High-stakes “sudden death” match-ups in Super Smash Bros. are getting a makeover, and the new format is mighty similar to a hallmark of Epic Games’ multiplayer hit, Fortnite.
On Tuesday, shortly after the unveiling of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch at E3 2018, the game was featured on the post-E3 show Nintendo Treehouse: Live, where developers from the Nintendo QA subdivision, Nintendo Treehouse, explore newly unveiled games in-depth. After a few live matches of Ultimate, the developers showed off a new version of “Sudden Death” matches that now closely mimics Fortnite: Battle Royale in structure.
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, sudden death matches — the game’s way of breaking ties — now have an extreme time limit. From the start, the camera slowly zooms in on the screen. In true Smash Bros. fashion, if players are knocked off the sides of the screen — even if they’re on solid ground on the map — those players are knocked out and eliminated. It’s also much easier to knock opponents out this way, in addition to the universal handicap of 300% damage where so much as a shove can be a death sentence.
This structure functions in extremely similar fashion to battle royale games like Fortnite. In Fortnite specifically, a “storm” closes in on the map, forcing players to fight and eliminate each other than hiding out in base camps forever. While this was never a problem in any Smash Bros. game, it is a new match stipulation that further adds to the intensity of sudden death battles.
Sudden death in Smash Bros. has slowly evolved since the series began on the Nintendo 64 in 1999. Originally, players who tied were simply forced to fight again with equal 300% damage. In the sequel, Super Smash Bros. Melee, live bombs dropped from the sky after a brief amount of time elapsed to ensure someone will be knocked out in short order. The bombs kept dropping, with minor tweaks, in 2008’s Super Smash Bros. Brawl and 2014’s Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS.
Now, the bombs in Ultimate have been really dropped, so to speak, and this new “zoom in” is a fresh approach to the age old tradition of beating up your friends without legal consequence.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be released on December 7 for the Nintendo Switch.