The Nintendo Switch was a bona fide hit from the start. With The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild releasing at launch and Super Mario Odyssey shortly after, many of Nintendo’s flagship titles quickly appeared on their new handheld hybrid. It was only a matter of time before we received another iteration of Super Smash Bros.which will be presented at E3 a few months later.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate promised us the impossible: everyone is here. Yes, even Snake. No veteran fighter was to be left behind, and we also had a slew of new fighters, primarily those that fans have been clamoring for for decades, such as King K. Rool and Ridley. Shortly after, we were also promised DLC on top of all that – Piranha Plant as a standalone DLC character (or you can get them for free by registering your digital/physical purchase), plus five additional mystery locations that could be purchased separately or all together as part of a “Fighters Pass” package.
It was hard to believe we’d get even more, but fans quickly had their favorite picks in mind, and so began the endless speculation that blossomed into an exhaustive web of lies and deception. Halfway through a second wave of Fighters Pass characters, I found myself losing excitement and just wanting the roster to be already complete, at the cost of potential additional additions that could have come in the form of a third wave. But would that have been too much?
All aboard the hype train
Don’t get me wrong: I was there for every fighter announcement. I remember watching the Banjo-Kazooie trailer while hiding in the bathroom at work and being in complete shock that it finally happened – the bear and the bird had come home to roost.
There’s really nothing like a Super Smash Bros. character announcement, and many have tried to emulate their style: Mortal Kombat, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, and even Smash Remix, which is an update. made by fans of the original N64 Super Smash Bros. ., and attempts to convey the same level of hype with new character reveals. It really shows the level of impact this series has on the whole medium as a whole.
Series creator Masahiro “Never Ask Me For Anything Again” Sakurai (he never said that by the way) had become the franchise’s spokesperson more publicly with Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. He had been documenting game updates since the original Nintendo 64 iteration, but exclusively to a Japanese reader base on his online blog.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl got the first big “character reveal trailer” as we know it with Snake. Sakurai then began updating his new blog, the Smash Bros. DOJO!!, but this time to a global audience. With 3DS and Wii U, however, he accompanied the trailers himself with a bit of personal flair and background information.
Once Super Smash Bros. Ultimate had been released in the wild and the first Fighters Pass had begun, Sakurai would have an additional presentation – Mr. Sakurai Presents – after each character announcement. He showed a gameplay demo of the fighter and shared some personal thoughts on the process, such as the inspiration for their looks, their moves, and sometimes the difficulties in even acquiring the rights to get them into the game. That’s probably what which inspired him to start his own YouTube channel if I had to guess. It really added to the hype of things and made people feel like they were almost part of the process themselves. I’m sure Sakurai himself knew that, but it could only last for a while.
Lies and deceits
It goes without saying that when the internet gets excited about a highly anticipated media property, leaks will happen. And the truth is that many of them are completely wrong. There was usually several months of waiting between character reveals for the Fighters Pass, and honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it before or since: the level of lies, fake character models, and screenshots blurry screens shared on picture boards and social media to be endlessly probed and speculated upon. What a waste of time, right? … Well, it was a bit fun, I admit.
Wondering “gosh, who could be next” after each trailer was something my friends and I discussed every time. And when a new character was added to the game, we were excited to try them out together. However, being involved in or even adjacent to online circles trying to really dig in and trying to figure out who might be next was both exhausting and exciting, although more exhausting than exciting over time. It was fun to wonder if a leak could be real, but those in the know can look back and cringe at Rayman’s prank or the infamous…”Grinch Leak.” Ugh.
Speculation is fun to some extent, but the time people spend creating fake news about video game characters bouncing around and saying “wahoo!” is just confusing to me. It’s not the game’s fault that this happened, but it’s a by-product of the times we live in and the current state of modern “fandoms”.
The second wave of Fighters Pass characters felt like an added bonus that I didn’t exactly need, but would gladly take. Fighters Pass 1 was truly a dream list, and while I don’t hate the Fire Emblem characters in the game that much, ending on Byleth (from Fire Emblem: Three Houses) was a bit of a letdown if I’m being really honest. Hearing that we would be getting six entirely new characters after that definitely softened the blow and my excitement was renewed.
However, once the second wave of Fighters Pass characters arrived and we finally got Sora’s reveal trailer, it truly felt like the end of an era. A fitting destination at the end of a wild and crazy ride. Securing the rights to Sora was probably the hardest of the bunch given Kingdom Hearts’ ties to Disney, and we felt like we could finally close the book on this game and play it “completely finished.”
Looking back on it, I’m sure some fans have their own thoughts and criticisms. Were there too many third party characters? Were they all worth the price of admission? Was Steve from Minecraft really a good candidate? Should Geno have entered?
Personally I have to say I couldn’t have been happier, although I’m sure I could possibly think of a few more characters I would have liked to see if I had really thought about it, but there isn’t. There aren’t really any glaring omissions. Master Chief and Tingle would have been cool in a third wave of DLC, and maybe some weird picks for a long time in Nintendo’s catalog of games, but sometimes it’s best to just hang out when you’re on top.
Let us know if you would have liked to see a third wave of Super Smash Bros. DLC. Ultimate in our poll below And in the comments too, of course.