Greetings GeekPiphany readers, GP Mike here with some very interesting Super Smash Bros. Ultimate news. Well, potential news. Today saw the appearance of a whopper of a Smash Bros. rumor, and…
Wait, come back!
Yes, I understand that Smash Bros. “leaks” are a dime a dozen. Believe me, I’ve lived through the hype cycles for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U, and now Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. With Ultimate in particular, hype among the online Smash community has been nearly non-stop, given the relatively short duration between the game’s announcement and its December release date. But this latest leak—if it is, in fact, a leak—not only seems to be plausible based on the circumstances of its release, but purports to reveal the remainder of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s roster.
Oh, and what a final set of challengers it is. But before we dig in, however, I’ll note that the purpose of this article isn’t to debate the legitimacy of the leak in question. In my opinion, it’s plausible enough for real consideration, but if you want to weigh the evidence—a healthy skepticism is a good thing, after all—I’d suggest checking in with the fine folks at Nintendo Wire, or perhaps this thread on Resetera. I’ll give you a minute if you need it. Go on, I’ll be here when you’re done.
All caught up? Good. Now, on to that roster. Check out the supposed leaked banner image:
There are seven more purported fighters on the way, and, in my not-so-humble opinion, they are a fantastic conclusion to the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster. Well, mostly. What do I think, exactly? Let’s start with the “mostly” characters and work our way up to the ones that will really bring the “Ultimate” to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Let me start by saying I mean no disrespect to the original Echo fighter. Ken and Ryu go together like peanut butter and jelly, and it absolutely makes sense to include Ryu’s charismatic counterpart in Ultimate. That said, making sense isn’t the same thing as being exciting. Street Fighter is full of iconic, unique characters—Chun Li would be a great iconic pick, or perhaps Blanka for a more cartoonish fit into the Ultimate roster. Hell, if Capcom is fated to get another character slot, I’d rather see another franchise altogether. Darkstalkers! Monster Hunter! Bionic Commando! Resident Evil! I could go on. Still, if it weren’t for the fact that Ken is likely an Echo, he probably wouldn’t be in at all. So you take what you can get, I suppose.
Err, welcome aboard, Ken! No hard feelings.
Shadow the Hedgehog
Look, if I’m being honest, it was kinda tough for me to decide who to rank at the back of the pack. Shadow managed to edge out Ken only because the potential Capcom representation that could’ve gone in Ken’s spot is incredibly alluring. Really though, they’re on pretty similar ground, being third party Echo characters—such is the suspicion, at any rate. Regarding Shadow himself, he’s fine, I guess. Given when I grew up, I’ve got more fondness for Tails and Knuckles, and would’ve rather seen one of them take this particular slot. Shoot, even Dr. Robotnik Eggman would’ve been a cool character in the vein of Bowser Jr.—there are plenty of cool Eggman machines the evil scientist could wield in a Smash move set. Still though, I get that Shadow is popular and recognizable, so I don’t behoove the surly hedgehog his spot.
Rhythm Heaven is a franchise I have little experience with, and thus I’m not overly personally hyped for the Chorus Kids. That said, if there’s anything that Smash Bros. does well, it’s fleshing out obscure corners of the Nintendo catalog in fascinating ways. And I do know that Rhythm Heaven is quirky as hell, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that quirkiness will translate to a playable character. While the leaked image appears to be the Chorus Kids and their conductor, a while back I came across this utterly charming concept for a Chorus Kid/Karate Joe move set from Twitter user Kevin BlehBlegaragan. It’s one of the things that convinced me a Rhythm Heaven character would be most welcome in Ultimate.
The Golden Sun games, for those who are unfamiliar—not an unlikely scenario, alas, given the series relatively obscure status—are JRPGs with all the typical trappings. High fantasy, imposing summons, and a plucky young band of adventurers holding the fate of the world in their hands. The neat thing about the game’s magic system is its basis on the four classical elements: earth, fire, wind, water, and heart. Magical creatures called djinni served as elemental avatars that could aid the party, allowing the player to mix and match different djinni with each game’s party members to create multitudes of unique spells. Isaac himself was associated with the element of earth, and I want his Ultimate move set to lean into both this elemental inclination and the crazy spells offered by the djinni. We’ve got enough sword slingers with Ultimate’s ample Fire Emblem representation. Here’s hoping Isaac gets to flaunt his sorcerous potential.
I’m delighted to see another retro pick in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The Ice Climbers, Mr. Game and Watch, Duck Hunt, R.O.B. and the rest are in good company with the inclusion of Mach Rider. Mach Rider as a game is pretty straightforward, but its setting is unusual for a Nintendo game—the titular Rider races along post-apocalyptic highways, blasting aliens with their weaponized motorcycle. While the Super Smash Bros. Melee trophy reimagined the character with a particularly Mad Max flair, the character’s Ultimate design appears to stick closer to the original, brighter, more 80’s anime-influenced style, and I’m loving that. Plus, the character is pretty much a blank slate—I can’t wait to see how the Ultimate team translates Mach Rider’s sci-fi flair into a (hopefully motorcycle centric) move set.
Oh, and one more cool thing, there’s apparently debate as to whether Mach Rider is a man or a woman, thanks to evidence such as the ambiguous ending scene from the arcade sequel Vs. Mach Rider and an old magazine poster that—full disclosure—I couldn’t find a proper source for beyond forum posts.
I, for one, would heartily love to see another badass woman join the Super Smash Bros. universe.
As if Ridley and King K. Rool weren’t seemingly enough fan service for the Smash community, here we are with Super Mario RPG’s own Geno. I’d make the standard disclaimer that Geno is a niche pick, but at this point, I think we all know that Super Smash Bros. isn’t afraid to visit the more obscure corners of Nintendo history. And Geno is a great pick. Sure, one could argue that Geno really didn’t grow as a character in Super Mario RPG—Mallow’s arc, for example, is certainly more compelling—but everyone loves the mysterious stranger types. Geno’s got a great look, plenty of special abilities to contribute to a move set, and again, he’s got that long-running Smash community support. Could you say Geno is the Boba Fett of the Mario universe? Maybe. But I’d argue he’s got more in common with another fan favorite character who serves a higher authority, uses an earthly vessel to carry out their work, has a host of celestial powers, and is loyal to both their duty and their friends.
You Supernatural fans out there know that Geno is absolutely Mario’s Castiel.
Banjo and Kazooie
To my mind, Banjo and Kazooie are the holy grail of characters missing from the Super Smash Bros. roster. Yes, I know it’s been a long time since they’ve been under the Nintendo umbrella. Folks who didn’t grow up during the Nintendo 64 generation might see Banjo-Kazooie as a curious footnote in Nintendo’s history. But you’ve got to understand, for those of us that did live through the Nintendo 64’s heyday, we remember that Rareware’s games kept the wayward console afloat and helped define an entire console generation. And the flagship of those games?
I’m not going to go on about how the Banjo games refined the template laid out by Super Mario 64, or harp on how closely tied to Nintendo Rareware was as a second party developer, or even expound on the duo’s Smash Bros. move set potential. Though I most certainly could. Bottom line is, Banjo and Kazooie are representative of an entire era of Nintendo’s history, and they more than deserve Super Smash Bros. representation.
Thoughts? Opinions? Disagree with my ranking? I’d love to hear why, so hit the comments!