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Super Smash Bros. Direct August 2018: What to expect

Only two months after E3, Nintendo is back for more Smash news

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character artwork Nintendo

Just ahead of Evo 2018’s Super Smash Bros. Melee grand finals, Nintendo announced an upcoming live presentation focused on the franchise’s next entry. A Nintendo Direct on Aug. 8 will have new information about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, with director Masahiro Sakurai on deck to share it with fans.

It’s hard to predict what this Direct could entail, especially since a runtime hasn’t been revealed and the last Smash Bros. livestream spent nearly 30 minutes detailing the game. But there are some key features we have yet to hear about, and it seems like a good time for Nintendo to start discussing them.

Below, we provide well-reasoned speculation on five things we could see in this Wednesday’s livestream.

New characters

It would be a bummer if we didn’t get a classic “just one more thing” during the Smash Bros. Direct, and maybe even more so if that final teaser wasn’t for a new character. We’ll take a never-before-seen fighter any way we can get one, of course; even if Nintendo warns not to expect a massive amount of newcomers in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it’s not Smash without surprises.

Could it be an additional Xenoblade fighter? Someone from WarioWare? Captain Toad? A third-party hero like Simon Belmont or Goku? (Please let it be Captain Toad.) Only Sakurai knows for sure.

New (or old) stages

This seems like a huge given. Just a handful of new and old stages were seen at E3, with some others showcased since. We want to see some new places to beat each other up on, preferably from our fighters’ more recent games. What I’m trying to say is this: Just don’t bring back Poké Floats. It’s an evil, evil stage.

Home Run Contest from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
A villain as evil as Master Hand itself.

Returning modes and features

Break the Target and Home Run Contest are as inextricable from Super Smash Bros. as anything else. These minigames challenge players to beat their own high scores in speedrunning through a maze and whacking a sandbag, a mindless activity that can easily eat up hours of your time. Also ubiquitous: collecting trophies, although the method by which the game doles out these history-based items has changed throughout the years.

We’re also expecting Nintendo to bring back the Classic and All-Star modes, where a fighter of your choice travels through stages, competing against everything from a giant version of a character to tons of wireframes. Both modes end with a battle against Smash Bros.’ ultimate enemy, Master Hand. (Or Crazy Hand, depending.)

It would be easy to drop in mentions of these modes, especially since we’re already familiar with them. Even if we don’t see footage of them, Sakurai could at least do us a solid and confirm that they’re back.

A single-player mode?

The Super Smash Bros. franchise has toyed with single-player in various ways through the years. There was Melee’s Adventure mode, which added a different sense of progression from the standardized Classic mode; Brawl had the ambitious Subspace Emissary, a polarizing story campaign that went all-in on the franchise’s crossover element. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS eschewed a sizable single-player feature in favor of smaller ones where players bet on their own success.

Not everyone loved these attempts at single-player, especially since Super Smash Bros. is such a multiplayer-focused game. But there’s no good reason to argue against more content, and we’d rather see an interesting, experimental attempt at single-player than nothing at all. Here’s hoping we get to see that in this Direct.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS online play
Maybe Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will just bring back these options.

Online capabilities?

Nintendo plans to release Nintendo Switch Online, its premium online play service, sometime in September. It makes sense for the company to dedicate a presentation to that service itself, or at least make the remaining details available as part of one big news drop.

That being said, we expect Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to be dependent on online multiplayer in some major way. It could, in fact, be the perfect game for Nintendo to promote the new service with. Sakurai could detail exclusive, Nintendo Switch Online-only features for the game, perhaps — and that would definitely get us all on board for the annualized subscription platform.

When to watch the Super Smash Bros. Direct

Nintendo will stream the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate presentation at 10 a.m. ET on Aug. 8. That give us less than 24 hours to test out our predictions and come up with even more of them. We’ll check back here tomorrow.

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