Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a 2018 crossover fighting game developed by Bandai Namco Studios and Sora Ltd., and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. It is the fifth installment in the Super Smash Bros. series, succeeding Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. The game follows the series' traditional style of gameplay: controlling one of various characters, players must use differing attacks to weaken their opponents and knock them out of an arena. It features a wide variety of game modes, including a campaign for single-player and multiplayer versus modes. Ultimate includes every playable character from previous Super Smash Bros. games—ranging from Nintendo's mascots to characters from third-party franchises—and several newcomers, reaching a total of over 70.
By December 2015, planning for a new Super Smash Bros. game had begun, with full development starting after the completion of 3DS/Wii U's downloadable content (DLC). Series creator and director Masahiro Sakurai returned along with Bandai Namco Studios and Sora, the studios that developed 3DS/Wii U. The return of the studios sped up the preparation process. Sakurai's goal with Ultimate was to include every character from previous games despite the various development and licensing problems this would cause. Various well-known video game music composers contributed to the soundtrack, with Hideki Sakamoto writing the main theme, "Lifelight". The game has been supported post-release with DLC that adds new characters, stages, and music.
Nintendo teased Ultimate in March 2018 and revealed it at E3 2018 the following June. It was released worldwide on December 7, 2018. The game received universal acclaim, with some critics calling it the best of the series. They praised its amount of content and fine-tuning of existing Smash gameplay elements, although its online mode received some criticism. Ultimate is the fastest-selling Switch game, shipping 12.08 million copies in under a month.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a fighting game for up to eight players in which characters from Nintendo games and from other third-party franchises must try to knock each other out of an arena. Each player has a percentage meter which raises when they take damage, making them easier to launch in the air and out of the arena. Standard battles use one of three victory conditions: Timed, where players aim to win the most points by defeating opponents within a time limit, Stock, where players have a set number of lives and must aim to be the last player standing, and Stamina, where players must simply reduce their opponent's health down to zero to defeat them. Players can adjust the rules to their liking and save them as presets for future matches.
Players can use various items to attack enemies or grant them power-ups, along with Poké Balls and Assist Trophies which respectively summon Pokémon and other non-playable characters to assist them in battle. In Timed matches, certain Assist Trophies can be attacked and defeated to earn points. Each character also possesses a powerful Final Smash attack, which can be performed either by obtaining a Smash Ball item or by filling up a special meter, both of which can be toggled on and off. The game features 103 different stages, which can each be played in alternative Battlefield and Omega forms or can be toggled to remove stage hazards. A new feature called Stage Morph allows players to select two stages that the game alternates between at certain intervals during a match. Other tweaks include new icons and gauges for character-specific abilities, such as Cloud's Limit gauge.