This interview is with the developers behind Super Smash Bros. Crusade. (Download link). It’s an impressive fan-made game with a huge roster and unique stages. Definitely check it out!
The roster of Crusade is really impressive. There are 50+ characters in the game, and Shantae and Dr. Mario are on their way. What goes behind character selection for Crusade?
We receive a lot of criticism from people regarding our roster, and who can blame them? It’s no secret there are some very questionable choices there. Our team inherited a majority of the cast from the original developers when the project was nearly abandoned, and they created the game we enjoy today in their own special vision. Some of them haven’t received as much applause as others, and whether or not we will clean them up in the future is currently undecided. From here on out, however, some factors we look at extensively are popularity, Nintendo relevance, and most importantly, innovativeness. We really want Crusade to stand out, and we’re hoping the wide selection of unique characters will keep our fans guessing.
Crusade seems like it has great community relations, even running its own forum for feedback. How do you balance fan feedback and the project plan?
Our project plans are in constant motion, and the community is the driving force. We have an entire board on our forum dedicated to character suggestions where we can gauge support, and we are always in tune with our fanbase at large. That’s not to say we don’t have tricks of our own, though!
What’s a character that you’ve enjoyed coming up with a moveset for, and why?
Well, I can’t spoil anything, but we’ve got a character in the works that has been very fun for the entire team to make a reality. I’ll say this much: It’s unlike anything you’ve seen in Smash thus far. It’s our most anticipated newcomer yet.
How do you manage character balance with all of these characters?
We have a team of competitive players whose job it is to analyze the cast for competitive balance. In order to make the team, a person must pass a written test meant to separate the competitively knowledgeable from the rest. Together, this team regularly discusses the balance of the game to create the most fair and diverse cast they can. Balance is generally designed around Melee’s top tiers, with many of those characters playing very similarly to their counterparts in said game. We also, however, take inspiration from other Smash titles and incorporate our own unique ideas.
Is there any work being done on a Mac port? What are the limitations and setbacks, if any, that would prevent such a thing from happening?
A Mac port definitely isn’t out of the question, but it’s a complicated matter. Porting the game to GameMaker: Studio would be extremely taxing on our coders. We know we have a good number of people on Mac who would like to try the game, including one of our own devs, so it is actively considered.
It goes without saying that Crusade is a game that’s inspired by the Smash Bros. series. What elements inspired you in particular? Has there been anything that came out as DLC that made you change your mind on something that was already in the game?
As die-hard Smash fans, we were inspired by the incredible games Nintendo and Sakurai have created, from the speed and technicality of Melee to the intuitiveness and smoothness of modern Smash. As stated previously, the roster is always changing, so we’re always looking at the official newcomers. While I can’t reveal any secret characters, Shantae (Who was planned to be included long before the Super Smash Bros. DLC was announced), was chosen to be revealed in our Smash Con trailer based on her popularity among fans in the Smash Ballot. So yes, I suppose you could say we’ve been influenced in some fashion.
What are some other games that have inspired Crusade?
Our Crusade-exclusive air dodge was inspired by Air Dash Online, the canceled indie platform fighter by JV5 Games that professional Smash players like Mew2King contributed to. A feature not currently in any released version, grab teching, was brought in from titles such as Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken… basically any traditional fighter you can think of. We like to experiment with various techniques like that and see which ones work well in a Smash setting.
What are the shortcomings of Smash, and how does Crusade improve them?
We have no intention on fixing Smash’s core gameplay because it’s not broken. This is a game made by fans for fans, and so we want to bring together the best aspects of Smash Bros. while adding our own unique flair.
What are your thoughts on Masahiro Sakurai?
We love Sakurai. A lot of people accuse us of trying to be a ‘replacement’ of sorts to the official Smash titles, but this is far from the case. We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t love what Sakurai has done. He’s put an incredible amount of effort into each Smash title (As well as the other games he’s created) and it’s a really impressive feat.
Are you worried about legal ramifications for the project? After all, Project M recently closed its operations.
Not particularly, no. Like I said, we aren’t looking to replace any official games, and have no reason to be worried. If the game is ever to be shut down we will respect the wishes of the property owners, but as long as that hasn’t happened we’ll continue to create this experience for our fans.
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