Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the biggest Smash Bros. yet. With over 70 fighters (and more on the way), over 100 stages, and over 800 music tracks, this game is a monumental achievement. That's why it may be surprising to learn that the game had only been in development for two and a half years.
In the latest issue of Famitsu (translated by NintendoSoup), series creator Masahiro Sakurai revealed that development on Ultimate began in February, 2016. He also stated that a different layout for stages in handheld mode was never considered.
With so much content in Ultimate, it's amazing that it did not take at least two more years to release. In comparison to two previous Smash titles, Smash Bros. for Wii U also took over two years to develop, and Brawl took three. A big thing that helped Ultimate get released as fast as it did was Bandai Namco returning to help make the project. The first two Smash Bros. were developed by Hal Laboratory, while Brawl was developed by Sora Ltd. and Game Arts. For Ultimate, instead of having to get a development team from the ground up, Namco returned from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U to lend its resources. With the same company helping, Ultimate releasing this year was made possible.
Ultimate has received critical acclaim, achieving a 93 on Metacritic. This makes it the highest rated Smash Bros. game on the aggregator site alongside Brawl. The core gameplay has been positively received, taking the best parts of Melee and Wii U to deliver a game that is very competitive, but also welcoming to causal players. Of course, the character roster is impressive, with notable newcomers, such as King K. Rool and Simon Belmont.
Although the game has completed development, it will be receiving post development content in the form of updates. The same thing happened with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, which featured patches that balanced character abilities. Ultimate will be receiving its 1.2.0 update soon. Although we're not sure what's in it, one can hope that it fixes the online. The online implementation is one of the very few criticisms of Ultimate, so it would be great if Nintendo fixes the problems with it.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is available for Nintendo Switch.