What’s Next for Smash Bros? – Spirits and Tournaments Ending
Super Smash Bros Ultimate has become one of the biggest competitive fighting games ever released, and it is definitely one of the most impactful (if not the) in the Smash Bros series, even eclipsing Melee in many people’s eyes. However, it does look like it is finally coming to an end. This week has seen the news that Smash Ultimate spirit and tournaments ending are coming. This news comes after additional DLC has all concluded, and it appears likely that this version of the game is finally finished. While it is likely a way off, it raises some questions about what’s next for the series. The possibility of the series director leaving has raised some big questions for Smash beyond Ultimate.
Smash Ultimate Spirits and Tournament Ending
Super Smash Bros Ultimate has received a lot of support since the game’s release. This has come in the form of new fighters, stages, music, and patches. However, also in regular events. Spirit board events and tournaments hosted in the game have kept the title fresh and given players a near-constant reason for returning to the action for more. The Smash Ultimate spirits and tournaments are now ending though. Development is officially complete.
The spirits and tournaments will begin to repeat starting in November. Essentially, this means the game is done and will be looping older content for anything that fans missed the first time around. This similarly happened with Splatoon when active support dropped off, and that was followed up pretty quickly with Nintendo announcing a sequel.
The loss of more active content is a shame for the game. However, Ultimate does have a longer run for esports in the future. The loss of these events probably won’t slow down the Ultimate competitive events. Although, typically at this stage in a game’s lifespan Melee begins to take the focus again.
Sakurai on Smash Bros’ Future
With active development slowing and stopping on Super Smash Bros Ultimate, what’s next for the series? The future was called into question by Sakurai’s recent comments in Famitsu:
“I am not thinking of a sequel, I am not thinking of it every time. However, I can’t say with certainty that this be the end of Smash.”
This mainly only addresses his own involvement, but the idea of Smash Bros without him hasn’t exactly gone smoothly in the past. It isn’t the first time he’s tried to leave the series and has previously been pulled back in. On the idea of Nintendo producing Smash without him, Sakurai said: “I currently don’t see a path where Smash can be produced without myself.”
So where exactly does this leave Smash? With the Smash Ultimate spirits and tournaments ending is this the end of the road for the series creator’s involvement? To many, it is worrying news. However, this is very, very, similar to his comments after Smash for Wii U. Essentially Sakurai has a bit of a rough relationship with Smash Bros. While it is one of the biggest successes in gaming and he is clearly proud of works like Ultimate, the personal toll of development is rough and his health has extensively suffered during the production of the last new incarnations.
The idea of a new being made without Sakurai’s involvement would upset fans, and there’s good reason to think this won’t happen. In the quote above where Sakurai goes on to discuss how the game has not gone well when he’s left the development to others in the past. However, his involvement has never stopped Nintendo from announcing games without consulting Sakurai in the past.
Smash Bros in a new direction?
At the moment, the future development of Smash Bros is uncertain. However, it is almost a given that a new version of the game will come. It just depends on which form. Sakurai has repeatedly made similar comments about being finished with the Smash Bros series. While few would begrudge him finally finishing, not many actually believe him. Nintendo will have a new Smash Bros game, likely with Sakurai after attempting production alone again.
The next Smash Bros feels unlikely to have the same scope as Ultimate. Everyone is Here became a bigger and bigger statement as more DLC unlocked. The next Smash likely won’t have this kind of roster. This leaves room for Ultimate to continue to make competitive appearances. If the next Smash Bros is made without Sakurai’s involvement, then it is possible that Ultimate will become a permanent feature of fighting games tournaments.
Super Smash Bros future looks a little more uncertain without Sakurai’s involvement a guarantee. However, chances are that Nintendo will begin work once a new platform is on the horizon. This is unlikely to be for some time though. Everything Nintendo has said publicly implies the Switch is going to remain their platform for the foreseeable future. If this is the case, then a Smash Bros not under Sakurai’s direction could look very different to what we’ve seen so far, even if players don’t have to worry about it for quite a few years to come.