“There is a fighter ballot on the official Smash for Wii U/3DS website. We’ve received an extremely large number of votes, but of course, Lucas, Roy, and Ryu were in development even before the ballot was created. I had a grasp on their popularity and demand, though.
From now on, it is going to be fan service, but I can’t keep the development team together forever, so there’s only going to be several more characters. I also ask for your patience, as we need time to develop more content.”
Well here’s a Sakurai quote that drove everyone insane. The mere notion of Smash DLC after Roy, Lucas and Ryu being described as fanservice sparked everyone’s hopes that DLC would cater to them…well, them and their specific desires, that is. And wouldn’t you know it, some feel cheated. “But it’s not MY fanservice!” That’s the problem. Bending the word to suit one’s own perspective. But let’s look deeper.
Fanservice as a word
The term “fanservice” is typically meant in a stimulating way, as to please the viewer. Outside of it’s anime origins and typical meaning, fanservice is commonly interpreted as the word sounds: pleasing(i.e. servicing) the fans. This can be taken in many ways, but right now we’re going to focus on what this meant to the speculation community.
Fanservice in Smash terms
When the above quote dropped, the Smash Ballot was about 2 months underway. This led to the mentality that fanservice meant the most ideal character from the ballot; that they imagined was true. As I’ve mentioned before, there was an incredibly centralized idea of what kind of DLC the community committed themselves to. But in this context, fanservice can mean several things.
Servicing the fans
Sounds obvious enough, but consider this: Mewtwo and in of himself was fanservice to the hordes of people wishing for his return. Branching from that, DLC was effectively a fan service by injecting more content of all types into an already jam-packed title, as evidenced by the final content count at the end of the final Smash presentation.
The Ballot’s impact on the community was really unprecedented; voting for a character to get in drove people nuts. As such, the ballot in and of itself allows Sakurai to service the fans by allowing them to vouch for a character they wanted, thus servicing the specific fans if they were chosen. The main issue was that Bayonetta was not the fanservice the community expected; but as is, the definition still stands.