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Monday, June 18, 2018

Sakurai Still Hates Ludwig — Smash Ultimate may as well be an Enhanced Port

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Masahiro Sakurai continues his personal grudge against me.

There are two ways you could consider whether or not Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a brand-new game or an enhanced port, as we posed back when it was announced in March: The fighting game engine, and the content around it.

But first, I want to address Masahiro Sakurai's hatred for me. This hatred was made readily apparent back when he was talking about Super Smash Bros. For Wii U and he introduced Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings — I, Ludwig Von Koopa, was always in the worst possible situation in his imagery.

It continues, as seen in the E3 2018 Nintendo Direct (aka a Super Smash Bros. Direct) and this .gif:

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Bowser Jr. Koopalings Fourside Ludwig Von Koopa falls Nintendo Direct

I mean, come on. Every picture Sakurai took of me was uniquely awful for Super Smash Bros. For Wii U, and now I just happen to be the only guy who doesn't get to fit on Fourside? Why are we in Fourside anyway? Why can't we be in a roomy stage that doesn't suck?

I hypothesise that Masahiro Sakurai doesn't like me because of this website, but I'm also the guy who was saying that people need to give Sakurai a break and let him relax. He should appreciate me.

Anyway, consider this quote, by myself, from that March article:
“There is also the possibility that Nintendo may market the game as a new one, but it wouldn't fit the historical criteria of being a new Super Smash Bros. entry. Every Super Smash Bros. game has had a very different physics engine, which dramatically changes what each Smash Bros.'s metagame is like. While we haven't seen any gameplay of this Switch version, it will be fairly obvious if it was built from the ground-up like every other Smash Bros., or if it is just taking Super Smash Bros. Wii U and adding things to it.”
I might have been a touch too optimistic. We saw a lot of high-level play of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but I wouldn't say it's fairly obvious. The high-level players all have different opinions. I watched their videos where they talk for a dozen to three dozen minutes apiece going over their thoughts, from ZeRo to Armada to Mew2King to Dabuz. Opinions range from, “This is definitely Smash 5 and a brand-new game” to “your skill will carry over if you are a Super Smash Bros. 4 player.” A lot of characters from the demo are pretty much untouched from their previous incarnation. Nintendo's marketing people say it's built from the ground-up, but that intuitively doesn't make sense given carried-over Super Smash Bros. 4 quirks.

There are some across-the-board mechanics changes (angled air-dodges, acting out of dash, and the strange knockback momentum) that seem to indicate there is a different physics engine at work, and so this would qualify as a new game. On the other hand, the “tens of thousands of changes” Sakurai referenced is more-or-less a massive balance patch to Super Smash Bros. For Wii U after Sakurai stopped doing those over two years ago. I can say that, because if you compare the version of Super Smash Bros. For 3DS that you may still have on your demo version of the game with the final version of Super Smash Bros. For 3DS/For Wii U now, the difference between those is pretty much equivalent to the difference between the final Smash 4 version and Ultimate. ...Or the latter is less.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Nintendo Direct changes could number in the tens of thousands 10,000 Sheik
You better like those tens of thousands of changes, or Sheik will mess you up.
(What's this “could number” business? Did he lose count?)

Between the start of Super Smash Bros. 4 and now, there are/were new modes (Tournament, sharing features, online Conquests), control features and techniques that change the offense-defence balance of the game (A+B being a Smash attack, the removal of Dash-Canceled Up-Smash, the removal of vectoring, shields becoming easier to break and powershields becoming more difficult), new stages and stage redesigns (Lylat Cruise's underside, more stages available for 8-player Smash), dramatic character changes (for example, Bowser didn't start with Up-Throw being a combo throw; that change completely reinvented his character archetype), tweaked animations, and more.

The defining feature for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is that they are bringing back a lot of cut content from previous games into one game. Is that not the definition of an enhanced port? It's porting (and enhancing for modernity) pre-existing material, and they added a lot of quality-of-life changes more than anything.

As for modes, we don't know anything about the modes. This is fine, for now. We didn't know anything about Super Smash Bros. For Wii U's Smash Tour mode until a month before the game came out, and that's considered a top-level menu item up there with Versus and Online play. No one in the current day talks about Smash Tour because the mode is universally considered a bad experience, but it is what it is and we didn't know about it until really late.

I just hope that Sakurai is thinking about modes, because Super Smash Bros. 4's single-player content was underwhelming compared to Super Smash Bros. Brawl's.

All of this is more-or-less what Ludwig imagined when he said the game could be an enhanced port. Of course, it's easy to claim that after-the-fact. You can see by the end of the Nintendo Direct that Ludwig changed his official position from “it could be a real sequel or it could be an enhanced port, we don't really know, I'm just playing devil's advocate” to mocking the audience and claiming that he knew it was an enhanced port all along. Feel free to call out his historical revisionism in the comments. He won't call Super Smash Bros. Ultimate “Smash 5” not because he thinks it doesn't deserve it, but because it has a proper sub-title and he doesn't go around calling Super Smash Bros. Melee “Smash 2” or Super Smash Bros. Brawl as “Smash 3.”

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has been out, and Masahiro Sakurai continues his anti-Ludwig crusade.
Sakurai posted a very offensive, Ludwig-erasing tweet in 2021.


  1. As long as the competitive crowd is more happy with this than with Sm4sh, I don't even care if it could be more fairly considered an enhanced port rather than a "proper sequel." ANYTHING to diminish the sheer amount of "M3LE3 IS TEH ONL3 1 TRU SMASH BR0Z LUL 11!111!!1" I've seen.

    Then again, I doubt that would happen even if they actually made a Smash Bros that people agreed was a better competitive game than Melee. Just...UGGGGH.

    1. At this point, the Super Smash Bros. 4 fans are more obnoxious to the Melee people than Melee people are to modern Smash gamers. Super Smash Bros. Melee fans basically just want to be left alone at this point. Meanwhile, a lot of Smash 4 players are not only pressuring Melee players to like Ultimate (which, hey, they can and will play it for fun) but to also dedicate their lives to it by joining the competitive scene. A lot of people don't understand that trying to play something competitively is a massive timesink and investment — you don't just do it because you like casually playing the game, like many Melee players will casually like to play Ultimate.

      "A better competitive game" is obviously a subjective judgment. Melee players chose to play Melee as their eSport because they really enjoy the degree of control over your character you get in that game. Being able to do anything out of your dash in Ultimate is a big step to why Melee players are so fond of wavedashing.

  2. I managed to play the demo at Nintendo NY. While I was only allowed one match that day and played as Inkling in order to say I played as Inkling, everything felt familiar. My opponent chose Battlefield and played as Mewtwo. The airdodge made it feel different but otherwise I felt I was in familiar territory from SSB4 because I knew how fighting a Mewtwo felt. One match won't say much though.

    1. Right, one match won't say much, and they could change the game dramatically and reveal a lot of new stuff between now and December. (Maybe even a delay.)

    2. Hey Ludwig. I know you have been disrespected by sakurai but don't worry... you are still the most popular koopaling. Also, smash ultimate is looking like a very good game and i'm still probably going to play as my favorite character, LUDWIG! 😄 But the biggest problem is that waluigi is still not in the smash.😢

    3. Thanks for the kind words!

      I'll still play as myself as well.


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