Nintendo says Smash Bros. Ultimate is a "brand-new game built from the ground up"

No matter what Nintendo says, there will always be a debate about whether Smash Bros. Ultimate is a port or a new title. In an interview with USGamer, Treehouse localization manager Nate Bihldorff has done the best job yet of explaining why Nintendo takes the stance of Ultimate being a brand-new game.

"It's definitely not an update. It's a brand new game built from the ground up. As far as it being a 'sequel,' I don't really think of Smash Bros. games as being sequels, they're just new Smash Bros. games. Everything has been built brand new. Of course you see returning characters and returning movesets, but that's sort of the nature of a fighting game. You obviously want to bring in new players, but you have to satisfy core players. If I'm playing Mario and I don't have a good Up and B, I'm going to be writing my local congressman to get it changed. It's a tough balance, but yeah, it's a brand new game.

True to form, I'm sure [Masahiro] Sakurai sat down with the original artists from that game and said, 'What are we gonna do about that (Zelda) necklace, how do we want her gown to look?' Those details are just everywhere. And that's just purely from a visual standpoint.

When you're bringing back stages, especially when you look at a stage from the Wii U version which was already in HD, at first glance it's going to be a little bit similar. That's when you need to go to the next level and look at lighting, how the players are interacting. Beyond the changes, I can't count the number of small changes. I don't think it's hyperbole when Mr. Sakurai said that there were tens of thousands of changes compared to the last game.

I fully believe that when [Smash Bros. Ultimate] comes out, the pro community is going to grab onto it and show me stuff I've never seen before even though I'm in development. I think it's going to be good. Core, casual, I think they're all going to love it."

Categories: Interviews, Consoles


Top Rated Comment
Thu Jun 14 18 12:32am
Rating: 6

Uhhh....I dont truly believe its "from the ground up", but I do agree its not a port.

Thu Jun 14 18 12:32am
Rating: 6

Uhhh....I dont truly believe its "from the ground up", but I do agree its not a port.

Come on. It’s a port, and that’s fine. It’s absolutely worth the asking price and more. I bought the WiiU and 3DS versions, along with all the character DLC, and I’m here to state emphatically that this is a port. Nevertheless, it has so many enhancements and tweaks and new content that it’s a port unlike any before it, but it’s still a port.

Just out of curiosity, what would this game need to have to be considered a new game rather than a port?

Thu Jun 14 18 01:31am
Rating: 1

New characters and better graphics...oh wait...

Single Player beyond Classic and All-Star would be nice.

I mean, its not really a true port, its more like a greatest hits plus more!

Thu Jun 14 18 01:50am
Rating: 2 (Updated 1 time)

Doesn't the fact that this is using Unreal Engine unlike the last one make the "port" people stop and think, even for a moment? Like... Why is it a port?

Make your best case why a game in a new engine with more characters and levels and items and assist trophies that has a totally changed speed and heavily tweaked controls along with many new character designs and UI features is a port.

I'm pretty sure these same people have no idea what a port really is. Hyrule Warriors and DK Tropical Freeze, those are straight up ports(with a tiny bit of added content). If Smash Ultimate was a port, it would just be the Wii U version with 0 upgrades and a small amount of new content.

Thu Jun 14 18 04:20am
Rating: 2 (Updated 1 time)

They confirmed that it is not running in Unreal. It said Unreal at the end of the direct for Fortnite. That said, this is clearly a new game.

Thu Jun 14 18 05:21am
Rating: 1 (Updated 1 time)

Holy crap, you're right! DragonBall and Octopath also used Unreal. That flashed by so fast that I thought it was just for Smash and the distinctive Unreal logo is basically all I processed. Here's a link below. Thanks for setting me straight! Unlike many on the internet, I love it when someone politely lets me know if I'm wrong about something: I want to know the *truth*.


Okay, so it really is just a heavily modified version of the Smash4WiiU engine. Interesting--there goes a lot of my sense of how much work to game required (not that I'm downplaying the developers' efforts).

It's not running on unreal engine. The only reason they mentioned unreal is because of fortnite. If you look at the standalone 25 minute video of Smash that they uploaded, it makes no mention of unreal.

No, you're right and I misinterpreted the end credit title card. Thanks for pointing that out.

Thu Jun 14 18 05:58am
Rating: 2 (Updated 1 time)

What a load of marketing tosh. This game is clearly using most of Smash Bros. Wii U's assets and code and just adding and tweaking stuff from every single thing I can see. And, just to be clear, I make videogames for a living so I'm not just saying this as some anti Nintendo hater online who simply wants to spout for the sake of being a part of the mob.

You can easily reuse models, but that doesn't make it a port if the entire engine has changed. You don't obviously make games or you just have a bone to pick if you claim that. The game not only looks better but runs clearly different.

The only way that I woul not consider this a port is if they straight up changed the single player modes completely. Dammed if I see that smash tour is back again...

Thu Jun 14 18 07:03am
Rating: 1

Just so you know, being a port isn't an opinion, it's something that's factual. Single player or not, you can't just change your mind and have it affect the outside world. If the single player were made the same or different it wouldn't change a thing.

Thu Jun 14 18 06:19am
(Updated 3 times)

Who cares if you can call it a port or not. It is just what was already there and then they've been adding some stuff and changing bits and pieces. By the way you can port a game to another engine it might take some extra works of course, a little bit more ctrl+C and ctrl+V haha xD
But like I've said before, to me it feels Switch has been more or less an excuse to sell the same games with a twist. Odyssey might be an exception, but that game could have been ported to Wii U as well with a bit of good will.. In fact I guess most of these games could have been released on Wii U as well.
But they decided there needed to be even more machines in our homes. I wonder what abandoning many millions units of hardware every few years does to our planet. I think these are some old fashioned business decisions.
Instead, please be courageous and make use of what is already out there. A new game for the Gamecube can still be the best game that was ever made.. It's so sad if new game creations can only rely on new technology as their selling point. It's really bad for our creative muscles.

I'm impressed by how much has changed and am glad it is not just Smash Wii U with a couple new characters. I doubt Sakurai even considered that; he knew that would be lame.

I think if EA can get away with releasing sports games every year and calling them new, then Nintendo can get away with calling this new.

People are way too obsessed with the idea of everything being a port.

Mostly see it from people who don't want to let the Wii U go.

Thu Jun 14 18 07:11am
Rating: 4

I think a lot of the people calling this game a port are either salty over e3 or genuinely lack the ability to distinguish game mechanics. You'd have to be blind to not tell the difference between this game and smash 4.

It's like saying smash 4 was a port of Brawl, or that brawl was a port of melee.

Thu Jun 14 18 08:37am
Rating: 1 (Updated 2 times)

If a game with new character models, completely overhauled physics and animation systems, new mechanics and characters and rebuilt and expanded selection of stages is a port, then Street Fighter 5 is a port of Street Fighter 4.

Or like the new CoD is a port of the last CoD because it uses the same engine but has several changes. This game looks both fresh compared to the last one, and...hehe...sorry not sorry...Smashing.

New final smashes. All those characters, levels, trophies, new moves etc... It's a sequel, not a port. So they used the same, but tweaked, engine from the Wii U game? And? It work fine and now they didn't have to make a brand new engine which would have taken more time.

But whatever creams your twinkie, I guess.

This is not a new game, it's an enhanced port. The way Nintendo have gone on about this at E3 has been embarrassing, they just stopped short of having a broken record on loop in the background repeating "This is not a port".

If anyone believes them saying "It's a brand new game built from the ground up", then you'll believe anything.

Thu Jun 14 18 08:07am
Rating: 1

It's like Nintendo's aware and afraid to admit that 90% of all games coming to Switch are ports.

I wasn't aware that using an entirely new engine on a game still made it a port. Did you not see it at all? Yeah, they reused art, but with a completely different engine, it's not a port by any stretch.

It’s not a new engine.
It’s not using Unreal Engine.

Oh my God! You're not one of those that thinks this was made using the Unreal engine, are you? It wasn't. It's made using the same engine as on Wii U and it's made by the same crowd at Bandai Namco who made the Wii U and 3DS versions. Why? It's easier for them to make the enhanced port to Switch.

You’re right, I shouldn’t believe Nintendo, I better believe a dude named SLIGEACH_EIRE from the Internet because he said so. Totally credible source, totally not a salty Wii U stan.

Also I have goddamn eyes and it looks nothing like Smash 4, so you know, there’s that.

Well I am glad that it's not a port because it means they can polish the game right.

I mean....after seeing games like Chrono trigger and final fantasy 6 getting horrible ports, the fact that this isn't a straight up port means that they won't rush it. Of course, Nintendo rarely rushes their games but still..better than nothing.

Me thinks Nintendo doth protest too much.

Can't wait for people to complain Animal Crossing Switch is a port of Amiibo Festival since it will most likely use a similar engine..

Thu Jun 14 18 10:02am
Rating: 1

I'm sure some things were built from the ground up but I'm also certain that a bunch of assets were pulled in from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. With the amount of work that has already gone into this game, I think it would be insulting to call it a port. New content, new animations, new textures, game play tweaks and there are probably a bunch of new features/content we don't know about. Just think of all the modes they haven't even begun discussing yet.

I can't believe how many people don't know what a port is...

90% of what they've shown is legacy content. If they feel like they can call it a "brand new game", it's probably purely by a technicality.

Don't get me wrong, I don't expect them to reinvent the wheel every time they make a new Smash Bros. But this particular game's selling point seems to be "All the old stuff that was ever in a previous game is back." Calling it a "brand new game built from the ground up" just feels kind of hypocritical under those circumstances.

"this is not a port" , bayonetta then proceeds to do the regular smash 4 thing in the invitational, and melee players gets eliminated first.

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