It's odd to remember that the original Super Smash Bros on Nintendo 64 debuted with only 12 playable characters. Since then, the franchise has expanded quite a bit, from 25 on Gamecube to 36 on Wii. Given sequels are supposed to be bigger and more badass than their predecessors, logic suggests that the next Smash Bros game for Wii U and 3DS should have even more characters, right?
Unfortunately, game director Masahiro Sakurai may have dashed hopes for a Smash Bros game with a giant roster. "In terms of quantity, we've probably already reached the limit of what's feasible," he said. "I think a change of direction may be what's needed."
"It isn't a matter of 'if the next game has 50 characters, that'll be enough,'" he told Nintendo Power (via Nintendo Everything). "There is a certain charm to games that have huge casts of playable characters, but they tend to have issues with game balance and it becomes very difficult to fine-tune each character and have them all feel distinctive."
Certainly, having characters feel "distinctive" is a challenge for Nintendo's fighting franchise. For example, Brawl featured numerous characters from the Star Fox universe: Fox, Falco, and Wolf. While they did play slightly differently from each other, the differences were quite minimal.
Still, Smash Bros games offer Nintendo a unique opportunity to revive some of its oldest franchises. For example, Brawl reintroduced Kid Icarus' Pit to gamers--years before the character had a new standalone game, Kid Icarus: Uprising. Here's hoping to some surprises in the next game.
Image from @Sora_Sakurai.