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Friday, May 8, 2020

Nintendo Can't Fix Super Smash Bros. Ultimate During CCP Virus Lockdowns

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - China doesn't have to deal with having Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

One thing I didn't mention on KoopaTV yet—which Nintendo put in their first paragraph in their “Description of Operating Results” section (management's commentary) in the consolidated financial statements for the year ended March 2020 (discussed on KoopaTV here)—is that Nintendo has successfully teamed up with Tencent to launch the Nintendo Switch in China. It is, however, to a very limited software library: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Mario Odyssey, and New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. However, Nintendo intends to release non-plumber titles as well, such as Kirby Star Allies and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Absent from the list of current and future releases is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which probably has too many communist-violating aspects and franchises in it to pass Chinese Communist Party ideology. However, even if the Chinese Communist Party won't let Super Smash Bros. Ultimate into China, the Chinese Community Party allowing this COVID-19 out of China to the rest of Earth is affecting the development of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Super Smash Bros. series producer Masahiro Sakurai said as much, and common sense indicates that as well.

This not only impacts the scheduling for future downloadable characters—and I'm very fine with that, because it's not like I'm eager to deal with a new character from ARMS—but it'll also impede new game balance patches, along with development of things like improving the online experience.

And even though I think Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is one of my favourite games of the past decade, the metagame, especially playing online, is far from perfect. Check out these recent matches in a world where tournaments are happening only online now (as opposed to locally):

(Foul language warning for both of the videos)

These games are going on for a very, very long time (sometimes as long as the match timer), and that's because it's the optimal play style for some characters—such as Mr. Game & Watch and Sonic the Hedgehog—in an online setting. Even if you have a wonderful Internet connection—and your opponent as well—there is still going to be more lag than a locally-played match. That makes it more difficult to time your attacks and react to things. It's marginally less smooth. And according to the fighting game community (I'm not aware of this actually being proven, however), Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has more lag online going on than its peers.

Now, I'm not saying the players are bad people—though I would put them on my Nintendo Switch's block list if I encountered them. I actually have a little respect for Sonic players. It's been twelve years since the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawlit's arguably considered “retro” now—and I still can't articulate the differences between Sonic's Down-B and his Side-B without looking it up. I just know they're both obnoxious and can force a hopeless game of keep-away. That makes Sonic players smarter than I am at at least one thing.

And it's quite rare I ever admit that I'm not the biggest genius you've ever come across.

A new update could do things like improve the online experience and help facilitate better input timings. If the development team is really ambitious enough, they could reverse their decision to have a wacky input buffer mechanic. And they can make characters like Mr. Game & Watch have much less safer camping options, and maybe they could nerf what they did with Fire (his Up-B) by making it less fast to activate and not invincible for several frames at the start.

Because right now, there are just characters that make the game an utterly miserable experience, and it's directly because of decisions the game developers have made. Those are decisions that cannot be corrected due to the lockdown situations caused by the Chinese Communist Party's decisions with the coronavirus.

Thanks a lot, China. Hope your crappy leadership gets overthrown. (...Though it's not right to deflect all of the blame towards the commies... Masahiro Sakurai helped develop, play-test, and approve of the game in its current state. And it's been this way since 2018.)

Dealing with characters like Sonic and Mr. Game & Watch (and unfortunately... many others) is very difficult in normal circumstances with Ludwig's mains like himself, Jigglypuff, and Lord Bowser. In an online context, it's impossible should his opponent decide to play the optimal (and non-fun) way. If the actions of other players make your mood worse, Ludwig suggests playing single-player games like those in the Ace Attorney series.

Maybe with all of the lag, you'll find time to wash your hands?
The state of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's online is likely why it's not included in the EVO Online roster.
Japan is out of its state of emergency, so Nintendo should be getting back to work.
On June 29, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate got a new update. It didn't fit the metagame issues.
On August 6, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate got a new update, with a stated intention to fix online play.

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