super smash bros ultimate simon king k rool

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Where Does the Series Go From Here?

It’s official, after ample speculation based on several “leaks” floating around the industry, Castlevania‘s Simon Belmont is joining the roster of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. While fans had expected the vampire-slaying protagonist to make an appearance within the fight title, the Nintendo Direct presentation that confirmed the guest fighter also highlighted various bells and whistles debuting in Ultimate. Fortunately, it didn’t stop there.

The showcase also pulled the curtain off of three more Echo Fighters (two of which I predicted): Richter from Castlevania, Chrom from Fire Emblem, and Dark Samus from Metroid Prime. Most importantly – at least in the eyes of longtime Smash fans – Donkey Kong’s arch-nemesis King K. Rool was finally confirmed as a playable character in Smash Bros. after years of being left out of the fray. It was a surreal moment for gamers that had been campaigning for the Kremling King since the pre-Super Smash Bros. Brawl era, with franchise creator Masahiro Sakurai’s promise of even more characters still ringing in the ears of fans.

With the roster currently sitting at an almost unfathomable 73 fighters (including six Echo Fighters) this onslaught of content may very well have larger implications than simple and immediate fan elation. I previously wrote about how Super Smash Bros. Ultimate provides the best fan service in gaming as a result of every combatant in the franchise’s history returning, but in that same article I also touched on how there was an air of finality surrounding this game that’s never been present in the series thus far – a feeling that’s only grown in the wake of further reveals for the title.

With Simon and King K. Rool joining the likes of Ridley, there are only a handful of fighters left that fans have been rallying behind for years. Niche characters like Super Mario RPG‘s Geno, Kirby‘s Bandana Waddle Dee, Golden Sun‘s Isaac, and a handful of others certainly have dedicated followings for inclusion in Super Smash Bros.. A cocktail of hope and hype will continue to carry those fans through until the final contents of the new game are publicly available. Even then, the pure fan-focused display thus far makes it clear that the “Everyone is Here” labelling displayed in Ultimate‘s E3 2018 unveiling is being taken very seriously.

So, what happens next?

Well, Ultimate will be in a good place for the foreseeable future. The install base for the Nintendo Switch is steadily growing every day which means it will find an audience immediately, with paid downloadable content making for a smart followup to add in a few fighters that found themselves left out of the game’s Project Proposal (which was officially presented to higher-ups at Nintendo in December 2015, according to SourceGaming). It’s even possible that DLC will be in the picture for years moving forward, but a stream of new content won’t last forever.

As years move by, eventually there will be a time when it is deemed necessary to release a new Smash title, and it’ll be almost impossible to rival what’s been accomplished in Ultimate. Even Sakurai himself has admitted that this was the one opportunity he had to bring back every fighter and that such an occurrence may never happen again. With all of the licensing involved for everything from guest characters like Cloud and Mega Man to non-playable characters like Shovel Knight and Bomberman, it’s an absolute shock that these stars ever aligned in the first place.

There’s still quite a bit of time left for Nintendo and Sakurai (if he chooses to return) to figure all of this out. Indeed, there’s far from any immediate threat to the series’ viability moving forward; Ultimate hasn’t even released yet, after all. Still, when everything has been revealed and it’s all said and done, it’ll be almost impossible to think of any single piece of software that will be able to top it in terms of sheer content.

That’s just how immense Ultimate really is. So, where can the series go from here?

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate arrives exclusively for Nintendo Switch on December 7, 2018.

You can find Riley on Twitter at @TheRileyLittle where he has tweeted a lot about King K Rool… like, an unhealthy amount.

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