Plucky Little Guys: Olimar and Alph in Smash 4

alpholimar

Hey all! Masked Man here.

The team has been reviewing some of Sakurai’s Super Smash Bros. for Wii U / 3DS design documents, and we’ve discovered that Alph was once considered as a potential full-blown clone character!

We hadn’t realized until reading through several separate interviews and comparing the terminology Sakurai uses to describe clone characters (モデル替え/”model swap”) and palette swaps (カラーバリエーション/”color variation”). Sound like an arbitrarily confusing-yet-subtle semantic difference? Rest assured you aren’t alone in thinking so!

In addition, I mentioned this in a previous article, but Rock Pikmin were also considered for inclusion. As originally planned, Rock Pikmin would be heavy and short-ranged, but extremely powerful. Ultimately, however, they were scrapped, presumably due to time constraints.

To give you an idea of what sort of aspects Sakurai and his team consider when re-balancing veteran fighters, we’ve recreated and translated an excerpt from Sakurai’s balance notes for Pikmin & Olimar in Smash 4. Enjoy!
(Note: The following excerpt is taken from sometime midway through development, so some items are marked as “On Hold” despite being included in the final game.)


Veteran Fighter
Balance Checklist
Olimar 
Team Status Details
Modeling Decided Olimar will serve as the base model.
Consider including Alph (Pikmin 3 protagonist) as a clone character.
Modeling If possible, add Rock Pikmin (heavy and short-ranged, but very powerful).
Game Design Decided Smash Attacks and aerials feel weak and unable to deliver a decisive blow → focus on buffing their range and knockback.
Animation On Hold If possible, add Rock Pikmin (heavy and short-ranged, but very powerful).
Game Design On Hold ” “
Programming On Hold ” “
Animation Decided Smash Attacks and aerials feel weak and unable to deliver a decisive blow → focus on buffing their range and knockback.
Animation Complete Hard to tell what he does when he Jabs → include some sort of effect to clarify.
(He currently uses his antenna to help him attack, but feel free to change as you see fit.)
Game Design On Hold  Increase distanced traveled with Forward Tilt. Would also like to improve the animation slightly.
Animation Complete ” “
Game Design Down Tilt does not combo well and subjects Olimar to a counterattack → buff strength and knockback.
Animation Complete Olimar directs his Pikmin two times when performing Smash Attacks → have him strike a single, clear pose for each.
Game Design Slightly buff the distance traveled with Forward Smash.
Programming Complete When using Forward Smash near the ledge, Pikmin thrown will stop in midair before falling off and land on the ground.
Programming Complete When using Forward Smash on an upward incline, Pikmin land immediately and the attack is cut short → adjust the trajectory to account for the incline.
Consider animating the Pikmin as airborne but have the hitbox connected to the ground.
Animation Complete Make Up Smash look flashier by having the Pikmin spin or something when launched upward.
Game Design Slightly buff the distance traveled with Down Smash.
Animation Complete Buff the finish of Neutral Air and make the attack stand out.
Game Design On Hold  ” “
Effects Increase the size of the Pikmin for Forward/Back Air.
Add effects or something to expand the range of the attack.
Animation Complete ” “
Game Design On Hold  ” “
Game Design Reduce the endlag on an “empty” Pikmin Pluck.
Keep the animation as-is and allow for attack canceling.
Programming Complete  Pikmin pulled with Pikmin Pluck will no longer fall over the ledge.
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5 comments

  1. I kind of figured when I heard Rock Pikmin were planned but seriously this is BS! If Alph was going to be a separate character then where is his amiibo? This is not fair! He should have one!

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