Today, TheAnvil and PushDustIn are finished their debate. Please read the introduction to this post, as we will be referencing it quite a bit during our debate. We have limited our responses to two times, and alternate the order for the topics. Let us know in the comments who you think had the stronger arguments!
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Anyone who is well versed in the period of speculation leading up to the latest Smash Bros. is familiar with exactly who was, and who wasn’t a popular choice. Characters often have varying levels of popularity, but this time there were MANY characters who were considered locks by the vast majority of fans. Most of these characters found their way into the 1st and 2nd Gematsu leaks.
Pac-Man, Mega Man, Mii’s, Palutena, Little Mac and Chrom are particularly strong candidates for this. While Shulk also saw a great deal of support and was considered a likely addition (although not to the extent of the aforementioned).
In addition, an Animal Crossing character and a new Pokemon also topped fan predictions. Although these were much more divided between different characters, this plays quite heavily into the vague names section discussed earlier. Another character that people consider difficult to predict for any fan was Rosalina & Luma, who similarly to the Villager and Greninja had a great deal of competition within her own franchise as to who would get the potential “Mario newcomer” position. This means that all 3 of the characters who were seen as having divided support within their home series were either (perhaps intentionally) vague, or not mentioned at all.
I’m going to quote Sal Romano for this:
I see this term tossed around a lot. I honestly don’t think there’s any such thing. There are no safe guesses when it comes to naming a roster. Wii Fit Trainer wasn’t a safe guess, as you’ll admit, and I don’t know how ‘likely’ (again, this would be a synonym of a safe guess, which doesn’t really apply as this newcomer thing can be pretty darn random) Mega Man, Villager, and Little Mac were, but this guy’s 4 for 6 on his E3 leaks so far. Which is pretty darn good.
-April 16th, 2014
This is also really easy to say after the fact. Furthermore, I challenge anyone to find someone else who had all these safe guesses. Who else had all of this information correct?
Information about the character selection process was severely lacking at the start of Smash for 3DS/ Wii U. I know this kind of sounds egotistical, but I think one of the best things about Source Gaming is that we have collected, organized, and contributed new data about how characters are chosen for Smash. We know a lot more now about the character selection process than we did. The numerous interviews Sakurai has done has provided extremely valuable insight.
Looking at the Roster Prediction thread (Pre-E3 2013, on Neogaf) further proves this. No one guessed Wii Fit Trainer. A lot of people assumed that Takamaru was going to get in (though he was considered). I see a lot of Dixie Kongs, K. Rools, Sheriffs, Wonderful 101 rep being considered “safe guesses” among the E3 2013 prediction crowd. If the leaker was making up information SURELY they would have included one of those characters. After all, those else was on their own prediction list. The leak was no way lucky nor guesses. It was insider information.
I compiled the first 50 responses from the Roster Prediction Thread. Here’s how many guessed each character:
Little Mac, Pac-Man, Animal Crossing Guy, Mega Man, Wii Fit Trainer, Mii.
Megaman – 14/50 -> 28%
Wii Fit Trainer (Anything Wii Fit okay) 0%. 18-Volt did guess a Wii Fit pedometer would get in.
Mii – 14/50 -> 28%. + 1 person guessed that Miis would be Assist Trophies.
Pac-Man -> 4 (PACMAN) 31/50 -> 60%.
Animal Crossing Guy / Villager(Anything Animal Crossing rep) – 1/50 -> 2% boy (good job Tyeforce!)
(Just for fun) Tom Nook -> 11/50 -> 22%
Little Mac -> 28/50 -> 56%
Average percentage: 29%
Shulk: 30/50 -> 60%
Palutena -> 33/50 -> 66%
Pokemon from X/Y (or Gen V) -> 5/50 -> 10%
Rhythm Heaven Rep-> 2/50 -> 4%
Chrom: 43/50 -> 86%
Average percentage 2nd leak:45%
Average total percentage: 36%
A new Pokemon, Rhythm Heaven representative, Animal Crossing Guy, Miis, Wii Fit Trainer and even Megaman were not “safe guesses”.
It may depend on where and when you look as the general census will often shift over time, and often differs depending which parts of the community you are looking at.
For example, in 2011 Mega Man had a nearly 60% approval rating in a Rate Their Chances series of threads on Gamefaqs that on average received roughly 100 replies. He placed in the top end of characters along with Little Mac who was #1 at just shy of 80%, as well as Bowser Jr at 61% (which gives credence to the fact that Rosalina was not considered the most likely Mario newcomer, and gives her lack of an appearance on the first leak more significance).
According to this thread in 2014 with nearly 200 votes, Shulk was considered a likely newcomer. Only 35 of the 197 people who voted in this thread placed his chances at less than 50%.
The general consensus of Pac-Man was that he was “the only logical Namco rep”.
Even Wii Fit Trainer, while not guessed to any major degree, is not the “completely random choice that nobody ever mentioned” that many people perceive her to be. She is definitely an “out there” choice, but not completely unfathomable to guess. As evidence by these posts.
Chrom similarly was perceived as a safe pick, even after Ike returned.
Even Greninja was predicted as the most likely Pokemon newcomer by yours truly.
And this thread posted with 118 votes prior to Greninja’s reveal definitely looked favourably on the likelyhood of there being a Pokemon newcomer.
My personal experiences with these characters, and being very active during this period of speculation are that most of them were definitely considered to be likely additions. In some cases, as the most likely additions.
As far as I can tell, all of the posts you have collected have either come way before, or after the Gematsu leaks.I believe that the data I’ve compiled is far more accurate in portraying the general consensus around the time of actual leaks.
Both of those Wii Fit Trainer posts were largely ignored/ brushed off by the community. I think those actually prove how unlikely of a “guess” she was. The fact that the Gematsu leaker got all of the characters in the original leaker either means he’s physic, a prophet or had insider information. I think having insider information is the easiest to believe.
For Megaman, his situation was seen far more favorably in 2011 than 2013, when he was revealed. That’s because you still had Megaman games coming out. However, between 2011 and 2013 you basically had 3 games cancelled (MegaMan Universe, Rockman Online and Megaman Legends 3). That’s why he wasn’t seen as likely in that Neogaf prediction thread.
Lastly, for the leakers second round of information (Chrom, Pokemon from X/Y, Chorus Men, Palutena, Shulk) I will admit that most of those could be seen as “safe guesses”. However, we do have evidence that Chorus Men — the most unlikely of the bunch, were probably in the game. We also have very good reason to believe that Chrom was also in the game at one point. Therefore he probably got all of them correct! I haven’t seen a combination of such “safe guesses” reach 70% correct, no less 100%.
Dated information vs. New information:
There is a lot of reason to believe that the leaker had access to dated information only. This is due to his information possibly coming from pre-April 2012, or at the very least pre-August 2012 (as Chrom was possibly not cut at that point of time). He seemed to only release information around the time that big-reveals were planned (E3, Smash Direct, E3). possibly to draw more attention to his information, and to become ‘infamous’ (It worked). I think his Shulk’s comment (“enjoy my good friend shulk 😉“ aka “Monado Monday”) proves that at that point in time he was no longer, or even possibly was never been involved with Smash for 3DS/ Wii U’s development. Simply put, I think for whatever reason, the leaker decided to spread his leak out.
The Gematsu leaks were comprised of 4 main parts. The first two parts of the leak made up of just lists and gave no indication of a continual knowledge of development. However both of the latter two parts seemed to strongly indicate that the source of the leaks knew ongoing details about development. Disregarding the fact that it turned out to be completely wrong, the 3rd leak stating “enjoy my good friend shulk ! :)” was good evidence that the leaker (at least believed he) had continual knowledge up until virtually the end of Smash’s base development cycle. As this was posted on July 14th, 2014. Of course this was proven to be completely wrong as Robin and Lucina were announced in place of Shulk. While at the time many pro-Gematsu supporters believed that Sakurai had a last minute change and decided to show Robin’s trailer instead of the Shulk one, this proved to be wrong as the Famitsu magazine that released just days later solidified that Shulk’s trailer was never intended to have been shown on that day.
The dated information argument starts to falter even further by the 4th part of the Gematsu leak. In more ways than one.
“There has been internal debate about keeping Lucas versus Ness, apparently Lucas is likely to get the cut”.
In my estimations, the way this is worded suggests an ongoing conversation by use of the word “debate”. It also suggests that Lucas was developed for the base game by the use of the word “cut”. We know this to be false as Sakurai has stated that DLC is “authentic” and not “cut” content from the base game.
In addition to this, the leak newly referred to the Mii character(s) as “Mii Fighters”. Not only the first Gematsu leak to do this, but the first and only leak to do this. Prior to this, two of the other Gematsu leaks had referred to them as “Mii” only. The Mii Fighters name was brought up only on the day of E3 2014, which happened to be the very date of their official announcement. This could indicate that Sal Romano’s source was in some kind of position working at E3 (as the other “difficult to guess” part, the Wii Fit Trainer came at E3 in 2013). I consider this categorical proof that “dated information” is not the case.
Finally, the leaker also refers to more characters made available by DLC:
“Nintendo is planning post-launch character DLC, source doesn’t like this as he thinks it’s greedy”.
While the concept of DLC characters was an incredibly easy guess (people had long been speculating that this game would receive DLC characters, as this is the way the gaming business has gone in general).
It’s also worth noting that Sakurai has clearly stated several times that he was not planning on DLC fighters during development of the game, instead choosing to focus on the game itself. There’s no accounting for this, apart from it being a clear sign of fabrication on the part of the leaker.
DLC characters were probably not on the cards until around the time the game went gold (as is evidenced by the lack of Mewtwo footage by the time the Wii U version was releasing), even stating at one time that Mewtwo could possibly be the only DLC character in November 2014. Just 4 months after the final Gematsu leak.
Personally, I think the leaker might have a loose connection to development. His information suggests that he could’ve worked on the pre-planning stage, as he was not aware of Chrom and the Chorus Men being cut. “Pokemon X and Y” is another piece of evidence that suggests that. It’s possible he helped organize the announcement dates for the newcomers, and then was shifted to another project.
Again, it’s difficult to try to assume what role the leaker might have had in development, as he might have timed out his leak in order to throw off any investigation. Furthermore, we don’t know what information he held back. It’s obvious from the amount of leaks, and the timing of them that he wanted to leak out the information slowly, instead of all at once…for whatever reason.
I do believe the Lucas and DLC bit is perhaps the leakers weakest points. However, since Lucas did end up becoming DLC, it is possible that he was telling the truth. We know that the games were made with DLC in mind thanks to the data dumps, so plans must’ve been discussed at some point. It’s a possibility that we shouldn’t discount. I don’t think Sakurai is lying but remember– part of his job is public relations. He never said that he didn’t hold back characters for DLC, he just said no work was done on them before starting DLC development. He could have held back Mewtwo footage. Again, I don’t personally think so, but it’s a possibility.
The last DLC pack alone costs $29.16 USD for everything, for both systems. $14.19 USD for the first collection. That means currently, Smash DLC totals $43.35 for four characters, one stage, and 12 Mii Fighter costumes sets. With the Smash for Wii U, you got 50 characters, 46 stages and 19 Mii Fighter costumes (not including the 55 hats). Price per content, DLC is a premium price. It’s not that farfetched for someone to call it greedy.
It is hard to pinpoint how much, if any of the Gematsu leak was actually legitimate. Each of the 4 separate leaks had inconsistencies, or flat out false information in the case of the latter 2. It’s an entirely plausible scenario that the leaker had legitimate information and sprinkled it with fake information like other leakers have done in the past, IE Paul Gale and Lupinko. I don’t think you can credit him with correctly predicting the Villager or Greninja, as they’re too vague. This leaves his track record as being 7/11. The fact that Sal has offered little to no explanation as to what exactly happened is also a bit of a red flag. Due to all of these circumstances, it would be very hard to take any future Gematsu leaks as gospel.
The way that I see it, the strongest points of the Gematsu leaks are not only the Wii Fit Trainer, being correct with a Rhythm Heaven representative, and being 100% correct with character guesses. The leaker did not have the timing of the character reveals down, and might have chosen to leak things slowly, but as of right now we do not have enough information about the potential leaker to accurately explain why he was off, but rational explanations do exist. I encourage everyone to take off their rose-tinted glasses and realize that the probability of being so “lucky” is incredibly low, that having insider information is the most probable explanation.
I hope you guys enjoyed our debate. We have more topics that we want to explore!
So, now that you have heard both sides of the issue, what are your thoughts on the Gematsu Smash Leak? Guessing 9 out of 11 characters correctly is statistically improbable, but it is in no way impossible. Please let us know where you stand in the comments below! – Spazzy_D
Mains: Yoshi (64), Game and Watch (Melee), Wario (Brawl), Wario/Pac-Man (Smash for 3DS/Wii U)