Few games get crossovers as right as the Super Smash Bros. franchise. With a medley of beloved mascots from throughout the gaming industry pit against one another in a King of the Hill-influenced melee, the roster for each new entry has quickly grown to become one of the largest in gaming – although not every fighter always made the transition to a new instalment. The newly unveiled Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was assumed to be no different, but franchise creator Masahiro Sakurai opted to do something unique this time around by including each and every character that has ever appeared in the series.
Axed veterans like Metal Gear Solid‘s Snake, Ice Climbers, Pokemon Trainer (Squirtle and Ivysaur), Pichu, Wolf, and Young Link have re-entered the fray. They are joined by newcomers like the “echo character” (and princess of Sarasa Land) Daisy and the long-awaited debut of Samus’ greatest enemy, Ridley. It’s been a wondrous time for fight fans and one thing is immediately clear following all of this news: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is providing the best fan service ever seen in gaming.
Smash fans are an insatiable bunch. They want the roster to continue to grow without seeing any cuts, and they are often quick to rally behind those included on a roster – or turn against them in the case of Dark Pit. Even then, the mentality overall is that every veteran should return, and this will finally be the case in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. This isn’t a decision that would have been made lightly, especially since the development manpower required to make this happen would have been nearly unfathomable. Still, it has been done for, not only fans of each respective character returning, but fans of the Smash franchise as a whole.
Meanwhile, Ridley is perhaps the greatest sign that this iteration is focusing on the desires of the community. The villain has been a fan-favourite since he appeared in Super Smash Bros. Melee‘s intro trailer in 2001, but reoccurring issues with the character being too large were said to be responsible for the fighter being shafted time and time again. This running joke of sorts didn’t deter many fans from showing their support for the antagonist, and the end result is that the Metroid baddie is finally playable in the series.
Provided that there are any additional newcomers, it’s possible that this philosophy will remain in affect. Favourites like Super Mario RPG‘s Geno and Donkey Kong‘s King K. Rool could be in Super Smash Bros. based on the relentless fan demand. Indeed, both have remained at the top of wish lists for well over a decade and would scratch an itch similar to Ridley – as would a number of other potential newcomers.
In this sense, it feels like there’s an air of finality to the franchise. With so much attention to detail and catering to the hardcore crowd it seems inevitable that these efforts will bear fruit for Nintendo and its Switch console when Ultimate arrives this December, but it’s hard to imagine where the property will go from here.
The forthcoming iteration of Super Smash Bros. is turning out to be a love letter to longtime followers and the mail truly can’t be collected soon enough.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate arrives exclusively for Nintendo Switch on December 7, 2018.
You can find Riley on Twitter at @TheRileyLittle, where there’s still residual hype from Ridley’s reveal in Smash Bros. Ultimate.