As much as it is a simple, accessible and enjoyable multiplayer fighting game, Smash Bros. is also a celebration of Nintendo's heritage.
Past installments have brought new life to iconic Nintendo franchises -- in many cases, bringing them into 3D for the first time, or perhaps treating us to fully orchestrated remixes of soundtracks that had previously only been heard emanating from distinctly primitive sound chips.
Unsurprisingly, the upcoming Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. is no exception to the rule, but the latest Nintendo property to get a makeover for the game is much more recent: it's Super Mario Galaxy, the Mario sub-series that some regard as the plumber's finest hour to date.
Writing on Nintendo's social network Miiverse, series creator Masahiro Sakurai revealed the first image of the new stage, as well as sharing the fact that its spherical structure will require new play tactics.
The stage has the potential to seriously mix up the usual Smash Bros. formula which, despite its creative, dynamic level design, has typically used 2D platforming as its base formula. Up is up, down is down, in other words. But on the Super Mario Galaxy level, gravity pulls players towards the center of the planet rather than the bottom of the stage, which theoretically means it'd be possible for you to run all the way around the spherical surface of the level and even stand "upside down" at the planet's south pole. Whether or not the level will allow you to do this remains to be confirmed at this time.
Although by the time Super Smash Bros. comes out there will have been two HD Mario games -- New Super Mario Bros. U and Super Mario 3D World -- this is the first look we've had at what Super Mario Galaxy would look like in high definition. Nintendo hasn't ruled out the idea of a new Super Mario Galaxy game in the future, either; Nintendo EAD Tokyo have just been busily putting together Super Mario 3D World in the meantime, and all eyes are on them to see whether they'll be worthy stewards of Mario's mainline adventures going forward.
"I should point out that this doesn't mean we'll never make another Super Mario Galaxy game," said Shigeru Miyamoto in an Iwata Asks interview yesterday. "The same team can't make both at the same time, and we can't bring in a second party and slap the name Super Mario Galaxy on it. I suppose we could idealistically make both in Tokyo, but we want to do something new too, so there was that dilemma."
Super Smash Bros. is set for release on Wii U and 3DS next year.