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Filed under: Editorial, History/Lore, Super Bros. Smash For 3DS, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Super Smash Bros. Series

The Bayonetta Controversy: Why the Community Matters in Numbers

This is an opinionated article. You are allowed to disagree.

Ever since her inclusion into Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS, Bayonetta has been a prominent target of criticism for various reasons by the Smash community. While a good amount of users were perfectly fine with her inclusion by the well-known Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot, others were skeptical that the ballot had genuine qualities. Ever since then, that storm has largely passed. However, a new issue is starting to plague the Smash Wii U competitive scene. One that, while not as extreme, harkens back to the days of the game’s most infamous predecessor, Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Disclaimer

Relevant.

Source Gaming is a website that attempts to be the database for Smash Bros. information. Due to this, we are mainly focused on the speculative side of the Smash community. Whether it’s gathering data on the development process, hidden files with the series, or random trivia; we try to bring the best amount of Smash Bros. data we possibly can. As a result, Source Gaming has never really attempted to delve into the realm of the competitive scene that much, save for a few exceptions. The competitive scene has a huge amount of experts that can analyze the mechanics much more than any of us, which we have a huge amount of respect for.

That being said, this article’s aim isn’t to step on the experts that know the mechanics of each game in and out. Anything pertaining to speculative balance changes to Bayonetta, or how any game should play will not be featured in this article. The main purpose is a call to the community and how the circumstances are very different in regards to how Brawl was.

Background

2 Years Ago. How time flies.

Back in December 2015, Nintendo aired the Final Smash Broadcast which revealed the final two newcomers to be released in Smash Wii U/3DS. These two characters ended up being Bayonetta and Corrin. After the initial bombshell that was the broadcast, the content that had been revealed released two months later on February 3rd, 2016, marking the last major content update for the game.

After the release of the final 2 DLC characters, Bayonetta and Corrin starting gaining major traction in competitive play. Players started to realize how many abilities both of these characters possessed. However, the character everyone focused on was Bayonetta. Unlike Corrin, who was limited in the confines of Smash’s standard mechanics, Bayonetta was like Ryu in that extra inputs existed for her moveset. Not to mention, her impressive combo game which was highlighted directly in the Final Broadcast.

Due to the impressive arsenal Bayonetta had, the character started to ravage the Smash community with a lot of players using her moveset efficiently. It even got to the point where the Smash communities in Missouri and Florida banned her completely while the community in Spain at least considered it. Bayonetta’s situation was similar in vein to the Meta Knight bans within the competitive scene of Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

During this time was also when Smash Wii U/3DS was getting tiny updates in order to slowly finish up the game. 1.1.5 released in March of 2016 which nerfed Bayonetta, although it wasn’t really enough to stop her completely due to the nerfs being rather minuscule. It wouldn’t be until May of 2016 until the infamous 1.1.6 patch dropped which was somewhat of an emergency patch. The only aim of this patch was to nerf Bayonetta. Which, in the scheme of things, is very impressive. The nerfs given this time around were rather heavy. Even to the point that some of the abilities shown in her original character trailer are inaccurate in today’s build of the game. These nerfs managed to change things up about Bayonetta to where some players even questioned her viability. This led to the banning debate being slowly quieted and bans that were already made to be lifted. It seemed like the controversy had been quieted… or so we thought…

Present Day

Everyone during the reveal.

At the time this article was written, the character that everyone thought was dead has been making one of the biggest character resurgences in Smash Bros. history. Currently, Bayonetta has taken many top spots including in many majors with Salem (widely considered to be the best Bayonetta main in the world) taking number one spots at EVO 2017 and Collision XIV. She is also Number 1 on the Smash Wii U/3DS Back Room Tier List, meaning she is still widely considered to be the best character in the world.

Due to this, talks about banning have been starting to creep up once again as Bayonetta starts to be used in more majors. Considering the fact that ZeRo, widely considered to be the best Smash Wii U/3DS player, has retired, many people feel pressured to take care of the Bayonetta situation one way or another. This has lead to the resurrection of the debate on whether she should be banned or not.

While the question of whether Bayonetta should be banned is a question rooted deep into the community’s knowledge of Smash Wii U’s mechanics, not all of the options really require extensive knowledge of that sort. As much as that subject is widely considered to be a two-answer debate, there is technically another option the community doesn’t think about. And it’s an option that makes Smash Wii U/3DS have an advantage the Brawl community never did.

The Overall Goal

Seems fitting enough…

While obviously Smash Wii U/3DS are in their twilight years as games, they are still adequate enough to receive any update the Big N throws at it. Take for example 1.1.7, which released over a year in July of 2017 since 1.1.6 released in May of 2016. Now, the patch was only released to add amiibo support into these games, but it was still a patch nonetheless.

The whole idea this time would be to get everyone together within the community and tweet at various Nintendo accounts in order to make our voices heard,with the main goal of releasing a 1.1.6 style emergency patch to modify Bayonetta. The Smash community has been very vocal before to the point where Nintendo stopped blocking Melee at EVO due to the huge demand for it.

Now obviously one could argue the circumstances are a lot different now. The Nintendo Switch is going into its second year and Nintendo really wants to focus on that. There’s also loads of speculation that another Smash is in the pipeline. So it’s not surprising Nintendo may not want to release another patch on two consoles that are going into their twilight years.

The console is Nintendo and the wall is blocking the voice of the fans.

Not to mention, Nintendo has never really been a company to listen all that much. They have really been a company that goes on their own path and only listens to fans when it’s the right time to, such as when they hosted the Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot. Nintendo has always been going at the beat of their own drum, so it would make sense some would be hesitant to pressure on social media.

However, Nintendo hasn’t really been shy in showing support towards to the Smash Bros. community in recent years. They have started to tweet out support in tournaments they sponsor, interact with the community more and have even helped behind the scenes in regards to setup in tournaments. While some still criticize their support for not being at the same level of other sponsors, this support does still at least mean something. It at least opens a direct (no pun intended) pipeline of communication for allowing our voices to be heard easier.

Now, the most prominent issue that seems to arrive is the development team themselves. According to Sakurai, they have all been disbanded. While this might seem plausible, several things don’t add up. How was 1.1.7 even released if no one was “supposedly” developing it? Not to mention, the patch released prior (1.1.6) made it seem Smash Wii U’s data was still in use for something (which you can find out more information on that here.) If we look at this with the notion that this data is being used for say… the next Smash game (which is only a theoretical situation), then it shouldn’t be hard to release another emergency Bayonetta patch for the past game when you’re developing the next installment.

What Can Be Done to Get Our Voices Heard

Even Kirby wants his voice heard by that poor Waddle Doo.

While it might seem like a longshot, considering our community has channeled our thoughts before, it most certainly is not an un-achievable feat. Considering Nintendo has pledged support towards the competitive community, this would really be the time for them to prove their support. It’d give Nintendo that chance to close the doubt others have had.

With that in mind, what can really be done to get our thoughts out to Nintendo?

The way that seems the most efficient I have personally found is through the use of a service called a Twitter Thunderclap. What this service does is allow users to sign up for a campaign and schedule a premade tweet in support of that.Those tweets would then be saved, and distributed at the exact same time. The Shenmue community famously did that way before Shenmue III was revealed which might have brought more awareness that more people wanted that game before its reveal.

Preview of the Twitter Thunderclap.

Due to this, I have set up a Twitter Thunderclap specifically for tweeting about this theoretical patch. Specifically with the hashtags #SmashBros and #BayonettaNerfs1.1.8 along with the message “I would like an emergency patch for Bayonetta in Smash Wii U to balance the game.” All tweets are set to go out on February 16, 2018 @ 12pm EST.

Now, even if it might not be the most conventional way of getting our voices across, it’s at least an easier way of getting the community together. As mentioned above, with a little additional effort from tournament organizers and the heads of the community (who are kind of our representatives), we can get our voices heard more loud and clear. At least for right now, however, the Twitter Thunderclap is a starting platform for us that will hopefully and gradually grow.

Overall, whatever the outcome this brings, the community is still strong enough to make some sort of impact. Especially with the currently changing landscape of Nintendo.

2 comments
  1. Putting the “Bayonetta Debate” aside for a moment; I think demanding balance patches for Smash sets a bad precedent for future titles. If it succeeds, you set a precedent that demands from fans can affect game balance, resulting in vocal factions demanding further nerfs/buffs in future Smash games. If it doesn’t succeed, then fans may become frustrated that they’re not being listened to, when their assumptions about how balance patches are added may not be correct.

    I believe we have enough evidence that the Smash development team is cognitive of the Smash metagame as evident of previous game patches, but scheduling of the project meant that later characters were given less time to balance. If a Smash For Switch is currently in development, I’m confident the current metagame is being put into consideration and will be balanced accordingly. As for the present, I think it will be up to experts in the community to decide whether or not to ban certain characters, and to accept the consequences of doing so.

    boblennonsg on January 31 |
  2. I’m going to be honest, this article is bad. It has this very odd, unconfident tone where the author can’t commit to a thought. Moreover, the word choice is simply bizzare. Here some examples
    “Now, the most prominent issue that seems to arrive is the development team themselves. According to Sakurai, they have all been disbanded. ”
    First, it’s “arise” not “arrive.” Also, the issue is the development team? No, the issue is that the team disbanded. Just make this one thought instead of spliting what you are trying to say up. You also say “they” were disbanded when there is only one team. It’s the members who were let go.

    “While the question of whether Bayonetta should be banned is a question rooted deep into the community’s knowledge of Smash Wii U’s mechanics, not all of the options really require extensive knowledge of that sort.”
    This one doesn’t even make sense. The question is rooted in the community’s knowledge of Smash Wii U’s mechanics. What the hell does that even mean? Just say something along the lines of “The question about wether to ban the character has mulled around in the minds of the community’s members.” Also, not all options require exentisve knowledge? You are only presenting one option? And why does the game’s mechanic matter at all to your point. The article does a poor job of conveying it, and, from what I recall, this was the only time it came up. It clashes with the rest of the paragraph anyway, so why was it there?

    Also, why is the author always starting sentenses with conjunction words? It’s fine once in a while, but if you are starting a lot of sentenses with “so” “and” or “but” use a common. There are also other ways to structure a sentense besides “Dependent Clause, Independent Clause.”

    I know Source Gaming has editors. I know multiple people reivew the articles. I know these sit in the oven for a long time. Why did this one come out so bad? If anything, it hurts the author’s case and makes the plee seem childish and uninformed. I know you all can do better and I was legitamatly interested in this idea. It’s just unfortunate that it was marred by such poor writing.

    smashchu on January 31 |