Monday, August 6, 2007

Twilight of the Dojo

After seeing Ike added to the roster last week, my initial theory that a Fire Emblem character would join the starting line-up has come to fruition. It also seems that 18 characters (minus the ones not accessible normally, like ZSS) will be the amount you begin with (who the 18th is? I'm guessing the Ice Climbers are coming back, but you never know). Currently, we have 13 (+1) with pages on the website.

That means that we should know all the starting characters by the first week of September. Character profiles being the main interest of most people who visit the site, I have been wondering what kind of content they will fill the other three months before the game comes with. I also wonder what the reaction will be.

Let's face it: they're not going to be spoiling secrets early. Well, I guess there is the chance that they'll reveal a little bit of something before the game comes out. Still, we will know all the characters in the game via leak from an early/review/Japanese copy of the game (I'll say two or so weeks before release) before the site even begins to divulge the bulk of the hidden stuff.

So, that means we have a 2 and 3/4 month period without any character profiles whatsoever. Without the main source of interest for many people, what will they possibly be able to update us about? I've come up with a couple things actually, some exciting and some not-so-exciting.

The prime thing will be filling out each and every profile. Soon, all the characters will have either their Special Moves or Final Smash added. Once that is done, they will begin to add everything else. This means we will get stuff of interest, like Pit and Wario's Final Smashes; however, it also means we'll get days where it'll be stuff like Mario's Special Moves, which we already know haven't changed much or at all (neither were Fox's, but I guess they felt the need to address what the thing he was carrying on his belt was because that was a mystery gnawing away at the fans).

The second most paid-attention-to section of the site are the stages. This could stay around while. Over the course of 2.25 months, they revealed 8 stages. This could be a pattern of revealing 4 per month (although I've found that once I think I've discovered a pattern, they go and dismantle it). Every series represented in the starting line-up will get a stage, guaranteed. Currently, the only starting series we have completely confirmed without stages are Metroid and Wario. F-Zero and Earthbound, despite not having their characters confirmed yet, but for one reason or another we know they are back again (but the F-Zero symbol is in the game, and if you remember the big icon address list, there's a big gaping hole that can only be logically filled by Earthbound), so I'm assuming they're getting stages, too. We also have the Halberd, Pokemon Stadium, and Mario Circuit stages yet to be profiled. Furthermore, since Halberd seems to be a 'secondary' stage for the Kirby series (i.e. it's specifically for Meta Knight), we still need a 'normal' Kirby stage as well. There's also the 18th character's possible stage, but I can't really speculate on that until we know who they are.

So, that's around 8 stages we know can be profiled, around two months worth. Melee had 4 more stages than characters. So, it could mean they will be finished with stages just before the game comes out. That should hold of the little SOBs.

Of course, having all the characters revealed does have it's advantages for the site. The main one: they are given the ability to talk more about the game modes. Considering that most the game modes make use of all the characters, you can see why it's been neglected over the past few months.

The newly opened Adventure Mode section will take up a large part of this. They will likely go over every level of the Adventure Mode, as well as include stuff about the story and other important concepts. This will likely be the most interesting section of the site for many months.

They will also be able to talk about many other different kinds of modes, too. The Classic mode, for example. The various Bonus Games will likely be given their own little blurbs. The mini-games (like the Home Run Contest and Multi-Man modes), whether old or new, will also be included. They will probably open a section for multiplayer, and reveal new options and special modes in there. Plus, even less interesting-but-still-cool stuff like the character select screen(possibly shown right after they profile the last character), the options section, and even the game menus themselves will be given their day (most of the stuff was on the Japanese Melee site, and that was updated weekly).

Old standbys like Items and Music will chug on despite what everything else is doing. There might be 40 each of Support Trophies and Pokemon, so there's plenty of material (I just wonder if they'll profile the ones they showed in the initial articles, or in the case of Pokemon, old ones that haven't changed much), so there's tons of material there. And like stages, I bet each series represented in the game will get at least one song put up (and eventually, some will get more than one). Again, the only big mystery here will be whether or not they'll put up profiles for items returning from Melee, whether or not they've changed at all. But who knows how many new items will pop up.

How To Play articles will likely still alternate between telling stuff most of us already know (which still benefits brand new players) like Special Attacks, various aireal attacks, shields, dodges, and throwing; as well as Techniques that will add plenty of variety to the game (which, aside from the crawling seen in the second trailer, are nearly impossible to predict).

But what about Notices? They will remain few and far between. Aside from a possible trailer at E 4 All (the only event I know Nitendo will attend), I really have no idea what they'll put here. There's a possibility they'll post the opening video (like they did on the Melee site) and maybe even the boxart. Aside, from that it'll be a surprise.

So there you go: what we'll see after they show all the characters. There's still plenty of interesting things. And hell, there are probably things they're saving that we'll never see coming.

Another thing worth noting: even after the game comes out, the Dojo will be up and still revealing stuff. But, once the game is out, that means they can start giving us secrets. I think the site will stay active until around February.

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