Epicmartin7 recently pointed me to some research that was done by Stomped Goomba, a TCRF member. They found that the original name for Temple in Smash for Wii U in Spanish is actually the Spanish title for Summit from Brawl. Of course, there’s a ton of reasons why this could happen so I thought I would try to explore every angle of this discovery, and see what conclusions, if any, we can draw. At the same time, I thought it’d be fun to discuss the Ice Climbers and what we know about their development with regards to both the 3DS and Wii U versions of Smash.
The first, and most obvious, scenario is that Summit was indeed planned to return. This would mean that the Spanish translation for Summit was finished and mistakenly added into the final game. When companies translate video games, usually there is a list of words in a spreadsheet or a document that are then translated. For example, whole strings of text, or recurring words such as names or stages, would occupy a single row with their translation occupying the column next to it.
With Smash for Wii U and 3DS, this was likely the case based on the way the text is handled within the code. Comparing the Japanese and English language files for Smash, it was very easy to compare as the text always occupied the same location in the files. The text that is used for the CSS is in the same exact place in Japanese and in English. This is how I was able to compare and contrast the Japanese and English versions of Smash after they were released, thus allowing me to find the unused text.
I don’t really feel comfortable saying “Summit was indeed planned to return” based solely on a string that only appears in one language. Sure the evidence is there, but without other corroborating evidence, it’s kind of a huge leap in logic. So let’s look at other pieces of evidence and review all the other information we know about Ice Climbers’ and their fall from the roster in the fourth and fifth installment of Smash.
It’s very well known that Sakurai did indeed want the Ice Climbers to return. We’ve translated Sakurai’s full comments on the matter in the past. Essentially, the team went as far as removing their bones from the models, but it was just impossible to make them work.
Quick side note, while the 3DS’ lack of horsepower, or ice power, in this case, get a LOT of blame for essentially limiting the roster, I don’t think it was the only factor. Sakurai has never officially confirmed this, so this is my own opinion. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on Source Gaming, I doubt the team could’ve gotten the Ice Climbers to work in 8 Player Smash. Remember, this is a mode where they already had to cut some bones out from models already. Adding a whole other character, let alone 8 more in the equation would probably fry some Wii Us. After all, it’s not just 16 characters that the Wii U would have to handle, its items, stage changes, the operating system, handling the inputs….it’s a lot. That’s why there are so many drastic changes to 8 Player Smash. And even with all those changes, items still spawn significantly less with more players, and the Wii Fit Trainer can’t give a proper thumbs up. Anyway, back on topic.
His comments there have lead me to speculate that the Ice Climbers were cut sometime early in development. After all, realizing that 16 Ice Climber characters on the Wii U, and 8 Ice Climbers on the 3DS probably didn’t take too long for the team to realize. This is only speculation, but my guess is that the team probably ported the engine from Brawl, to the 3DS and Wii U and then realized that Popo and Nana were impossible. We do know that the development of 3DS and Wii U started off using Brawl as a base. Evidence for this was discovered by Smb123w64gb, when they found an image of the Boxing Ring with Brawl aesthetics (pictured below). Furthermore, some leftover data from Brawl exists, most notably some boss and enemy data from Subspace Emissary. Fun side fact, the trophy effects from Subspace Emissary were re-used in Smash Run on the 3DS. Porting of Brawl probably started when Sakurai was still working on Kid Icarus: Uprising. For more information, check out the development timeline.
Side note: There was some confusion due to a mistranslation of Sakurai’s comments. Early reports of Sakurai’s Famitsu column relied on a translation of a summary which basically combined multiple statements together. When reading the full text, it’s clear that he’s speaking of characters that don’t have futures aren’t prioritized, and Ice Climbers as two separate entities. For more information, I’d suggest reading “Sakurai Didn’t Say That!,” which breaks down the mistranslation and the correction in greater detail.
Speaking of leftovers from Brawl making their way into Smash for Wii U and 3DS, I previously reported on unused trophy categories, and stage icons (emblems). First, let’s discuss trophy categories. The Ice Climbers do indeed have an unused trophy category in Smash for Wii U. It quite possible that Ice Climbers were indeed planned, or considered to get some representation in Smash. The trophy categories could just be the base that Smash for Wii U and 3DS used to build upon. After all, the polar bear does make an appearance in Smash Run. The polar bear does appear on Summit, which means the team could have considered reusing the stage for either the Wii U or 3DS version of Smash, or maybe the stage was imported for its’ Polar Bear data. Without official confirmation, it’s difficult to draw a solid conclusion. Through the stage icons/emblem order, we know that additional series from Brawl could’ve seen representation in Smash for Wii and 3DS. Hanenbow might have been considered, or at least has left over data from Brawl.
This reminds me of two stages that were considered very early but changed in the infancy of Smash 4 and 5’s development. A Kirby’s Epic Yarn stage was changed to Yoshi’s Woolly World and the Game Boy Stage originally had a Mario Land motif. Essentially, with Sakurai trying to accommodate a wide variety of representation for series already in Smash, it’s quite likely that if Summit was indeed planned, it wasn’t prioritized as the Ice Climbers were already not planned to be in the game. Several of the stages from Brawl did get updates, such as the Pikmin stage finally using the bigger pellets (something that was planned for Brawl) so they weren’t just a straight import.
Going back to the original question, was Summit planned to be in Smash and if so, how long was it planned to be considered?
Unfortunately, with the way that Smash for Wii U and 3DS is structured for its’ data, leftover stages and characters are becoming more and more difficult to uncover.With Melee we were able to discover quite a bit, and eventually, Sakurai talked about them later. With Brawl there was the “Forbidden Seven,” but unused stage ideas are very sparse. This is because characters and stages are essentially delegated to their own subfolders, which makes cleaning them up before release much easier. Some unused boss data still snuck in, and new unused animations and sounds have been discovered even recently. However, groundbreaking discoveries from here on out will be less. With fewer data available, it becomes difficult to draw concrete conclusions (For more information, see the Definitive List of Unused Fighters).
This is my speculation, but I still think the Ice Climbers were cut relatively early. Their trophy models appear to be quite similar to Brawl’s character model, which means a new character model was probably not made for Wii U / 3DS. Thus suggesting they were axed early in development. Furthermore, as I stated before 8 Player Smash on 3DS and 16 Player Smash on Wii U not working out would be something the team would discover relatively quickly (unlike King Dedede or Olimar’s changes)
With Summit, it’s possible that Sakurai still considered adding the stage to one of the versions, but due to lack of time, or because other series needed representation, it just wasn’t feasible. After all, Bowser Jr. barely made it in the roster, Summit might have missed the mark.
One piece of evidence Summit being considered this is if you were to write the Wii U stages in alphabetical order, Summit and Temple would be next to each other. Thus suggesting that it could have been mistakenly pulled from a list of stage names to be translated. Again, this is only speculation. It is a bit weird to have the error exist only in Spanish. It’s possible that the QA for the Spanish language just overlooked it, and it slipped by.
Before we leave, I would like to remind people that the “unused Ice Climber chant” in Smash for 3DS does not exist. It was the case of people mishearing the Japanese chant for the Villager. For more information, I wrote a post debunking it many moons ago.
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Mains: Yoshi (64), Game and Watch (Melee), Wario (Brawl), Wario/Pac-Man (Smash for 3DS/Wii U)