Super Smash Bros. It’s the Avengers of video games. And nothing demonstrates that better than the latest incarnation, the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
The game was already riding high on hype with the announcement that every fighter from every past installment would be playable this go-round, as well as the reveals of characters like Ridley, King K. Rool and Simon Belmont. And with the latest rumors on the final roster (for more on that, check out GP Mike’s post here) the buzz is hitting a fever pitch in advance of the game’s planned December release.
To quickly break it down, the rumored final characters are Ken Masters from Street Fighter, Shadow the Hedgehog from the Sonic series, the Chorus Kids from Rhythm Heaven, Isaac from Golden Sun, Mach Rider from the game of the same name, the team of Banjo and Kazooie, and Geno from Super Mario RPG. Some are stone-cold triumphs, others charming head-scratchers, and all building on the hype wave the game has been steadily surfing.
Giving these rumored magnificent seven some thought, I think this gives us four original characters and three echo fighters. Two of the echoes are obvious; Ken (Ryu) and Shadow (Sonic). But the other echo fighter, as I see it, is Mach Rider.
Specifically, he, or she, is Captain Falcon’s echo.
It’s not so out of left field, I believe. F-Zero has been considered a spiritual successor of sorts to Mach Rider, with hints of the latter showing up in former’s series. And Mach Rider, like Captain Falcon, is known for piloting a futuristic high-speed vehicle. I can see Mach Rider’s final smash being very similar to Captain Falcon’s, only he, or she, jumps on the motorbike and fires on anyone unlucky enough to be caught in the path.
As for the newcomers, it will be interesting to see how the Chorus Kids are incorporated into the game. As Mike has pointed out, Nintendo has made Mr. Game & Watch, R.O.B. and Duck Hunt into perfectly sensible inclusions. And the duo of Banjo and Kazooie is many Nintendo fan’s dream come true. Heck, even character designer Steve Mayles and Microsoft Executive Vice President of Gaming Phil Spencer supported the duo’s inclusion, despite Rare being owned by Microsoft.
The two newcomers I’m most excited to try are Isaac and Geno (“gee, the two JRPG characters? Not much of a surprise, Sean”). In one of our earlier YouTube episodes, I laid out the case for Geno’s inclusion, including his possible list of specials, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing if any of those moves I mentioned make it into his final moveset. And like Mike (where’s my Gatorade?), I’ll be interested in seeing if Isaac is more of a magic-based character, rather than a mostly carbon copy of Fire Emblem’s stable of swordsmen and swordswomen.
Of course, nothing has been confirmed at this point. But if this is the final roster, then Nintendo has hit quite the home run. However, there is still plenty of room to think about “What if?” if this is the final roster, and that’s what I’ll do here. I’ll bring forth one newcomer and one echo that I thought could crack the final roster, but may have to wait for next time, if of course there is one.
Newcomer: Sora – Kingdom Hearts
“Sean wants Sora in Smash? Stop the presses…”
Yeah, I know. I’m not surprising a whole lot of people. But hear me out.
Kingdom Hearts III is scheduled for both a Playstation 4 and Xbox One release, but creator Tetsuya Nomura is open to releasing the game on the Nintendo Switch in the future. And what better way to promote that than by having the keyblade’s chosen on the roster?
I could see Sora as a Robin-type character, focusing on melee strikes with his keyblade and his repertoire of magic for special moves and smashes. Think about it. Catch a character with Sonic Blade, keep them stunned with a cast of Firaga, before sending them flying with Strike Raid. There are truly many possibilities for a unique moveset.
Of course, it’s not a simple matter for Sora to be included. Disney shares the rights to the character with Square-Enix, and you need both companies’ OK to get him into Smash. And even if Disney said “yes,” would they say “yes” to other characters, specifically Donald and Goofy? If they were included, I could see Sora’s final smash calling the two of them in for Trinity Limit. Though even if they weren’t included, I imagine Sora’s final smash being more of an Ars Arcanum/Ragnarok combo attack.
Still, I’ve held out hope for Sora in Smash, mainly as a way to announce the porting of I.5, II.5 and II.8 to the Switch before Kingdom Hearts III’s Switch release. I mean, we got Neku and the rest of The World Ends With You gang on the Switch. Kingdom Hearts seemed like an inevitability.
Echo: Mike Jones – StarTropics
Mike Jones has kind of faded into obscurity since the NES days, but Nintendo obviously has a track record of bringing back forgotten characters for Smash. And I truly though Mike would have been next.
With a baseball bat and a yo-yo among his weapons, I figured Mike would be an echo fighter for Earthbound’s Ness. “But what about Ness’ PK attacks?” you may be asking. Not to worry. Mike Jones relied on a bevy of gadgets, some of it alien technology, in his adventures. It would be easy to incorporate those gadgets as a substitute for Ness’ PK attacks (for example, his spiked cleats for both his back-A and down-A air attacks).
But in reading through old strips of Matthew Taranto’s “Brawl in the Family,” I suppose I have to admit he beat me to the idea by about four years. Oh well. You know what they say about great minds.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who had a character or two left out of the final roster. So what do you think of the rumored line-up? And which characters would you have liked to see make the list? Let us know in the comments below!