Masahiro Sakurai Breaks Down Clones and Balance in Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. 4 creator Masahiro Sakurai took time out to explain the differences between the game's clone characters and the alternative costumes of other characters.

New moveset clones and costumes abound in the Super Smash Bros. 4 universe, and creator Masahiro Sakurai sought to clarify the differences between the two.

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Sakurai admitted that the Smash Bros. series wouldn’t have nearly as much value among its fanbase if all of the characters for every roster were similar. As such, he emphasized the importance of making sure that each character in the roster is unique and playable enough for inclusion.

To illustrate this point, Sakurai made examples of Fire Emblem characters Marth and Lucina, both of whom are included in the Super Smash Bros. title for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. He explained that there were “reasons” for the inclusion of each one, despite the appearance of redundancy.

“Each was originally a color variation, but during development, they were given balanced characteristics. Since their functionality had differences, forms were separated from each other.”

Lucina was the first of the clones to be split-off from her muse, since the creative team opted to make Marth’s combat moves more standard. As a result, he was made “easy to handle for novice players.”

Any differences between her and Marth are made very slight, such as their sizes and the attack power distributed through their sword strokes; however, they were slight enough to have Lucina in her own spot on the roster, becoming a separate character entirely. Super Smash Bros. Melee saw this same occurrence with Roy in Lucina’s place, while Ike replaced Roy in Brawl.

Other such clone pairs include Doctor Mario and Dark Pit, who each take after Mario and Pit, respectively.

Unlike the clones’ difference in fighting attributes, alternative costumes such as the male Wii Fit Trainer or the Koopalings — versus the canonically female Wii Fit Trainer and Bowser Jr. — are confirmed to remain unchanged between costumes. In Bowser Jr.’s case, he would simply be replaced with whichever of the Koopalings the player chooses, and the fight is on.

With Sakurai’s insight on how the characters were designed and made to function, players should find experimenting with different fighters )and reuniting with old ones) in this new Smash installment all the more enjoyable and — dare we say — smashing. SSB4 is in stores now.

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Journalism student who has come to embrace all those times she was told that games and cereal are for kids. Thanks, Mom.