The “4th Custom”

4th custom

From the very start with one of the project proposals, Sakurai was very ambitious with Smash for 3DS/ Wii U. One of the original goals was to include four custom moves per special for every character. In the final release of the game, the development team nearly met their goal with three custom moves per move per character. Generally speaking, the custom moves tend to follow the a pattern: quick/ small, normal and big/slow.

After the game’s release, a popular Smash YouTuber, RED uploaded a video featuring unused customs. Today, I would like to explain my thoughts on his video, and exactly how far four customs might have gotten. Of course, this is 100% speculation and NOT confirmed information. Please be advised that I might be very wrong about this. If you see any holes in this post please sound off in the comments.

(Part 1 of the video for reference)

One thing that struck me as peculiar was how RED’s video showed Mario using an “ice” fireball (based on the sound), instead of the double fireball found in the original proposal. Things could always change in development, but I decided to investigate this more. I looked at Dantarion’s amazingly useful Master Core tool. The dumps from the 3DS version are incredibly helpful for not just curious people like me, but people who want to compare changes (especially balancing changes). So go check it out, and follow Dantarion on Twitter.

Anyway, moves seem to be stored within the character itself: ex: Mario’s moveset is in Mario. External pieces to the moves i.e; the fireball or the pump are stored in separate files; ex: Mario_HugeFlame for Mario’s third custom. Following me?

Well, looking through Mario’s moveset, we can see his neutral special (his fireball) is located in 211-213 (use the drop down menu), one for each custom variant. However, if we look at 214, we can see that it’s currently unnamed…possibly unused. 215-217 is Mario’s neutral special in air, but again there’s another one that is unused (218).

Comparing the contents of 214 to 211-213 and 218 to 215-217 reveals that more than likely this is evidence of some work being done on the fourth custom, and the same can be said for the rest of Mario’s specials.

I glanced through the rest of them and noticed a similar pattern existing in Luigi, Dr. Mario and Donkey Kong. Dr. Mario has this as he was probably made using Mario’s files, as Sakurai has suggested. Luigi and Donkey Kong might be because they are original members of Smash. Luigi could have been originally based on Mario (as he is a semi-clone), but since his specials are very different from Mario’s I don’t think it was the only reason he potentially had work done on the ‘4th custom’. No other data seems to exist for other characters.

As for “why Mario?” it’s because he’s one of the first characters that is developed in Smash; something that Sakurai has confirmed.

It’s difficult to decipher what exactly these variants hold, if any significant data is actually present. Again, let me know in the comments if I missed something.


What does this tell us? Well, the 4th customs did not get very far. The idea was possibly scrapped in the early stages of development.

As for RED’s video…I believe it’s more likely that he is actually utilizing a glitch. This would explain why other characters have a “4th custom” — despite seemingly not having data for them. I believe that it’s similar (in spirit) to the somewhat infamous “Mewtwo Custom Moves” glitch. Of course, Mewtwo and the other DLC characters DO NOT have custom moves (If you look in Mewtwo’s Bindball data, you will see only one variant is apparently present). As far as I can tell, this glitch occurs when trying to load a move’s properties on top of a different one. For example: telling the game to load Kirby’s Hammer special when using Wario’s Bike special input.

(Video for reference)

In summary, 4th customs probably didn’t get that far into development and what we thought we knew about 4th customs might actually be the result of glitches.

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  1. It’s a shame that the fourth special moves couldn’t ben implimented, but at least we got three! I hope they are expanded upon in a potential Smash 5, and that Sakurai is open to taking more inspiration from the source matieral. Mega Man using Beat and Palutena using Explosive Flame are very cool and interesting. Samus using “Mega Bomb” is less so…

      1. I actually thought it’d be neat to sort of replace some of the custom moves with ones from the source material that still serve a similar function. For example, what if one of Mario’s custom up special Explosive Punch was replaced with a similar move using F.L.U.D.D.’s Rocket Nozzle from Super Mario Sunshine? Sure it would require some model adjustments to F.L.U.D.D., but it’d be cool!

    1. Agreed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the fourth custom move was dropped due to balance issues (with a game that has nearly 60 characters and three potential specials each, it’s already a bit of a logistical nightmare!) My absolute favorite custom moves are the ones that totally change the properties of the attack, like Luigi’s ice balls and Samus’ short-range neutral B (forgot the name of that one.) Instead of the Mega Bomb, Samus should have had the Power Bomb. :\

      1. Yeah… that would’ve made more sense. I’m honestly really surprised they didn’t even give her the Ice Beam as one of her nuetral specials. Although I do like the Melee Charge Shot (^that’s the one where you stand in place).

  2. “f you look in Mewtwo’s Bindball data, you will see only one variant is apparently present”

    So if I understand that means there’s not even any placeholder slot for custom moves for these characters? It’s like they didn’t even try. Depressing.

    1. I just think there wasn’t enough time, and they knew it. With every character they add the amount of balancing work is increased dramatically. It already takes a very long time to create a character, and adding 8 more moves on top of that would either limit the amount DLC they could produce (making people less happy overall), or delay it. Or both. I think it’s a tough choice the team had to make.

      1. It sounds like a plausible explanation, although custom moves are literally the embodiment of reused assets, as they almost all share data with their default counterparts including character animations, so I’d expect them to take less time to make comparatively to the rest of the moveset. Then again there’s also the bug testing to do so I can understand how the developers may cut a part of that tedious process.

        I think it should have at least been officially acknowledged, though (outside of the game itself). As it stands I’d almost compare it to not even acknowledge the cut of the Ice Climbers (which Sakurai clearly explained). But hey, at least I kinda got over it since mid April, even though I still wish they were in.

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