Does Lucas DESERVE to get into Smash?

I was listening to the GameChap’s discussion on Lucas, “Super Smash Bros LUCAS DLC – Does He DESERVE a Slot? (Wii U)” and decided to post my own thoughts on the matter. I have some issues with GameChap and Bertie’s argument that I would like to explore. I’ll skip over the fact that they called Ike a clone, because that’s way too easy.

First, the term “deserve” is used as a synonym of ‘I want’. If the GameChap or Bertie has actually took the time to define what they mean by ‘deserve’ than their argument could have been less ambiguous. I simply cannot understand how they came up with the conclusion that Steve from Minecraft ‘deserves’ to be in an Nintendo-centric crossover game, while the protagonist from a highly rated Nintendo game does not. I’m assuming worldwide popularity, or at least their perception of who holds worldwide popularity is what they mean by ‘deserves’.

The case has been made 4 Snake already, but I’m not sure about other indie characters like Freddy from Five Nights at Freddy, or Shovel Knight ,especially since Japanese gamers have no idea who most of those characters are. I’d like to encourage the GameChaps, and people who have similar thoughts to stop being so Western-centric with their line of thinking. We already discussed why this would be a bad idea on Source Gaming. Veterans have a significant advantage because they already have fans and worldwide recognition, even if their games were limited release.

From their discussion, I’m assuming that because Mother 3 was never officially localized, that the character is unfit to join the battle. While that has prevented a good number of characters from joining the battle, Lucas and Ness are somewhat unique. The Earthbound Community is sizeable, and the series was partly localized (1.5 titles). Since Earthbound/Mother is a series, it automatically has a leg-up from other Japan-only characters like Takamaru who comes from a single entry. Furthermore, Lucas was always meant to join the battle. In Melee, Lucas almost replaced Ness as the sole Earthbound/Mother representative. However, given the hectic development of Mother 3, which is a game that Sakurai was extremely familiar with (As he worked at Hal Laboratories during its’ development), Sakurai decided to stick with Ness. Because of his long history with the Smash Brothers series, I have no personal issues with Lucas’ involvement. Smash has always done better to represent series, and not single entries.

Another point, is that they claim people only want him because of his play-style, and not from enjoying the game. Smash dual functions as an action fighting game and a crossover event for Nintendo characters. People enjoying Lucas’ playstyle and not the actual character should not be used as an argument for ‘deservedness’ I love Luigi as a character, but I do not like his playstyle. Does that make me a hypocrite as I didn’t chose him as my main? No, because in the end, Smash Brothers is a game. If you don’t enjoy it, then you are playing it wrong.

“Dev team better spent adding fan favorite characters into the game and highly requested characters other than Lucas” (5:04)

DLC is going to be for the fans. The fans want Lucas back, and it’s not just Japan. Lucas was voted as one of the top most wanted characters for DLC before he was announced in my Mega Smash Poll, which was answered mostly by Westerns. Saying that he has no popularity in the West because his game was not released is incredibly ignorant.

Lucas can’t be imported directly from Brawl. We know from data-dumps that an incredible amount of work goes into the characters to ensure they are fit for battle. In addition to making them work on two versions (which is something that GameChap has forgotten), they need to be adjusted to fit with the new engine, and ensure that they do not throw off the game balance. Even after that, ensuring that they work with 8 Player Smash, and adding additional alts, is additional work. While it is less work than creating a new character from scratch, we need to remember that the development team size has been reduced, and with every character added, the amount of work multiples.

That being said, I do believe Lucas AND Wolf were put on low-priority in Smash for Nintendo 3DS/ Wii U as Sakurai believe that those series had no future. I believe many people incorrectly attribute this to the Ice Climbers demise, which is something that I’m adamantly against as the Ice Climbers were chosen as the Famicon representative and not for their actual series. Lucas coming back is because Sakurai understands that people are attached to the character, and hates to disappoint fans. DLC is meant to amend their wounds, and to make, ‘players happy’.

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  1. If you ask me, I think that the GameChap guys were probably aiming to be sensationalist with this video. Their target audience is likely younger children, so I can understand why they didn’t bother to define what they meant by ‘deserves’, and why they didn’t provide any detail on the huge labour new characters impose on Sakurai and his team (and if you ask, the fairly shaky delivery and a couple of errors such as calling him ‘Luke’, combined with the incredibly outlandish character suggestions makes me feel like these guys might not have done their research) Regardless I feel that whether or not a character ‘deserves’ to appear in the game cannot be based entirely on whether or not their game has been released in the west; I’m certain you don’t need me to tell you this, but let us not forget what Marth and Roy’s inclusion in Melee did for Fire Emblem in the west. (Of course, we could easily factor in Takamaru’s exclusion from 4, but on the other hand Lucas is from a now fairly well-known series with a strong cult following, something that could largely be attributed to Smash Bros.). Still, thanks for a good write up to clear up the facts!

    1. Great points! I do feel that they were being a bit sensationalist just from the title alone, and I didn’t think about their target audience.

      With Fire Emblem, they were the only series to be included on the “If there were a Smash 2 poll” conducted by Sakurai on the Smash 64 website (Finished two months before Melee’s project plan was finished), so Fire Emblem was going to get in. Even though it didn’t have a Western release. I think the main difference is longevity. Takamaru has only appeared in one game, while Fire Emblem had six games before the series was localized. Also, I believe that Earthbound had a strong cult following from the SNES days. Smash Brothers has further increased its’ cult status in the West though.

      I’m hopeful for Takamaru in Smash 5, as his game was finally localized/ released on the Virtual Console and with him being an assist trophy, his worldwide recognition has dramatically increased.

      1. The idea of ‘series without a future’ certainly seems to be a solid reason dictating the appearance of certain characters. It makes me wonder about how the selection process takes into account characters such as Lucario and Ike returning despite the unlikelihood of them appearing in games as main characters yet still returning in more than one Smash game, but that’s a whole other topic in itself. After his appearance in Nintendo Land that I imagine confused many people, it’s a shame Takamaru didn’t get his chance this time around, I’d love to see Smash Bros. used to promote some potential reboots and the like, I think it certainly played a role in Kid Icarus Uprising, especially in a design sense.

        1. Lucario is still pretty popular in the Pokemon franchise. He had a whole side event in Pokemon X/Y. But yeah, I was kind of surprised to see Ike return. I guess since Fire Emblem became popular in the West, and because people ‘like Ike’, Sakurai decided to include him in the newest Smash.

          Side information: In Brawl, Ike was originally designated as, “Someone from Fire Emblem” much like Greninja was originally “A Pokemon from X/Y” in Smash for 3DS/Wii U.

          It’s funny that you mention Pit. I’m in the middle of translating some of Sakurai’s presentation from GDC 2008, and he goes into depth about Pit’s design. I’m collaborating with X Kan from Kantopia in order to put the text back on the images. Should be ready sometime this week!

          I heard that Tamaki from Unseen 64 has information about an unreleased Kid Icarus game, so it’s possible that Pit’s series was not as dead as we originally thought.
          A new Mystery of Murasame Castle game would be great.

  2. Great article as always, PushDustIn. Deserves is a very subjective term, but I will go out on a limb and say that any first party Nintendo character “deserves” a spot in a game that is essentially a celebration of Nintendo history over a character that has never appeared on Nintendo hardware and is wholly owned by rival console maker Microsoft.

  3. they seriously tried to claim that “people only want him because of his play-style” as a point against lucas? seriously? oh, no! heaven forbid people actually **like** the way a character plays completely independently of their game of origin!

    i mean, the entire video was absolute bullshit, but come on. you can tell they were scraping the bottom of the barrel

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