Hexbyte – Science and Tech
Back when Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was first announced in March, I wrote an article in which I listed twenty characters that I thought would make sense to have appear in the new game (except Sans, who I pretty much just added because I want him in the game). However, at the time of that article, we knew almost nothing about the new Smash Bros. game. Hell, we didn’t even know its actual title. All we knew is that it’s coming this year for the Switch and that Inkling, Mario, and Link would be playable characters. People weren’t even sure if it was a new game or a port. Now, five months later, we have MUCH more information about the game, between Nintendo’s E3 presentation and yesterday’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct stream. So I thought it’d be worth my time to look over that list of twenty characters I made five months ago to see which ones I’ve gotten right and which ones I still think are realistic possibilities.
There are a couple of things to consider when revisiting this list. For example, some of the statements that director Masahiro Sakurai has made in terms of new fighters. During Nintendo’s E3 presentation, Sakurai stated that he is “kind of hoping you aren’t expecting too many new challengers.” Then, in yesterday’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct stream, Sakurai said that “we’ll have a few more [fighters] to announce later.” Based on these quotes, it seems that there won’t be too many more newcomers to announce, so that’s something to keep in mind when reviewing my previous list of possible new characters.
Since there are probably only a few more spots open for newcomers, I’m going to set some parameters for what I think would make a possible newcomer. It seems to me that all of the new characters that have been announced so far for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fit into one of these four categories:
- Characters from popular franchises that had yet to be represented in Smash (Inkling)
- Extremely highly requested characters (Ridley and King K. Rool)
- Third-party characters from popular, classic franchises (Simon Belmont)
- Echo Fighters (Daisy, Richter Belmont, Chrom, and Dark Samus)
Probably most Super Smash Bros. fighters in general can fit into one of these four categories, though it’s not always the case. But since there probably won’t be that many more new characters introduced in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it’s probably important that the newcomers fit nicely into at least one of these four categories. Now let’s see which of the twenty characters I listed earlier meet this new criteria.
1. Ridley (from Metroid)
It has been confirmed that Ridley will appear as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Another Metroid character, Dark Samus, has also been confirmed as a playable character, and will be an Echo Fighter of Samus. With three characters from the Metroid series now being included instead of just one (technically Samus and Zero Suit Samus are treated as two different characters, but it’s still just Samus), it’s probably safe to assume that no other Metroid characters will be announced as playable fighters.
2. Dixie Kong (from Donkey Kong Country)
Dixie Kong has not been confirmed, but the series’ antagonist, King K. Rool, has. With three representatives from the Donkey Kong Country now being included, they probably won’t use one of the few remaining newcomer slots on another one. My bet would be that if Dixie Kong appears in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it would be as an Assist Trophy.
3. Krystal (from Star Fox)
Krystal will not be playable, but has been confirmed as an Assist Trophy. However, it has been confirmed that Wolf, a Star Fox character who hasn’t been in a Smash Bros. game since 2008, will be returning as a playable character in Ultimate.
4. Ice Climbers (from Ice Climber)
It has been confirmed that Ice Climbers will be returning as playable characters in Ultimate.
5. Ninten (from Mother)
Probably not very likely. The Mother series already has two representatives in Smash and Ninten comes from the least popular entry in the series. I suppose it’s possible that Ninten could appear as an Echo Fighter of Ness (Lucas is almost an Echo Fighter of Ness himself), but if they really do have a pretty limited number of spots for newcomers, I don’t see Ninten making the cut.
6. A random, old character
I pointed to characters like Mr. Game & Watch and Duck Hunt as examples of characters from old franchises that hadn’t had a new entry in forever but that got representation in Smash Bros. anyway, even though no one was really asking for these characters. Ice Climbers also come from an old, somewhat obscure (though not so obscure anymore) NES game, and Pit’s newest game by the time he was included in Smash for the first time came out in 1991, so there’s definitely a precedent for Nintendo randomly adding old characters from classic or forgotten franchises from the NES era, or earlier. When I first made this list of possible Smash newcomers, I proposed that the Balloon Fight guy might be the next playable fighter to fit this trope, but now I’m thinking that if there are only a small number of places for newcomers in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, maybe they’ll forgo the random, old character this time to focus on characters that people have actually been asking for.
7. Another Fire Emblem character
Chrom has been confirmed as a playable fighter, and will be an Echo Fighter of Roy.
8. Another Pokémon character
Probably pretty likely. Every iteration of Smash Bros. has included a new Pokémon from whatever the latest generation was at the time, and sometimes some older Pokémon too, just ’cause. Chances are probably pretty good that we’ll get a Generation VII Pokémon as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Which of the 86 Alola Pokémon it will be (excluding Alolan versions of Kanto Pokémon), only time will tell.
9. Waluigi (from Mario spin-offs)
Much to the dismay of his fans, Waluigi will not be a playable fighter, but has been confirmed as an Assist Trophy.
10. Spring Man (from ARMS)
Probably not. I think ARMS is still too new of a franchise. The shortest amount of time there has been between the introduction of a franchise and that franchise being represented in Smash Bros. has been three years, with Pokémon starting in 1996 and being included in Smash in 1999, and Splatoon starting in 2015 and being included in 2018. Plus, both Splatoon and Pokémon have become massively popular franchises (especially Pokémon), which accounts for the small amount of time between the franchise starting and being represented in Smash. I don’t think ARMS has that kind of popularity after just one year. Maybe in the next Smash.
11. Rex (from Xenoblade Chronicles 2)
This is probably at least somewhat likely. While not as highly requested as Ridley or King K. Rool, Xenoblade Chronicles is a popular and well-received series that so far only has one representative in Smash Bros. (Shulk). I wouldn’t be surprised if Rex was introduced as a newcomer, though I also wouldn’t be surprised if the series just isn’t popular enough to warrant two representatives when there’s only room for so many newcomers.
12. Snip and Clip (from Snipperclips)
Okay, so my justification for this five months ago was that, along with the random, old character trope Smash Bros. seems to run with, there also seems to be a theme of just totally off-the-wall characters that get included in Smash, like the Mii Fighters or the Wii Fit Trainer. Characters that you would never even dream of including in Smash that somehow make the cut anyway. I thought Snip and Clip could fit that bill this time around, but I’m not so sure about that anymore. Upon further analysis, a lot of these off-the-wall characters, like the Mii Fighters, the Wii Fit Trainer, and R.O.B., are all in some way related to Nintendo consoles. Due to this, I think a more likely scenario would be that the Nintendo Labo Robot would be this game’s off-the-wall character. However, I don’t think this is super likely either. Like with the previously discussed random, old character trope, the off-the-wall character trope may be another one that is left by the wayside in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to make room for characters that people actually want.
13. More characters from already represented 3rd party franchises
I suggested that maybe another Sonic the Hedgehog character or another Final Fantasy character could be included as a playable fighter. However, I now think that if Ultimate doesn’t have room for too many new characters, then Sakurai and company would probably think it best to mostly focus on characters that have been highly requested (Ridley and King K. Rool) or characters from third party franchises that have yet to be represented (Simon Belmont). Despite this, we did see in yesterday’s stream the introduction of two characters from the same third party franchise (Simon and Richter), so it’s possible that we could get more characters from third party franchises that are already represented in the game. But I think that if this is the case, it would probably be in the form of Echo Fighters, like how Richter is an Echo Fighter of Simon. So maybe Shadow the Hedgehog could be included as an Echo Fighter of Sonic, for example. But I don’t know that they’d want to spend time creating an all new moveset for a character that belongs to a third party franchise that already has representation. So maybe we get a few more Echo Fighters, but other than that, I don’t think we’ll be seeing many characters from third party franchises that are already represented. What’s probably much more likely is that we’ll continue to get characters from third party franchises that have yet to be represented. Speaking of which…
14. Crash Bandicoot (from Crash Bandicoot)
I think Crash is probably one of the more likely third party characters to be included in Smash. He’s a very recognizable character who was once very popular and just recently came back into the public zeitgeist with a new game that’s now available on the Switch. Sure, he was Mario’s rival as a video game mascot for a while in the 90s, but so was Sonic. Pretty much all of the third party characters who have shown up in Smash have been legendary video game icons that everyone in the community knows, and I think Crash fits that bill.
15. Bomberman (from Bomberman)
Bomberman won’t be playable, but has been confirmed as an Assist Trophy.
16. Rayman (from Rayman)
Rayman is popular, but not THAT popular. If Super Smash Bros. Ultimate really does have a limited roster of newcomers, I don’t know that Rayman will make the cut. They’ll probably want to save room for more popular third party characters. I could see the Rabbids appearing as an Assist Trophy, though.
17. Shovel Knight (from Shovel Knight)
Shovel Knight won’t be playable, but has been confirmed as an Assist Trophy.
18. Captain Toad (from Mario)
Maybe, maybe not. Captain Toad (or just regular Toad) has been a requested fighter for some time now as well, but the fact of the matter is that the guy’s just not much of a fighter. I mean, you could make that argument for a plethora of other Smash fighters (R.O.B., Duck Hunt, Wii Fit Trainer, etc.), but one of the hallmarks of Captain Toad’s character is that he can’t even jump. Plus, the Mario series is already pretty well represented in Smash (Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser, Bowser Jr., Rosalina, and now Daisy), so with a limited newcomer roster, they might want to focus on less represented franchises. Maybe Captain Toad will be an Assist Trophy, though.
19. Isaac (from Golden Sun)
I think this one is actually more likely than ever. Ridley and King K. Rool were both characters that had been mercilessly requested by fans for a long time, until it looked like they would just never appear in a Smash game, but then ended up getting confirmed for Ultimate. Granted, Golden Sun isn’t anywhere near as popular a franchise as Metroid or Donkey Kong, but with the team behind Super Smash Bros. Ultimate seeming to be taking fan requests more into account, it’s possible that the cult following of Golden Sun will finally get through to them as well. Maybe they could even do a two-in-one and make Felix an Echo Fighter. But hopefully Golden Sun finally gets some kind of playable representation at all.
20. Sans (from Undertale)
Yeah, this isn’t going to happen. As much as I personally would love it, I can’t imagine that they’d give one of their few open newcomer slots to a strangely controversial game like Undertale. Not to mention Undertale‘s popularity isn’t exactly on the same level as Final Fantasy VII or Castlevania or the other third party franchises that are getting representation in Smash. Shovel Knight is a character from a popular, multi-platform, indie game that is appearing as an Assist Trophy, so I suppose it’s possible that an Undertale character could be an Assist Trophy (Annoying Dog, please), but I doubt that even this will happen.
And everyone else
Of course, anyone could go on for days listing characters that they want to appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, especially since the floodgates seem to have been opened for non-Nintendo characters. But we should probably all try to keep our expectations in check a little bit. Banjo and Kazooie are now the property of Microsoft, so while it’s not impossible for Nintendo and Microsoft to come to some sort of deal, Banjo-Kazooie fans may want to not get their hopes up. A lot of people want Goku in Smash, but that would make him the only character who didn’t originate from a video game to appear in the series, which doesn’t seem terribly likely either. With only a few characters left to reveal, it’s probably a good idea to just not expect anything and then be happy with whatever we end up getting. Especially if what we end up getting is Isaac from Golden Sun.