On November 27, Dustin “Gravy” White, a developer best known for his affiliation with the 20GX movement, announced an update on the status of the next iteration of the Hit Box Smash Box: a fight-stick designed for Super Smash Bros. Melee. The update featured a new, improved, ergonomic layout, as well as two additional buttons. The addition of new buttons goes in tandem with the announcement of Smash Box software for PC, which allows users to create and save their own angles, and remap button functions on the controller. In addition to these new features, Hit Box also announced Tournament Verification software, allowing tournament organizers to easily determine and ban specific advantages that extreme angles created by the Smash Box software allow.
Initially met with a mixed reception the Smash Box has undergone a rocky development, specifically regarding conflict with former collaborator, and current developer of rival fight-stick “The B0XX,” Aziz “Hax” Al-Yami. Controversy has emerged in the past over Smash fans accusing Hit Box of attempting to steal Hax’s fight-stick design. Most debate has died down between the two parties since the Melee Competition Committee’s “tentative” banning of all fight-stick controllers with the implementation of MeleeItOnMe’s (MIOM) Smash Unified Ruleset. While these rules are not equally enforced across all Melee tournaments, EVO not explicitly banning fight-sticks for example, and the invitational Smash Summit allowing them on a case-by-case basis, more and more tournaments are adopting this uniform ruleset. It’s likely that features like Tournament Verification are attempts to win over the committee in hope of overturning the ban, and opening up the game to a new audience of fighting game players that might find the alternate control options appealing
The new Smash Box is scheduled to ship to Kickstarter backers the second week of January 2018.
Image Source: Hit Box