturday, June 30, 2018

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: 100+ Classic Stages?

As a follow-up to this post, let's take a closer look at the list of confirmed returning stages in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and what would still be missing. Overall the game has the potential of featuring over one hundred classic stages and hopefully this is goal, which the developers are chasing.

However, an interview with Famitsu confirmed that not all stages will be returning (source), so we shouldn't be hoping for a complete collection.

Here's a list of all confirmed classic stages appearing in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, sorted by the Smash Bros. games where they first appeared (source):

If you count it all together, you get 79 classic stages in total. That's a lot! A lot! Anyway, it's not entirely clear, which version of the PictoChat stage we're getting. But it might that this is something like "PictoChat X", which combines both version, similar to Flat Zone X.

Now, let's compile a list of classic stages that still aren't in Ultimate, but may have the potential of returning as well. Of course we want to break the magic 100 here, so it has to be at least 21 more stages:

  1. Peach's Castle (64)*
  2. Kongo Jungle (64)*
  3. Mushroom Kingdom (64)
  4. Rainbow Cruise (Melee)
  5. Yoshi's Island (Melee)*
  6. Brinstar Depths (Melee)
  7. Fountain of Dreams (Melee)
  8. Delfino Plaza (Brawl)*
  9. Mario Bros. (Brawl)
  10. Pirate Ship (Brawl)*
  11. Hanenbow (Brawl)
  12. Golden Plains (3DS)
  13. Paper Mario (3DS)
  14. Rainbow Road (3DS)
  15. Dream Land (3DS)
  16. Mute City (3DS)
  17. Woolly World (Wii U)
  18. Jungle Hijinx (Wii U)
  19. Orbital Gate Assault (Wii U)
  20. Gamer (Wii U)
  21. Windy Hill Zone (Wii U)

Look at that. Exactly 100. First of all, it's likely that most stages from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will return. The obvious exceptions are Miiverse and Pyrosphere, but for the rest there is no good reason not to port them to Ultimate. They are already in HD and probably only require little work.

This includes some returning stages from Smash 64, Melee and Brawl, which have been marked with an asterisk in the above list. In case of Kongo Jungle (64) there is even additional evidence that this stage might return: they brought back Kongo Jungle from Melee, but renamed it to "Kongo Falls".

Another stage that has evidence going for it would be Brinstar Depths, since they have a remix of Kraid's Lair music already on the official page. This could be for the other Brinstar stage from Melee, however.

It would also be nice to have most of the 3DS stages returning and see them on the big screen for the first time. In case of Golden Plains there was the coin counter mechanic that might prevent this stage from returning, but they could just put the coin counters above the character avatars.

The rest would simply be nice to have, which even includes obscure stages like Hanenbow. But this stage was the only representation of Electroplankton in Smash and it was interesting in its own way. Also, since all stages will get Battlefield and Omega variants, even the "bad" stages would be nice to have in the end.

One stage, which didn't make the list, but would be a really awesome throwback, is the Metal Cavern from the original Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64. You couldn't select the stage originally and it was used for Metal Mario fights, but it's really simple and would certainly excite fans for finally being playable whenever you want.

Now, let's go through the stages that would still be missing in the end:

  • Planet Zebes (64)
  • Sector Z (64)
  • Mushroom Kingdom (Melee)
  • Icicle Mountain (Melee)
  • Poké Floats (Melee)
  • Mute City (Melee)
  • Rumble Falls (Brawl)
  • Pac-Maze (3DS)
  • Pyrosphere (Wii U)
  • Miiverse (Wii U)

The three Nintendo 64 stages have all been prototypes for similar stages in Melee: Mushroom Kingdom, Brinstar and Corneria. Especially Sector Z seems completely obsolete here, even though it's quite larger than Corneria. Planet Zebes is somewhat different from Brinstar, but not really enough that it needs to be there. It would also be confusing to have two stages that look almost identical, but maybe a similar layout could be used for a hazard-less variant of Brinstar, where you can't destroy parts of the stage.

In case of Mushroom Kingdom, the N64 original seems like the more interesting version with its warp pipes, so this has been chosen here over the Melee version.

The Mute City stage in Melee also feels like a prototype for the Port Town Aero Dive stage. Plus, there is a more interesting Mute City stage in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. So, this one didn't make the cut, but it's still possible that they might bring it back nonetheless. Of all the stages on this list it seems like the likeliest.

It's also possible that they might bring back the two vertical scrolling stages, Icicle Mountain and Rumble Falls, but quite questionable. They aren't generally favored, while they would require a good deal of work to remake. And they probably wouldn't fit as well with 16:9 screens, which favor a horizontal layout. There's also the question, how the hazard-less variants would look like. For the horizontal scrolling stages, like Mushroomy Kingdom, they could simply use a fixed section of the stage, but here they probably would have to offer something like the Battlefield or Omega variants in order to make it work.

Pac-Maze was a special stage, which took advantage of each player having his own screen on the Nintendo 3DS and like with the vertical scrolling stages it is also questionable that this will return in Ultimate, though possible. They could just create a new version of the stage that works without the gimmick. In any case, Pac-Man deserves something better than Pac-Land.

Miiverse is dead and so is the stage, unless they create fake Miiverse messages for it. However, this wouldn't be worth the trouble for a Battlefield clone, unless they want to show off some of the best Miiverse messages from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U... It's certainly a piece of Nintendo history, but it's probably not a good idea to keep people reminding what they are missing.

Pyrosphere was excluded here for the Ridley boss, because it might be weird with Ridley being playable (and a lot smaller). But they could create a spiritual successor that reuses some assets like the smaller enemies, e.g. a "Biosphere" stage. Maybe they could even put Baby Ridley in the background, riling the monsters up. Of course they could also bring back Pyrosphere without the boss, but this would be a boring stage.

Poké Floats is another candidate, where instead of bringing the stage back, they probably should make a new version, "Poké Floats 2", using some modern Pokémon for it.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Excitement

Judging from all the posts I made lately about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, this shouldn't come as a surprise: but I'm really excited for the new Smash Bros. game! This needs to be said, after I had expressed my severe lack of excitement about Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS back in 2014.

Overall I did enjoy these two games for how they played, but for the most part I simply played the "Smash" mode with friends and that was it. I never really was invested in the game, unlike with Super Smash Bros. Brawl, where I've done almost everything save for some Trophies. I even collected all 700 Stickers! With Super Smash Bros. 4 on the other hand I never really cared about such things... The game wasn't as interesting and there have been several factors as to why this was.

It probably all started with the way things were announced. In the beginning it looked like they were going to completely overhaul everything, starting with a very basic roster. But then, one after another, almost all the characters from Brawl got announced again, some with only minor changes, plus we got some returning characters from Melee as well. I didn't mind having some characters cut, especially when there's a good reason for it, but the way how they announced one old character after another was kind of boring and destroyed part of the excitement. "Oh, Yoshi is back as well, big surprise... Wait, why didn't they bring back Wolf?"

As a Zelda fan, I was instead focused on Hyrule Warriors at the time, where we finally got a game with a roster of playable characters entirely dedicated to the franchise, while the new Super Smash Bros. completely failed to do something meaningful with The Legend of Zelda. Its characters looked even worse than in Brawl and the only new representation were stages and Assist Trophies, featuring characters that all became playable in Hyrule Warriors (Legends)... At the same time Fire Emblem got three new characters and one returning character from Melee, which seemed a little unfair.

So, there was some disappointment about that, but the biggest issue was probably dividing the game into two halves, one for the Nintendo 3DS and one for the Wii U. This mainly affected the selection of stages, but I like having as many stages as possible, where this split felt wrong and like I was looking at only one half of a game. I've always imagined, how nice it would be to have at least the returning stages, which were only present in the 3DS version, in the Wii U version as well...

And that's a general theme with stages for me. In Melee I thought it would have been nice to have more classic N64 stages, like Hyrule Castle. In Brawl I thought it would have been nice to have more Melee stages, like Great Bay, and even some N64 stages. You can never have too many stages. The more, the merrier.

At the same time, it felt a little lazy to have only returning stages present for some franchises. Like there was only Brinstar for Metroid on the Nintendo 3DS. Overall, because they had to develop two games simultaneously, the efforts on certain ends were kind of lacking, may it be the selection of stages or the character works.

On top of all that, some of the cut characters were later sold as DLC and the DLC was rather expansive. To this day I haven't purchased all DLC characters and stages yet, because it never felt like it was worth the money.

Now, enter Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and it finally does things right. Instead of re-announcing every character one after another, they announced them all at once. "Everyone is here." Plus, from the looks of it they are bringing a massive amount of classic stages back, finally all in one game.

This is the basis that I secretly always was longing for and from here on out things will be really exciting, because most announcements will focus on new entries to the game. There probably won't be as many, but I don't mind, because the basis is already so fantastic and it's not like there is this giant amount of must-have newcomers waiting to be in the game. I don't really have any big expectations here, so there aren't any dreams that could be crushed.

Overall my stance on what I expect from Smash has really changed from the last game and I'm overall much more okay with the decisions that were made in Smash 4. It might be because I got my share of playable Zelda characters with Hyrule Warriors, it might be because I've played some Fire Emblem Heroes, but I made peace with the fact that my favorite franchise, Zelda, probably won't be getting any newcomers, while other not-so-big franchises do.

Thing is that Zelda only has so many main characters, where most of the remaining popular characters are one-shots like Midna that only matter in one game of the series, but not in the series as a whole. Fire Emblem on the other hand creates new main characters with every installment, where it's easy to pick new Smash newcomers from those games... Of course that doesn't mean that there should be a dozen of new Fire Emblem characters in the future, so things need to be relatively balanced between the franchises.

Also, to be honest, with one-shot characters like Midna or Ghirahim it would feel kind of weird, if they were playable now, since their time is essentially over. It's already somewhat weird with Sheik, but at least this is simply one of the main characters in disguise and they've managed to update Sheik with looks from the more recent games, like Twilight Princess and Breath of the Wild. As a matter of fact, they've updated the designs of all Zelda characters this time, which is already more than we got in the last game.

That being said, my "most wanted" is still Hilda as an Echo of Zelda. Of course she's also a one-shot, but as an Echo fighter she is simply a good fit, especially with Zelda's new design. And I wouldn't be overly disappointed, if Hilda doesn't make it into the game, since we only would be missing a clone.

There's also Metroid, where we finally got Ridley as a playable character, which is already amazing. The only way to disappoint me now as a Metroid fan would be turning Dark Samus into an Echo. I would be fine with her staying as an Assist Trophy, but if she becomes playable, she should at least bring her Assist Trophy moves and become a unique fighter.

I'm also worrying for some classic stages, which haven't been shown yet, like Pirate Ship, but I'm positive that most of them will return as well. That's part of the excitement, really, where I'm looking forward to details about stages in the game.

And this brings us back to the topic: excitement. You really notice the ambition of this game, which Sakurai had from day 1, where he planned to bring everyone back. It won't be split into two games anymore, it will be one big neat package filled with the history of Smash. And I love this. That's the Super Smash Bros. that I always wanted and I'm really looking forward to the next months and every new announcement.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Echo Estimations

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate introduces a new label for clone characters: "Echo Fighters". They don't get their own number on the roster and are placed right next to their original counterparts.

Not all clones are Echo Fighters, however, where it's currently a little bit fuzzy, what counts as an Echo and what doesn't. The most notable exception is Dr. Mario, who used to be in the same clone corner as Lucina and Dark Pit on the character select screens of both Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, but who isn't labeled as an Echo Fighter in Ultimate for some reason. This is probably, because his moves and stats are different from Mario's, even featuring entirely different Specials. So, this would mean that an Echo is only an Echo, if the moves work mostly the same, except for apparently the Final Smash.

Anyway, this new branding worked wonders and people, who used to be against clone characters are now asking for them... So, let's take a look at a list of characters, who could become potential Echo Fighters or who you see often requested as Echo Fighters, and let's discuss them:

  • Dark Samus (Samus)
  • Dixie Kong (Diddy Kong)
  • Dry Bowser (Bowser)
  • Funky Kong (Donkey Kong)
  • Impa (Sheik)
  • Hilda (Zelda)
  • Isabelle (Villager)
  • Jeanne (Bayonetta)
  • Ken Masters (Ryu)
  • Octoling (Inkling)
  • Ribbon Girl (Spring Man)
  • Shadow (Sonic)

Well, the developers shouldn't squeeze characters into the Echo role just to have them playable. And Dark Samus is probably a good example of this. While it might feel right to have her as an Echo of Samus in the game, her Phazon-powered moves are ultimately quite different, which should put her in the semi-clone category. The Assist Trophy already showcased some of her potential as a fighter and it would be a step backwards to have Dark Samus finally playable, but with the same moves as Samus... It really depends, how different Echo Fighters ultimately can be. If the three homing Phazon Orbs could be a replacement for the Missiles, she might as well be one. But then it would be questionable, why certain characters don't count as Echo Fighters.

Dixie Kong is another example, where she probably should become more unique, if she's getting into the game. However, apparently Diddy Kong doesn't use his tail attack in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate any longer, which is curious, because Dixie Kong doesn't have a tail... And originally both characters were planned as a duo for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, where only Diddy made the cut in the end. So, there might be a chance that Dixie becomes an Echo Fighter of her boyfriend, but in the very least she should use her hair twirl instead of the rocket barrels, which would already make her quite different.

Dry Bowser could work as an alt skin as well, but he's often his own character in the various Mario Sports games and he would be an interesting Echo candidate, where he's like a lighter variant of Bowser. But as an alt he would still be fine.

Funky Kong has gained some popularity with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, where he's even playable for the first time in the Switch version. He could become an Echo of Donkey Kong, but his iconic surfboard needs to be represented in some form, even if it's just as a taunt. It could also be used for some of the attacks.

Impa is a suggestion that you see quite often, mainly because the Zelda series hasn't seen a new representative in a long time and she is one of the few recurring characters left. But since Impa isn't that big of a deal, having her Skyward Sword incarnation as a full clone of Sheik seems to be the only solution for some. But to be honest, this feels rather "off" and it probably would be better not to have her at all (yet), instead of forcing her in the game like this. So far all the Echo Fighters feel and look similar to the original character, which wouldn't be the case with Impa, especially with her Skyward Sword version, which was a rather tall character.

Hilda on the other hand would be my personal favorite, who feels like a no-brainer with Zelda's new Kamigami no Triforce design. She would match her perfectly as an Echo fighter:

While she also could be just an alt skin, this would be wasted potential. It's still doubtful that the Zelda series will get any actual newcomer this time around, since they already brought Young Link back and refined most of the character designs, but Hilda as an Echo would be easy to make and a good representation of A Link Between Worlds. She could even use her scepter for some of the attacks, which Zelda does by hand. And the Phantom could be replaced by a Lorulean soldier. The Final Smash could also involve those dark tentacles that she summons for the "sealing move" or even Yuga sealing your opponent in a painting.

Isabelle is popular enough and even starred in Mario Kart 8 as a playable character next to the Villager. Ultimately she probably wouldn't be too different from him, but they could try to make her more unique, instead of an Echo Fighter...
Jeanne is basically already a clone of Bayonetta in the original games, where she has different attributes, but overall plays the same. If that's not the definition of an Echo Fighter, then I don't know what it is.

The same goes for Ken Masters, who is essentially the original clone. Street Fighter practically invented clone fighters with Ryu and Ken back in 1987 and having Ken as an Echo of Ryu would be a nice nod to that. Of course the moveset should be altered so that Ken really feels like Ken and not like a Ryu skin.

Splatoon 2 currently got the "Octo Expansion" DLC, where Octolings became playable as an alternative to Inklings. They are mostly the same, so it would make sense to add them later to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as Echo Fighters (maybe even as free DLC).

Last but not least, Ribbon Girl is stretching things (pun intended), because we don't even have Spring Man in the game yet. There's a possibility, however, where Ribbon Girl could become an Echo focused on more aerial play. But with the different "ARMS" in ARMS she would also have semi-clone potential, so she doesn't necessarily need to end up as an Echo. There's also Springtron, but he could simply be an alt of Spring Man.

Update: another candidate would be Shadow for Sonic, but similar to Isabelle we would lose a special Assist Trophy just to gain another clone character. But he has his fans and it's quite obvious, how Knuckles now got introduced as a new Assist Trophy with no sign of Shadow yet. This would also open the way for more 3rd party Echo Fighters like Ken and Jeanne.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption – Friend Voucher and Credit Hunt

I'm currently in the middle of replaying Metroid Prime 3: Corruption as part of the Metroid Prime Trilogy, where again I'm going for both the Veteran and Hypermode difficulties. Playing Veteran mode first has actually a greater purpose this time, because with the goal of fully completing the game, I also want to finally get all Credits and Friend Vouchers and there were still some tricky achievement-like goals left, where some of it is simply easier to do on Veteran.

Friend Vouchers

Luckily, I received enough Green Credits to unlock everything in the Extras menu from people over at GameFAQs, when WiiConnect24 was still a thing. Today you can't get these Green Credits anymore, unless you're using a prepared savegame, but you can still get the Friend Vouchers, which were originally used to send Green Credits to other players.

There was also this trick, where you could send Fried Vouchers and then restore your savegame from a SD card to get them back, which is why I still had my total of 23 Friend Vouchers preserved. They are earned by clearing various achievements throughout the game, with 26 in total. This meant that I was still missing three achievements and I made it my goal to find and unlock them. Well, I still had to get those:

  • GF Trooper Saved
  • Flawless Escape
  • Perfect Execution

Thing is that the game doesn't keep a list around of which ones you already got, so I had to make an educated guess. With "Flawless Escape" and "Perfect Execution" I was pretty sure that I never did those, because they are easy to screw up and frustrating to repeat. The other one completely eluded me, however. I had no clue, which one I could still be missing, because they all seemed doable enough. So, I had no choice than to try them all again one by one (here you can find an excellent guide by the way).

Luckily, it turned out that I originally failed to save one of the GF Troopers on the GFS Olympus sequence right at the beginning of the game, so I didn't have to keep looking and worrying for long. However, I still repeated the "Juggling Bonus 20" right before that, which isn't easy to pull off. But at least I didn't have to look any further. I suppose, when I first played this I was focused on the three Blue Credits, where you also have to save various GF Troopers, but I completely ignored this one.

So, this was easy enough, but sadly I can't say the same about "Flawless Escape". Getting this one was hell and it stagnated for over a week, because I couldn't do it. In the past I would try maybe once or twice and then move on, like any sane person would do. But since I'm now in it for the completion, there was no moving on until I got this.

And this created my personal nightmare of a Groundhog Day. You can't save right before this sequence, so if you screw up (and it's very easy to screw up here), you have to cross through half of Norion again, getting through the same scripted sequences again and again. You watch a Space Pirate getting blasted by a PED Marine, who then shouts "Hostile eliminated". You walk through Crawlmines and then destroy some actual mines. In the next room you have to wait forever, before the door opens. And then you have to skip two cutscenes with Ghor, who has the atrocity to block the way to the other Landing Bay, where the way would much shorter from there... This really made me hate Ghor more than already, where blasting his face with my Hyper Beam was more satisfying than ever.

Anyway, it takes about five minutes to retry the Ridley escape sequence and during that very short sequence it's easy to make a mistake. His feet hurt you, so you can't fully dodge to the sides. You need to be fast and precise here and it takes a lot of practice and some luck. Now, if the game had checkpoints like Metroid: Samus Returns, you could just skip back to the beginning of the sequence to try it again. Then it probably wouldn't take long to earn this Friend Voucher, because you can really practice it. But sadly Metroid Prime 3: Corruption doesn't have checkpoints and the extremely dull repetition of those scripted Norion sequences takes you out of it again and again, where it's hard to stay focused.

This really took a big hit on my motivation and it took me around a week to do it, before I could finally move on with the game. I started playing Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, right after I had finished Metroid Prime 2: Echoes last month on May 21st, but I wasn't done with this Friend Voucher before May 28th...

I probably couldn't have mustered the motivation if I didn't also complete Super Mario 3D World the other day, where I still had to clear every level with every character. For this I also had to do the crazy Champions Road again, as well as the Mystery House Marathon, both two tough and lengthy levels, where you don't have any checkpoints. But at least there you stay focused all the time, there are no dull moments. While here you just walk through some corridors. It's needlessly frustrating padding and I really hope that the Metroid Prime Trilogy games will get checkpoints like in Samus Returns if they are remastered in HD someday.

As for the "Flawless Escape" sequence itself, to me it felt like the first part was much harder, because Ridley spams the laser more and goes in for a bite attack more quickly. In theory clearing this challenge sounds "easy enough", where you lure his laser attacks to one side and then quickly dodge to the other, but in practice it felt like the return of Metroll Ridley. Sometimes he shoots in the middle or at the opposite side just to confuse you and I would dodge right into the beam, because you have to dodge early...

The key to success was watching Ridleys head more carefully instead of focusing on the attacks themselves. If you focus on the lasers, you would need to dodge right when it starts, which then causes twitchy behavior, where you dodge, while you shouldn't dodge. But watching his head gives you more time to react properly, so I then finally did it after multiple evening of trying this.

It didn't take me as long to score "Perfect Execution", in fact I got it on my first try. But repeating this would probably be worse, because the game shuts you off from the last save point during the entire turret sequence on Bryyo. So, to repeat this, you would also need to destroy the first turret again, which is an annoying fight thanks to the endlessly spawning Space Pirates.

I hate this mechanic and it's also what makes "Perfect Execution" tough, because these Aerotroopers keep swarming in and they might even appear behind the turret, where you can't immediately hit them. On top of that you have to deal with the terribly unresponsive motion controls of the Grapple Lasso, where you might waste time trying to get a clamp down, which then results in a loss. I was lucky, though, and I could do it despite these difficulties on my first try. This is still a terrible Friend Voucher, however...

Gold Credits

With that I finally had all 26 Friend Vouchers unlocked, but I was still missing a special Gold Credit called "All GF Troopers Survived". Or at least I thought, I was. There you have to make sure that all 20 Demolition Troopers survive on the Pirate Homeworld, which isn't the easiest task. You have to be really aggressive, use Hyper Mode almost all the time and make sure that none of the Space Pirates can take a shot at your comrades...

Again, I was in a Groundhog Day situation, where you do the same sequences over and over again. And that pitching sound of a GF Trooper dying really started to get on my nerves. But when I finally did it nothing happened, which had me really baffled. "Is this a glitch?" I tried it again, but again for nothing...

It turned out that I already got this Gold Credit on Normal Mode back in 2009 and I was simply miscounting the Gold Credits on the aforementioned Credits Guide. I was counting how many Gold Credits I was missing in the Extras menu (18), and then compared it against the number of Hyper Mode bosses mentioned in the guide (17). I thought I was one short, but defeating the Commander Pirate on Hyper Mode also rewards you with another Gold Credit, which wasn't included in the boss count of the guide, but as an extra entry, which I had missed when checking. I simply assumed that I was missing the most difficult one, while I wasn't really missing anything at this point.

Well, I still have to beat the game on Hyper Mode and I will hopefully collect all Gold Credits then. The biggest challenge will probably be Mogenar, who didn't gave me much trouble during Veteran Mode – he didn't even regenerate his orbs once. But I've tried him on Hyper Mode once before and it didn't go well... my run ended at that point. So, let's see, how this will go this time.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Stages, Stages, Stages!

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has the ultimate goal of bringing absolutely all fighters from all previous Super Smash Bros. game back. Well, Nintendo has shown a lot of the game last week at E3 and from the looks of it, it's not just the fighters that might all come back.

In fact, a total of 79 classic stages have been sighted already, where only 34 stages from past Super Smash Bros. games would be missing. You can take a look at the following topic on GameFAQs or at SmashWiki to see, which stages are back. And just because a stage hasn't been spotted yet, it doesn't mean that it won't be in the game.

But overall this is a lot already. In comparison: Super Smash Bros. Brawl had a total of 41 stages and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U a total of 55, including the DLC. Of course both games didn't have as many classic stages (10 Melee stages in Brawl and 21 returning stages on the Wii U), but getting this sheer amount of stages alone is super exciting.

The "Stages" section on the official website hasn't even opened yet and we might learn more about the plans for stages in the near future. But so far they have brought back over two thirds of the stages already, where they might as well bring back the rest!

However, there are some stages, where this might be a technical challenge. The Pac-Maze stage in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS for example took advantage of each player having their own screen. But it still would be possible to either change this and/or offer this unique feature for local multiplayer with multiple Nintendo Switch systems. (Golden Plains had a similar gimmick with the coin counters, but those could just be put above the character avatars to make it work.)

Also, the Miiverse service has been taken down, so if they were to bring the corresponding stage back, they would need to include either handpicked or faked Miiverse messages (like it's done in Splatoon 2). That's still a possibility, but in the end it was just a Battlefield clone. And we're getting Battlefield variants of every stage now, anyway.

There are also some stages that would be redundant. Flat Zone X for example combined both Flat Zone and Flat Zone 2, so you don't really need the older versions. We also don't need two different versions of the Pictochat stage and the Sector Z stage was effectively replaced by Corneria in later titles.

Another questionable candidate would be Pyrosphere, now that Ridley is a playable character in the game. Ridley as stage boss was basically the key feature of the stage, but they could still bring the stage back, with or without Boss Ridley. Technically, the Ridley in Metroid: Other M is a clone, so having him there next to the original Ridley could be a thing. And it would be fun to fight Boss Ridley as Ridley. In addition, this stage would be the perfect place to feature duels between Samus and Ridley...

Well, even without these questionable stages, there would still be over a hundred possible classic stages (106 to be exact), which is an amazing number. So, hopefully they will try to bring back even more stages than what we saw and maybe even break the hundred. But in the very least they should also bring back Pirate Ship and Brinstar Depths.

Pirate Ship is simply a fun stage and it's the only stage from the Zelda franchise that hasn't been confirmed yet. With it we would finally get all Zelda stages in one Super Smash Bros. game, which has never happened before. Also, the stage has been DLC in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, where you wouldn't want them to sell this as DLC yet again. So, it would feel wrong, if they left this out again.

And if Pyrosphere doesn't make it, Metroid fans should at least get Brinstar Depths back. This way we would have all of the original Metroid bosses united in the game in different ways, where you could have a scene, where Mother Brain hits Ridley, while Kraid is luring in the background.

Well, in any case this game will be stage heaven. Next to the large selection of classic stages, there's also a new option to deactivate stage hazards. This lets you disable stage bosses or anything else that might kill players, which will let you enjoy many more stages (competitively) without the disturbances. Plus, you get both an Omega and a Battlefield variant of every stage now, so there are basically three or four different versions of each stage. This will give you lots and lots and lots of possible playgrounds.

In addition, if Super Smash Bros. Ultimate still has a Stage Builder, which is quite likely, it hopefully will return some features from the one in Brawl and add some more backgrounds and textures on top. Ideally, you could most assets from the game's normal stages, so that you could create your own Zelda stages and so on.

New Stages?

So far two new stages have been confirmed: the Moray Towers from Splatoon, as well as the Great Plateau Tower from Breath of the Wild. In addition, it seems like there will be a stage based on Super Mario Odyssey, where we already could see New Donk City.

It's likely that upcoming newcomers will feature their own stages as well. Spring Man for example could come with the Spring Stadium from ARMS. Simon Belmont could feature Count Dracula's castle. And so on.

Here are some more ideas in addition:

  • Lorule Castle - This stage from A Link Between Worlds is a must for the amazing music alone. It could take place at the inside of the castle with some grates over lava or feature the bridge between two caste towers at the top. This could be Hilda's stage, if she were to become an Echo of Zelda.
  • Biosphere - A different stage based on Metroid: Other M, where they could re-use some assets from the Pyrosphere stage like the smaller enemies, if it doesn't return. You first meet the Ridley clone inside the Biosphere, which could be even put in the background.
  • SR388 Surface - The landing area in Metroid: Samus Returns would have Samus' Gunship in the background and maybe even feature the infamous Baby Metroid in some form.
  • Sarasaland - Originally it was planned to add a stage based on Super Mario Land to Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. This eventually became the GameBoy Dream Land, but they could still go back to the idea and maybe even create a modern recreation of Daisy's homeland.
  • Minecraft - Probably the best way of representing this iconic franchise in Super Smash Bros., which matched Nintendo's level of cult like no other game, is via a stage, entirely made out of building blocks. Of course there would be some Bedrock foundation, but the rest would be pure block chaos. They could even put some enemies in there, like Creepers, and make the stage switch between overworld, Nether and the End.


With the massive selection of classic stages, some good new stages, the option to play without stage hazards, the Battlefield and Omega versions of each stage and a good Stage Builder, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will become the absolute stage paradise.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Metroid Contents

As with Zelda, let's go through the confirmed Metroid contents in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Of course the big deal is this guy:

Ridley! Finally, the Metroid series got a new playable character, who isn't just some other version of Samus. To be fair, the Metroid franchise doesn't really have many recurring (main) characters going for it, for the most part it's really just Samus. But Ridley is her arch nemesis, who has appeared in a majority of the Metroid games. So, he deserved this spot without a question.

With that we have now three fighters from the Metroid universe:

  • Samus
  • Zero Suit Samus
  • Ridley

They also showed as Meta Ridley at some point, which wasn't featured as an alt in the E3 demo. But it's likely that this is still an alt that can be unlocked or wasn't simply available in the demo and not some Echo fighter.

Zero Suit Samus was my main in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U / Nintendo 3DS and I'm glad that she remains as a separate fighter. She even got a new Final Smash, which looks alright. The old one wasn't exactly good and in competitive matches you won't be using items anyway, so Final Smashes aren't that important overall.

What I don't really like, is how they decreased her bust size quite a bit. I guess, it makes sense for her to be more "sporting", but I always liked how Samus is this unrealistically attractive bombshell under the Power Suit. It's not a big deal, but I hope that this change wasn't made to cater to some feminists or alike.

With stages, we so far got three confirmed returning stages:

  • Brinstar (Melee)
  • Norfair (Brawl)
  • Frigate Orpheon (Brawl)

Those are exactly the same stages that used to be in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and hopefully there is more than that. The stages, which haven't been confirmed yet, are Planet Zebes (64), Brinstar Depths (Melee) and Pyrosphere (Wii U).

Planet Zebes might be a questionable case, because it essentially just was the prototype for the Brinstar stage and both use the same mechanic with the rising acid. It's still possible, however, since the layout is somewhat different and other franchises have had stages that are similar as well. They should rename the stage then, however, because both Brinstar and Norfair are part of Planet Zebes. Alternatively, the hazardless version of the Brinstar stage could resemble the original Planet Zebes somewhat.

Brinstar Depths already got a music track featured on the official site, but this doesn't have to mean anything, because this track also used to be in all games ever since, while the stage itself was absent. However, it certainly would still be nice to have this stage back with Kraid in the background, while you fight as Ridley in the foreground. Out of the missing Metroid stages, this one looks the most promising.

Pyrosphere is a special case, because it essentially was a boss stage in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, featuring Ridley as the boss, who has now become playable. So, there is a high chance that this stage won't return. But... the Ridley in Other M was a clone of the original Ridley, where you technically could have Ridley fighting his clone here, which could be fun. It would also be the perfect stage for duels between Ridley and Samus and they could simply remove the boss, if it were an issue... So, I wouldn't write this stage off entirely just yet.

Anyway, we've also already seen both the Metroid and Mother Brain Assist Trophies. Only Dark Samus would be absent so far, while Samus seemingly doesn't even have a Dark Samus recolor alt any longer, which leads us to the following topic...

What else could there be?

In terms of fighters, there is really only one character that still has a shot and that is Dark Samus. Overall we probably shouldn't expect anything for Metroid at this point, since we already got Ridley, but with Dark Samus half of the work is basically already done with the Assist Trophy.

I've seen people suggesting Dark Samus an Echo Fighter for Samus, but this probably wouldn't do her justice. While she would probably be still a clone of Samus, her Assist Trophy already displayed quite different moves, like the homing Phazon spheres. In the Metroid Prime Trilogy games she also never used normal Missiles or Bombs... So, Dark Samus would be better off as an Assist Trophy, instead of becoming an Echo, if she were to lose her moves.

Otherwise there aren't really any candidates. Sylux might become one in the future, but at first he needs to star as the antagonist of Metroid Prime 4, which was absent at E3 2018. So, it might be a while, before he could be considered for Smash, if ever.

In terms of stages, it would be nice to have something that represents the most recent game: Samus Returns. Four of the past stages have all taken place on the Planet Zebes, where it would be nice to feature SR388 for a change. The most iconic place here would probably be the surface, where Samus' Gunship has landed. They could even feature the infamous Baby Metroid here in some form. And if you've beaten Samus Returns, you know that this place will be a really good choice, considering...

If that's still too new and if the Pyrosphere really won't return in Ultimate, they could also use a different area from Metroid: Other M, like the Biosphere. This way they could even re-use some of the smaller enemies that were present in the Pyrosphere stage. And they could put Baby Ridley in the background, which would be funny, where it maybe could even rile up the monsters on the stage.

If Dark Samus really makes it into the game, there could also be a stage to feature her, like the Sanctuary Fortress from Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, where you duel with her in the original game. Elysia could make for a beautiful stage as well. But it might be a little bit out of date to include stages based on the Prime Trilogy now... If Metroid even gets one new stage, we can already be quite happy.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

E3 2018: Roundup

This was it for this year's E3. As expected, the focus was entirely on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, with no other big games stealing the show. It wasn't as extreme as with Breath of the Wild two years ago, where they only featured the one game and the one game only, but next to Smash they mostly showed upcoming expansions for existing Nintendo games, Splatoon 2 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, as well as two new Mario fun games.

It was a little bit surprising that they didn't have any Nintendo 3DS software at all. This was clear for the Nintendo Direct in advance, because they had announced this, but that they didn't even show any 3DS games during the Treehouse live stream is a sign that they want to be truly done with the system. They could shown Luigi's Mansion for example, but they didn't.

With that there also goes the hope that we still might get another Zelda game in the A Link Between Worlds engine on the Nintendo 3DS, because otherwise they would have shown this at this year's E3 for sure.

Overall 2018 doesn't feel all too exciting outside of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The Nintendo Switch got mostly ports this year so far and even Ultimate is mostly about bringing all the old contents back, which is amazing, but also not a big reason to finally buy a Switch, if you're a Nintendo Wii U owner.

Next year should be more interesting, however. That's when I would expect to see Metroid Prime 4 and maybe even two Zelda titles for the system: Skyward Sword HD and Grezzo's upcoming Zelda game.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Zelda Contents

After yesterday's massive reveal of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, let's go through the confirmed Zelda contents. The short version: almost everything is back and it looks better than ever!

We got all Zelda characters that used to be in past Smash games, including all three different versions of Link: Link, Young Link and Toon Link. But all Zelda characters have been visually overhauled based on different games now:

  • Link (Breath of the Wild)
  • Sheik (Breath of the Wild?)
  • Zelda (A Link to the Past / Between Worlds)
  • Ganondorf (Ocarina of Time)
  • Young Link (Ocarina of Time)
  • Toon Link (The Wind Waker)

Sheik's new design seems to be based on the Sheikah stealth armor set from Breath of the Wild, but the rest of the redesigns should be quite clear.

Ganondorf went back to basics with his Ocarina of Time and Melee design. He even uses the infamous sword from the Spaceworld 2000 demo now, which was a much wanted change in the character. And the new Ganon Final Smash looks amazing. The Ganon from Ocarina of Time is still the scariest one.

Link himself was updated based on Breath of the Wild, as expected from the first teaser of the game. He didn't get changed as much as expected, however, the most notable change is the Remote Bomb. The Ancient Arrow Final Smash looks also great.

Young Link seemingly hasn't changed much from Melee and hopefully he will turn into Fierce Deity Link as his Final Smash. With Ganondorf being a full Ocarina of Time rep again, it would have been nice, if they had at least changed Young Link's appearance and items based on Majora's Mask.

Toon Link seemingly seems to be the one, who has changed the least. He still got the old Final Smash and everything, but this was to expected, if Link gets changed more and more. So, Toon Link is there for the classic Link experience. In this sense they also could have altered Young Link somewhat more.

Last but not least, we have Zelda with a design from A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds. She looks really lovely, which was a much needed change after her grim look from the previous game. The explanation, why she is fighting rather than the Zelda from Breath of the Wild, was rather silly, because we never saw Zelda fight in those games either. It's simply that the magic spells fit a classic Zelda better than the Breath of the Wild one, where they would have to update her using the Sheikah Slate or technology. But the new Zelda looks great and it adds to the variety, so this was probably a good choice.

In terms of Zelda stages, it also looks like we're getting all of them back. Smash Wiki lists by now a total of 80(!) sighted retro stages, where the following are from the Zelda franchise:

  • Hyrule Castle (64)
  • Hyrule Temple (Melee)
  • Great Bay (Melee)
  • Bridge of Eldin (Brawl)
  • Gerudo Valley (3DS)
  • Spirit Train (3DS)
  • Skyloft (Wii U)

The only one that still wasn't shown, is Pirate Ship. It's one of my favorites and also was DLC for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, so I would be surprised, if this one was left out intentionally. So, it's probably there as well.

The new stage, the Great Plateau Tower, looks really cool as well. Using the Great Plateau as a stage in some form was a natural choice, because the view of Hyrule there is amazing and everyone is familiar with it. But utilizing the Sheikah Tower there was a very smart move, because this way they could also feature the Sheikah technology.

This certainly looks like a great additions and if we also get Pirate Ship back, we would have a stage from all the major 3D Zelda games.

What else could there be?

The demo has a selection of costumes, where the absence of a Hilda alt for Zelda is noticeable. However, we also saw that Ridley would be getting a Meta Ridley alt. Unless that was an Echo, which they probably would have announced already, it's possible that the characters will have more alternates than what was in the demo, probably stuff to unlock. Still, it's thinkable that Hilda might become an actual Echo for Zelda in this game or even her own character.

It's not likely that one-shots in the series like Midna will ever become playable, but since Hilda is basically the mirror version of Zelda, she would feel more meaningful and also look great next to the new Zelda as well.

Of course it's possible that either Tingle or Skull Kid get promoted from being Assist Trophies to actual fighters, like it was the case for Little Mac. Tingle appeared in many Zelda games as a side character and also was the star of four of his own games. Skull Kid appeared in multiple Zelda games as well and was basically the main villain of Majora's Mask. So, there is some character potential here.

As for moveset potential, things maybe don't look as good, which is probably why they were Assist Trophies in the first place and might even stay that way... These roles also fit them quite well. Skull Kid is a prankster, where him screwing with the fighters makes a lot more sense than him being a fighter himself. But in the end they could potentially make anyone playable and it comes down to popularity, where at least Skull Kid should have a good chance.

Tetra remains as a possibility, where they could have withheld the Pirate Ship stage intentionally, because it's going to be her stage now (Toon Link gets to ride the Spirit Train). And it would be nice to have at least one more character in the Toon Zelda style. (But it also could be Tingle, who gets added in his Wind Waker incarnation and uses the Pirate Ship stage as a home stage.)

Impa is a candidate that's mentioned quite often, but she doesn't feel all that likely. They could use her younger Skyward Sword version, but for the most part she's an old woman during the series, who "imparts" information, and she never was as relevant to make it into Super Smash Bros., to be honest. She could also be squeezed into an Echo role for Sheik, as many suggest.

But overall the Zelda franchise got six characters already and we probably shouldn't expect a new one just now. Hilda as an Echo seems like the likeliest candidate at the moment, because Echoes don't need as much effort and she would fit the concept quite well.

As for Assist Trophies, I would love to see Hestu doing his dance party. The four Champions could become Assist Trophies as well, making use of their individual abilities. This would actually be pretty sweet. But the real Assist Trophy material are probably Guardians, crawling over the stage and targeting other players with their laser beams.

With stages, it's possible to get a "Lorule Castle" stage as a counterpart to the Hyrule Castle one. It would be the home of a potential Hilda character. Both Hilda and Lorule Castle would represent A Link Between Worlds, which is an important Zelda title and didn't really get anything in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, sadly.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Announced

To quote myself from last time:

The absolute best case scenario would be, if they bring everyone back. Everyone from Super Smash Bros. 4 and its DLC, plus the Ice Climbers, Wolf, Snake, Young Link and even the missing Pokémon. To make the ultimate Smash Bros. that has everything. This isn't likely, but we can always dream, right...?

Yes, we can dream. And sometimes, in rare occasions, dreams come true. I originally made an argument as to why "Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch" should be based on a port of the Wii U and 3DS versions, where you get all characters and stages from these games and add on top of that to create the ultimate Smash Bros. game.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate isn't a port, but it does everything I was hoping for and more, which makes it even better than anything I had imagined. I'm really happy about this announcement, because this looks like the Super Smash Bros. that I always wanted. One that has almost everything from past Smash games and new content on top.

While I enjoyed, how Super Smash Bros. 4 played, I never really liked how the game got split between the 3DS and the Wii U versions with its contents, especially the stages. I wanted all in one. And even back in Brawl I always thought that they could have added some stages from the Nintendo 64 game and maybe even more stuff from Melee. It always felt like there was something missing. A character, some stages, something. And Super Smash Bros. 4 even made money from selling returning characters and stages, like the Pirate Ship or Roy...

Now, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate does everything right. They announced this game by saying, "everyone is back!" And that's the best case scenario. They won't reveal one returning character after another, so you have to keep worrying for months, whether your main will be back or not. Well, he, she or it will be back, whether that character was from Melee, Brawl or 4. No one is left out this time!

In addition they will bring tons of stages back. Smash Bros. Wiki lists a over 60 returning stages that were sighted. That's already more than there used to be in any Smash game! And that's probably not all of it, maybe the developers are even so ambitious to bring all stages back.

Though, of course there will be some exceptions like redundant stages or the Miiverse stage, which might not work anymore. Though, they technically could just add fake Miiverse messages to it to replicate the experience. But in the end that was just a Battlefield clone anyway, so it's not that important...

Apropos Battlefield, in my original suggestions for Smash Switch I mentioned "Alpha Stages", which are like the Omega Stages just for the Battlefield layout. They made this finally happen, which is another dream come true! (Update: plus they also added the option to turn off stage hazard. This will increase the options for competitive play significantly.)

Everything also looks a lot more polished. Super Smash Bros. 4 often felt like a cheap effort to me, where stages got directly ported from Brawl and most characters just got simple recolor alts. This time they are putting a lot more efforts into the graphics, offering costumes with different models and graphical updates to past stages. Well, to be honest, the new Bridge of Eldin looks very "wrong", but otherwise I'm really happy about these efforts. I especially like, how the Zelda characters are all from different eras this time, but more about Zelda in Smash in an upcoming post.

And of course there is also new stuff... And what better way to prove this than to finally add Ridley? There had been some doubts about this because of his size, even from Sakurai himself in the past, but seeing him in action like this is quite satisfying. And finally the Metroid series got a proper new after all those years. I'm curious, whether the Pyrosphere stage will be back and still feature Ridley as a boss, but it basically would become his stage.

Sakurai said that we shouldn't expect too many newcomers and I'm okay with that. By bringing back all characters and a majority of the stages from all previous Smash games, there will be already more than enough content. New stuff is the icing on the cake here. However, there are still characters left that feel likely:

  • Simon Belmont
  • Captain Toad (w/ Captain Toadette alt)
  • Dixie Kong
  • King K. Rool
  • Spring Man (w/ Springtron alt)
  • Ribbon Girl (Spring Man Echo or semi-clone)
  • Another Xenoblade character

With those it would feel quite complete, covering some cult classics, as well as some recent games on Wii U and Switch. There is probably some stuff that I'm missing here, like some new Pokémon, but I wanted to keep it short.

There is also the possibility of DLC in the future, like some character from Fire Emblem - Three Houses (Edelgard looks very beautiful and promising) or maybe even Sylux from Metroid Prime 4, once that is finally shown. Some characters in the above list, like Spring Man / Ribbon Girl and Rex, could also be DLC candidates, depending on how early the base game roster was decided.

Bomberman sadly got turned into an Assist Trophy or otherwise he could be on this list as well. But I understand the design decision behind this, because these large explosions would be overpowered for a normal character.

Anyway, Assist Trophies are another interesting topic, especially which ones haven't been shown yet. Since Little Mac got promoted from one, it's possible that a few of the previous Assist Trophies get turned into actual characters as well, including Skull Kid, Dark Samus, Ghirahim or Dillon (Update: Ghirahim was sighted during a Treehouse match).

Overall I'm super excited for this, which makes me happy, because I wasn't all that interested in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. This is finally the ultimate Smash I was always craving for. And I'm super excited about all upcoming announcements for this game.

That being said, it won't make me buy a Switch yet. As much as I love the "Ultimate" approach, it's all about stuff that I already have in some form with the previous games. I want it and it will be one of the absolute must-have games for the system, but it can wait. I don't need to play this as soon as possible, so I will be waiting for a real reason to finally buy the Switch. Plus, I can always play this at friends'.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Hyrule Blog Historia III

Today Hyrule Blog is celebrating its 10th Anniversary, where this blog was created exactly 10 years ago with a post about the Future of Zelda.

Sadly, it's not a time for celebration, because this blog is currently offline due to the GDPR situation. But it might come back in the future, where in this case it would be even sadder, if it didn't get a proper post for its 10th Anniversary. So, let's do this.

Actually, in the past two years there were already two similar landmark posts, which covered different topics. The original Hyrule Blog Historia explained the origins of this blog, how it all started. And Hyrule Blog Historia II gave an overview over the different article series on this site.

This time I wanted to talk about my top 5 predictions over the years. Part of the fun with this blog is predicting what future Zelda games might bring and often I'm wrong. But I'm not always wrong and I want to feature some of the most solid predictions as some vaunt here.

1) A Second Nintendo DS Zelda Game

This goes back to the aforementioned first post of this blog, the Future of Zelda, where in mid-2008 I gave a brief overview what might be in the store for the next years. And most of it was wrong. Master Quest never made it to the Virtual Console, there were no Zelda WiiWare titles, there was no fishing spin-off game (though this was meant as a joke anyway) and Skyward Sword wasn't played in first person. But I also predicted that Phantom Hourglass would get a sequel in late 2009, even before the new Wii Zelda game.

This wasn't the most popular prediction at the time, because most fans simply wanted that new Wii Zelda game. And frankly speaking, Skyward Sword appeared way too late in the Wii's life cycle. But Spirit Tracks would bridge some time and use the engine of Phantom Hourglass to create something new after two years, similar to what Majora's Mask did after Ocarina of Time.

2) A Zelda to the Sky

In an article about Zelda Wii, which would later become Skyward Sword, I made the suggestion that the game should utilize Wii MotionPlus (a no-brainer) and take place in the sky with various sky islands. This turned out to be true, but sadly it wasn't as ambitious as originally expected, since the focus was still on the individual realms on the land, while the sky was just a simple hub. Skyloft was nice, though.

3) Four Swords DSiWare Singleplayer Mode and Extra Stages

After Four Swords was announced as a DSiWare title at E3 2011, I played through the original again and made a proposal for how a singleplayer mode could work based on the game's two-player experience, which was based on my attempts of playing the game alone with two GameBoy Advance systems. And this became a reality exactly the way I described it with the Four Swords Anniversary Edition.

This was followed by another suggestion that the game should get additional levels, where you can get the unlockable sword moves, the Sword Beam and the Hurricane Spin Attack. Originally those techniques were gotten via A Link to the Past and there had to be a way to get them in the new version. I even made the suggestion that these levels could be super-challenging. And all of this became a reality, much like the singleplayer...

4) The Bow of the Wild

Back in 2013, I dubbed the upcoming Zelda game for Wii U The Bow of the Goddesses. Based on the Battle Quest mini-game in Nintendoland, I thought that the Wii U GamePad would lead to a higher importance of the bow, much like the sword became very important in Skyward Sword.

While it didn't become the "main gimmick" and the bow was just one of many, many big changes in Breath of the Wild, the bow finally became much more prominent in this game, getting the same status as sword and shield. The first trailer even showed Link fighting exclusively with a bow.

5) Four Swords 3DS

This is my favorite one. Already back in August 2013, even before A Link Between Worlds was released, I predicted that the game should be followed by a Four Swords Online game based on its engine. Before E3 2015 I made another post that this is now the time for an online multiplayer Zelda game. And this is where Tri Force Heroes then was announced.

It wasn't exactly a Four Swords game, more like "Three Swords", and it didn't get a full single-player experience, just the typical "play the multiplayer levels alone" mode, but it was another multiplayer game based on the engine of A Link Between Worlds, using the Energy meter for its items and fully playable online. It wasn't perfect, but I still had a blast with the game!


To be honest, I don't have the most impressive track-record here, but it's all about the fun. It's not so much as about making the right predictions, but showing the possibilities, like I did with The Future of Zelda on Switch. And maybe some of those predictions even come true the day after tomorrow, when Nintendo announces future Switch games at E3 2018. Let's see...

Saturday, June 9, 2018

E3 2018: Hopes and Expectations

E3 2018 will start soon with the first press conference taking place in 90 minutes. Now is the time to place your final bets of what we can expect to see at the world's most important video gaming event.

Super Smash Bros.!

Well, this year the focus will clearly be on the new Super Smash Bros. for the Switch. It probably won't go as far as with Breath of the Wild two years ago, where it's Nintendo's only title, but it certainly will be the main attraction. And there's a lot to be excited about. Will the game more port-ish or entirely new? Will any characters get cut? What are the newcomers other than the Inklings? We will surely know more in a few days...

I'm still a fan of the "Vergeben" leak from last time, where he said that we're getting no cuts, Ridley, Simon Belmont and the Ice Climbers, as well as some Minecraft representation. That sounded really good. By now he also posted on reddit that Snake will be back as well, which makes sense, since Simon Belmont is a Konami character. So, this sounds even better. If they also bring back Wolf, things would be really awesome, roster-wise.

I also still like the idea that Link and Zelda might get completely overhauled based on Breath of the Wild, while Toon Link and Toon Zelda replace their old versions. Toon Zelda using the Phantom move makes a lot of sense. I would also like, if they would bring back Young Link as well, who could be another alternative for the classic Link.

To be frank, the absolute best case scenario would be, if they bring everyone back. Everyone from Super Smash Bros. 4 and its DLC, plus the Ice Climbers, Wolf, Snake, Young Link and even the missing Pokémon. To make the ultimate Smash Bros. that has everything. This isn't likely, but we can always dream, right...?

Metroid Prime 4 and Metroid Prime Trilogy HD?

It would be really exciting to learn more about Metroid Prime 4 and maybe even have an HD-remaster of the Metroid Prime Trilogy announced for Switch. But... right now this feels more like 2019 stuff. The fourth Prime game is probably still in the middle of development and would become a bigger title for the next year.

I wouldn't mind to be proven wrong, but I'm also very patient, since I don't have a Switch yet.

A Final Nintendo 3DS Zelda Game?

Overall I don't expect any announcements for Zelda on the Nintendo Switch. We just got the Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition and some remasters like Skyward Sword HD probably won't happen before next year.

While the Nintendo E3 Direct apparently will focus on Switch games only, there's still the Treehouse live stream, where they will most likely showcase some upcoming Nintendo 3DS games in addition, like the Luigi's Mansion demake. Last year they even announced Metroid: Samus Returns in those segments. However, this probably hurt the awareness about the game and it's likely that they won't repeat that and just focused on the already announced games.

Still, if the Nintendo 3DS will get another Zelda game based on A Link Between Worlds, like the rumored Link's Awakening remake, then it's now or never. If it's not at E3, it won't be happening.

I don't expect Nintendo to present any mobile games at E3, because they would want to focus on their own hardware, so a Smartphone Zelda probably won't be announced at E3 either.

SoulCalibur VI on Switch

This is self-explaining pretty much. I would love for this game to come to Nintendo Switch with Link as a guest character. That would be a must-buy!

Cia by Sciamano240

I rarely post fanart on this blog, but there are the occasional pieces that are absolutely amazing, like this one. Cia is my favorite character in Hyrule Warriors and this art captures her seductive nature perfectly.