It finally happened. The next entry of the Super Smash Bros. franchise has officially been revealed for the Nintendo Switch and with it has come a bevy of fan excitement. While many fans are salivating over the title’s debut trailer, the fact that a new iteration of the series was en route for Switch owners isn’t all the surprising – especially since a report from an incredibly trusted source claimed that a new Super Smash Bros. would be arriving this year.
Low and behold, Nintendo confirmed just that during its latest Nintendo Direct, clarifying that Super Smash Bros. will be debuting on the Nintendo Switch in 2018. With the window now confirmed, attention has immediately jumped over to speculation on the finished roster in the wake of Splatoon‘s Inkling (and even Breath of the Wild‘s Link) joining the initial rogues gallery of playable mascots.
Eager fans can check out the reveal trailer below.
The Inklings in particular were always believed to be no-brainer candidates for the next Smash game, but the way in which Nintendo opted to reveal their inclusion (and announce the new title) was quite brilliant.
Wrapping up its Direct showcase with a focus on never-before-seen DLC for Splatoon 2, the attention was clearly on the paid-for content for Nintendo’s most popular third-person shooter. As the “roughly” 30-minute Direct went over its intended time, hope for a larger reveal immediately dwindled. That’s not to poo-poo on the quality of the new DLC in any way, but it was a deflating note to go out on while hopes of so many other major reveals still lingered in the air. Then “one more announcement” was dropped and Inklings took the screen, battling it out on a white backdrop.
It was at that moment where doubt, excitement, and raw confusion began to blend together into what can only be described as a hodgepodge of emotions for anyone that had an inkling (pun intended) of what was occurring on-screen. The payoff hit when the Smash emblem could be seen in all of its flaming glory within the reflection of the Inkling girl’s eye, and as videos of gamers reacting to just that moment plainly indicate, dedicated fans erupted.
Upon reflection, it was a brilliant play that paid off huge for the Big N because of what it didn’t do. The company could have dropped a standard trailer, issued a press release, taken to Twitter (i.e. what it did for the Super Mario Bros. film reveal), or orchestrated a dedicated press conference – but it didn’t. By delivering news of a brand new Super Smash Bros. title in a way that engaged the viewer and made them question what it was they were watching, it allowed the news to hit at a much deeper level.
It’s those moments leading up to the reveal when fans were questioning what they were seeing that made it so great. “Is this more Splatoon 2 DLC? Are they porting the original Wii U title to Switch? Wait, is this actually Smash?” All or similar thoughts rush into the viewer’s head during their first viewing and that’s by design. By shrouding the reveal with similar content beforehand, Nintendo drew in confused consumers and then hit them hard. It was a phenomenal bait and switch, which is hopefully exactly what they referred to it as internally when putting the presentation together.
Many companies fail to ever achieve that level of engagement with their respective consumer bases, and that’s what’s so impressive about this reveal in particular. It was some brilliant marketing and presentation structure that saw a progression of content with one major payoff in the end that allowed Nintendo to then dominate social media channels and create immediate awareness of the next iteration in one of its most popular franchises.
Welcome back, Smash.
Super Smash Bros. arrives for Nintendo Switch in 2018.