Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be removing the offensive character design that caused a controversy after being shown during Nintendo's final Direct for the game. Feedback from the community has almost universally been negative regarding the portrayal, prompting a swift response from Nintendo.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will see the return of every single character who's ever been involved in Super Smash Bros. before, alongside brand new characters, and with even more roster additions planned for a year-long DLC cycle that will conclude in early 2020. The inclusion of series staple Mr. Game & Watch in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is where the latest gaming controversy stems from, as a video depicting Mr. Game & Watch performing a move with an offensive, racist design was included in the Japanese livestream of the last Smash Direct.
In a statement released on Twitter by Nintendo (via Source Gaming), the company condemned the use of the offensive character design, lamenting the fact that it was featured as part of Mr. Game & Watch's arsenal in-game. The Native American character design, which sees Mr. Game & Watch change color , don a loincloth, and put a feather on his head, was first seen in a 1982 game called Fire Attack. Users on the gaming forum ResetEra were the first to spot the unacceptable design, beginning a movement to remove the depiction from the game. A spokesperson for Nintendo had this to say:
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.
Please check and spread the below thread from ResetEra. Mr. Game & Watch's new forward smash in Smash Ultimate is a direct reference to a G&W game featuring racist depictions of Native Americans.— ✨ gale (@rr_gale) November 3, 2018
I'm Native, and this hurts. @NintendoAmerica Can you help?https://t.co/8JlXbBh1lf pic.twitter.com/NZCasWlVom
The Mr. Game & Watch design that comes from Fire Attack has already been edited in the past, too, making Nintendo's slip-up even stranger. Nintendo had previously edited Fire Attack when the game was re-released as a part of Game & Watch Gallery 4, a compilation title that released all the way back in 2002. In that iteration, Nintendo had already removed the feather and loincloth. Now, the company has at least committed to doing so again in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
For what it's worth, this racist depiction of Native Americans does not appear to be present within the U.S. version of the game. Promotional videos for the U.S. version show Mr. Game & Watch performing the flame attack without his offensive outfit, meaning that it could only be Japanese versions of the game that currently have the upsetting portrayal. That's an even stranger situation still, as it's clear that someone edited Mr. Game & Watch at some point during Super Smash Bros. Ultimate development, only to leave the problematic outfit still in the Japanese version. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will release on December 7. Nintendo has not specified whether the costume edit will be a release day patch, but it seems likely, given the backlash the company has already faced over it.
Source: Source Gaming