We have learned that Nintendo is modifying some content in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate before launch.
The Mr. Game & Watch character (based off the LCD screen games of the same name) has received a new appearance in the latest game. While his attacks had references to Game & Watch games, his attacks now resemble a sprite used in those games.
One of those attacks is his forward smash attack, where he strikes the foe with a burning stick. This is in reference to Fire Attack, in which a cowboy defends a wooden fort from being burned down by native Americans.
You can get a look at the sprite above and here, from a November 3rd Nintendo tournament of the game in Japan. The same above footage found its way onto ResetEra, where users felt it was an offensive stereotype of native Americans.
Game & Watch Gallery 4 on the Game Boy Advance modified the sprites so that the native Americans did not have a feathered head-band, and similar may have happened here.
Source Gaming on Twitter contacted Nintendo and received the following message:
“Nintendo has been planning to distribute an update for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that removes the feather from the silhouette of Mr. Game & Watch. The original game on which this depiction of the character is based was released more than three decades ago and does not represent our company values today.
We sincerely apologize that this change was not noticed in our marketing material and are continuing our work to make Super Smash Bros. Ultimate an experience that is both welcoming and fun for everyone.”
Polygon received the same statement. Earlier footage from June 12th from the American Smash Bros Youtube account shows Mr. Game & Watch with animation akin to how he looked in past games – using items from his past games with his bulbous nose and no facial features. As oppose to looking exactly like he did in those games, complete with (somewhat) detailed eyes and a mouth.
This may indicate the Fire Attack sprite was never going to make it to the west, was avoided being shown in the west, or simply was earlier in development.
In case you missed it, the selection of DLC characters has been decided, and Nintendo confirmed a bevy of new details in a recent Nintendo Direct for the game. In case you missed it, you can find our first hands on gameplay for the game, complete with audio commentary+impressions, here.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is launching on December 7th for the Nintendo Switch.