I do not own Super Smash Bros. This is a opinion piece. Super Smash Bros. is own by Nintendo and their respective creators.
Super Smash Bros. has always been a part of my life since I was in my single digits. I was there since the first game on the Nintendo 64 (thank you Big Bro). The series has always been known to be flashy, crazy but focused. That’s why I will always respect Masahiro Sakurai and his team. They have created a series that honors the history of all the characters that gets put into the game. As an Animator, I always have a keen eye when it comes to video game animation. There is no shortage of that when it comes to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I will be talking about not just the amount of animations in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate but why I feel they’ve added so many inbetween frames when it comes to each character.
Sora from Kingdom Hearts was the recent character to be announced for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Mr. Sakurai had a full presentation for the character and I feel it explains my point a lot. You may not know this but I’ve played a majority of Kingdom Hearts games, (I haven’t played 2.8, 3 or Melody of Memory yet so please, no spoilers in the comment section). Wink wink one of my first Flipnote Animations was a crossover between Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy. The presentation that Sakurai showed highlighted the evolution of Super Smash Bros. when it comes to its animations. The way Sora jumps, the way he twists his Keyblade in his idle animations, everything was a complete reference to the Kingdom Hearts games. Though, there is one clear difference to the way Sakurai’s team animated these characters, the inbetween animations.
Early on, people were confused whether Super Smash Bros Ultimate was a port or a new game. Nintendo said it was a new game, though, critics say otherwise. However, when the first footage of gameplay was shown to the world, we all noticed that the game was faster. Not just that though, the characters were also moving much smoother than ever before. I thought, why the characters are moving so differently? Most of the animations were majorly the same. Mario moved like Mario, Yoshi moved like Yoshi, so what was the difference? The difference was the inbetweens.
I can tell that certain animations were reused from the last games. Mario’s kicks were all reused from melee and links sword dive is the same. Certain animations were changed like when you strike Donkey Kong, he has a big painful expression once he gets hit. Their are more animations when characters are idle. Don’t get me wrong, Super Smash Bros. has always had very exaggerated animations since the very beginning. The first game has always had exaggerated animations with the characters limbs growing big once they start attacking. In Animation, it’s called squash and stretch. The first game had a lot of animations that you would find on cartoons such as exaggerated movements. That has lessened throughout the years, however, it hasn’t decreased the animations throughout the series.
I feel like Super Smash Bros Ultimate. doesn’t get the credit it deserves when it comes to its animations. There are some talks but not enough. Sakurai’s team really went above and beyond to make sure every character not just controls good but moves fluidly. Everytime I play the game, everything just feels like it’s moving. To the background, the new effects, the characters, everything. People were ecstatic for Sora, but to me, it felt like a book is closing on an amazing run of a game. Sakurai’s team, yet again, took a character from another series and respected them through and through. I have to thank the whole animation team for pulling all this off, character after character. I hope people talk about it for years to come. Again, thank you Mr. Sakurai. Stay Animated Always.