Yes this is very true and very unexpected!
Last night Nintendo announced a new 3DS device and they also announced something I could not believe – Nintendo aren’t developing the new Smash Brothers game! Instead it is in the hands of veteran fighting developers Namco Bandai.
Here is the statements below from Masahiro Sakurai, the orginal developer behind the Super Smash Brothers series:
Hello, I’m Masahiro Sakurai, the director of the Super Smash Bros. series.
It’s my personal belief that the only time a creative product really resonates is in that first moment when it’s actually in front of you.
With that said, I’ve realized that if we keep the new Super Smash Bros. title’s development structure secret, it’ll only create more and more speculation, and I won’t be able to develop the game with any freedom. That’s why I’ve decided to announce this news right now, even though it’s still very early on.
I would love to provide more information, but for now, I’m going to stay quiet until I have something solid to show you.
The project has just gotten started. Bear in mind that not only are we developing two titles simultaneously, but we announced the project before we even started actual development, so I’m afraid we will likely have to keep you waiting for quite a while. Please be patient.
Currently, the prototype prepared by Namco Bandai Games and Namco Bandai Studios’ special team looks pretty good, and it’s working great. In order to take advantage of the fact that there will be versions for two different systems, and to maximize and offer fun new gameplay elements, the entire team is going to work hard together. Thank you.
And here is the statement from Masaya Kobayashi from Namco Bandai:
Hello, everyone. I’m Masaya Kobayashi of Namco Bandai Studios. I’m so honored to be able to join the Smash Bros. team–that globally popular series of which Japan is particularly proud—and to work alongside of Mr. Sakurai.
In order to make Mr. Sakurai proud, we will take on this project with Namco Bandai’s best staff! Yoshito Higuchi, the producer and the director of the “Tales” series, Tetsuya Akatsuka, producer and director of “Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs.,” the art director/sound director of the “SoulCalibur” series, the main development team staff from the “Tekken” series… and that’s just for starters. All the top creators from Namco Bandai are gathered here to create a never-before-seen dream team for this project. We will fully utilize our experience and knowledge in action/fighting game development, technical capability, and organizational strength, and we hereby promise you that we will develop the best and most powerful “Super Smash Bros.” title ever! Don’t miss it!
Well I for one thing, is very surprised! I wouldn’t think Nintendo would want to have a third party developer working on one of their usually first party titles, but at the same time I am interested in the project even more since Namco Bandai are working closely with Masahiro Sakurai during the games development for both the Wii U and the 3DS versions of the game.
Only time will tell, we will keep you updated if any more information about the project appears.