If you’re feeling let down by the fact that upcoming Super Smash Bros. entries on Wii U and 3DS conspicuously left out the Ice Climbers, then rest assured knowing that it’s merely because the series isn’t popular and wasn’t prioritized. Er, well, I guess that probably doesn’t make you feel better, does it Unfortunately, it is the official explanation for their absence according to series director Masahiro Sakurai.
Commenting on the situation via his weekly Famitsu column, Sakurai explained that though the Ice Climbers were up and running in the Wii U version of the game, getting them to run smoothly on 3DS proved technically challenging. Whether he was referring to performance, frame-rate, or something else isn’t entirely clear, but his remarks basically state that the wintry duo were ultimately dropped due to a lack of prioritization for the Ice Climbers series. With the franchise unlikely to receive a new game from Nintendo any time soon, the decision isn’t terribly surprising.
Sakurai also discussed why the release dates for Wii U and 3DS Super Smash Bros. are staggered, and as it turns out, the reasoning is again largely technical. Debugging is a massive undertaking, he said, and the extra time between releases will allow him and his team to spend excess time with the Wii U version exclusively, making sure every last perceptible bug or issue has been addressed.
The 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. is slated for release on October 3rd, while the release date for Wii U remains unannounced at this time (though there are rumors of a November 21st release). Reports out of Japan contain mainly good news about how the 3DS version looks and plays — we’ll see if Western critics feel similarly.