Nintendo unveiled the 3DS in March, and one of the biggest criticisms was that the new device is not available for big-name first-party franchises, such as Mario Kart, Star Fox, Super Mario, and Kid Icarus that will release this year.
Unfortunately, it seems that gamers won’t be seeing those new installments in the crossover 2D fighter franchise anytime soon. As part of a weekly column in Famitsu magazine, Project Sora director of software development Masahiro Sakurai announced that the two Smash Bros. games are still several years off.
"Right now, we’re devoting all our manpower to working on Kid Icarus," Sakurai stated. "We’ve got no plans whatsoever–we’ve got two new games out in the open when there’s no extra time to work with them at all. It makes me cringe, and I’m not sure it’s the smartest thing to make gamers wait for several years, but the early announcement was made chiefly in order to attract new team members."
"Project Sora had intended to make a 3DS Smash Bros. once it had finished up a game on the system and had gotten used to the hardware’s feature set," he wrote. "With the advent of the Wii U, though, we had a choice to make. Iwata asked us if we wanted to make the next Smash Bros. on the Wii U or 3DS, and my thought was that we had to go on both platforms."
Sakurai also said that it was the best way to grow the franchise to let the game arrive on both the 3DS and Wii U.
"If we went solely for the Wii U, the HD graphics would really bump up the visual effects, but then we’d be stuck in another arms race," he said. "If we made this game another extension over previous one, we’d have to cut out the new things we could possibly do on the 3DS hardware and compete with ourselves again over the size of the character roster and the amount of game play we can put it."
"It wouldn’t be a fruitful competition, but doing something completely new would be difficult for many reasons, not least of which that the gamers may not be satisfied with it," he continued. "That’s why we decided to think about ways to link the personal connection one has with his portable system to the gather-around-and-play aspect of console systems."
Nintendo currently plans to relaese the Wii U sometime between April 1, 2012, and December 31, 2012.