Author Archives: Spazzy_D

Smash 4 DLC: The Case for the Prince of Persia

That logo is definitely in the background.  What’s he trying to jump over here?

Character Background: The Prince of Persia is not a single character, but rather a group of eponymous princes that players take control of in order to navigate through a magical world inspired by Middle Eastern folklore.  Every iteration of the Prince is known for his fluid motion, extreme agility, and penchant for swordplay.  Perhaps the most famous version of the Prince, the one that made his debut in 2003’s The Sands of Time, is also known for his ability to control the flow of time itself through the use of a mystical dagger.

The Prince of Persia franchise, debuting in 1989, consists of over a dozen titles that have sold over 20 million copies combined.  Originally developed by Brøderbund, the rights to the game were acquired by Ubisoft in 2001. The 2D entries into the series pioneered a genre known as “cinematic platformers.”  Games in this genre are characterized by the realistic movements of their protagonists (often through the use of rotoscoping techniques.)  Other well known cinematic platformers include Oddworld, Blackthorne, and Flashback.


Nothing quite like wall running and precision platforming while using that GameCube Analogue stick.

Reasons for inclusion: As mentioned in the Rayman article, Ubisoft and Nintendo have a long history as collaborators.  Ubisoft is arguably Nintendo’s strongest source of Western third party support, and the Prince himself has a strong Nintendo legacy of his own.  The first game in the series, simply titled Prince of Persia, was originally released on the Amiiga but quickly found its way onto both the NES and SNES.   Every main line entry into the franchise since then, with the exception of 2010’s Prince of Persia reboot and 1999’s Prince of Persia 3D, has appeared on a Nintendo home console.  In addition to this, the franchise has also released several games as hardware exclusives on Nintendo handhelds.

As a brand, Prince of Persia is a very well known commodity.  The game series was adapted into a major motion picture by Walt Disney Pictures in 2010.  The film set out to be the “next Pirates of the Caribbean,” but unfortunately fell far short of that lofty goal.  The film was a critical failure (it currently sits at a 36% “rotten” rating on RottenTomatos.com,) but it did manage to earn a worldwide gross of $335,154,643.  That number is enough to make the Prince of Persia the highest grossing video game adaptation of all time.  The commercial success of the movie, as well as the wide variety of movie merchandise and tie-ins created for it, give the Prince a notoriety far beyond that of most video game characters.

You know who doesn’t have his own Lego set?  Sonic.  +1 to the Prince.

Reasons for exclusion:  Many of the general issues that affect Rayman’s chances also adversely affect the Prince.  Chief among them is the somewhat strained relationship between Ubisoft and Nintendo.  Still, the two companies remain on friendly terms and there is no reason to think that a deal could not be worked out if the demand is there.  The other main point is that the Prince is a character created by a Western game studio.  The only character of this type to make it into Smash as of yet is Diddy Kong.


16-Bit Prince looks like Toad.  If that doesn’t make Nintendo fans want him, I don’t know what will.

The Prince himself is also known to use realistic weaponry, such as daggers and swords, in his game.  This is likely not a huge issue.  Many of the characters that are already playable in the Smash Bros. series are sword users, and his daggers are far removed from most real world knives due to their ornate design.

The series has largely been supplanted by Assassin’s Creed in recent years, another game that focuses on an agile protagonist with many Middle Eastern themes.  These games are still quite different from the Prince’s games, though, and Ubisoft has expressed interest in revisiting the Prince of Persia franchise in the future.

Music

What is Smash Bros. without music? Here are a few tracks you can look forward to if the Prince of Persia makes it in.

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Smash 4 DLC: The Case for Rayman

Previously in the series, I examined characters whom I considered to be the Konami frontrunners for Smash DLC.  Here are my articles on Snake, Simon Belmont, and Bomberman for those that may be interested.  While I do believe that Konami is a prime candidate for DLC in Smash, I also know that they are far from being the only major contenders.  With that in mind, I bring to you my analysis of characters from Ubisoft, starting with company mascot Rayman.

You can’t have a Rayman for Smash article without referencing the Artsy Omni leak

Character Background: Rayman may not have any arm or legs, but he does have plenty of heart.  A being of light hailing from the Glade of Dreams, Rayman uses a wide variety of powers in order to confront the evils of his world.  He is good natured, carefree, and 100% dedicated to his goals.

Rayman made his debut in 1995’s Rayman on the Atari Jaguar.  The game design and philosophy of the original Rayman seems to be a callback to the 16 bit era of gaming. This is likely because the game was originally planned to be released on the Super Nintendo.  Despite these origins, the limbless wonder did not make his official debut on Nintendo hardware until the Nintendo 64 version of Rayman 2: the Great Escape in 1999.

Rayman has since become the face of Ubisoft, starring in dozens of games across a wide variety of platforms and in many different genres.  Equally beloved for both his 2D and 3D platforming titles, Rayman’s  games have sold over 25 million units worldwide.

Rayman for the Super Nintendo.  The game that could have been.

Reasons for inclusion: Ubisoft and Nintendo have a long and interesting history, with Ubisoft being one of Nintendo’s closest Western third party developers since the Gamecube era.  They supported the Wii U since launch with titles from franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance, Rayman, and more.  While their support for the Wii U has gone dry, the company is still one of the leading third party publishers on the platform, having released over 20 games since the Wii U’s launch.

Interestingly enough, Rayman: Legends on the Wii U was published by Nintendo in Japan.  This may be why Rayman already has a trophy in Smash  Bros. for Wii U and 3Ds.  The Rayman series of trophies actually makes him  one of the (very few) third party characters to already have content in the newest iteration of Smash Bros.

Well, that sure is a good looking model there, Rayman

Rayman has found a good bit of notoriety and success outside of the gaming world.  He was the star of his own short lived animated series in the late 90’s, and Raving Rabbids, a Rayman spinoff series, is the subject of a currently running cartoon.

Can you say ‘Up B?’

Reasons for exclusion:

Ubisoft and Nintendo’s relationship isn’t as strong as it once was.  Many fans will point to the delay of and loss of exclusivity of Rayman: Legends as evidence of this.  Despite this, the relationship between the two companies is still amicable, with Ubisoft having released software on Nintendo hardware as recently as November of last year.

Rayman is also the property of a European developer.  While this should not be a reason for exclusion, it is worth noting that the only non-Japanese created character in the current game roster is Diddy Kong. Sakurai himself has described the game as a celebration of Japanese gaming in the past.

Rayman has quite a bit of longevity (as he debuted in 1995, just four years after Sonic,)  and many would consider the character iconic.  Despite this, he does not really exemplify the period of gaming he is from in the same way the other guest characters do. Megaman is synonymous with 8-bit platformers. Sonic is arguably the most important character created in the 16-bit era. Pacman is king of arcade gaming. Rayman starred in a 2D platformer in a time when everyone was thinking about 3D. His first 3D outing was excellent, yet people will still likely think of Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, and Banjo Kazooie before they think of Rayman.

Music

What is Smash Bros. without music? Here are a few tracks you can look forward to if Rayman makes it in.

Was DLC Planned for Smash 4?

Or does he?

DLC.  A three letter acronym that many gamers consider to be the dirtiest word a video game publisher can utter.   It’s no wonder really, as many companies ship incomplete piece meal titles to consumers only to charge them later for content that should have been included in the game to begin with.  Some publishers (*cough* Capcom *cough*) have even been known to charge for content that was already present on the game disk to begin with.  These sort of practices have caused a rift in the trust between the gaming populace and the giant companies that produce many of their favorite titles.  This has ultimately lead to a negative perception of downloadable content as a whole.

The view point that “DLC is bad” is understandable, but it is also very short sighted.  DLC provides developers with a tool to continually provide their fans with fresh content, thus greatly increasing the life span of a game.  It also allows them to fix problems within a title after launch.  Shigeru Miyamoto himself has famously said that “a delayed game is eventually good; a bad game is bad forever.”  That is no longer necessarily true.  It is for these reasons that fans of the Smash Bros. series had long been looking forward to news about DLC for the franchise.  Well, that wait is now over.   Nintendo’s April 2015 Direct showed us that paid character DLC will now be a part of Smash Bros. moving forward.

Just how long has that DLC been in the works for, though?  We were all lead to believe that Mewtwo was primarily what the team has been working on post launch, but Lucas’ trailer shows a character that is much further along in development than that line of thought would suggest.  So, has Nintendo been planning for Smash DLC all along?   Let’s look at the evidence.

What Sakurai has said about DLC

Back in 2008, Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai was noted as saying that he would have included DLC in Smash Bros. Brawl, but was unable to do so due to the lack of a hard drive on the original Wii.   A lot has changed since Brawl’s launch, and Sakurai’s attitude on the subject of DLC reflects this.  He has had quite a lot to say about the subject since Smash 4 was revealed at E3 2013.  Let’s take a look at a few quotes from that time period.

“At the current time we have no plans. I consider my job at this point, and my main responsibility, to make the Wii U and 3DS versions the best and the fullest experience possible. That said, once finished, it’s the type of thing we could take into consideration, but for now, you could consider DLC as not being in the cards.”

This quote makes it seem like DLC was not on his mind in one way or another at the time.  It seems believable enough.  He also had this to say:

“I am not opposed to DLC. I loved those proposed for the game Fallout 3, for example.”

It’s almost like he’s trying to leave the door open for DLC without confirming  it.   He might as well have said “Hey, not all DLC is bad, right?  I mean Fallout 3 DLC was cool and worth the money, so keep that in mind!”

The next bit of interesting news came in November of 2014, after the final Smash Wii U Nintendo Direct.  That Direct confirmed what many of us had long since suspected, that Nintendo would support the game in some form post launch.  Nintendo showed off Mewtwo, as part of a promotional deal that involved purchasing both the Wii U and 3DS versions of the game and registering them with Club Nintendo, as well as a new Miiverse stage and tournament game mode.  None of these features were paid DLC, however, so future content beyond them still seemed uncertain.  Let us look at Sakurai’s quotes from this time period.

“What I can say now about paid DLC is that we aren’t working on anything at the moment. We’ve put all our efforts into making the actual game. Creating DLC would involve large additional costs and require the involvement of a lot of people.”

This seems pretty self explanatory.  He goes on to say the following.

“Creating a single fighter involves a huge investment, and we’ve already been giving it our all and investing a lot of work in the characters currently available in the game, and I think it’s an incredible package in terms of the sheer amount of content in the game. But it might be that people may not understand and may think that I am not offering enough just by looking at DLC itself.”

“As for why Mewtwo isn’t paid content from the start, releasing that character is an experiment meant to act as a foothold in content distribution; thus it’s simply meant as part of the service we’re providing to gamers.”

No DLC for a while then?  Or maybe he just didn’t want gamers to unfairly (in his opinion) judge him based on the common conception of DLC practices.  Take a look at the following quote that was taken from the same interview and judge for yourself.

“However, I think there might be criticism that we are cutting up content to sell characters one by one, or that we are adding things later that should have been there from the start.”

Gematsu Leak and DLC

Sal Romano, editor of Gematsu.com, firmly entrenched himself in the annals of Smash Bros speculation history due to the infamous “Gematsu Leak.”  A day before E3 2013 he posted his “unlikely predictions” for Smash Wii U character reveals. They were:

  • Mega Man
  • Animal Crossing Guy
  • Wii Fit Trainer
  • Little Mac
  • Pac-Man
  • Mii

After 3 of the 6 were revealed the following day at E3, Sal stepped forward with information of a purported “leaker” that had e-mailed him the information.  Sal eventually received a second e-mail in April of 2014 which added even more new characters to the leaked roster.  There characters were:

  • Shulk
  • Palutena
  • Chrom
  • Chorus Men
  • Pokemon from Pokemon X and Y

The legitimacy of this leak is still being fought over, but there are a few interesting things to note.   9 out of the 11 fighters on the list ended up making it into the game.  Of the two that did not make, one (Chrom) was mentioned by Sakurai to at least have been considered for playable status.  The other fighter(s) that did not make the final cut are the Chorus Men.   It should be noted that datamining the Wii U Smash Bros. game revealed that placeholder data for a franchise entitled “Rhythm” was found near the emblems for playable franchises.  (See more here https://sourcegaming.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/smash-4-wii-u-data-discoveries/) This likely points to a character from the Chorus Men’s home series, Rhythm Heaven, having been planned and cut at some point in development.  All in all, it seems very likely that Sal’s leaker had at least some insider knowledge.

What does this have to do with Smash Bros. DLC?  Well, Sal’s source sent a third e-mail which is of particular interest to this discussion.   It states that:

  • There has been internal debate about keeping Lucas versus Ness, apparently Lucas is likely to get the cut
  • Nintendo is planning post-launch character DLC, source doesn’t like this as he thinks it’s greedy

After this e-mail was released, many people made the logical assumption that Lucas had been cut but would return as DLC.  If we are to assume that the Gematsu leaker had actual information then it would appear that Smash DLC had been in the works for quite some time.

Smash 6

In April 2014,  Bandai Namco posted an ad for programmers for a “Smash Bros. 6.”  The post was on e-Career FA, a Japanese career board which is routinely used by many Japanese video game developers to recruit talent.  Interestingly enough, the job posting was for work to be done in 2015 even though Smash Bros. for Wii U was scheduled to (and indeed did) launch in 2014.

The ad stated the following:

“Social games are currently a big hit, but the current state of job opportunities for making retail games is critically low. In the midst of this, this will likely be your only chance to be part of a development project for the Smash Bros. [series], which has surpassed a total of 10 million in worldwide sales. And Bandai Namco believes that now is the best time to recruit programmers for retail games.”

The ad was taken down within a day, shortly after major video game news outlets began reporting on it.  The listing itself was posted by a consultant by the name of Tatsuya Matsumura.  He also uploaded career opportunities for other major video game clients, so odds are that it was not a hoax post.  Sakurai stated in an interview dated sometime after this job listing was posted that he thought of Smash Bros. Wii U and Smash Bros. 3DS as Smash Bros. 4 and 5.   This would make the proposed Smash Bros. 6 title make a bit more sense, but what was it?  Perhaps it was a job listing for Smash DLC?

 Datamining and DLC

Our own PushDustin has found quite a few items while perusing the files of the 3DS and Wii U versions of Smash that point towards possible DLC.

Let’s have a look at a few of the more curious items.

3DS Additional Page Arrows

What appears to be next page arrows were found with the both the stage and character icons, and seem to fit very well on the empty spaces on both the character selection and stage selection screens.  One would expect to see these sort of icons on the 3DS as shrinking the icons any further would result in them being almost unreadable on the classic 3DS model.  The following two images are for use on the character selection screen.

This next Icon is from the stage selection screen.  This one is particularly convincing, largely because the 3DS stage selection screen has that odd empty space.  The icon looks like it was literally made to fit on the bottom right portion of the screen.  Probably because it was.  Here, look at this mock up:

Look at how well the arrow fits on the screen.  Why else would the bottom row not be centered?  That arrow could easily lead to a second page of downloaded stages.  To further reinforce this theory, the following unused line of text was also found in the files: “See stages you have downloaded.”  This could possibly be a relic from a time when stage builder was feature on the 3DS, but it is doubtful as no other traces of the mode can be found.

In Game Shop and Extra All Star Stages

There is also evidence of an in game shop.  These lines of text are found in the 3DS version of the game and are currently unused:

Shop
Unable to connect.
Disconnect?
You’ve been disconnected.
You will need to update the software via Nintendo eShop before using the in-game shop.

There is very little doubt in my mind that this refers to a DLC shop much like the one found in another Nintendo game, Mario Kart 8.

While this text is absent from the Wii U version, we do have a mysterious texture that is likely related to downloadable content.  Below you will see a mock up of where it may go.

Finally we come to the extra Stage Clear icons.

These icons are used whenever a player completes All Star mode on the 3DS.  Stages 1-6 are used in the final game, while stages 7-9 do not appear at all.  If they ever were implemented, however, the game could host up to 22 additional characters in All Star mode.

Was it planned all along?

Reviewing all the evidence, it becomes readily apparent that Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS was made with the ability to receive DLC from the start, even if paid DLC was not a certainty at the time of its release.  It is very hard for me personally, knowing how much Nintendo has embraced DLC in the last few years (in titles such as Mario Kart 8, Fire Emblem: Awakening, and Mario Golf,) to believe that DLC plans were not laid out far in advance of Smash 4’s completion.   I cannot say with any sort of certainty that Smash Bros. was always meant to have DLC.   I do not, after all, have any sort of insider knowledge of the industry in general or of Smash development in particular.  Instead I will say nothing, and leave you with this.

Take it for what it’s worth.

Smash 4 DLC: The Case for Bomberman

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Bomberman NES: A better design than Bomberman: Act Zero

Character Background: Somewhere in the Bomber Nebula, on Planet Bomber, lives Bomberman. A staunch defender of his planet, he has the ability to generate bombs from his hands, but beware, as Bomberman is not immune to his own armaments.

The Bomberman series, also known as Dynablaster in Europe, originated on the MSX in 1983. The game found its biggest audience on the Famicom/NES, selling over a million units on the platform globally. The ‘White Bomber’ has starred in over 70 games since his creation, making him one of the most prolific video game characters of all time. While the series is best known for its strategic top down action titles, the franchise itself has branched out over time to include a wide variety of genres and game types.

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Just in case anyone was doubting he was an industry icon, here is Bomberman’s own Kart Racer. (Just like Sonic, Megaman, and Pac-Man)

Reasons for inclusion: Bomberman is the defacto mascot for the now defunct Hudson Soft. Not only was he front and center on a majority of the companies’ promotional materials, he was also the signature character that was chosen for kart racers, puzzle games, and other assorted spinoffs. For all intents and purposes, he was the companies’ Mario. This alone makes him the best possible candidate to represent Hudson Soft in Nintendo’s premiere party brawler. While it may not seem necessary to feature a company that is no longer developing games in Smash Bros., Hudson Soft is important enough to Nintendo history to warrant consideration. They created dozens of software titles on Nintendo consoles beginning with the NES and concluding with the Wii. If you are curious of the level of trust between the two companies, all you have to do is realize that Hudson Soft developed the first eight Mario Party games.

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Yes, Bomberman has a Kangaroo friend that he rides. His name is Louies. That’s also the name of his species. Hudson Soft unfortunately never made “Louies’ Story” or “Louies’ Island,” though.

Bomberman himself holds the distinction of being the only third party character to appear on every Nintendo handheld and home console prior to the launch of the Wii U and 3DS. The ‘White Bomber’ even had an official crossover with current Smasher and Nintendo icon Wario in 1994’s Wario Blast. In that game Bomberman had to stop the greedy Wario, who was on a search for treasure, from carelessly destroying Planet Bomber. He also traded blows with veteran Smash Bros. guest character Solid Snake in DreamMix TV World Fighters.

The Bomberman design is cartoony but distinct, an attribute he shares with many characters currently in Smash Bros. Something else he shares with much of the Smash cast, including all of Smash for Wii U’s current guest stars, is that his appeal extends beyond video games. Bomberman has appeared in several mangas over the years and is even the star of his own anime!

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FACT: Anime Bomberman is super cute

Reasons for exclusion: In March of 2012, Hudson Soft ceased to exist. The company merged with Konami and all of its intellectual property become part of the Konami brand. The reality of the situation is that Nintendo and Konami aren’t exactly the best of friends at the moment, and that Bomberman is a Konami property. Being a Konami character would also mean that he has to contend with Snake and his veteran status.

Another point of contention is that the IP has been largely dormant outside of the mobile games market for some time now. The last Bomberman to release on a dedicated gaming device was Bomberman Live: Battlefest for Xbox Live in 2010. A new 3DS Bomberman was planned before the Hudson Soft – Konami merger, but the game was unfortunately cancelled.

Music
That is Smash Bros. without music? Here are a few tracks you can look forward to if Bomberman makes it in.

Smash 4 DLC: The Case for Simon Belmont

Simon Belmont

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Simon, as he looked in the 2013 3DS game Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate. Look at that manly ginger beard!

Character Background: A member of the Belmont clan of vampire hunters, Simon Belmont is a holy warrior with unmatched resolve. It is his duty, as the inheritor of the legendary Vampire Killer whip, to strike down Dracula and his demonic minions whenever they might arise from their slumber. The forces of evil are a powerful lot, but luckily for us Simon has been trained from birth for this fight and is armed to the teeth with an arsenal of divine weaponry, ranging from explosive holy water to cross shaped boomerangs.

Castlevania is a franchise with multiple playable heroes, but Simon is the original and one of the most iconic. He is the hero of the very first title in the series, the Famicom Disk System title Castlevania, as well as the reworked NES/Famicom version of the game and it’s direct sequel, Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. The franchise has had over 30 entries since its 1986 debut, many of them going on to sell millions of copies and be critical darlings (I’m looking at you, Symphony of the Night.) The latest game in the series to appear on Nintendo hardware, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate for the 3DS, featured a reimagined Simon Belmont as a protagonist.

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The many looks of Simon Belmont. The guy goes through a lot of hair dye.

Reasons for inclusion: Castlevania is one of the most iconic NES and SNES franchises. The series has appeared on four Nintendo home consoles and on everyone of the companies hand held systems. The first four titles in the series are often found on “best of” or “top ten” lists for the systems they were made for.

Just look at this list Nintendo Power published in 2008 of the top 20 NES game of all time:

1. The Legend of Zelda
2. Super Mario Bros. 3
3. Mega Man 2
4. Super Mario Bros.
5. Metroid
6. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out
7. Contra
8. Super Mario Bros. 2
9. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
10. Ninja Gaiden
11. Mega Man 3
12. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
13. DuckTales
14. Castlevania
15. Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest

16. Maniac Mansion
17. Bionic Commando
18. Dragon Warrior IV
19. Final Fantasy
20. Kid Icarus

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Castlevania NES cover (Hey look, it’s Conan with a whip!)

Simon himself is the most reoccurring lead character in the series, and has a look that would help him stand apart from the rest of the Smash Bros. fighters. “Barbarian in a leather skirt with a whip” is a pretty unique combination of attributes, after all. His fighting style is also a perfect fit for Smash Bros, since his skills with a whip and the series sub weapon system (which features items such as knives, flames, axes, and boomerangs) could easily translate to a fighting game move list, and has in fact done so twice: first in 2003’s Japan only party fighter DreamMix TV World Fighters, and then in 2008’s Castlevania Judgement.

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He is also the only remaining non-playable cast member of Captain N that originated in a video game. Can you guess which three characters are supposed to be Simon, Pit, and Megaman?

Reasons for exclusion: Konami and Nintendo aren’t exactly the best business partners at the present time. The last games that Konami produced for the 3DS were released in 2013. They have yet to publish a title for the Wii U that is not a virtual console release of an old NES or SNES game. Worse yet, there are currently no known Konami software titles in development for the Wii U. Huh, that seemed really familiar.

Castlevania is also not the premier franchise it once was. Recent titles in the series are lucky to reach a million in sales, while Metal Gear Solid titles routinely break that threshold with ease. Snake himself stands in the way of any other Konami vet as well. He has seniority as a “veteran character” so it is likely we will never see another Konami character if Snake hasn’t made it back in first.

Music

What is Smash Bros. without music? Here are a few tracks you can look forward to if Simon makes it in:

If you enjoyed this piece, check out the case for Snake here!

Smash 4 DLC: The Case for Snake

With Smash DLC now being a reality, I thought this would be a good time to break down possible DLC candidates.  This will be part one of what will (hopefully) be a comprehensive break down of viable third party characters for DLC.  As it stands now, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS has a total of three third party characters, those being Sonic the Hedgehog, Pacman, and Megaman.  Conspicuous by his absence is Solid Snake, the only non-returning third party veteran.  In honor or our fallen soldier, we will be looking at what I see as the top three DLC contenders from his home company, Konami.


The perfect disguise

Solid Snake

Character Background: Solid Snake is a soldier of fortune from the Metal Gear franchise. Part of the elite special forces unit Foxhound, Snake is a true super soldier.  He is a  man who specializes in the impossible, a living weapon and expert spy that has been tasked with destruction and disarmament of the titular Metal Gear units (bipedal nuclear armed tanks) time and time again.


Metal Gear NES edition (that cover is totally not just a frame from the movie Terminator that’s been painted over)

The series roots are in the 1987 release of the game Metal Gear on the MSX2.  Most Western fans are more familiar with the NES/Famicom port of the game as the MSX2 had a limited release in the region.  The franchise is a pioneer of stealth-gaming that has repeatedly revolutionized the  genre over the past three decades.  It looks to do so again with the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain later this year.

Reasons for inclusion: Snake is really a no-brainer.  He is a veteran of the Smash Bros. series, and while he may not fit in with the rest of the cast on the surface, his gritty “mature” outward appearance is part of his appeal.  He has a unique aesthetic, moveset, and a gaming world that adds a lot of charm to the Smash Bros. universe. Case in point: his in game Codec conversations from Brawl.

These  conversations provided players with a fun and interesting way to learn more about the characters found in Smash Bros.  In them, Snake would use his two way communicator (the Codec) to ask for advice about the characters he was facing from various members of his supporting crew from the Metal Gear franchise.  These Codecs were so well received, in fact, that Sakurai felt the need to include a similar feature in Smash Bros. for Wii U in the guise of “Palutena’s Guidance.”


I’ve been cut, Colonel!

Snake is also a highly recognizable gaming icon.  The Metal Gear series is one of the longest running and most successful in gaming, with over 39 million units of software sold since its inception. Not only that, but the character  has been on Nintendo hardware for over 28 years, most recently in 2012 with Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D on the Nintendo 3DS.

Reasons for exclusion: Konami and Nintendo aren’t exactly the best business partners at the present time.  The last games that Konami produced for the 3DS were released in 2013.  They have yet to publish a title for the Wii U that is not a virtual console release of an old NES or SNES game.  Worse yet, there are currently no known Konami software titles in development for the Wii U.  This includes the newest Metal Gear Solid titles, which are not being ported despite also releasing on inferior hardware (in this case the Xbox 360.)


Will old man Snake and his fabulous mustache forever be doomed to Sony exclusivity?

There is also the issue of Metal Gear’s legacy with Nintendo.  Snake may be a gaming icon, but he is not a Nintendo icon.  He is much more closely associated with rival console manufacturer Sony, and has in fact only been featured in one non-port on a Nintendo video game system (the 1998 Gameboy Color game Metal Gear: Ghost Babel.)  While the original Metal Gear was ported to the NES, it was done so with no input from Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima and is considered a vastly inferior version.  The game is so different, in fact, that Kojima himself does not consider it a true part of the Metal Gear series.

This last point was once a positive in Snakes favor.  Hideo Kojima and Masahiro Sakurai are friends and it is a known fact that Snake’s inclusion in Smash Bros. Brawl is largely due to this.  Kojima is now leaving Konami, so this is now at best a neutral point.

Music

What is Smash Bros. without music?  Here are a few tracks you can look forward to if Snake comes back.

If you enjoyed reading this piece, check out the case for Simon Belmont here.