So Smash Ultimate has only been out just under two weeks, and we’ve already had our collective minds spattered all over the walls with the announcement that Joker (The Persona 5 protagonist, not the Suicide Squad protagonist, which I would say would be out of place but Bayonetta is in this game) will be our first DLC fighter. Speculation on who could occupy the upcoming roster slots was already running rampant, but between the reveal of a character who, at time of announcement, has never appeared on a Nintendo system at all, and President of Nintendo America (and legendary trash-talker) Reggie Fils-Aime confirming that every new fighter will be from a currently un-represented franchise, theorising has been cranked up to overload and then some. So without further preamble, here are my obviously infallible predictions for new Smash lads, in descending order from *basically guaranteed” to “as much hope as a toupee in a tornado.”
10. Granblue Fantasy Character (Katalina? I think?)
I know next to nothing about this franchise, other than it features a bunch of sword-wielding Japanese pre-teens (which, if you look at the Smash roster, you’ll notice something of a trend) and that it’s about as popular in Japan as breathing. Cygames, the developers, are also part-owned by DeNA, the people making Nintendo’s mobile games, and Nintendo and Cygames worked together on a mobile game, Dragalia Lost, very recently. So it’s about as likely to happen as your next breath / Granblue Fantasy play-session.
I quite like Banjo-Kazooie, if that wasn’t apparent. I own the merch, I’ve played the games, and every night I light a little candle and say a little prayer to the big Sakurai in the sky that everyone’s favourite Bear and Bird (sorry Yogi and Daffy) get added to Smash Brothers. And it seems like I’m not the only one; Phil Spencer, president of Rare-stealing company Xbox, has repeatedly tweeted – retweetedly? – that the dangerous duo would be more than welcome. Moreover, they’ve got a strong history on Nintendo platforms (Banjo-Kazooie being as fondly remembered as Super Mario 64, if not more so), and would coincide nicely with the fluttering rumours of a Nintendo 64 mini. Finally, there’s an image going about that suggests there might be Rare-owned spirits in the game’s data, which if true is all but confirmation. All I have to add is, please. Please. PLEASE.
8. Square Enix Rep (Geno, Neku, Sora)
Square Enix has gotten something of a miserly reputation in Smash Bros. since Ultimate’s release – with over 1,000 spirits in the game, hundreds of which come from the 3rd parties, Squeenix has provided a total of… 4. Two of which are debatable. Oh, and only two music tracks, again, when Castlevania has 34, lots of which are new remixes specially for Smash. BUT, we all know why this is – Square likes money, and a DLC fighter makes a heck of a lot of it. Speaking of, my money is on Geno for basically an infinite number of reasons, but Neku from The World Ends With You would be a good plug for the recent Switch game, and Sora is highly-requested but tied up with Square-Enix AND Disney, which is like trying to get a gold coin from Smaug AND Mr.Krabs.
7. Ubisoft Rep (Rayman, Rabbid)
I don’t know what the video-game development company equivalent of sleeping together is (and frankly I don’t really want to), but whatever it is Nintendo and Ubisoft have been doing it for years. They’ve had two collaborative projects in the last two years (Starlink and Mario + Rabbids, which I still can’t believe happened), there’s almost always a Ubisoft game in the launch line-up for new Nintendo consoles, and there are Ubisoft spirits in Smash Ultimate and were Rayman trophies in Smash 4. If that’s not how you say “please put Rayman or at the very least Rabbid Peach in Smash Bros.” then I don’t know what is.
6. Steve from Minecraft
Speaking of things I don’t want to know: Minecraft. I don’t like it, so obviously it had to become the most popular and influential game for a decade and about as commonplace as bread or, fittingly, bad opinions on the internet. But since Smash Brothers is a celebration of all things gaming, for better or worse, I suppose it would make sense for that disgrace of a character to make an appearance. What next, Player Unknown BattleGrounds Man? A candy from Candy Crush Saga? The concept of Flossing? The possibilities are both endless and very, very depressing.
5. Crash Bandicoot
Now we’re talking. A true video-game icon bursting with potential for a Smash character moveset: the spin, the slide, fruit bazooka for a side-B and a jetpack for recovery, topped off with a incomparable (and incomprehensible) personality. Crash has seen a significant resurgence recently, with the N.Sane trilogy putting him back on the map (and also being on Switch, nudge nudge) and the newly-announced Crash Team Racing remake showing that popularity has stuck (which is scheduled to be released on Switch, hint hint). I struggle to think of anybody who would fit in better with Nintendo’s rag-tag bunch of misfits.
4. Capcom rep (Phoenix Wright, Dante)
Capcom and Nintendo have a history spanning decades, and what with Capcom’s own fighting game Marvel vs The Aforementioned being dead in the water, what previously would’ve been a conflict of interests is now a money-printing stroke of genius. My personal guesses would either be Dante because he’s something of the company’s golden boy at the moment (and just to make the “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate & Knuckles featuring Dante from the Devil May Cry series” memes a reality), or Phoenix Wright, who has a long history on Nintendo systems and would rival Little Mac in the “being a regular man having to fight gods” department.
3. Travis Touchdown
Travis is another character who’s been requested personally by their creator, in this case Suda51 (though who hasn’t at this point), has an upcoming Switch-exclusive game, and would also be handy in giving indie reps some playable representation (Shovel Knight is an Assist Trophy and Shantae is a spirit, but that’s your lot). Not much more to say really; just a cool dude with a beam-katana and a powerful urge to smack some Nintendo boys about.
2. Disney Rep (Wreck-it Ralph, Mickey Mouse, Sora)
Speaking of Sora, and incidentally also speaking of liking money a heck of a lot, who better to get a free-money ticket than the face of capitalism themselves. Outside of Sora, we have Wreck-it Ralph, a character based on video-games who has already made significant third-party camoes (SEGA All-Stars Racing Transformed and Fortnite of all places, and Bowser returned the favour and appeared in the first movie), or Mickey Mouse, a character who made a significant splash on the NES and has been floating around ever since, much like fellow 3rd party newcomer Simon Belmont. I didn’t think I’d ever find a way in which Mickey Mouse and Simon Belmont were comparable but there you are; follow your dreams, because clearly anything’s possible.
1. A Nintendo Character
Hear me out on this guys; what if, in a series all about paying homage to Nintendo’s obscure and wonderful history, the DLC paid homage to Nintendo’s obscure and wonderful history. I know, crazy right? I could write another 1,000 words just on unrepresented Nintendo franchises with multiple games; Chibi-Robo, Rhythm Heaven, Advance Wars, Custom Robo and, of course, Eggerland and 1080 Snowboarding. All of these games have multiple spirits and in some cases Mii costumes (except Eggerland, because I think I speak of everyone when I say what the hell is Eggerland), but no Assist Trophy or playable fighter and could make great additions to Nintendo’s fantastic fighter.