Super Smash Bros. Ultimate ANALYSIS – Main Menu & Dashboard Breakdown + Spirits?! (Nintendo Direct)

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate ANALYSIS – Main Menu & Dashboard Breakdown + Spirits?! (Nintendo Direct)

November 17, 2019 100 By William Hollis


What’s going on everyone, Ash here and as
you might expect, we’ve got the ol’ Analysis Machine
working overtime today to go in-depth on the hidden
details and secrets Nintendo stashed away — either intentionally
or by accident — in this morning’s Super Smash
Bros. Ultimate
Direct. In this video, I’ll be taking a closer look
at Smash Bros. Ultimate’s main menu as well as its associated
dashboard, which Smash Bros. creator and director Masahiro
Sakurai briefly introduced toward the end of the Direct. While there
wasn’t a whole lot said or revealed about the menu overall,
we still think there are some interesting details worth
investigating and taking a closer look at. So let’s get
started! Right from the onset, we can see that the
top-level menu has been rearranged from Smash Bros. Wii U’s
rather busy, somewhat chaotic smattering of selections
into a stylish radial layout, with the various sub-menu options
protruding from the image in the center. And speaking of that center image, as it turns
out, the characters that can be seen in it haven’t
been selected at random. As GameXplain’s very own Jon pointed out
in our reaction discussion, a closer look at this
image reveals that it’s dedicated to the eight OG veterans
from the original Super Smash Bros., who are of course Mario,
Donkey Kong, Link, Samus, Yoshi, Kirby, Fox, and
Pikachu. Not
even Smash 64’s four unlockable characters — Luigi, Ness,
Captain Falcon, and Jigglypuff — made the cut here! But what if this is only how the center image
looks when you start the game up for the first time? Might this image
expand to include more characters as you play the game
and unlock more of the roster? While that’s certainly possible, we think
it’s likely that the image will remain like this as an intentional
and respectful nod to the original eight fighters who started
it all. After all,
with Smash Bros Ultimate’s roster already pushing up
against 70 fighters, we have a hard time envisioning how
there could even still be room for the various sub-menu
selections if the image expanded to include the whole
roster… Moving on to the various sub-menu selections
arranged around the center image, starting from the
top-left and going clockwise we have Smash, Games & More,
Vault, Online, and finally, a mysteriously blurred
out green segment… but more on that later. The first thing to point out about these top-level
menu options is that three of them directly return
from Smash Wii U and 3DS with their same associated colors
intact, being the red Smash option, the blue Games & More
option, and the orange Online option. From that, we can surmise that these three
sub-menus in Smash Bros. Ultimate will likely contain the same general
content as their counterparts in Smash Wii U, which is also
just common sense in the cases of the Smash and Online
options. And in fact, the Direct outright confirms
this to be accurate in one case at least, as the menu footage
shows the Smash option being selected, giving us a quick peek
at the various selections and modes that exist within this
particular sub- menu. And indeed, we can immediately see some commonalities between the Smash sub-menu here
in Smash Bros. Ultimate and that of Smash Bros. Wii U. The main Smash option is of course the focal
point in both cases, but we can also see that the selections
for Special Smash and control settings exist in both iterations
of this sub-menu as well, further suggesting that
this and the other top-level menu options existing in both
games serve the same overall purpose. But there are also a couple of differences
worth noting: we can see that the brand-new Squad Strike mode
as well as the refreshed Tourney mode are accessed through
this sub-menu in Smash Bros. Ultimate’s case,
while 8-Player Smash, which was a separate selection in Smash
Bros. Wii U’s version of this sub-menu, has been folded
into the standard Smash option here in Smash Bros. Ultimate. And
the menu text for that option even verifies this, as it says
“Play with up to 8 people in a regular battle!” And that’s not all. Thanks to a heads-up from Iwan Smith,
who alerted us to the presence of a screenshot on the
Smash Bros. website showing off Ultimate’s take on the
Special Smash menu, we can quickly compare it to the
Special Smash menu in Smash Bros. Wii U. The most significant and immediate difference
between the two that we can notice right off the bat is
the removal of the “Stamina” category altogether in Smash
Bros. Ultimate,
which makes sense considering the fact that Stamina mode
has now been promoted to a standard ruleset. Smash Bros. Ultimate makes other tweaks to the Special
Smash menu as well but they’re minor and purely
cosmetic, including the “Screw” option in the “Body”
category being properly extended to “Screw Attack” and
the “Weight” category itself being entirely renamed to
“Gravity.” Other than the expected general aesthetic
differences, the Special Smash menus in Smash Bros. Ultimate and Wii U are otherwise exactly the
same, right down to the ordering of the categories. Bringing our focus back to Smash Bros. Ultimate’s
top- level menu options, the Games & More and Vault
options are a slightly different story. While these two selections
were consolidated in Smash Bros. Wii U, with the Vault
existing as just one of several possible options under the
wider Games & More umbrella, here in Smash Bros
Ultimate the Vault has been promoted to a top-level menu
selection, likely for easier and more immediate access. Perhaps Sakurai and his team took some of
the criticism about Smash Bros. Wii U’s haphazard menu
arrangements to heart? And then there’s that ever-so-conveniently-blurred
out green selection, which Sakurai and his team
are clearly not ready to talk about yet — but that won’t
stop us from indulging in a little reasoned speculation! On that note,
then, the first point to notice about this mysterious option
is that it shares its green color with Smash 3DS’s exclusive
gameplay mode, Smash Run. While this doesn’t necessarily point to
the return of Smash Run, it is interesting to note that Smash
Bros. Wii U’s exclusive gameplay mode, Smash Tour, has a
brighter lime green color associated with its menu option
whereas this blurred-out menu option and Smash Run use
a more standard, darker green. Right now it’s impossible to say
whether this actually means anything or not, but it’s an
interesting observation nonetheless. As for what this selection’s blurred out
text actually is, we can’t determine anything for sure at this
point, but reliable reports coming in from @noctulescent on Twitter
strongly suggest that the text in fact reads “Spirits.” If so, might Smash Bros. Ultimate play host to an exclusive gameplay
mode or even a story mode anchored around the concept
of spirits? And speaking of spirits, it must be noted
that Luigi loses his spirit to Castlevania’s Death in the
reveal trailer for Simon and Richter Belmont. Could there be a connection
here, or is this just a passing coincidence? We really can’t
say at this point, but it’s a curious thing to note
nonetheless. That about does it for the five top-level
menu options, but what about that dashboard on the right side
of the screen? Accessed with a quick press of the ZR button,
this dashboard features various icons hinting at
the content that might lie behind them, and we have some
early ideas as to what they all might mean. Starting from the top, we think the house
icon bearing a Smash logo might act as a quick shortcut back
to the top menu from wherever you are in the game. As for the blurry box below that, it’s impossible
to say what that icon actually is at this point, but logic
follows that it could very well be related to the similarly-blurred-out
green menu option, which may or may not be “Spirits.” Or it may
be related to an entirely separate feature that Nintendo isn’t
ready to talk about yet. Either way, we just don’t have much
to go on yet where this particular icon is concerned, so
let’s move on. Next, while we’re not sure about the Switch
icon with wireless communication lines beaming out of
it, we’ve made a few educated guesses. It could be a shortcut to the
Switch’s controller pairing menu, since syncing various
controllers is something anyone who plays Smash in a group setting will be doing constantly. Or it may just be an elegant option for connecting
controllers within Smash Bros. Ultimate itself, so that the
game doesn’t have to pause and bring up the Switch’s
controller pairing menu each time you want to do so. A third option might point to the ability
to connect multiple Switches as controllers for multiplayer matches,
with each player having their own view of the action
on their Switch’s screen in handheld mode, but that’s far
from a sure thing and we’re only throwing that out as a potentiality. The envelope icon below that is almost certainly
where Smash-related news updates and other relevant
notifications will be housed. And if Smash Bros. Ultimate
ends up having a stage editor, perhaps that icon could also
act as a shortcut for sending and receiving custom stages. The gear icon below that, other than looking
strikingly similar to the Mega Man series emblem, is
very likely a shortcut to tweaking various options, so that
you don’t have to physically navigate to the options
menu every time you want to adjust a particular setting. And finally, the question mark icon probably
takes you the game’s digital manual which, for most people,
will likely be used exactly once for kicks and then entirely
forgotten about. And not that this really needs mentioning,
but the clock at the very bottom of the dashboard is a feature
returning from Smash 3DS. Of course, you could quite easily just tap
the Home button and quickly confirm the time using the
Switch UI’s onboard clock, but hey, there’s something to
be said for convenience! Well, that brings us to the end of this early
analysis of Smash Bros Ultimate’s main menu and dashboard. But we
want to hear your thoughts as well. Do you think the
conclusions we’ve drawn are right on the money, or have
you come up with other angles on some of these menu
elements that we didn’t consider? Let us know what you
think in the comments below, and as always, if you enjoyed
this video please hit that Like button and make sure to
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