- Sep 20, 2006
End of The Longest War: The Confirmation of Ridley At Long Last
At long last, Ridley has finally been confirmed as a playable character in the Super Smash Bros. series. It was a victory and outcome that has been awaited for by Smash Bros. fans ever since Ridley was shown fighting Samus in the Melee trailer released for E3 2001, over 17 years ago.
My Own Personal History with Ridley
For myself, I have been dreaming and waiting for Ridley to join the roster a little longer (it started in 1999), and my history of being a fan of Ridley runs very deep and has a long and storied history as part of my life. Metroid was a franchise that I have been an avid fan of ever since I first played Super Metroid back in 1994.
Ridley was so unlike any other video game villain I had ever seen before in my life up until that point. He was menacing and “cool”. I also liked how he basically won the fight between him and Samus at the beginning of Super Metroid. This was the first time I had ever seen a bad guy get away and win in any medium. Ridley was unlike anything I had ever seen before in my life. The fact that Samus was a futuristic space warrior, had an enemy that looked like something that belonged in a fantasy universe, made Ridley even cooler.
I considered Ridley to be Samus’s true enemy long before he was given that distinction. When I was young, I knew who ever was the final boss in a video game, was the main villain to that game, and most people considered Mother Brain to be the main villain to the Metroid series, but to me, I thought that Ridley for some reason, was Samus’s real enemy, perhaps I thought this was the fact that he stole the baby Metroid and was one of Mother Brain’s main generals. There was also the fact that Ridley was featured on the box and cartridge art for Super Metroid that made me think that there was a lot more to Ridley than what we knew.
I was such a big fan of Metroid, Samus, and Ridley that I cut out artwork of Samus and Ridley from magazines and attached the cutouts to pencils, and basically used them as toys (anything can be something to be played with in a child’s imagination I suppose).
The second fight with Ridley in Super Metroid was perhaps the most epic fight I had ever experienced in a video game up until that point. After combing through Super Metroid for hours, and having spent years trying to get through the game (I was really young), I finally got to Ridley’s lair (which was quite a goosebumps inducing experience in it of itself, as it really felt like a final area to me more than merely another area for another one of Mother Brain’s underlings). Fighting Ridley proved to be a massive ordeal. No matter how hard I had tried, Ridley would keep killing me. I actually had to go back and explore more of the game for more energy tanks and super missiles to be able to have a fighting chance against Ridley. When I felt I had enough, I continued to fight Ridley, but kept losing. Fighting against Ridley truly felt like an adrenaline rush, it was a fight to the finish. Unlike the other major bosses in the game, Ridley like Samus, had no particular weakpoint and could be hurt by shooting him anywhere on his body. It was all a matter of who could inflict the most amount of damage on the other one in a short amount of time, it was truly an epic fight. Eventually I actually ended up killing Ridley. Expecting some sort of awesome upgrade upon defeating him, I entered the next room, only to find the broken case for the Metroid hatchling. It was there that I knew, that Ridley personally hated Samus for some reason. He left the broken case there in case he was ever defeated to mentally taunt and torment Samus from beyond the grave. He was truly the best video game villain I had ever seen.
Samus and Ridley were two of my favorite video game characters ever, and I very anxiously awaited a fourth game in the Metroid series throughout the late 1990's. I constantly replayed Metroid 1, Metroid II, and Super Metroid, in anticipation that a Nintendo 64 installment would eventually be announced.
When my family finally got the internet in 1997, I was surprised to see that so many other people also loved Super Metroid. I discovered a Metroid fansite called the Metroid Database. Every week or so, I would check that site for any news or rumblings pertaining to a possible new Metroid game.
In late 1998, there was an entry saying something along the lines of "Samus finally makes her Nintendo 64 debut", and I was ecstatic because I thought finally a new Metroid game had been announced. However, when I clicked on the entry it talked about a fighting game and linked to an IGN story.
The IGN story talked about a fighting game featuring all of Nintendo's major heroes and amongst them, Samus. Needless to say I was overcome with joy. Not only would Samus finally make a new major appearance on a game console, but all of my other favorite video game characters (which were mostly Nintendo) would be in as well. It was like some sort of fantasy come true.
I anxiously awaited the release of Smash 64. Samus, Mario, Donkey Kong, Link, Yoshi, Kirby, and Pikachu all being in the same game was really amazing to see. I was even surprised and happy to see they brought in Ness (EarthBound was yet another game I liked that none of my classmates knew about). Smash Bros. seemed to be a game made just for me.
When Smash Bros. was finally released in the West, I was absolutely blown away when I actually got my hands on it. The items, the stages, the roster, everything amazed me. It very quickly became one of my favorite games for the Nintendo 64. I was even endeared with the "nonsense pick" Jigglypuff (back then, people had no idea why Jigglypuff was chosen as Pokemon's second playable character aside from perhaps Jigglypuff having a similar body to Kirby). The more I played, the more it became one of my favorite games ever.
One day, I was playing on the Planet Zebes stage, and I saw a figure flying in the background. It was none other than Ridley. Ridley was my favorite creature/character/thing from Metroid aside from Samus, and I could not believe that they actually included a cameo for him in Smash 64. It was after this that I started thinking and dreaming about the possibility of Ridley being playable in a Smash Bros. 2, however, I doubted it would happen due to the state of the Metroid series at the time (I thought there would be more focus to giving the new characters to Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, Kirby, and DK).
I was still ecstatic that they even bothered to give Ridley a cameo in Smash Bros. However, I knew that Ridley would not happen for Smash Bros. 2 unless Metroid became a major series again and received new installments. I knew that a new Metroid game would eventually happen since so many people loved Samus in Smash 64.
The Space World 2000 tech demo for Metroid got me absolutely joyous. Despite being only a few seconds, I kept watching it over and over. I really wanted to experience the Metroid universe in beautiful glorious 3D.
When Smash Bros. 2 was finally shown in May 2001, it absolutely blew away my expectations. The graphics were a massive improvement over Smash 64 (the original Smash had poor graphics even by Nintendo 64 standards). However, the opening trailer they showed was absolutely incredible. Even to this day, I still prefer the E3 2001 unveil to the E3 2006 Smash Bros. trailer. It showed all the Nintendo characters in their various universes doing combat with their various rivals, with one especially bringing a huge grin to my face, Samus vs. Ridley!
It was from here that I thought the creators of Smash Bros. had a particular soft spot for Ridley. I thought now that Ridley had a pretty good shot at being a newcomer for Smash Bros. 2 (now with the official name of Melee).
I joined the Smash Bros. community with one of my aims being to help support Ridley for Melee. I was pretty much one of the first Ridley supporters. I was really surprised to see how much support there was for Ridley just based on his Melee trailer appearance. So many people thought Ridley's design was awesome and that he would make a great character for Melee. I thought since Prime and Fusion were in development, that they would put in Ridley to help promote the idea that the Metroid series was back now.
Half a year later, I found out that Ridley (and many of the other characters I supported for Melee) did not get in. However, I ended up greatly enjoying Melee and it became one of my favorite games of all time. I was especially taken aback when I read Ridley's Melee trophy where he was referred to as the leader of the Space Pirates. This was the first time I had seen Ridley given a distinction beyond being just a major underling of Mother Brain. Between this line, and the amount of detail put into the Ridley trophy (as well as Ridley's cameo in Smash 64), I thought the developers of Smash Bros. had a soft spot Ridley, and felt the same way I did about him, that he was Samus's true arch-enemy.
I anxiously awaited the release of Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion. I was actually quite skeptical about Metroid Prime because I thought that they were going to turn Prime into a FPS and that is was going to be mission and level-based, that it did not have the series veterans behind it, and that it was being made by an entirely new team. I was more looking forward to Fusion since I heard that was going to continue the story off of Super Metroid, while Prime was going to be a sidestory (though I remember at one point in time that Prime was going to take place after Super). Actually, one of the few things that gave me a lot more hope for Prime was the strong rumors about Ridley being in it. The idea of fighting Ridley in beautiful cutting edge 3D made my mouth water and gave me goosebumps.
Approaching Autumn in 2002, I was getting far more hype with Metroid Prime while my hype for Fusion was falling a bit. The screnshots I saw for Prime were the most amazing things I ever saw in a game up until that point. Fusion ended up having its ROM dumped, and I found out from people that played the ROM dump, that Ridley did return for Fusion (I even looked at the screenshots for Ridley in it, and I was not impressed, and thought Fusion Ridley looked like a step down compared to Super's). There was also the impression that while the game was very good, it was definitely no Super Metroid.
I was really hyped for Prime. Anxiously counting down the days until release. All the perfect review scores the game was getting made the wait even more unbearable. When I finally bought Metroid Prime, I was immediately blown away by the graphics, atmosphere, and attention to the detail. However, I almost giggled like a school girl when I finally encountered Meta Ridley at the beginning of Prime. His 3D design was absolutely perfect, and it was more awesome than anything I had imagined. Samus's actions upon seeing Ridley further showed that there was something deeply personal between them.
Finally landing on Tallon IV is something I could never forget. It felt much closer to a living breathing world than anything else I had ever played up until that point. It truly felt like Super Metroid in 3D and in first person. The game just got better from there, and it ended up quickly becoming one of my favorite games of all time.
When I finally got to the end of the game, the Meta Ridley fight was really amazing. It easily became one of my favorite boss fights in any game ever. It was just so well made and done. It was a truly fitting fight for someone I felt was Samus's true nemesis.
Getting 100% in Prime 1, left me hungry for more, and I anxiously waited for Prime 2 (though I knew Ridley would most likely not show up for it). Metroid Zero Mission ended up being announced at E3 2003, which got my interest due to it being a remake of Metroid 1 (which was one of my favorite NES games). As the game got closer to release, the details of Ridley's importance role in it, got me more hyped for it. I wanted to see more of the Samus/Ridley rivalry.
I ended up really liking Zero Mission (its probably my third favorite Metroid), and I really liked the design for Ridley in it. It also cemented the fact that Ridley was the leader of the Space Pirates.
Soon after Zero Mission's release, I learned of the Metroid manga, and that Ridley was the one personally responsible for Samus being orphaned and raised by the Chozo (I already knew Space Pirates were behind Samus being orphaned and raised by Chozo back in the 1990's through the Nintendo Power Super Metroid comic, though looking at the Super comic again recently, it appears Ridley was involved in the attack there too). Ridley now was truly Samus's arch-nemesis.
Ridley was my number one most wanted character for Smash Bros. 3 (though there were several other characters I wanted a lot too such as Wario, Pit, Meta Knight, King Dedede, Diddy Kong, and Olimar). I was really excited and happy to see that so many people wanted Ridley too for Smash 3, and that even was even in the Top 5 at almost every site. I was really looking forward to a Smash 3 unveil because I knew that at least a few of the characters I wanted would be among the first newcomers unveiled, and that Ridley stood a good chance of being one of them.
When Smash Bros. 3 was finally unveiled, I was really ecstatic. I was really happy about Wario, Meta Knight, and Pit being confirmed (they were among my most wanted newcomers for Smash 3), though I was upset that they put in Zero Suit Samus over Ridley. I thought Zero Suit Samus was just there to give Smash Bros. sex appeal, and that Ridley far more deserved the second Metroid spot than ZSS did. At the time, I also did not like the idea of Snake getting in since he seemed so out of place in Smash Bros. and also being more an icon for the PlayStation brand than having anything to do with Nintendo.
As with Smash 64 and Melee, I had a ton of hype for Brawl, and like with Melee, Ridley was still my most wanted newcomer (though I also really wanted Sonic, Diddy Kong, King Dedede, Olimar, Ike, Little Mac, and Mega Man). I thought there was nothing stopping Ridley's inclusion, and as far as I could see, he was basically in the Top 5 most wanted characters for Brawl, and in many cases he was the most wanted newcomer next to Sonic.
When Brawl was released, it turned out that nearly every character on my wishlist got in except for the character I wanted most, RIDLEY! I was also disappointed with Mewtwo and Roy being cut.
If it were not for Ridley's absence in Brawl as a playable character, I probably would not have been following and speculating for Smash 4. The only other true newcomer that I have a great desire to see added this time was Mega Man. It was also my desire to see Roy and Mewtwo return, with the former being a character I put a lot of effort into supporting and defending, that made me want to come back to the community after Brawl.
The period from Brawl to Smash 4, I had far fewer characters that I wanted to see added in. My wishlist at the point was Ridley, Mega Man, Little Mac, and the return of Mewtwo and Roy. Particularly my time in terms of character support was divided only between Ridley and Roy. The latter being particularly arduous since he had many loud (and very often wrong) detractors. Also, unlike Ridley (who had many vocal defenders against the Too Bigots, whom only became a thing during 2007), there were not many Roy supporters who were very well informed in regards to the bigger Fire Emblem franchise and many other matters relevant to Roy’s return and inclusion, so I had to spend more of my time defending Roy.
The only new Metroid game since Brawl’s release turned out to be the deeply flawed Metroid Other M (its overall a 8/10, but a mediocre game when compared to the rest of its franchise). Ridley did also end up making an appearance as a boss in the Wii U launch title Nintendo Land as well (although I ended up never getting a Wii U).
In 2013, I had believed that Ridley would be among the first newcomers unveiled for Smash 4 (alongside Mega Man and possibly Little Mac). Again, my hopes were dashed, however, Mega Man did end up being unveiled and confirmed (and I was happy to see that his moveset utilized his various power-ups and Robot Master abilities throughout the classic series). I was overall happy with the Smash 4 unveil for Mega Man’s confirmation alone (Mega Man was one of my two favorite non-Nintendo franchises during the 1990’s).
My belief at this time was that Ridley, Little Mac, and Mewtwo would eventually be confirmed, and that the I only one whose inclusion in Smash 4 was in doubt was Roy, and I thus spent most of my time on Smash forums outside of speculation and analysis doing Roy support. However, my doubts in regards to Ridley’s inclusion started to manifest when Sakurai unveiled the Pyrosphere in August 2013 and made a cryptic reference to Ridley possibly being a stage hazard.
It was at this point I was at 50/50 in regards to Ridley being a playable character. It definitely seemed like Sakurai was hinting at Ridley being a stage hazard or boss for the Pyrosphere stage, but Sakurai refusing to outright confirm it in the weeks and months afterwards made it plausible that he was only playing a mindgame.
Little Mac ended up being confirmed in February 2014 (to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Punch-Out series). With this, the only newcomer left I was looking forward to at this point was Ridley (along with two cut veterans). However, in April 2014, when Smash Bros. 4 finally received a Nintendo Direct dedicated to it, I felt my heart sink when it became obvious that Ridley was indeed going to be a boss battle for the Pyrosphere stage. There were many in the Ridley fanbase that were in denial about this and did some of the finest mental gymnastics known to man to believe otherwise. Even my seniority within the Ridley fanbase was not enough to dissuade them from believing convoluted shadow theories (heck, even after Smash 3DS’s Japanese release, there were still some fools who were shouting about how Ridley was going to be playable in Smash Wii U, and I was attacked for saying this was absurd).
It was after Ridley’s near deconfirmation in April that I mostly dedicated myself to support for Roy’s return. I still had hope in my heart that my analysis was wrong and that Ridley would indeed be playable in Smash 4. However, I thought to myself that if Ridley would not get in this time, that he most likely was never getting in, and instead dedicated myself to trying to make sure that at least Ridley would be added as a newcomer for Project M (I was deeply impressed with their revamped versions of Mewtwo and Roy).
In July 2014, with the confirmation of Robin and Lucina, it was there that I realized that even Roy’s prospects for returning in Smash 4 were dire, and I instead moved the goalpost for him to possibly be DLC. It seemed as though for the two characters that I dedicated my time to supporting after Brawl’s release would ironically both not make it onto Smash 4’s roster After Smash 4’s release, Roy’s prospects for DLC seemed bleak at this time due to how many popular veterans were cut from Brawl’s roster.
When I learned of Smash Bros. 4’s entire roster in September 2014, I instead dedicated myself more towards Ridley support for Project M. Delusional conspiracy theories continued despite this that Ridley was going to be playable. It was not until an interview in November 2014 that Sakurai had finally confirmed that he was indeed with the Too Big camp in regards to Ridley being able to be resized for Smash Bros. It was here that I had lost nearly all hope on Ridley ever happening in Smash Bros. I was glad to hear though that Sakurai did plan to bring back Mewtwo as DLC at this time. I was also very much enjoying Smash 4 on my Nintendo 3DS (as I said earlier, I never bought the Wii U).
It was difficult to have a long running dream crushed after over 15 years of dreaming. I instead tried to final solace in that Bagan (a modder for Project M) was making Ridley into a playable character and it looked very promising (and it ended up being one of the best newcomers developed for Project M).
However, a few months later a miracle occurred in regards to Roy. I was very happy to learn Lucas would return as DLC, but after the Mewtwo DLC update was datamined, I was ecstatic to see that Roy was among the internal files for possible future DLC. Two months later, despite all odds, Roy had finally made his return in the Smash Bros. series.
It was at this point, that I felt that I could retire from the Smash Bros. series and speculation community on a happy note. Although the reason I had joined the Smash Bros. community (to support Ridley’s inclusion), had not manifested in those 14 years, at least Roy, a character I spent eight years supporting his return managed to come back. It was shortly after the DLC release for Roy and Ryu that I gradually disappeared from the Smash Bros. forums that I had been posting on for 14 years (on GameFAQs) and nine years (on SmashBoards) respectively.
For the last three years I have been mostly a phantom in regards to the Smash Bros. community, only communicating in private messages with various forum members. I had been effectively retired from Smash Bros. speculation and character support.
It was only in April 2018 that I began to return to the community once more, but even then I felt nothing of the passion I felt prior to the releases of Smash 64, Melee, Brawl, and Smash 4. There were no characters left for me to support (although there were some veterans I did wish to see return such as Wolf, Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Ice Climbers). My only intention was to work on my Ultimate Character Analysis topic which had been a tradition I had done with the speculation community going back to 2007.
I was doubtful on Ridley happening due to Sakurai’s own statements made in November 2014, and I had little intention to get Smash Bros. Switch at this point since I was perfectly content with Smash 4 3DS and my various Project M mods. The fire was long gone. However, there was still a part of me, throughout these years that had hope that someday, Ridley would eventually become a playable character in Smash Bros. However, I never knew when that would happen, and if it did happen, it would be when Sakurai had retired from the series, and when I would have lost not only most of my interest in Smash Bros., but also gaming as a whole.
In May, there were rumblings of yet another “leak” about Ridley being playable, but throughout my 17 years of being involved with the Smash Bros. speculation community, it seemed no different than various other fake leaks, with the leaker in question only having a 50/50 reliability. However, in the remaining three weeks leading up to E3 2018, I was anxious to see what direction Sakurai would take with Smash Bros. Switch considering that Smash 4 added not only nearly every notable Nintendo franchise not yet represented with a playable character (and with the Inklings already confirmed a few months prior), but also had given nearly every iconic third-party legend a spot on the roster.
On June 12, 2018, Smash Bros. Switch was finally given a proper unveil. I actually gasped when Sakurai confirmed that every veteran ever was returning for Smash Bros. Switch, which was given the official name, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Every veteran ever returning was simply a fantasy of mine, and I was personally hoping to see no cuts from Smash 4’s roster. It was there that for the first time I actually felt hype for this game.
However, later in that video, my distant dream was finally realized. When I saw Samus leading a party down a dark hallway, I knew from there that Ridley’s time had finally come, he had finally hit the big time! He was finally playable in the Smash Bros. series, after my hopes had been dashed for three games (Melee, Brawl, Smash 4). It was absolutely amazing. The design, the Meta Ridley alt, the moveset. Sakurai perfectly captured Ridley’s intelligence and cruelty, from twirling Mario’s cap on his finger to stabbing his opponent into paralysis with his tail. Ridley, at long last was finally here.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is now a game I have felt more hype for than any game since 2006 (when Brawl was first unveiled). I now plan to buy a Switch (I originally had no intention of getting one, proving that not only is Ridley a game seller, but he is a system seller), and I am now anxiously awaiting the release day of this game much like every Smash Bros. game before going all the way back to even the first one. After 19 long years, my childhood fantasy had finally come true.
Thank you Masahiro Sakurai for keeping an open mind and realizing Ridley, and thank you to the entire Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for helping realize this as well. Thank you too for every Ridley fan who has posted their support for Ridley over the last 17 years as well and made it known to Sakurai and Nintendo that Ridley is an all-star deserving of a place in Smash Bros. despite some challenge with his design. Thank you. I am grateful to all of you.
I will also thank Sakurai and his team for deciding to bring everyone back. As someone that fought very hard for Roy’s return, I have a lot of empathy for the fans of characters that have been cut and characters that were vulnerable for being cut. Fans of every character that has ever joined Smash Bros. can finally enjoy this installment together instead of wanting to go back to a previous title.
This was perhaps the best unveil yet for a Smash Bros. game despite only one true newcomer being shown off for it.
Our Battle Is Finally Over
The Ridley fan community has been going strong for over 17 years. Lots of Ridley fans have come and gone over those 17 years. Many Ridley fans that were regular contributors and mainstays to the Smash Bros. fanbase no longer are active in the Smash Bros. community or any gaming online forums for that matter.
Reyairia, mused after Brawl’s Japanese release that by the time Smash 4 likely would be released, that she would be married and probably have a child or two. This particularl poster ended up leaving SmashBoards for good in late August 2013. Whether she saw the writing on the wall already with the Pyrosphere update or not, I surmise that like many other Ridley fans she had much more important priorities with her life at that point (whether it be career, education, or family). This anecdote I have particularly remembered because it was among the first responses to a topic I had made regarding my thoughts on the Brawl roster.
Oasis_S is another one that has been gone for over a year (although I expect him to return with the confirmation of Ridley). He was among the most preeminent Ridley fans during the pre-Smash 4 period and was even around during the twilight of the pre-Brawl era.
There are countless others over the years, many of which I may have unfortunately forgotten. The Ridley fanbase for Smash Bros. ran from May 2001 to June 2018, over 17 years. So many people joined and dreamed of this day finally happening, and many dropped out of the fanbase before it finally happened. Hopefully, they are now learning of Ridley finally happening whether through a news article or social media if they no longer frequent any Smash Bros. related boards or forums.
Journey’s End: Where to Go Now
With Ridley finally being confirmed after 17 (19 years in my case) years of waiting, and with nearly every character I had ever hoped for being added in now as part of the roster, and all the veterans ever added in. The question is, what do I do now?
My original intention was for Smash 4 to be the final Smash Bros. game I would end up following and doing speculation for. However, due to Smash Bros. Switch being announced so soon after the conclusion of Smash 4’s DLC (only two years later), I ended up staying on (although I did no public speculation or character support during that two year interim and was effectively retired from the speculation and community support scene).
I do plan to see through to Smash Ultimate’s release as a result of Ridley’s confirmation, and possibly until the conclusion of Ultimate’s DLC assuming that it happens. The only newcomer character I can possibly see myself supporting at this point is Dixie Kong due to Donkey Kong Country 2 and Donkey Kong Country 3 being among my favorite SNES games, and myself enjoying playing as Dixie Kong in those two titles. However, I am not optimistic on her inclusion. There is a very limited number of newcomer slots, and if we were to get only one DK newcomer, it would certainly be K. Rool due to his likely phenomenal ballot performance. Ideally, I would like to see both characters added in (if there is one franchise that deserves two newcomers even in a limited true newcomer scenario it is Donkey Kong). However, I do think K. Rool would make a lot more people happy and I would like to see K. Rool fans have their dreams finally realized just as we Ridley fans did. Hopefully, Sakurai will add both Dixie Kong and K. Rool though.
The fact that every veteran to ever exist in the series has been brought back for this installment truly makes it worthy of the title Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I am happy for fans of Ice Climbers, Wolf, Snake, Squirtle, Ivysaur, Pichu, Young Link, and Pokemon Trainer to finally see their character return. I am happy for fans of vulnerable veterans (like Wii Fit Trainer, Corrin, Lucina, Dark Pit) that there were no cuts as well. Fans of characters like Squirtle, Ivysaur, Pichu, and Young Link experienced just as much a miracle today as Ridley fans did. There was much less of a loud outcry for their return compared to most cut veterans, although their fans certainly did exist. On a sidenote, congrats to fans of Daisy. Sure she is an “echo fighter”, but at least she is playable with her own voice, stats, and maybe a few tweaked moves. She got in over long time and more popular Mario characters like Toad and Waluigi at least.
I am also planning to do my Ultimate Character Analysis for this installment. Hopefully, I will find the time to complete it in its entirety. I will not do an analysis for every single series in Smash Bros. like I did for Brawl and Smash 4 due to their being so many de-confirmations at E3 2018, all of the veterans ever being confirmed, and there being only a few slots available for true newcomers. This will be the final time I do this so it is fitting that the last time I do my Ultimate Character Analysis is for a Smash Bros. game called Ultimate.
Aside from staying on until the release of Smash Bros. Ultimate or the conclusion of its possible DLC, I would say this is where I get off the ride. I joined the Smash Bros. community to support Ridley’s inclusion into Smash Bros., and now with it finally happening after 17 years, I would say it is time to say farewell. So many iconic characters I liked got added in since Smash 64, and Ridley was the final capstone.
Other Long Time Character Support BasesIn regards to K. Rool, most of his support did not take off until after the confirmation of Diddy Kong in August 2007. I feel K. Rool not making it in yet was more a matter of bad luck. During Melee’s development the question of what Rare owned and did not own was being litigated as they were being sold off which made it possibly dicey for Sakurai to possibly include a character designed by them. With Brawl, K. Rool had to wait behind Diddy Kong as well as the fact that most DK newcomer support was behind Diddy Kong for most of the pre-Brawl period. With Smash 4, there was the fact that the two most important DK titles made after Brawl’s release did not feature K. Rool. I feel K. Rool will get in Smash Bros. as soon as he has a major role in another DK title, and that is the main impetus behind why he has not yet been included yet.
However, in light of how Sakurai mentioned massive fan support was a reason for him deciding to include Ridley, I feel there is a very good chance K. Rool will be confirmed as a newcomer for Ultimate. He very likely was among the Top 5 newcomers on the Ballot, and is the only character left aside from Ridley with a massive fanbase that desires his inclusion.
If K. Rool for some reason fails again to make it in as a newcomer, I think that his time for inclusion will be inevitable, and will mainly hinge upon when he will have a major role in a mainline DK title again. Hopefully K. Rool is added in, that way the final newcomer superstar is added in (though I surmise that Dixie Kong will also become a newcomer superstar after K. Rool is confirmed much like what happened to K. Rool after Diddy Kong’s confirmation in August 2007).
As for other characters with long running support, there is Isaac who has had support for his inclusion since the end of 2001. Unfortunately, Isaac hails from a dead franchise. Although Golden Sun has been on a massive hiatus before (from 2002 to 2010), due to the poor performance of Dark Dawn, commercially, critically, and by fans, Camelot has expressed that they are reluctant to make another game in the series. Xenoblade also has taken over as Nintendo’s main JRPG franchise (coincidentally Xenoblade’s first installment was released in the same year as Golden Sun’s final one). Isaac at this point could be included again as an Assist Trophy since that does not require much effort, or possibly even a Mii costume. However, considering that most of his support is Western and declining (and aging), and the fact that the Golden Sun series will probably be largely forgotten in another ten years due to a lack of new releases, Isaac might never make it in unfortunately.
Right now, Isaac fans at least have the hope that he has not been de-confirmed as an Assist Trophy like many other Assist Trophy veterans (although Isaac was among the few Brawl Assist Trophies not to return in Smash 4). The other option I could see for Isaac eventually getting in would be inclusion in a possible future title as a “retro newcomer” (by the 2020’s, the two GBA Golden Sun games will certainly be considered retro), assuming he still manages to retain a large fanbase by that time.
The only other characters I can think of that have long running support are Dixie Kong, Toad, Waluigi, Paper Mario, Krystal, Takamaru, Ashley and Bandanna Dee and all of them have obstacles regarding them that may make them never included.
With Dixie Kong, although she is iconic and popular, there is the fact that many DK and Smash Bros. fans feel that K. Rool needs to make it in before she does, and considering the fact that K. Rool’s playable inclusion is contingent on him being in another DK title, Dixie Kong may be waiting another ten years before she is added as a playable character in Smash Bros. There is the possibility she ends up being playable in Ultimate due to her important playable role in Tropical Freeze, but I am not optimistic since most of the ballot votes for a DK newcomer likely went to K. Rool, however, it is possible since she is popular and could be developed as a semi-clone.
As for Toad, despite him being the star of at least two games (Wario’s Woods and Captain Toad), and being a playable character in several mainline Super Mario titles (Super Mario Bros. 2, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, New Super Mario Bros. U, and Super Mario 3D World), he probably will not be playable in Ultimate due to him reprising his role as Peach’s support. He will always be in the background for the most part, and probably would only be added when they are struggling to add characters that are both recognizable and popular. There is the possibility that Captain Toad is added in though. However, if Sakurai personally thinks that his inability to jump rules him out for playable status, he most likely will not ever get in through that version of himself either.
Paper Mario has had a lot of support from even the pre-Brawl days, but has had issues in recent years due to the last two Paper Mario games being poorly received by fans, and the last one that was received well by them having been released over 11 years ago (Super Paper Mario). There are some who also object to the idea of there being three playable characters named Mario. However, with Paper Mario finally having received a dedicated stage with Smash 4, there stands a decent chance that he is finally added with Smash Bros. Ultimate. If he is not added with this installment, he might not be added in the next one due to having to compete with the likes of Toad, Waluigi, and Geno again (assuming none of them get in Ultimate as a playable character).
Waluigi is incredibly popular and recognizable, but his role has yet to expand since his introduction in Mario Tennis in 2000. He probably did very well on the ballot, but he continues to merely be yet another playable character in the Kart, Party, and sports spinoffs, being no different than the assortment of various Mario enemies that also manage to be playable in those titles. As with Toad, I think he will only be added once they are struggling to add in characters that are both recognizable and popular. He has once again reprised his role as an Assist Trophy (while spinoff veteran Daisy has also made it in, which proves that ease of development is an important factor for inclusion, but also that Waluigi’s lack of important roles in the mainline series should no longer be considered to be an obstacle at this point).
Geno has a 50/50 shot of making it in this time around due to Sakurai’s own statements about wanting to make Geno a fighter since Brawl and the fact the character probably did well on the ballot. If not, his fanbase will likely continue to depreciate over time as those who primarily grew up with Super Mario RPG fall out of online gaming forums and fanbases. The Geno fanbase was at its peak during the pre-Brawl period, but there is still a lot of people that want to see him in as a playable character.
Takamaru is a character with a long running fanbase (especially on the Japanese side of things). Both the Assist Trophy and Mii costume roles for Takamaru in Smash 4 have given the character a lot more exposure to Smash Bros. fans, and he probably did well on the ballot. However, he was once again confirmed as an Assist Trophy. This raises the question of whether Ultimate will even have a retro newcomer this time around. I think Takamaru might eventually get in, especially if he has a resurrection title like Punch-Out did.
Ashley has had a dedicated fanbase for over ten years (it really became something around 2007). There is not much clamor for a second playable Wario character, but it is easily apparent that of all the Wario characters (aside from Wario himself), she is easily by far the most popular one. During the interim between Smash 4 and now, she had constant appearance and promotions in the Nintendo Badge Arcade. Like so many other characters, it really can go either way. She likely did well on the ballot (especially so among Japanese fans), but there is not much priority for Wario to gain a second character slot. Right now she was among the few Assist Trophies not to have been spotted, so there might still be hope for her yet (there is even an upcoming WarioWare title in the months ahead). If she continues her Assist Trophy role, she will likely stay there until she manages to break out from WarioWare and have a successful spinoff series.
Krystal had a very large support movement back during the pre-Brawl period. However, with each Smash Bros. title her support has depreciated more and more. Her last appearance in the Star Fox series was all the way back in 2006, and she failed to make an appearance in the biggest mainline Star Fox in nine years (Star Fox Zero). Assuming she eventually has a major role in another Star Fox title, I feel she will eventually be added in. Her inclusion as an Assist Trophy in Ultimate is actually very good news for her fans because it shows that Sakurai is at least aware of her existence despite her having been gone from the series for over 12 years, as well as has her using the staff (which she barely used in Adventures, which shows that if Sakurai did include he, he would have her use it for her moveset). With Wolf now back in, I feel the Star Fox fanbase will not be as hostile toward her being added in.
Bandanna Dee has a younger fanbase than the likes of K. Rool, Isaac, Dixie Kong, Toad, Paper Mario, Krystal, Ashley, and Waluigi, but has nevertheless been supported for a long time (for nearly seven years). I feel he stands a good chance of being added in with this installment (whether on the default roster or as a DLC addition) due to his prominent role in Kirby titles starting with Return to Dream Land. However, it is also possible that the character somehow rubs Sakurai the wrong way since he is just a variation of a basic enemy and not one of the three major characters that Sakurai designed for the Kirby series, and as a result will only be added in once Sakurai retires from making roster decisions.
Of all these characters, I feel the only two that have the long running support that approaches what Ridley had, are K. Rool and Isaac. Of these two, they never faced the obstruction and detractors that Ridley had to endure. K. Rool has just consistently faced bad luck and timing, and he will probably make it in as soon as he returns to prominence in his own franchise. As for Isaac, he missed the boat with Brawl, and due to Dark Dawn flopping, will likely never be more than an Assist Trophy and/or Mii costume in the series. Isaac’s main hope at this point is his fanbase surviving into the 2020’s, and him being added in as a retro newcomer for the next game after this one.
There is really no character ever in the history of the Smash Bros. franchise that has the story and level of support that Ridley has had. Ridley has been a consistently highly demanded character for Smash Bros. from Melee all the way to Smash Bros. Ultimate. He has been one of the most highly demanded characters for over 17 years. Since 2007, support for Ridley has been a rocky ride, arguing whether the character could even be implemented despite him being handily among the most iconic Nintendo character left to be implemented in the playable roster (that was not part of the Mario universe).
Ridley was an absolute titan in terms of character not yet included. He was in nearly every installment to the Metroid franchise (with only the original version of Metroid II, Metroid Prime 2, and Metroid Prime Hunters being the only exceptions of a series with 12 games, not including the obvious spinoffs). After Brawl’s release, he was the single most iconic Nintendo character (outside of the Mario universe) from a franchise that already had playable representation in Smash Bros. to not yet become playable.
The decision to utilize Ridley for a proper unveil for Smash Bros. really shows how much weight a Ridley unveil has. Ridley has been the glue tying every single speculation period from when Melee was unveiled to when Smash Switch was first teased back in March. Ridley’s confirmation not only brings a forth a massive amount of hype, but is also the signaling to the end of an era.
Ridley’s inclusion was a day I thought might never come (or at the very least not for another five or ten years). Aside from the massive outpouring of support we have given Ridley over the last 17 years, I feel another major factor behind Ridley’s inclusion was actually luck and timing. Sakurai ended up changing his mind on Ridley possibly less than two years after he made those statements regarding him being unfeasible back in November 2014.
What were the luck and timing related factors? One was that the next Smash Bros. title had to be developed almost immediately after the release of Smash 4 DLC due to the Wii U being an unprecedented flop for a Nintendo home console. It was due to this alone that we are even seeing a new installment to the Smash Bros. series in 2018.
Another important factor was the fact that Bandai-Namco is developing not only this installment to Smash Bros. but also Metroid Prime 4. It was due to this happy coincidence that Sakurai might have been able to view a design to Ridley that endeared him enough to do a 180 on Ridley less than two years after finally giving his public thoughts on him. Another possible factor was him realizing he only had enough time and resources to add in a few true newcomers and that for each of the few characters that he would add, he would make sure that they were “big deals”.
It is possible that all four of these factors had to happen at this specific time in order to create the perfect storm in order for Ridley to finally be added in. We are extraordinarily fortunate for all this to have occurred.
With that all being said, I hope K. Rool and Dixie Kong are added in with this installment. They are the few historic Nintendo All-Stars left after Ridley. Hopefully, at least one (and ideally both) will be confirmed in the months ahead.
I still find it surreal that Ridley has finally been added in as a playable character. This is a dream that has dated back to my very childhood. The one character I have hoped and dreamed of the most, the reason I joined the Smash Bros. online community, has finally been added in. It is absolutely amazing. It reminds me of when Roy was finally confirmed to return, but on an even grander scale.
To all the Ridley fans reading this, it has been a long, long war, but it is finally over. Some of us dreamed of this moment for over 17 years, while others only a few months, regardless of how long, it is finally over. Ridley has at long last joined the roster. He has finally been cemented as a Nintendo All-Star. The longest war… has been won.
Thank you to everyone in the Smash Bros. community for your support of Ridley, and especially thank you to Sakurai and his team for realizing the long distant dream.