During Nintendo’s Direct at E3, they wanted to go out with a bang–and with a bang, they did. The announcement of Super Smash Brothers for the Wii U and 3DS was augmented by the introduction of a handful of new characters already, the arrival of which has already made a huge splash with fans and generated considerable hype. With newcomers Villager from Animal Crossing (a clever way to ride the excitement from the release of Animal Crossing: New Leaf), Wii Fit Trainer from Wii Fit and–for many the icing on the cake–Megaman from his eponymous series, let’s just say that there may be more Wii U consoles disappearing from the shelves near the release of SSB4.
So, we have three new fighters. Who’s going to make up the rest of the next Super Smash Bros. line-up, though? First of all, we’ve got the other staples that were already announced and there’s no real surprises there. Returning for another game are Adult Link, Kirby, Mario, Donkey Kong, Samus, Fox, Pikachu, Pit and Bowser. With the three extra fighters announced, that brings us up to a total of 12 playable characters so far. However, how many more can we expect to appeear, and who are they likely to be?
So far in the Smash Bros series, the trend has been to increase fighters each game. The original N64 game had a total of 12 characters, Melee for the Gamecube had 26 (more than doubling the number) and Brawl for the Wii had 39. While it would be exciting to assume the range of fighters in the next installment of Super Smash Bros will expand exponentially again, there has been talk from Masahiro Sakurai (the mastermind behind the game) wanting to narrow down characters a little. He mentions that adding non-Nintendo characters ‘willy nilly’ would lose the focus of Super Smash Bros, and that he recognizes the need to limit that. So, it is safe to assume that at the very least, Wii U will most likely have the same amount of fighters as Brawl.
As for who the line-up could include, there are a number of speculations we could entertain. First of all, the game is being produced between Nintendo (Sora Ltd.) and Namco Bandai, which opens the door for a visiting character from one of their franchises to pop up. Sakurai has also mentioned that he wants to bring back ‘old Nintendo characters‘ which could see fighters enter the ring from their older games. There’s even been the possibility of a Capcom character entering the fray, with a lot of fan speculation that a Tekken character may appear in the next installment–but again, it could go any way considering all these factors. Let’s take a look at some possibilities we could be seeing in the future, though!
The ‘safe bets’ are characters that have appeared in all three games so far: the N64 original, Melee and Brawl. Because of this trend, it’s fairly likely we can expect them to return for another appearance in the latest version of Super Smash Bros. Luigi and Yoshi are such iconic Nintendo IPs that it’s hard to see them being cut, and the fighters from ‘old Nintendo IPs’ like Captain Falcon from F-Zero (1990) and Ness from Earthbound (1994) seem to fit Sakurai’s image for bringing the focus back on Nintendo classics. The only one that may be at risk here is Jigglypuff from the Pokemon franchise, as with Pokemon X and Y appearing later this year, there may be more a push for ‘current’ Pokemon. Now that Pokemon has many different Generations under its belt, it may be time to be more diverse with the fighter line-up.
Other safe bets may include characters that have appeared twice (in Melee and Brawl) such as Marth, Falco, Ganondorf, Ice Climbers, Mr. Game & Watch, Princess Peach and Princess Zelda/Sheik.
With the Super Smash Bros games, it’s not unusual for Nintendo to use it as a springboard to showcase and promote their new stuff, too. Toon Link from Wind Waker featured in Brawl as it was released after Melee, Pokemon from the current generation at time of release have been used as fighters (like Lucario). Zero Suit Samus is another example after appearing many times in the recent Other M game. So–what recent Nintendo IPs have had overhauls or produced new faces?
On the wave of games announced at the Nintendo Direct, it’s possible we could see Toon Link appear again in his Wind Waker HD threads, as well as an appearance from Dixie Kong–maybe even teamed up with Diddy Kong for a single fighter. Viewtiful Joe is another possibility with the announcement of Wonderful 101 (because it’s inarguable he looks a bit like Joe), and another character from Animal Crossing–a good fighter that makes gamers want to punch them–may be seen in a playable character like Resetti or Tom Nook. Princess Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy could also be a possibility, as Super Mario Galaxy 1 was released quite close to Brawl and Super Mario Galaxy 2 was released two years after.
Just because Sakurai says he’s looking to limit the number of non-Nintendo characters doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be any. Considering that the game is going to be made in conjunction with Namco Bandai and there’s been some rumors of a Capcom character appearing, only those two big companies were selected with the addition of Sega (as Sega has shared working partnerships with Nintendo in the past). Square Enix probably wouldn’t touch SSB with a 10 ft. pole, especially considering they have their own fighting game in Dissidia, so they’re almost certainly out of the question for those of you who are lusting for a Sephiroth or a Squall appearance. Konami had Snake in Brawl, so they’re not totally ruled out–they could also bring a fighter into the fray.
While the Capcom character Sakurai was hinting at could’ve been Mega Man, he did say ‘one or two’–so there could be more to look forward to there. Two of Namco’s most recognizable IPs could also be a possible inclusion, like The Prince from Katamari Damacy and Pac-Man from the series of the same name. With talk of Namco’s Tekken also being possibly featured, Jin Kazama would be the natural choice to select from the series should the game enter the ring. As Sonic made an appearance in Brawl and was quite popular, he may return with the aid of Tails–and following on from topical Sega IPs, Bayonetta could also surf in on the resurgence of hype from the announcement of Bayonetta 2, which has an added boost in likelihood due to its status as a Wii U exclusive.
At the end of the day though, this is all speculation following the actual announced characters during the Direct at E3 (and just a dash of wishful thinking). The only other information we have to go off is an image Sakurai tweeted of a whiteboard drawing last year of some of Super Smash Bro’s iconic characters. Does this mean they’ll be in the next game?
Guess we’ll have to wait and find out.