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One of the best things Super Smash Bros. brings is pre-release speculation and that's what this is. This isn't a dream list of who I want or don't want, but several different lists compiled to fulfill four specific categories: Who has a good chance, who DOESN'T have a good chance, potential third party characters, and stretch characters for that big Sakurai surprise. Each category has five entries and those entries are in no particular order.
Without further ado, let's start with the more likely newcomers.
This section is reserved for Nintendo characters from modern IPs or games that recently have had a lot of hype or could use Smash Bros. to generate publicity. Don't expect a lot of surprises here; just some safe guesses.
1. Spring Man/Ribbon Girl
With the release of ARMS, Nintendo had themselves a brand new IP to show off the technological capabilities of the Switch. The characters within are colorful, varied, and everything else you would expect from a Nintendo product. With that in mind, I'm kind of surprised an ARMS representative hasn't already been announced.
The mandatory Ryu and Ken of this untraditional fighting game are Spring Man and Ribbon Girl and either would fit right into Smash with not only their move set writing itself, but their introductory trailer with one of them knocking out Little Mac from long range does too.
It doesn't take much to imagine uppercuts for recovery, various attachments for special moves, a ranged throw, and an ultimate consisting of a mighty flurry of punches. If one of these two doesn't see Smash Ultimate's initial release, they're a given for DLC.
2. Rex with Pyra/Mythra
The protagonist of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Rex, has every much a right to see inclusion in Smash Bros. as his series cousin, Shulk. While XC2 does have some rather, er, questionable character designs, the game is still highly enjoyable and successful; two things that could not be said for Xenoblade Chronicles X which will hopefully not see representation outside of trophies.
Rex best differentiates himself from other Smash swordsmen with the inclusion of Pyra, the source of his power as well as the source of the sword itself. She could either stand in the back of the stage like Pokemon Trainer, giving Rex his beam unless she's called in for special attacks, or she could run around, following Rex, increasing his damage the closer she is to him. Then, for a Final Smash, Pyra could transform into Mythra for Sacred Arrow, functioning similar to Ness or Lucas's PK Starstorm.
With Xenoblade Chronicles 2 still seeing content updates, it's very easy to see why its main character(s) would be included in Smash Ultimate. He'll do it with the power of teamwork.
At E3, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was given its title along with Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Fire Emblem's popularity in America could be partially credited to Marth and Roy's inclusion in Smash Bros. Melee. In fact, Roy's inclusion was an attempt to promote the then upcoming Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade.
After Melee, Roy was dropped in favor of Ike being selected for Smash Bros. Brawl as Ike was the latest Lord from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. Naturally, for Smash for Wii U/3DS, Robin and Lucina from Fire Emblem: Awakening were added with Corrin of Fire Emblem: Fates being included later as DLC. To follow this trend, we could very easily see Edelgard of Three Houses claiming her position in Smash Ultimate.
What sets her apart from so many other Fire Emblem representatives is the fact that she doesn't use a sword. In the trailer for E3, Edelgard is seen wielding an axe instead. Hopefully this means she won't be yet another character with a counter and will have the wild, dangerous swings Fire Emblem axes are known for. I could picture her being a light, Marth-like character for movement but with slower, heavier attacks.
4. "Special" Pokemon
Generation 8 Pokémon are still a ways out. In fact, they're too far out for an inclusion in Smash Ultimate unless one is added as DLC later on after release. However, with the release of Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee coming soon, they promised a "special" Pokemon to consumers. Rumor has it, it might be a whole new 'Mon, never before seen.
As with Fire Emblem, Pokémon also has brand new characters added every entry and, similarly, has seen new representation in Smash Bros. each iteration in the forms of Lucario and Greninja. It would make sense to add this brand new, special Pokemon in lieu of a Generation 7 Pokémon who would be old hat at this point. Sadly, this also means I won't see my favorite, Gengar, in Smash at any point either.
I can't even begin to speculate what moves this unknown critter might employ, but I'm certain Sakurai can figure something out. If he can give Captain Falcon and Fox McCloud iconic moves, he can do anything.
5. Dixie Kong
Dixie is the last of the good Kongs (outside of Cranky and Funky) to be put into Smash. With so much focus placed on either the original Donkey Kong Country or on DKC: Returns, Smash is missing out on Diddy's Kong Quest and Dixie Kong's Double Trouble, two DKC games that sorely need that sweet Smash representation in their own right. DKC2 is one of my favorite platforming games of all time and the music alone is more than enough reason to see more from that title being celebrated in a Smash Bros. game.
Donkey Kong is a strange power house in Nintendo, always being featured but rarely seeing his own games. His buddy, Diddy, is always along for the ride, but other Kongs are often left out. Dixie is the perfect face for the Donkey Kong who has his own games instead of just attending parties or kart racing with Mario.
Dixie doesn't have a coconut gun, but she could easily throw barrels, hover with her trademark ponytail, or summon animal friends. In fact, having Rambi charge through enemies as a Final Smash would fit perfectly. Just so long as she leaves the repulsive Kiddy Kong at home, Dixie could find a safe and unique place in the roster, and I think there's a very good chance of it.
This section is reserved for those heavily requested newcomers that probably won't ever see the light of day. Sadly, these characters will likely be relegated to being trophies for the rest of their lives like the sad and broken Waluigi. I kept it to video game characters only, but just so you know, Goku won't be in Smash either.
1. King K. Rool
Given my love for the Donkey Kong Country games, this one kind of hurts to write. Still, this isn't about what I want so much as what I believe and what the evidence paints. K. Rool was the thorn in Donkey Kong's side up until the DKC: Returns titles where he was forgotten in the sands of time.
Some say he's just a fat crocodile, but I say he had one of the better gimmicks of final bosses. Every time K. Rool appeared in a title, he had a new costume and identity, even when he simply had a cameo in a Mario sports title. If he appeared in Smash, he could easily have moves taken from these personas, such as firing a musket or shoulder charging across the stage, and then wearing alternate costumes featuring his five canonical appearances and three more made up just for Smash. Let's say secret agent, businessman, and super hero.
Unfortunately, with Smash's need for heavy weights and villains, if K. Rool was going to see representation he would have already by now. Ridley made it, but K. Rool will be sitting on the bleachers next to Wart, crying about the good ol' days.
2. Wonder Red
Will Wedgewood, aka Wonder Red, is the star of the Wii U's ultimately doomed Wonderful 101. The game was good and the cutscenes ramped the plot up so hard and ridiculous, you'll never forget the title... if you played it. Unfortunately, Platinum Games' Nintendo exclusive saw release at the beginning of the Wii U's life where no one bought it and the game faded into obscurity even before it got the recognition it deserved.
It's a shame, really. The different Unite moves would be a completely new mechanic to Smash where you would call in the other characters for power and range over a few seconds of pressing and holding the input. A final Smash with Platinum Robo would be a sight to behold as well.
Several of the Wonderful Ones got trophies in Smash for Wii U/3DS, but that's where they will stay. Wonderful 101 was given out for free at the end of Club Nintendo's life and it's doubtful the game will see a sequel of any sort. It's even more doubtful we'll see Wonder Red as a playable character in Smash Ultimate. Diplomacy has failed.
Geno was "the cool guy" in Super Mario RPG and has been requested for Smash Bros. ever since. In fact, according to a Nintendo Dream Interview with Masahiro Sakurai, Geno was even initially planned for Super Smash Bros. Brawl. However, all he saw was a Mii Fighter costume in Smash for Wii U/3DS.
There's no question as to why, either. He's an interesting, unique character with a plethora of moves that either transform his wooden body or fire energy beams. He could also buff himself or allies and could even utilize timed hits on his special attacks to give him that distinctive Mario RPG flair.
Wouldn't you say that makes him a likely candidate for Smash Ultimate, then? I wouldn't. While he's a nostalgic character for many, present company included, he just doesn't have anything but being a character you weren't even required to use in a single game. Super Mario RPG hasn't been remade or remastered, either, leaving it relatively unknown to audiences today. Geno hasn't appeared in anything else and he probably won't appear in Smash Ultimate either.
4. Captain Toad
There is only one Toad featured in Smash Bros. and he's a meat shield for Princess Peach. In fact, that same Toad appears more in Peach's repertoire for Smash Ultimate where he helps with throws and will actually guard his princess from attacks instead of just having his face held out into a foot. With this new-found bravery, that actually hurts the chances of Capt. Toad seeing the light of Smash.
It's possible that Capt. Toad could throw turnips or items from his bag as form of attack, but Peach already throws turnips. Plus, with the main Toad of Mario fame already in place at Peach's side, there's no call for another mushroom person to come to action. Capt. Toad can't even jump, and let me tell you, you need to be able to jump to be in Smash Bros.
There isn't much to say here. I wouldn't be so bold as to say the little guy doesn't deserve a spot, but I will say I don't see him doing much more than appearing as a trophy. He's brave and adventurous, but Captain Toad will be sitting out this fight.
Isaac has been requested for Smash Bros. ever since his brief assist trophy appearance in Brawl. However, his inclusion is so unlikely, he didn't even get the assist trophy treatment in the following game. Isaac is one of the few characters in Smash history to be dropped from even an assisting slot.
Golden Sun was a decent RPG full of interesting magic and abilities. Isaac pushing people away like he did as an assist trophy is only the tip of the iceberg. By utilizing various Psynergy, Isaac could be another magical swordsman like Robin, though instead of fire and lightning, he'd freeze people in place with Halt or smash people off stages with Force. Different Djinn could be summoned for a flashy Final Smash as well.
However, at the end of the day, Golden Sun has never been that popular a series. The time between titles was long enough you'd easily forget what happened in the previous game and I can't even remember if it was worth caring in the first place. I'm afraid Isaac won't even get as far as Camelot's other ostracized character, Waluigi. At least he's still an assist trophy.
What started as a Nintendo all-stars title, Super Smash Bros. has become a celebration of video games in general. With the inclusion of Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog in Brawl, the gates were opened to so many more possibilities. Now, with the faces of Mega Man, Pac-Man, Ryu, Bayonetta, and even Cloud, almost anyone could be let in. Not anyone will, though. Here's a look at some of the more likely competitors.
1. Shovel Knight
Shovel Knight has sold like mad on the various Nintendo platforms. From Wii U to 3DS to Switch, people prefer playing the game on Nintendo's consoles over any other platform with the possible exception of PC where the game sees constant reductions in price thanks to Steam sales. Yacht Club games even has the prestigious honor of seeing the first non-Nintendo amiibo in the shape of their blue, horned hero. That makes Shovel Knight himself a very likely candidate for Smash representation in some form.
The move list is fairly simple to conceive. Pogo-hopping on enemies is obvious, along with digging to throw up dirt/gems, and using relics such as the Dust Knuckle or Propeller Dagger. A Final Smash with Shield Knight coming into play would properly represent the source material as well.
While a character from an indie title would be unprecedented for Smash Bros., that doesn't mean that they've never been seen in the series before. CommanderVideo of Bit Trip Runner was featured as a trophy in Smash for Wii U/3DS. I believe Shovel Knight has what it takes to go from trophy to fighter.
2. Simon Belmont
With Solid Snake back on board and Bomberman playing assist, that means Konami is playing ball (other than with pachislot machines). More than that, Simon was on a supposed leak list that has seen credibility added to it with Ridley's announcement. With that in mind, we might just be playing as the whip cracking Castlevania rep this December.
With Simon's slew of bonus weapons like Holy Water or Boomerang Crosses, his move set seems fairly easy to build. I'd like a good Castlevania nod on his attacks with enemies sometimes dropping small hearts or chicken when whipped, but that's just a bonus.
Castlevania got its start on the NES, so it would definitely make sense to see Simon whip his way into Smash Ultimate. That said, there's another Castlevania rep I'd rather see in the form of Dracula himself, but again, this list is for the most likely representatives, so Simon Belmont has to get the nod. If the leak is true, he's already in, so enough talk. Have at you!
Wait a second, didn't I just call Geno unlikely? I did, yes, but this is different. Much like with Simon Belmont being a second Konami rep, a second Square-Enix representative wouldn't be too much to ask for and one of their biggest Nintendo titles was Chrono Trigger. While Crono would be the most likely to be featured, given that he's the main character, Frog is extremely recognizable and, in my opinion, just more fun and memorable.
Both characters utilize swords, but unlike the glut of Fire Emblem characters, Crono and Frog also wield magical arts. They'd rely more heavily on their swords than Robin but wouldn't be a near clone like Marth, Roy, Ike, or Lucina. They could also call whichever one of them wasn't playable to perform a devastating X-Strike on their victim for a Final Smash.
With Capcom already having two entrants from their massive catalog of characters, I don't think it's too unreasonable to see another face from a company already featured in Smash. Squaresoft used to be great friends with Nintendo back in the SNES days and with the Switch's popularity, now would be a good time to mend that fence.
4. Phoenix Wright
Now, before you throw down that objection on Capcom having three characters in a Nintendo game, let me make my case. Next to Nintendo, Capcom has the largest roster of beloved characters and franchises, so they would naturally need more room. Ace Attorney is almost strictly a Nintendo franchise as well, making Phoenix basically a Nintendo character in his own right at this point.
As far as his move list goes, looking to Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 would be a good start. Scavenging evidence to power up would fit the games, albeit I would simplify the process for a game like Smash with its speed and movement requirements. A nightmare judge flattening the stage with a huge gavel would be the Final Smash cherry on this lawyer sundae.
With every single Ace Attorney game being released solely on Nintendo platforms (minus the iOS ports that came later) and the latest installment set for the Switch, now's the perfect time for gaming's greatest lawyer to be featured in Smash Bros. Take that!
Ubisoft has no Smash rep thus far, but this limbless mascot was featured in Smash for Wii U/3DS in the form of a trophy. That right there can get people talking, but seeing the legendary fake leak last Smash generation really got a lum-like buzz going. Maybe this will be Rayman's chance to shine.
Charging up punches and hovering with his hair, Rayman would have a speedy but strong pick-and-move play style. Being able to collapse without limbs getting in the way could give him a low, hard to hit profile as well. His Final Smash could be anything from a barrage fired from Captain Razorbeard's ship to a fire breathing Dragon swooping in to strafe the other fighters.
Not only does Rayman have nostalgia on his side, recent titles like Rayman Origins and the stellar Rayman Legends are outstanding games proving that he's more than just another dried up mascot from gaming's past. The Rabbids might have sprung from his games and already crossed over with Mario, but Rayman himself is the real deal and could easily hold his own in Smash Ultimate.
This final section is where a few unlikely characters get to be featured. They aren't likely, but they aren't entirely out of the running. Sakurai loves to pick at least one unexpected character to get people talking like Mr. Game & Watch, R.O.B., or Wii Fit Trainer, and there are also classic Nintendo games that could still see the light of Smash in their future. Here are a few contenders for that spot.
1. Labo Robot Kit
One of Nintendo's latest experiments is a combination of the power of imagination, the Switch, and some sheets of cardboard. Promoting their creative tool, Labo, in Smash Bros. will likely be done in a stage, but what if it didn't end there? What if you could actually play as the Labo Robot, or, better yet, a figure wearing the cardboard robot kit itself?
If it's just someone wearing the kit, you can still run around, punch, kick, and even use other Labo kits as weapons, but that leaves the character open to a fantastic Final Smash. The real robot itself comes to town. It's giant and angry and ready to stomp. Think about it.
Nintendo Labo is undoubtedly going to be seen in Smash Ultimate in some form or another. As I said, I'm guessing it will most likely be a stage that folds into various kits or perhaps just the house. Still, I wouldn't put it past Sakurai to give us a Labo fighter just to watch our expressions.
2. Captain Syrup
The captain of the Black Sugar Gang is the recurring boss of most of the Wario Land series. I've included her for one big reason: The Wario Land games have almost zero representation despite Wario being playable in Smash Bros. What Capt. Syrup does is give us a second Wario character while simultaneously representing a whole series of fantastic games.
Captain Syrup doesn't do much fighting on her own, opting to summon a genie or pilot a Dr. Eggman style ship, but that hasn't stopped Sakurai from developing move lists for characters before. She could easily perform swashbuckling feats with a sword, throw bombs as she is known to do, and call for her minions to fight along side her. After that, using that genie or that hovering ship as a Final Smash would be all too perfect.
It doesn't make any sense to just have Wario be gross or ride around on his bike when he has multiple adventure games full of move potential. While it's too late to change him now, it's not too late to give those games some coverage with the introduction of the nearly forgotten Captain Syrup in Smash Infinite.
Remember Advance Wars? It was that turn based strategy game that wasn't Fire Emblem before Fire Emblem became successful and was all that Intelligent Systems produced. Currently, the only Advance Wars representation featured in Smash Bros. is a single assist trophy consisting of a handful of nameless soldiers. Shameful.
Andy might not be the sharpest crayon in the box, but he does feature a pair of huge wrenches that I imagine could do some damage. With a little help from his troops, I'm sure he could get by and while his CO power, Hyper Repair, might not be fit for a Final Smash, calling in an artillery strike sure is. He could give Snake a run for his money in the explosive department.
Andy isn't the only Advance Wars character that could fit into Smash, but he's the most likely if any of them at all appear. It seems Nintendo has kind of forgotten about this property, but considering how fun it was, that shouldn't be the case. Bringing Andy back for Smash Infinite might be the first step to bringing back his franchise as well.
4. Banjo and Kazooie
Before you ask, yes, Microsoft owns Rare who owns the Banjo IP. However, if you follow Smash news (and you probably do if you're even reading this), then you might know that Phil Spencer, the Executive President of Gaming for Microsoft, had expressed his consent for the bird and bear to appear as DLC for Smash for Wii U/3DS. That means that if Nintendo deigned to be interested, it could happen.
Why wouldn't they be interested, anyway? Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie were a beloved pair of titles on the N64 and the combo has numerous abilities under their belts. Rolling, pecking, flying, Beak Bombing, and shooting eggs all comes to mind. A Final Smash using Mumbo Jumbo's infamous T-Rex transformation would be the pièce de résistance.
This pair might not have the name recognition they once did, but they were a substantial reason people wanted to own the N64. The only game they've had that wasn't on a Nintendo console was a big flop anyway. If Cloud can see an invitation to Smash Bros., there's no reason Banjo and Kazooie couldn't Feathery Flap their way in too for a nostalgic reunion.
No, that isn't Ness, but you're close. Ninten is the star of Mother, or Earthbound Beginnings as it's known in the West. By digging way back, Nintendo has a chance to bring back a classic, forgotten star for Smash Bros. like they've done for the Ice Climbers or Duck Hunt before him. There's a good reason for this move, too.
Ness and Lucas use moves specific to other characters from their games in lieu of their own abilities. With Ninten, he could actually utilize his real move set to offset him from the other Earthbound reps. With moves like Hypnosis, Teleport, his shields, or his buffing/debuffing, Ninten would utilize his special abilities to compliment his normal attacks instead of using them as outright attacks themselves. For a Final Smash, he could work with Ana to fire a powerful PK Beam, just like in the commercial.
The chances of the world seeing another Mother title is slim to none, so having the full trio of heroes from the series seems fitting. Sakurai likes to reach back and surprise people, and I think Ninten would be a very pleasant surprise. Whether he or anyone else in this article makes it will be revealed in the coming months. Until then, just remember Mother's sage advice. No crying until the ending.