This was a crazy week for Smash. Thanks to the Gematsu leak, and a re-tweet from one of Monolith Soft’s writers, most fans were convinced that Shulk would be revealed on the 14th. The morning of the 14th, however, Sakurai posted a trophy as the pic of the day… but not just any trophy. Rayman, a character own by Ubisoft, is now confirmed as a trophy. This threw speculation into overdrive for the next few hours.
Finally, the trailer reveals, not one, not two, but three characters coming to the roster. Two new characters from Fire Emblem were added. Robin provides what I was looking for in my predictions list — a Fire Emblem character focused on spell-casting. In addition, Lucina is the second confirmed clone character, borrowing most of Marth’s animations, but being smaller and faster while losing Marth’s signature damaging sword-tip. Also, Captain Falcon was confirmed to be returning (not that we really needed any proof).
Sakurai took a little victory lap as well, by showing Chrom was not a playable character, just part of Robin’s final smash — a point of contention seeing how the Gematsu leak claimed Chrom was a playable character.
All this news brings many new questions to the forefront:
1) How wrong was the Gematsu leak?
For those not aware, the Gematsu leaker accurately predicted Villager, Wii Fit Trainer, Little Mac, Mii, and Pac-man long before they were revealed around E3 2013. The second leak of his predicted Palutena from Kid Icarus, Shulk from Xenoblade Chronicles, Chorus Men from Rhythym Heaven, a Pokemon from X/Y, and Chrom from Fire Emblem. The revelation that Chrom is not a playable character seems to debunk the second leak outright, in spite of the fact that he seemed to get everything correct until that point, including Palutena and Greninja.
Some are attributing his information as being out of date, while others are dismissing it altogether. I have a different theory. In both leaks he seemed vague on certain characters — Villager was called “Animal Crossing Guy” for instance; “Pokemon from X/Y” instead of Greninja is another example. This means the leaker, if he does have legitimate connections, does not have direct access to the information somehow. The fact that he missed Rosalina as a newcomer is also telling.
While watching some Smash footage on the Nintendo Tree-house, I caught myself asking who that girl in the dress was at one point. It took me a few moments and her finally summoning the Luma to realize it was Rosalina. From a distance, it was difficult for me to tell the difference between her and Zelda. I think this may lend some evidence that the leaker may be able to see some of these characters, but not necessarily be able to accurately identify them. We know that Chrom is in Robin’s final smash, so it’s possible he was mistaken as a playable character.
That still begs the question though — was Robin, a white haired male with a sword and spells mistaken for Shulk, a white-haired male with a sword and spells? Was it the Chorus Kids from Rhythm Heaven he saw or perhaps they were just part of another Rhythm Heaven character’s moveset?
Or, since the leaker got one aspect wrong and 90% of the rest correct, is it reasonable to discount all of it?
What do you think?
2) What’s the deal with Ubisoft?
Rayman showing up as trophy was completely out of left-field. Thus far, we have not seen any trophies of characters from third party affiliates without some association to a playable character — Egg-robo from Sonic, Wonder Red from Capcom, etc. Rayman seems to imply some relationship to Ubisoft. However, we have not seen any playable characters as trohpies in pics of the day either. With Rayman being something of a poster-boy for Ubisoft, it seems strange that he would be denied entrance into the Smash Brothers roster.
Some have speculated that since Ubisoft doubled-back on their promise of Rayman Legends being a WiiU exclusive that Rayman was subsequently canned. However, that just sounds like too much drama, and makes Sakurai seem rather vindictive by unveiling this trophy when he did. Sakurai’s a troll, to be sure, but he’s not an angry one. What’s more, that theory is quashed by the fact that Rayman is still a WiiU exclusive in Japan.
More likely, Rayman was passed up for someone else… but who?
Ubisoft’s repertoire isn’t quite as varied as other companies, but here’s a few quick possibilities:
Sam Fisher from Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell
Sam Fisher is part of the stealth-based Splinter Cell games which have appeared on multiple platforms, including Nintendo consoles. The Tom Clancy series hit big in the early 2000’s but hasn’t been as marketable lately. The more realistic and western tone of the character doesn’t seem to gel with Smash or Sakurai though.
Connor/Desmond/etc from Assassin’s Creed
You can pretty much substitute any Assassin’s Creed character here, as the results would be about the same. Assassin’s Creed has been one of Ubisoft’s most successful series, and has even had Ezio appear as a guest character in other fighting games. Assassin’s Creed’s ties to our actual real-life places and time periods though, which may put a damper on Smash Brother’s wild and colorful world. Assassin’s Creed was also successful through the early and mid 2000’s which falls into Sakurai’s blind-spot as well.
Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes
Suda51’s art style made the No More Heroes series a wildly different looking Wii exclusive. Despite his more mature style, Travis Touchdown’s colorful and whimsical world would fit in an almost surreal way with the rest of the Smash Brothers. Unfortunately, it’s unclear if Ubisoft is actually tied to the title, as they were the publisher for the games in the States, but not in Japan.
Prince of Persia from Prince of Persia
Ubisoft still owns the rights to one of the landmark platforming games of the late 80’s. Released in 1989, Prince of Persia changed people’s perspectives on what was possible with animation in games, and inevitably lead to the grand spectacles we associate with many AAA titles now. While series has hit rough patches throughout the years, it still has some life in it, with the last title coming out in 2010 and rumors of a new title in development. Regardless, however, the Prince is a historical video game character that has appeared on Nintendo systems, and predates another Smash competitor, Sonic the Hedgehog. His historical context is what puts him slightly ahead of the other possibilities on this list.
But of course, this could all be a red herring anyway. Maybe Ubisoft did just send Sakurai a 3-D model for the heck of it.
All of this is speculation however… Always take with a pinch of salt.
What’s you’re take?