If Super Smash Bros. can be applauded for one thing (amongst numerous other things of course), it can be the fact that they fully embrace the heritage and legacy of Nintendo titles in regards to their fighting roster. However, some of this has led to some curious character additions, ones that honestly have no real difference from other characters. Gamers define these as clone character. In Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS though, a new twist was added to the mix. Where certain characters alternate costumes make them look like totally different characters. So what’s the difference between clones and alternate costumes?
Masahiro Sakurai has the answers, “With regards to Bowser Jr., the Koopalings, Marth vs. Lucina, there are reasons for each,” said Sakurai in an interview“ Lucina was the first to be split-off, this is because we made Marth’s moves more standard so he could be easy to handle by novice players.”
It’s worth nothing that Lucina and the others weren’t intended to be clones, the process of balancing them however ended up making them that way.
“However, any character which gained some uniqueness through their balancing needed to be separated so their results and statistics could be counted properly,” Sakurai explained. “It wouldn’t have been fair to have the results counted together even though their strengths differ between the variations. In the end, what was needed for each of these changes was to reduce the work required to balance the game. Hence all these characters were adjusted relative to their clone. For example, Marth and Lucina would only be tested against each other, until they were roughly equal and in balance.”
Now of course when it comes to Super Smash Bros., the roster is easily the most hyped part of the game. Especially when it comes to what new characters will enter the title. The process of making the roster is a long endeavor, and is not taken lightly. From how they look, to how they play, Sakurai takes this part of the development very seriously. In doing so, it sometimes means sacrificing characters fans want in because they don’t fit.
“We do various kinds of research during the planning stage,” Sakurai said. “We consider the inclusion of characters that feature in games being developed at the same time, are highly requested by users and are popular within their series. We then think about how they could be unique if they were to appear in Super Smash Bros. Even if a character is highly popular and famous, they might not be chosen to appear as a fighter in Smash Bros because they lack uniqueness. On the other hand, if a character seems to have the potential to exhibit an interesting characteristic, they might be selected regardless of their popularity.”