With E3 fast approaching Super Smash Step-Brothers will soon have to take a hiatus. However, before we do, I thought it appropriate to look at a few other competitors in brief before we close down shop. So, without further ado, the E3 Lightning Round!
We’ll start with some house keeping. I mentioned Ridley in Smash 4 in my early predictions list a long while back. I specifically mentioned him because I figured Metroid needed a second representative, and I didn’t know of any appropriate alternatives. After doing my episode on King K. Rool, and the revelation of Zero Suit Samus as a completely separate character, I’ve had to rethink my position on that.
Ridley suffers from a few of the same issues that K. Rool did — namely, that Ridley isn’t exactly what the series is about. Metroid’s basic plot is one person working to overcome alien lifeforms and planets toward a specific goal. It’s a very Man vs Nature (or in this case Woman vs Environment) type of plot. Thusly, Ridley, more often than not, is just an obstacle to be overcome. He’s one of the most frequent obstacles in the series to be sure, but he serves no other purpose in the end.
Ridley’s purpose in the games speaks to why he has a distinct lack of personality traits aside from being big and mean. Again, this is similar to K. Rool in some ways, as other villains that have shown up in Smash before show at least some depth to their character; meanwhile, Ridley is at best somewhat sentient, and at worst animalistic. Heck, K. Rool shows that he has some strange personality quirks from time to time, Ridley rarely shows anything close to that even.
The Metroid series being represented by Samus in and out of her suit represents the series just fine without him, and he doesn’t add anything else to the roster that is expressly needed otherwise.
Forecast: Fair to Slightly Unreasonable
Mewtwo is a special case. He is a hotly anticipated character, even though he’s technically a veteran fighter. Mewtwo went on the chopping block for Brawl, but many want him back. It’s not hard to see why. Mewtwo is a very iconic figure from the early days of Pokemon. More than that, he one of several pokemon who obtained a new Mega-Evolution — placing him back in the spotlight once again. It seems obvious to throw him back in the ring again.
Perhaps not, however. While I won’t argue against Mewtwo’s triumphant return, I can see some potential design snags to overcome. While Mewtwo’s regular moveset could just be ported from Melee, his new Mega-Evolutions are another story. Charizard and Lucario also have Mega-Evolutions, and in both cases, the creatures don’t really change enough that their standard animations wouldn’t work — Lucario gains armor and some dangly bits, and Charizard turns black and takes up smoking or gets some new frills. Mewtwo’s two Mega-Evolutions require a bit more work than that.
Mewtwo X stands firm, and is much more muscular than his compatriot. Mewtwo Y basically inverts Mewtwo’s body structure, making him float high above the ground with his tail now coming off the back of his head. In both cases, neither form would be an easy translation of Mewtwo’s old Melee animations. Both Mewtwo himself and the forms could be retooled to work better in conjunction, but it seems like an awful lot of work for what should be a much easier inclusion.
Forecast: Unlikely with a chance of Unreasonable.
So, after those heavy hitters, let’s try a softer target. Sora from Kingdom Hearts is a favorite among Square-Enix fans and is generally the counter-Geno among speculators. Sora is far more recent than Geno, and has a following, albeit somewhat removed from the typical Smash crowd. Sora would technically be a video game character from a Nintendo system, since he appeared in games on the Gameboy Advance, DS, and 3DS. What’s more, he is the hero of his own series, unlike some other characters affiliated with SquareEnix.
Unfortunately, I believe Sora suffers from some of the same problems as Geno — namely his mixed heritage. Sora is technically a SquareEnix character, but he was created in a series that was a joint venture with conglomerate extraordinaire Disney. While I’m sure there’s plenty SquareEnix could do to prevent any offense from Disney, I’m certain both SquareEnix and Nintendo would rather not risk it.
Potential legal battles aside, much of what makes Sora interesting is his interactions with Disney characters and ability to cast Final Fantasy style magic. The former would not be available in a Smash game, and the latter could be provided by just about any other SquareEnix character.
Forecast: Mostly Unreasonable
This one I’ve seen on so many lists it is astonishing. Banjo and Kazooie certainly seem to fit the mold for Smash Brothers of course, being lovable cartoony characters from the Nintendo 64 era. I’ll admit, seeing the duo throwing the beat down along side Diddy Kong again is rather nostalgic, save for one small problem… these characters are now owned by Microsoft.
I thought I’d have more to say on that, but really that’s it. Nintendo could throw the whole world for a loop by getting the license for them, but I pity anyone holding their breaths for this.
Forecast: Unreasonable, and Improbable
Another common list appearance, Bayonetta has been on the Smash radar since Nintendo announced they’d be fitting the bill to publish it on the Wii U. Placing her in Smash Brothers would certainly be a huge promotion for the new game to be sure. What’s more, it adds another female Smash Brother to the proceedings.
However, she exists in a strange limbo as well. It’s unclear, for starters, if Bayonetta is still a Sega licensed character or if she’s wholly owned by Platinum Games. If she’s exclusive to Platinum that bodes well; if she isn’t then perhaps not. The other possible issue is some of her skills. While Zero Suit Samus shows it’s not out of the question to be sexy in Smash Brothers, it’s debatable whether a heroine who shows quite a bit of skin to perform her most powerful moves is something Nintendo would condone.
Forecast: Reasonable, with a chance of Unlikely
The meat of this four course meal, the next several characters are all ones that have been presumably ‘leaked;’ Shulk shall be the first. I’ll admit, I knew next to nothing about Shulk before I saw his name on the ‘leak’ from Gematsu. The protagonist of Xenoblade, I think Shulk isn’t a terrible choice — especially since Xenoblade was something of sleeper hit toward the end of the Wii’s life-cycle. What’s more, as I understand it, Shulk is not just a dude with a sword, he’s also a magic wielder; this makes him a potential alternative to Sora. What Shulk has over Sora though is that he does not provoke the ire of the House of Mouse, nor require a third-party company to anti-up either.
Considering some of Nintendo and Sakurai’s decisions in the past, throwing in a character in an effort to drum up more talk about them is not unusual, and certainly not unexpected. Shulk’s major flaws relate to his obscurity which are more of a boon to him in this case than a mark against him.
A name I had heard before is Chrom, the hero from the latest Fire Emblem title; I mentioned him briefly in my predictions list as well. I still think Micaiah would be better in terms of character variety, but I can see why Chrom could be preferable. Being a more recent protagonist, he could be construed as more of a relevant character. He has a unique weapon, the Falchion, which can change up his play-style, and is capable of becoming an archer or cavalier in the game, lending some other interesting possibilities to his moveset as well.
Chrom was considered a guarantee by some, until Sakurai unveiled Ike as a returning character. Since Fire Emblem has never had more than two representatives in Smash before, Chrom’s potential has been called into question.
Chrom’s potential I had questioned before. Being another sword user, Chrom seems to only show one aspect to the series. Even bringing a bow or some horse tactics to the affair doesn’t differentiate him too far from Link. While he’s earned the privilege, I’m not sure he’s a strong choice for this installment.
Forecast: Reasonable, with a chance of unlikely
The most leaked character in Smash Brothers history, or at least since the newest installment was announced, Palutena is the goddess for whom Pit from Kid Icarus serves. Her being a playable character isn’t as absurd as it initially sounds, as she regularly interacts with Pit, even being mind-controlled into fighting Pit at some point in Kid Icarus Uprising. This fight even gives a potential moveset for her as well.
But why Palutena when there are plenty of other obscure characters?
Sakurai has shown a proclivity toward characters he has worked with before. This is one of the reasons we see Kirby, Meta-Knight, and King Dedede in Smash Brother Brawl presumably. This is also why Pit is in his Kid Icarus Uprising garb in Brawl, despite the game not being released until much later.
Kid Icarus Uprising was Sakurai’s last project before working on this installment of Smash Brothers.
While it could all be a red herring, it is a logical progression of assumptions.
Speaking of penchants of the Smash Brothers director, we also have a character from Rhythm Heaven, known as the Chorus Men, or Chorus Man. Another series I was unaware of until just recently, the Rhythm Heaven games were quite charming rhythm games that came out for the DS and later the Wii. It featured a wide array of weird and strange characters, one of which being strange looking choir boys that tried to sing on key.
While this seems like the strangest choice for a potential character, this does fit with Sakurai’s penchant to throw in very unexpected characters into the mix — previous examples include Mr. Game&Watch and R.O.B the robot. While the Chorus Men wouldn’t necessarily make for great moves on their own, references to other mini-games within the series provides a plethora of possibilities that are hard to ignore.
The avatar of casualness, they are the bane of hardcore Nintendo fans, but the faces that brought Nintendo a gold mine a generation ago. Mii’s as playable characters aren’t enthralling, but have a crazy amount of potential. Whether they have customization within the game itself or not would be irrelevant, as they have a base amount of customization by allowing you to create them outside of the game. Regardless of how they could be handled, a Mii will always be as awesome of an inclusion as your imagination will allow. The only question to their existence is how seriously this series with giant monkeys fighting anthropomorphic foxes fighting electric rats wants to be taken…
Forecast: Very Likely
With Namco working to develop the game, it seems inevitable that a character from Namco will get some spotlight soon. While there are plenty of characters in Namco’s repertoire that fit in a fighting game, a game like Smash asks more. Characters like Heihachi and Seigfried are great for your traditional fighter, but they would be underwhelming in a battle such as this. To battle titans such as Mario, Megaman, and Sonic, you need a god of gaming history. Namco should bring nothing less than Pacman.
Tagged: Banjo-Kazooie, bayonetta, Chorus Men, Chrom, fighting game, Fire Emblem, gaming, Kid Icarus, Kingdom Hearts, leak, Metroid, Mewtwo, Microsoft, Mii, Namco, NamcoBandai, Nintendo, Pacman, Palutena, Platinum Games, Pokemon, Rare, Rhytm Heaven, Ridley, sega, Shulk, smash, Smash Bros., sora, squareenix, super smash brothers, super smash brothers 4, video games, Xenoblade