Super Smash Bros. Is Changing How Character Models Are Presented

By Ishaan . May 21, 2014 . 1:02pm

The new Super Smash Bros. (at least on Wii U) is making some changes to the way character models are displayed. Unlike past games, character models will now be mirrored, regardless of whether they’re facing left or right, bringing the game more in line with regular fighters.


“This was quite a tedious task, but thanks to it we can show the best features of each character even better,” director Masahiro Sakurai wrote on Miiverse, along with the screenshot above.


Alongside another screenshot featuring Bowser and Kirby, Sakurai added: “Here’s another example: in the previous games, you saw the back of Kirby’s head when facing left. Now Kirby looks great from any angle.”


Sakurai did not specify whether these changes apply to the Nintendo 3DS version of the game as well.

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  • Shippoyasha

    I loved seeing the back of characters’ heads though. It felt more like a party fighter.

  • monkey king

    Long overdue change imo.

  • Ann Weschenfeller

    I’m…not sure I like this. But it’s not really important, I guess. Pure aesthetics….I need a Wii U.

  • Hau To

    Going for the “male” kirby. At least, that’s what I think they’re implying.

  • Kayseur

    That’s… actually one of the rare thing I never really liked in “regular” fighters, since it didn’t feel natural. So that was an unnecessary change imo, but yeah whatever.

    • Guest

      It seems to be done to characters which come from 2D games where their sprites are mirrored depending which direction they are facing (Like Mario, Kirby, Megaman) to give the feel of the original game even more.

      Marth is one fighter revealed that I recall clearly not being affected by this design choice.

      • Twilleppac

        oh good, I hoped like characters like him, Link and possibly Ike wouldn’t be like that. It would be weird for their swords and stuff to trade hands constantly.

      • Suicunesol

        Good. I liked how you could see Marth’s cape swaying in the breeze as he walked. It’d be a shame if we never saw his back.

  • AuraGuyChris

    Unless they really did a makeover to all characters, Sakurai failed to mention that certain characters like Link won’t look all that mirrored.

    Compare this…

    To this:

    • Kris

      It’s also possible those screens were taken before this reflection thing was fully implemented. Can’t say I’m a fan of the reflection approach though…

      • RedCap

        No no no, guys. Sakurai said on Miiverse that this only affects SOME characters, such as Mario, Bowser, Kirby, Little Mac, etc. I don’t why, but whoever wrote this left that part out of the quote.

        • Jettythesunfish

          Oh okay then. That sounds much better.

        • Link

          Little Mac is actually unaffected by the mirroring effect, he has front and back facing sides. The characters with weapons. or in Little Macs case his boxing,like Link, Marth, Samus, etc. don’t get mirrored. I mean how silly would it be for Little Mac to throw a right hook with his left hand?

  • I know it’s not a big deal, but I don’t really like it. I never thought Nintendo/Sakurai would decide to cater to the FGC, but whatever. Cool for them I guess. It won’t really impact the way my friends and I play Smash Bros.

  • KyoyaHibari

    Hope it doesn’t affect the flow of gameplay, it sounds like it will make things more stiff. :/

  • Roger

    Feels kinda wrong. Like all characters suddenly became ambidextrous.

    But since it won’t affect (apparently) the gameplay at all, I don’t mind.

  • JustThisOne

    >__> I… I kind of don’t like that, actually. It makes more sense and feels more natural to see the back of models. I kind of want to see this in action, as well, to see how this affects their animations.

  • TheManWithPants

    …I don’t really like that. It’s not a big deal, I guess, but it just looks… unnatural, in a sense. It kinda makes things look a bit… lazy.

    • Francis Harbord

      I don’t think adding extra code to mirror some idle animations is being lazy, unnecessary maybe, but definitely not lazy.

      • TheManWithPants

        I didn’t say it IS lazy, I’m just saying it doesn’t look right to me.

    • JustThisOne

      Haha, I know what you mean. That only applies to 2D models though, not 3D models! I really appreciate it when devs go the extra mile to animate the other side of the sprite. So when I first read this, I almost wanted to call it lazy, but I knew it wasn’t.

  • Matt V

    this seems like good news to me. i don’t remember how many times i tried chasing someone off the stage with sonic in brawl, only to have him backflip and entirely miss grabbing onto the stage ledge even though the backside of his body was clearly close enough to get to it :/

    not only this, but i didn’t like the idea of certain characters only having access to fighting options when they were turned opposite of the opponent. this aspect didn’t feel “unique” to me, it just made me wonder if there was a better design option that didn’t lead to so many inaccurate button presses when i first tried jumping into this game.

    i admit though, aesthetically i will probably feel weird at first, but if it makes the game more fluid and less clunky feeling, then it will be hard to bash the end result

    • Matt V

      correct me if i’m wrong, isn’t this how jump! ultimate stars played? i loved that game…

      • Kayseur

        Well Jump! US is in 2D, so using mirroring makes sense anyway because it’d be overly long to redo everything from “back”. Party fighter or not.

  • David García Abril

    Wait a minute!

    This means Link will be ambidextrous! Looks like making him right-handed in the Wii games wasn’t enough.

    Jokes aside, I think this change is pretty pointless. Mirrored characters in fighting games were done due to technological limitations, not because it actually gave any meaningful advantages.

    • Kelohmello

      This only applies to characters that they can do it for. Asymmetrically designed characters like Link aren’t changed. This means that certain visual cues that some players pick up on will be visible on both sides for any characters they do this for, though, so I personally think that’s nice. Overall it’s a change that doesn’t really affect most people.

  • Draparde

    I never liked this aspect of other fighting games, personally. it was always weird to me, and unnatural.

  • Kaetsu

    It’s a little weird since Smash uses 3D models and not 2D sprites but I guess you won’t notice so much with all the hectic action.

  • Adrián Alucard

    That looks cheap

    • DoctorButler

      They went out of their way to add EXTRA details. How is that ”cheap”

  • Yindustries LLC

    In the Miiverse post Sakurai said SOME characters would be mirrored, and look at Greninja’s tongue the mirroring isn’t an exact mirror either.

  • OathkeeperSoraXIII

    Or they could have gone the mortal kombat route of doing it and made it so you could reverse your stance

  • FivePointedTheStar

    I don’t think anyone is going to care in the heat of a party crazed fight.

  • KingGunblader

    Seems kind of inconsequential, but it’s nice to see that the team is focused on the little details.

    I’ll assume that sword users will avert this new rule, lest we have a Twilight Princess situation with Link. :p

    • JustThisOne

      Nah, I don’t think it’s going to literally be mirrored. I mean, how the hell are they going to animate that? Is the sword gonna switch hands, or are there gonna be weird frames where it just happens?

      I think it just means the models will be positioned the same way… If that makes any sense..?

  • MaskedHeroxx

    I dont know how I fell about this..mmm I guess I dont like it. Sence smash was the only fighter to not do this

    • DoctorButler

      Not true at all. Tekken, SoulCal, DoA, and the 3D KoF games show the 2p characters backs as well.

  • KoRLumen

    “Mirrored” is kind of the wrong word to use here. Will cause way too many misunderstandings (as is evident all over Smashboards, this comments section, and other places that reported it). It’s just a change to the posture.

    Ex. Look at Greninja’s tongue. That’s not mirrored. He’s only facing towards the camera. Nothing is being mirrored.

    Oh, and to all those saying that it’s “lazy”. It really isn’t. He even outright says it’s TEDIOUS work.

    • $1392518

      It is better to clarify that the stance is mirrored, while the model itself isnt.

  • Marden Benoit

    Looking at some of the posts below, I think some people are a bit confused. The models aren’t being mirrored, their poses are. Take a look at greninja’s scarf/tounge, it’s staying consistent. Meaning the “L” on Luigi’s hat isn’t going to show up reversed or the symbol on ZS Samus’s breast isn’t going to appear on the opposite one (assuming she’s one of the ones who this applies to). So the characters should still look right if that’s a concern. Plus, that explains the part where he says doing this was tedious. (It would be a lot easier just to do a straight up mirror of the models,, reversed L and all, rather than have the characters’ poses change to match the direction he/she is facing.)

    Also, in the post Sakurai does say this is being done for “some” (not stated above) characters. Characters like Marth and Link I believe have already been shown with their backs facing the screen.

    If I misread the worries, then I apologize. I still think the part about this happening to “some” of the characters should have been included though.

  • Jettythesunfish

    This might be awkward for a select few characters. Like the Links, and MegaMan.

  • DuskSharkEX

    Thank goodness for the clarifications in the comments.

  • Slayven19

    Nice to see the below comments jumped the gun here lol. But then again the article didn’t mention that this only applies to some characters. I’ve no idea why that part wasn’t poster but what’evs

  • Will Jay


    can it please just be an option

    • Kari

      probably affects balance and range>

      • Renzo-senpai

        I don’t see why. In Tekken 2p side have their back face the screen and it never affect range of moves or anything like that.

  • I’m surprised to everyone’s dismay of this. This seems pretty natural to me, as it displays their top form at all times. That could just be me playing enough fighting games though.

  • InsertOffensiveUsernameHere

    So, if Link faces left, he wields the Master Sword in the right hand.

    …aaand you got lucky, Nintendo. I don’t have the ”Genius” picture saved on my PC.

    • Arrei

      The stances are mirrored, not the models.

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    Wahhh. That Kirby looks so cute.^_^”melt”

  • Wow. That alternate costume for Bowser looks pretty damn good imo.

  • Jonathan Tse

    RIP Falcon back taunt.

  • I wonder how this will affect asymetrical characters.

  • kirby is adorable!! i like how they both look so confused

  • Linhua

    … can’t say i’m happy with this change…

    … nice to know that characters like Marth won’t be receiving this change… but this is going to take some getting used to now that it has been brought to my attention.

  • “bringing the game more in line with regular fighters.”

    Yeah… I laughed at this, sorry.

  • Virevolte

    I liked to be able to see the back of my characters. ^^”

  • Pretty sure I’ll barely notice it.

  • dason

    have they confirmed if the current roster is the final one, as in they won’t be adding anymore characters?

  • J_Joestar

    Fairly neutral to the idea, especially if it only affects those that wouldn’t really need to face a certain direction due to things like weaponry in hand.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething


  • Rion

    I don’t see the problem here? I’m pretty sure I’ll barely notice it at all during gameplay. The change seems more obvious in still pictures, not moving ones.
    But I don’t really care about this change :/

  • Jonny Law

    So… is Link going to be right and left-handed…?

    EDIT: Nevermind, saw a previous post.

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