While many of us have been grabbing at whatever information comes in on the official, English language Smash Bros. site, the Japanese version has been flooded with updates by director Masahiro Sakurai, as he responds to several e-mails from rabid fans. Smash World Forums poster SamuraiPanda has translated Sakurai's postings, and here is what has been revealed:
- The lineup: Not all characters from the previous games will return. Any non-Nintendo character must have appeared on a Nintendo platform before; the tentative number of non-Nintendo characters is 1 or 2 (Snake not included). Our guess is that other character will come from one of Nintendo's closest third-party developers: Namco, Capcom, or Sega. Sakurai, noting that Smash Bros is popular worldwide, does not want the title to feature characters that are only popular in Japan (though given the success of Fire Emblem, that may change).
- The gameplay: The speed of the game will be "moderated" (the translator guesses this means a slower pace). Every character's moves are being refined so that a player has "more freedom" in aerial combat. "This time, we'd like to stress easiness over the small details of combat, so overall it might become somewhat easier."
- Online: There are no plans for an online ranking system (although win-loss records might still be recorded). It does not seem that Sakurai is placing high priority on an online system.