Smash to the future
With the reveal of Min-Min as the first DLC fighter from Fighter Pass Two, and with her subsequent release providing the beginning of the end of a title’s incomprehensible process, the question has already begun to be asked as to who we will see take the final four spots in Smash Bros. Ultimate.
While – by Sakurai’s own omission – Fighter Pass One’s character choices were handled by the powers-that-be over at Nintendo (although I’m sure Sakurai-san had some say in their inclusion), it seems likely, nay probable, that the big man now holds all the cards in the selection process, moving forward. Given the amount of time and effort he has put into Ultimate and the Smash Bros. franchise in general, it really is the least that Nintendo could do!
The inclusion of an ARMS fighter once more saw Smash return to its humble roots, as a celebration of Nintendo’s own rich lineage of inimitable IPs.
If we take a theoretical time-travelling trip through the history of Smash Bros. right back to its origins, we’ll see that the original N64 offering had just twelve fighters available, only eight of which were ready from the outset. More importantly, they were all instantly recognisable Nintendo characters. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that Smash 64 was nothing more than a party game and an unknown entity.
Everyone and their Gran is here
Melee entered the fray with 25 unique fighters, once again, each and every one of them was a Nintendo character, and was on the roster to celebrate its own game series.
Brawl brought with it a staggering 39 fighters and while 37 of them were native Nintendo-nions, two of them had seen the other side of the gaming sphere, Snake of Metal Gear Solid fame and Sonic, Mario’s one-time rival. Mario vs Sonic in a battle 20+ years in the making. It was the stuff of dreams.
Smash for Wii U brought with it a whopping 58 playable characters, seven of which were only available as paid DLC, a sign of the times. Once again, this saw behemoths of the third party world join the fray, with the inclusion of Street Fighter’s Ryu and Cloud Strife, the protagonist of Final Fantasy VII.
Smash Ultimate, true to its name, brought back every single fighter from the series rich history, along with eleven new arrivals, bringing the total up to a mind-blowing 74 fighters.
Fight or flight
Unlike Mario Kart 8’s DLC characters, the fighters that join the fray in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate feel calculated and considered, be it for financial reasons, to appease board members or potential 3rd party partners, or in the case of Beyleth, as recognition for a game’s worth. A recent interview With Suda 51 in – friends of Nintendad – Switch Player Magazine issue 44 seemed to suggest that a Travis Touchdown amiibo is a possibility in the not too far future. Given that Nintendo has committed to producing an amiibo for every single Smash fighter, it could suggest his incoming inclusion in Nintendo’s heterogeneous party-brawler.
Hopefully, Min-mins welcome presence is a sign of things to come and Sakurai has regained the narrative in regard to who will conclude the lineup. Nintendo is bereft with kooky characters that could occupy the final slots and as Min-Min shows, there are new IPs too that are deserving of representation. Fans pine for the perennially purple procrastination of Waluigi. Let’s not kid ourselves for one moment, he will be the final challenger.