Fans rejoice! Super Smash Bros Ultimate makes its way to the Nintendo Switch on December 7, 2018. With news of the game’s release date revealed during E3, so too was news that GameCube controllers would be compatible. Third party Nintendo equipment manufacturer, Hori celebrates the occasion with three character themed GameCube controllers. One for Mario, Zelda, and Pikachu, respectively to see release in October.
Controllers All Over the World
If you consider yourself a Smash Bros fan who happens to live outside of Japan, you may feel like you got on an emotional rollercoaster. Hori only intends to release these controllers in Japan. However, all hope is not lost. North American manufacturer PDP have their own Mario, Pikachu, and Zelda controllers they will release… with a twist.
The Hori controllers will not sport anything new other than a different color and emblem on the controller itself. But the Performance Designed Products controllers not only possess different colors and emblems (different from the Hori controllers as well). They also remodeled the GameCube controller to slightly improve the shoulder buttons. More intriguingly, however, the tiny C stick nub of the PDP controller can get switched out with another normal joystick. In case you never had a chance to get used to the original C stick. The GameCube is about 17 years old, after all.
Why Have New Controllers at All?
The reason why they insist on rereleasing the controllers of a system from three console generations ago involves the Smash Bros of that generation. Super Smash Bros never received more support from the competitive gaming community than for Super Smash Bros Melee. With its fast, intuitive movements and ways to peak player performance, Melee quickly became a game that scared away casual gamers who ventured from their own couches. The series went from a casual party game to a competitive bloodbath where only babies played on other stages than Final Destination.
When the next generation’s Smash Bros came out, series director Masahiro Sakurai focused on the casual player. Super Smash Bros Brawl slowed down the action and included a couple of “broken” characters that made it easier for newbies. The competitive Melee community did not hide their disdain, to say the least. Even with the inclusion of an adapter that allowed players to plug in their old GameCube controllers into the Wii.
Even to this day, with Smash Bros Wii U attempting a nice mix of the two, Melee players have a lot to complain about. A classic pro controller just does not do, for some. Not like the GameCube controller of old. It may seem silly to some, but the familiarity that the old control system provided just could not be compared. So, Sakurai gave them what they wanted.
Should the Melee Community Move On?
Which raises the question, should the hardcore fan base of Super Smash Bros Melee get what they want at all? Should Nintendo really release the GameCube controller every console generation after console generation? It could almost feel like Sakurai caving to competitive Melee players.
Is it, though? The PlayStation controller has made minimal changes since the PlayStation 1. They may have added buttons over the generations, but the general shape has not changed. But it’s not the same because gamers don’t have to keep on buying the PlayStation 1 controller over and over.
The truth is that Nintendo needs the competitive community to jump onto Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Nintendo makes no money from people playing the same copy of the same game over and over. By focusing on the competitive players, it looks as though Sakurai and the rest of Nintendo may make more money again.
This will help when it comes to the Smash games’ inclusions in EVO and other competitions. Whether you care about the competitive fighting game community or not, Nintendo is trying to show that there is a controller for you. The themed controllers will become available in October. Smash Bros Ultimate comes out December 7, 2018.