The fan base surrounding the Super Smash Bros. series can keep itself satiated with speculation for years in between core instalments, but things really pick up once word of a new entry in the series arrives. This has certainly been the case following the confirmation that the franchise will be arriving on Nintendo Switch in 2018, with an aesthetically altered Breath of the Wild version of Link and Splatoon‘s Inkling in tow.
While the latter character is one that gamers the world over have been anticipating, it’s the third-party guest characters present within the game that make an impact following their immediate reveal. The likes of Solid Snake, Mega Man, and Cloud Strife had heads spinning after their confirmation, and it’s probable that Super Smash Bros. on Switch will include a handful of shocking additions on par with those character reveals as well.
With so many worthwhile guest characters, it was hard to narrow the list down to just 10. Still, that didn’t stop me from giving it a try. It should go without saying that I’m probably wrong about all of them given franchise creator Masahiro Sakurai’s track record of including off-the-wall fighters, but it’s nice to imagine that I’m capable of making these calls – if only for a short time.
As one for the more requested characters by western audiences, Shovel Knight is easily a frontrunner if Sakurai feels at all obligated to included nods to Nintendo’s ever-growing indie scene. There’s been no reference to the shovel-wielding knight in the Smash franchise so far, but the main hero from Bit.Trip., Commander Video, was present as a quasi-nod to the struggling platform’s “indie scene” via an in-game trophy.
If that wasn’t enough, Shovel Knight and several other characters from the series already have their own amiibo figures, which is truly a feat for any third-party property – indie or not. That’s a rather promising sign for fans hoping to see this small-time icon duking it out with the likes of Mario.
Minecraft represents one of the biggest indie success stories of all time. Originally beginning as a small, one-man project, the game became a billion-dollar IP almost overnight. Of course, this eventually lead to the property’s acquisition by Microsoft, but that hasn’t stopped it from appearing on other consoles.
Most recently, Minecraft arrived on Nintendo Switch bringing with it an exclusive Super Mario theme pack. This shows that Nintendo is willing to play ball with Microsoft and even allow the company to tap into its IP for promotional use on existing Nintendo consoles. In that light, adding the default Minecraft protagonist, Steve, to Super Smash Bros. seems like a no-brainer given his now iconic stature within the gaming industry.
One of the most bizarre crossovers to ever exist launched on the Nintendo Switch in 2017 as Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. After ample scepticism from gamers following a number of leaks beforehand, something bizarre happened: consumers and critics alike realized the game was actually really good. As a turn-based tactical shooter, this collaboration between Ubisoft and Nintendo made the slapstick-savy Rabbids interact with all-star Super Mario characters in a genre that moved both properties forward.
Since the rogue rabbits have already crossed paths with Mario and friends, and will soon be mingling with the one and only Donkey Kong as part of Kingdom Battle‘s first major DLC expansion, it only makes sense that the characters would do so again in Super Smash Bros.. That is, unless another Ubisoft rep has already laid claim to a spot on the roster.
What seemed like a pipe dream not all that long ago has quickly become a legitimate possibility. Crash Bandicoot has long been associated with the PlayStation brand, but with that platform’s take on crossover fighting genre, known as PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, having seemingly fallen by the wayside and N-Sane Trilogy‘s debut on Switch imminent, the character could feasibly make an appearance in the latest Smash Bros. game.
The orange spin monster has already crossed paths with Bowser and Donkey Kong thanks to the Skylanders series, so there’s already a precedent there. Besides, having Crash in Smash for Switch would immediately allow fans to act out the three-way console gaming rivalry of the 90s, courtesy of Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog already being included.
Debuting in the SNES’ critically-acclaimed darling Super Mario RPG, Geno is in a bit of an odd place when it comes to ownership. You see, he’s co-owned by both Square Enix (the developer responsible for creating the aforementioned game he debuted in) and Nintendo. As a fan-favourite character choice since the Melee era, many had given up on the possibility of seeing this living puppet appear given the legality snafus and lack of prominence of the hero in recent years.
Then Sakurai struck a deal to include Square Enix’s/Final Fantasy 7‘s Cloud Strife as a playable character and in doing so managed to negotiate a Mii costume of none other than Geno himself. Later on, the creator confirmed that Geno was a heavily requested character that he had considered adding many times, and finally had the possibility to appease his fandom through this DLC costume.
The original protagonist from the Castlevania series has to be a frontrunner for inclusion in Super Smash Bros. at this point. Given the prominence of the series on Nintendo’s NES and SNES consoles, Simon Belmont is now forever tied to the company – even going so far as to star as a main hero in the Nintendo cartoon show Captain N alongside Kid Icarus‘ Pit and Mega Man.
Konami (the company that currently owns the Castlevania property) hasn’t shied away from placing its characters within this fighting series either, as one of the firm’s most prominent heroes, Metal Gear Solid‘s Solid Snake, appeared in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. There’s also a rumour going around that Belmont will be joining the roster on Smash for Switch from an occasionally reliable source with an almost 50/50 track record. Fortunately, gamers won’t be waiting all that long to find out if this report is accurate.
As one of the most fitting characters currently in Ubisoft’s arsenal, Rayman began gathering a Smash-related following after it was confirmed that the character would appear as a collectible, in-game trophy for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Fans have since discovered that some of his friends (Globox and Barbara) also made the transition over as trophies, although gamers can’t help but wonder if these are simply remnants of the limbless hero being scrapped as a playable fighter after Ubisoft opted to change plans and not release Rayman Legends as a Wii U exclusive.
Given the lacklustre sales of the Wii U console leading up to this decision, this made perfect sense from a business perspective for the publisher. If there were any bitter feelings about this decision, however, it appears as if everything has been smoothed over in the years that have followed – as is evident by the existence of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Perhaps this time around will finally be Rayman’s moment to shine.
No More Heroes was a rather oddball game upon its original release on the Wii, but it garnered modest success and a sizeable enough following to warrant a sequel. Since then the pair of games have seen ports over to the PS3 to tie into Sony’s Move controller release, but news on the series had been lacking prior to the announcement that Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes will be arriving exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.
With a console-exclusive return in the works, fans of this the series’ main protagonist have high hopes for Travis Touchdown’s appearance in Smash. It doesn’t hurt that the creator of No More Heroes, Goichi “Suda51” Suda, has expressed a massive interest in seeing Travis utilize his lightsaber-esque weapons and wrestling moves to throttle some of Nintendo’s finest. In fact, a similar desire was expressed by Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima prior to Snake’s inclusion in Brawl.
Another Konami-owned representative with deep ties to Nintendo makes his presence felt on this list. As a classic gaming character, with a brand new iteration known as Bomberman R keeping the hero relevant, Bomberman fits perfectly into the Super Smash Bros. roster and could handily stand toe-to-toe with other retro icons like Pac-Man and Mega Man.
Bomberman has crossed paths with Nintendo characters in the past – even starring in a spin-off with Wario for the original Game Boy – so his inclusion isn’t all that farfetched. There may be others that take precedent over the bomb-toting mascot, but a unique arsenal of attacks and longstanding ties to Nintendo make Bomberman an explosive option.
Banjo & Kazooie
It will probably never happen, but it’s something that many longtime Nintendo fans have been rallying for long before Rare (and corresponding properties) was sold off to Microsoft. Banjo-Kazooie shined during the Nintendo 64 era, bringing with it some of the most engaging platforming gameplay that exists – and still holds up even to this day. The sequel only helped cement the franchise as a favourite amongst fans, but it’s been left by the wayside ever since.
While fans are eager to see the bear and bird duo resurface in Super Smash Bros., it has become apparent that they aren’t the only ones. Microsoft gaming head Phil Spencer has reiterated on several occasions that he’d be okay with having Banjo and Kazooie appear as playable characters in a Smash Bros. game. Heck, Banjo is even available as a downloadable skin in the Switch version of Minecraft, so it’s entirely possible that the pair will return in the fighting game… albeit very unlikely.
The next Super Smash Bros. arrives exclusively for the Nintendo Switch at some point in 2018.
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