If you were wondering why the releases of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U are staggered, the answer is the debugging process. According to series creator Masahiro Sakurai, who recently wrote about the games in his Famitsu Weekly column (as translated by Kotaku East), the debugging process for both games is very time consuming. Sakurai is currently debugging the 3DS version of the game, which is set to be released first.
"Checking is done both domestically and overseas, so for a game like Smash Bros., several hundred people are employed," Sakurai explained. "So, debugging alone becomes a huge project. So much so that one of the biggest reasons for the separate release dates for the 3DS and Wii U versions was so that we could shift the debugging periods."
"In a previous Smash Bros., we found a bug during the debugging process where if fighter A hits item B and fighters C and D are simultaneously affected, the game would freeze," Sakurai continued. "Considering not only the different fighters, but items, stages, color settings, play rules, and game modes, the number of varying combinations are astronomical. In order to properly debug, every pattern must be tried, but such a task would be impossible no matter how many decades or centuries you take."
Sakurai goes on to say that, while there are many reasons why games get delayed, most of the time it's related to a bug or glitch that can't be fixed on schedule.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS releases in Japan September 13, followed by North America and Europe on October 3, and in Australia on October 4. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of this year.