When Nintendo unveiled Smash Bros. Ultimate at E3 on June 12th, the Japanese developer promised a bevy of smaller tweaks to the platform brawler. According to Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai, some fighters are more expressive now, while others feature new voice acting and sound effects. What wasn’t announced: the anatomical proportions of some characters have mysteriously changed, too.
Smash Bros. Ultimate sees the return of Solid Snake, the protagonist of Hideo Kojima’s stealth series, Metal Gear Solid. Last seen in the Wii’s Smash Bros. Brawl, Snake was known for being a powerful character in a flattering suit. Though the suit is meant to help Snake move around silently, it is also known for enhancing Snake’s physical features.
“One of Solid Snake’s signatures is his skin-tight body suit, which hugs every curve,” Polygon news editor and known MGS fanatic Allegra Frank told The Verge. “That includes his butt — a super-tight, very nice butt, and one that gets a lot of screen time [in Metal Gear Solid].”
So it’s no wonder that fans immediately noticed that Snake’s derrière looks different in Smash Bros. Ultimate. It’s flatter now. In reaction, players on social media are cracking jokes and playfully begging Nintendo to fix Snake’s “nerfed” butt.
Dear Snake Players,
I’m sorry but not all of Snake has returned. He’s no longer dual wielding those cheeks. Ain’t got a shotgun with two barrels. This definitely ain’t Naked Snake. Went from Solid to Sad. Ass went on stealth mission, good luck finding it. pic.twitter.com/V1WeM5VKIM
— DOG | Corgian (@DoghouseCorgian) June 12, 2018
Snake’s butt got nerfed because it was just that damn powerful
LOOK AT IT, NINTENDO. IT WAS THE ONLY THING KEEPING THE STRAPS ON HIS SUIT TOGETHER. AS MUCH AS I LOVE TO SEE THE CLOTHES FALL OFF AS A RESULT I CANNOT LIVE THIS LIFE WITHOUT THIS MAN’S POWERFUL BUTT. pic.twitter.com/rot6IHWFs7
— Helen McCree Scientia (@GaaraofMYdesert) June 13, 2018
as there are more characters in the new Super Smash Bros than ever before, and we can only have so much butt in one game for processing reasons, we had to redistribute Snake’s butt flesh among the returning challengers
— Salmon Is For Desire (@LennonheadNew) June 13, 2018
@DavidBHayter This is kind of a stretch, but… Can you ask Sakurai to fix Snake’s butt? While your voice is the main selling point of the character, his butt in that suit is as well.
— Chaz (@NotAlice23) June 13, 2018
Every so often in online video game fandoms, players will notice that a Japanese game localized for America will tone down sexual elements or change a character’s appearance. Outrage tends to follow. Usually, the characters are women. It’s rare to see people talk about and dissect attractive men’s bodies in gaming, likely because most characters aren’t designed with the female gaze in mind. Snake is one of the rare characters within the space who can be considered a male gaming sex icon.
Snake isn’t the only one who’s been quietly changed in Smash Bros. Ultimate. Metroid star Zero Suit Samus has also had a breast reduction for the Switch release. Her bosom used to jut out of her tight suit in older games, but it’s no longer as conspicuously gravity-defying. Fans are remarking on this tweak, too. But in a twist, they largely aren’t complaining about it; many people actually seem happy with the change.
As a lot of people may have noticed, ZSS’ breast size has been reduced quite a bit and has more muscle definition than the Smash 4 version. She and her suit seems to resemble her Samus Return looks a bit and frankly, looks way better IMHO pic.twitter.com/B9yByBG1jK
— MyJoJob (@MyJoJob) June 12, 2018
Gonna be completely honestly, I really like what they did to Samus’ breasts, they actually like anatomically correct now and not like fake water balloons popping out of her chest. pic.twitter.com/8zn81bHVt9
— Aquaclaw – LetsGoSmash@E3 (@Aquaclaww) June 13, 2018
Why do people care about Snake’s butt more than Samus’ breasts? It all has to do with the source material. Hideo Kojima intentionally designs his male characters to be attractive and sometimes even flaunts their bodies in front of the player. Meanwhile, Samus is often associated with her orange-red Power Suit, a bulky piece of armor that helps her survive in strange lands. We don’t typically see what’s underneath Samus’ armor in the main Metroid games, but Snake’s body is always front and center in Metal Gear Solid.
“Although Snake is definitely meant to be an attractive action hero, it’s his butt that really does the work for him,” Frank continued. “It’s not just good to look at, but it also almost feels like we’re expected to look; no other part of his body is so pronounced in that suit, especially when he’s crawling across the floor. And so when Snake’s butt changes size, of course we’re going to notice.”