The identity of the next Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter will soon be revealed, but who could it feasibly be?
Earlier today, Nintendo announced that the next DLC character for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate would be revealed this Thursday. The debates and discussions about who it could be have been going on for months, but with an actual confirmation upon us, emotions are at a fever pitch, with fans throwing out almost any character they can think of that they want to see make the cut.
But let’s think calmly and rationally about this. Rather than just list the dream picks, let’s look at what little evidence we have and make an educated guess as to who this soon-to-no-longer-be-mysterious character is.
This probably doesn’t need to be said but, just in case, you should not expect any movie or anime characters. Director Masahiro Sakurai has already confirmed this in previous interviews, so you’d best leave your dreams of seeing Goku, Iron Man, or Shrek at the door.
Is the 5th Smash Bros. DLC fighter a Nintendo character?
So far, every character included in the Fighters Pass has been a third party character (i.e. one that doesn’t belong to Nintendo), so it seems reasonable to assume that number five will follow suit. This rules out all the Nintendo stars that have been repeatedly demanded, like Waluigi or Fire Emblem’s Edelgard. Granted, Sakurai could still pull the rug out from under us, but considering this is the final character of the initial Fighters Pass it’s got to be a particularly big addition.
Plus, Nintendo chose to begin the pass with Persona 5’s Joker, which took everyone completely by surprise, and former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said, at the time, that Joker was ’emblematic’ of Smash’s approach to DLC.
Microsoft and Sony DLC characters in Smash Bros.
Before we start going crazy about third party characters, there is one thing that has always been consistent throughout Ultimate’s insane roster: every character has made an appearance on a Nintendo console at some point.
Although Snake, Cloud, and Joker are all heavily associated with PlayStation, they have been featured in games available on Nintendo’s own hardware in the past, even if some of them are obscure spin-offs. Banjo & Kazooie may be associated with the Xbox nowadays but they were once Nintendo stars, having debuted on the N64.
So don’t go expecting Kratos from God Of War to show up, but that does leave the door open for certain PlayStation icons like Crash Bandicoot, who has made the jump to other platforms and is currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity thanks to the N. Sane Trilogy and the Crash Team Racing remake.
Third party Smash Bros. DLC predictions
Even by excluding Nintendo’s own characters, that still leaves a lot of possibilities. But another safe assumption we can make is that, whoever it is, they won’t be from a third party already represented by the Fighters Pass. This means characters from Sega, Atlus, Square Enix, Microsoft, Rare, and SNK are out too. So fans who hope to see Sora from Kingdom Hearts or Master Chief from Halo should maybe consider lowering their expectations.
Who does this leave? Well, Blizzard has been pretty open to having an Overwatch character be added to Smash, meaning poster girl Tracer is a viable option.
Bethesda has also apparently been in talks with Nintendo about Smash Bros., which presumably means Dovahkiin from Skyrim or the Doom Slayer are possibilities. There’s also been rumours of Solaire of Astora from Dark Souls, who already has his own amiibo.
Some fans have even requested Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion or Sub-Zero, but that may be difficult given the violent nature of their original games. Then again, Bayonetta comes from a very mature, NSFW title and was suitably toned down to appear in Smash, so it’s not entirely impossible.
There are all manner of indie characters that have been requested, and Smash Ultimate already features a few: Shovel Knight, Shantae, Sans from Undertale – but none of them appear in a playable role (not counting Sans since it’s a Mii costume, not a fully-fledged fighter).
It’s important to note, though, that while Smash Ultimate does feature characters from Western developers and publishers, the majority of its fighters hail from Japanese-made games. Only one of the Fighters Pass’ characters originated in the West (Banjo and Kazooie) so it seems more likely that number five will be another Japanese character.
A Bandai Namco character seems like a pretty obvious pick. Despite being the primary developer on Ultimate, only one of its characters is playable, Pac-Man, with several of its other flagship franchises only getting brief cameos. The most likely pick would be Heihachi from Tekken and Lloyd Irving from Tales Of Symphonia, both of whom actually had Mii costumes based on their appearances in the Wii U game. Sakurai even briefly considered choosing Heihachi as the Namco rep before settling on Pac-Man.
And then there’s Capcom, which has already lent three of its characters to Smash Ultimate’s initial roster: Mega Man and Street Fighter’s Ryu and Ken. In fact, Ultimate has a lot of Capcom representation, including four assist trophies, Monster Hunter’s Rathalos, who also serves as a boss fight, and numerous Spirits to collect. Only a few months ago, the game added Resident Evil ones too.
Honestly, there’s a very good chance number five is a Capcom character, with the likes of Phoenix Wright from Ace Attorney and Amaterasu from Okami being name-dropped by fans.
The favourite, however, seems to be Dante from Devil May Cry. Not only has he been highly requested, but the first three Devil May Cry games being ported to Switch (with the third due out 20 February) have convinced fans that he’s almost a shoe-in.
In fact, producer Matt Walker told fans to pay attention to a number of dates throughout the next several weeks. One of those dates is 16 January – the same day as the Smash Bros. livestream. If this is a coincidence, then it’s a pretty odd one.
Smash Bros. 5th DLC fighter – the most and least likely
Smash Ultimate is more than a celebration of Nintendo’s history; it’s a celebration of video games as a whole. With so many eras being represented, from the early days of Pong to modern-day role-playing games like Persona 5, it stands to reason that whoever is next will be someone else important to the history of video games.
Maybe Lara Croft, regarded by many as the first proper female protagonist in gaming? She would be a good pick, but the IP is currently own by Square Enix, and we’ve already ruled out any more Square Enix characters.
Street Fighter’s Chun-Li has been referred to as the first lady of gaming, and we’ve established that a Capcom character’s chances are quite solid. If any other Street Fighter character was going to be included, it’d have to be her.
Each of the Fighters Pass characters so far also represent a different genre: role-playing game (Joker and Hero), platformer (Banjo & Kazooie), and fighting game (Terry), so maybe the next fighter is from a genre not yet covered. Joker and Hero do technically break this rule, but it could be argued that they represent two different kinds of role-player (urban fantasy and traditional fantasy).
We have yet to see a character from a first person shooter appear, but the obvious picks like Master Chief have already been ruled out. Maybe all those people that are yelling for Arle from the puzzle game Puyo Puyo are on to something, although to be honest probably not.
However, possibly the most important rule we need to consider comes from Sakurai himself:
‘Whether or not the character is fun to play as is more important than whether the character is new or old. Or whether the character is recognisable to everyone.’
While some characters are arguably more likely than others, popularity does not entirely dictate whether they get to join the roster or not. And let’s not forget that this doesn’t mark the end of the DLC. Sakurai and his team have plans for even more characters in the future.
No matter who gets announced on Thursday, they will still make one of the biggest and best fighting games out there a little bit bigger and a little bit better.
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