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Fighter selection approaches: "wait and see" and "relevant new faces"

Quillion

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From time to time over on the Next Smash thread, there are a few debates on whether the "wait and see" approach or giving the "relevant new faces" their chance before it passes is better. So I'm making a dedicated thread for it.

I'm open about wanting Smash to pivot to the full "wait and see" approach after Ultimate, but still, I can recognize that there are benefits and drawbacks to either:
  • Wait and See: Safer approach that ensures characters stay relevant even after their Smash debut for the most part. But also creates a narrower selection of characters and can make the roster feel outdated or out-of-touch.
  • Relevant New Faces: Broader approach that widens the character selection and makes the roster feel more current in its time. But also gives an installment's newcomers a very "flavor-of-the-month" feel, gives no guarantee that the character stays relevant afterwards, and could make certain characters victims of poor timing.
Admittedly, this isn't a total binary. Smash to this point has tried to balance the two approaches, as better explained by these two quotes:

"Waiting and seeing" has been tempered by choosing fairly recent characters:
Smash in general has always slanted new when it comes to representation, even in the Melee days. Even for series like Mario which do take the "wait and see" approach, you can argue that when they get new characters like Rosalina or Bowser Jr they tend to trend on relevancy.
Here's an argument that Smash makes successful, educated guesses as to which new characters will have a future, even if being wrong has happened:
Smash never had "excessive" amounts of characters added for the sake of recency. It always had a balance of old and new characters and the new ones had staying power in their fandoms more often than not.

The "veterans first" mentality isn't something unusual, unsustainable, or unique to Smash. Keeping a large number of established characters around is run-of-the-mill for pretty much all long-running fighting game series, both to not alienate the fans and because it's hard to come up with movesets that don't tread the old ground.
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As for my own take, I've been in support of Smash cleaning up and recycling certain assets from the previous Smash game, especially since Ultimate did just that with Smash 4. It minimizes the loss of content from one game to its sequel and frees up resources that can be dedicated to more new things. And because of that, I lean towards making being a Smash fighter as "immortal" of a position as possible, give or take some cuts on the third party side due to possibly fluctuating licensing issues.

BUT because of that, I want future Smash games to take the "wait and see" approach wholesale. Leave no more room for guessing who will have a future and bring in the characters who have already earned that future remaining relevant, prominent in marketing, and/or (give or take major bias) popular. Let's have Melia over Noah and Mio; let's have Lyn over Alear; let's have Gardevoir or Garchomp over any of the Paldean starters.

May not be a perfect solution, but "wait and see" is as close to a win-win as I can see it: we get newcomers that please the neophile side of the fandom and those who want their proven stars who would otherwise "miss their chance".
 

Aligo

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I agree with this, but would like to note that both can be achieved in some cases. With Pokémon in particular
Iron valiant could act as both a representative for the current gen and the popular ralts line, for instance. Using a new variant of a Pokémon with the old one as an alt costume may also work in some cases, like with what they did with hero.
By choosing the most recent appearance of veterans, they also have an excuse to do moveset changes.
 

TCT~Phantom

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Would it be cool if Smash did take this mindset more often? Sure. I just doubt it would ever really be on the table.

In the quote from me you posted, there is plenty of evidence that Smash does tend to choose picks based on relevancy. I think it has gotten more pronounced in recent years if only due to how Melee and Brawl hit a lot of the bigger targets as a whole. Even then, I think you can make the case in Melee and especially Brawl that they were not exactly taking a patient approach. In the Brawl newcomer roster a super majority of the picks were from series that had a high profile release during the time period where the roster was being formed that they were present in. Only real exceptions are Pit and ROB. Does that mean that Diddy Kong got into Smash because of DK Jungle Climber and Mario Kart Double Dash? Probably not, but having relevancy is something that at worst does not hurt.

We do see some nice historical nods, such as with Duck Hunt or ROB, but overwhelmingly it does seem like being in the right place at the right time helps. The only real respite a character can have from this is sheer fan demand. K Rool is the poster child of this. K Rool's last appearance in a game pre Ultimate was... Mario Super Sluggers for the Wii. Over a decade before Ultimate launched. But because he was this titan of fan demand, he was able to overcome this deficit. If a character does have high demand, sure they might be able to circumvent their series' status. Isaac is one of the biggest first party requests left at this point, and Golden Sun has not had a game in over a decade either. Geno has a dedicated cult following for Smash, and he has been out of the limelight for even longer. If you are part of that upper echelon of fan requests, you can overcome the tide of relevancy.

I want to highlight again that I am not knocking this idea out of spite or distaste for it. There are plenty of characters that I would love for Smash that are not likely possibilities due to the direction of their series. I would be elated if say Midna or Saki for example made it into Smash. But the evidence against this is disproportionate. There just is not a lot of evidence that Nintendo would take this wait and see approach. Would it be neat to get Lyn like you suggest? Sure, I would love that: we still are probably getting Alear, a Genealogy character, or even a new FE character we do not know about instead.

Some series for the most part I think will be essentially locked into the relevancy model; Fire Emblem, Pokemon, and Xenoblade likely will not trend towards older picks given the nature of their series. When you have a rotating cast, you want to show off new relevant faces. Now, if we do get more than one representative for any of those series, it would be more plausible. We could see a Gen 9 Pokemon and Eevee in the next smash given the elevation Eevee has gotten in the Pokemon franchise over the past decade. But for these rotating cast series, I would say that relevancy will almost always be king.

On the other hand, franchises that have more static casts are candidates for the approach you suggest... sort of. Mario in Smash 4 I think you could make the case sort of falls into your spectrum of waiting and seeing. Rosalina and Jr both became Mario series staples between Brawl and 4, showing up in tons of spin offs and mainline games. Now, they also drew their movesets from big relevant games that were likely on the minds of the devs when selecting 4's roster; I doubt Jr. would have a moveset themed around the Clown Car if the New Super Mario Bros games were not relevant at the time. Relevancy likely still plays a role here, but I do think it is easier to cushion the blow in these cases due to the legacy the characters built. No one is gonna call Jr. a "flavor of the month" character just because he has the Clown Car.

In some franchises, they might trend towards legacy, but overwhelmingly I think relevancy will be king for the foreseeable future. It is fine if you would prefer it to be the other way. No one can stop you from preferring what you prefer. Just do not let what you want dictate what you feel likely.
 

Quillion

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By choosing the most recent appearance of veterans, they also have an excuse to do moveset changes.
It could work, but doing a moveset change for a veteran just because of a recent appearance is very jump-the-gun too. Mario getting an actual Cappy move would be just as dumb as when he got FLUDD in Brawl.

Doing moveset changes because of recent appearances could work for only two characters: Ganondorf and Zelda, because the canonical portrayals of those two characters have diverged greatly from their Smash debuts. Still, that's a thorny issue because there are fans of the movesets as they are and fans who want their movesets to get with the times. Someone's gonna lose either way.

Would it be cool if Smash did take this mindset more often? Sure. I just doubt it would ever really be on the table.
I want to highlight again that I am not knocking this idea out of spite or distaste for it. There are plenty of characters that I would love for Smash that are not likely possibilities due to the direction of their series. I would be elated if say Midna or Saki for example made it into Smash. But the evidence against this is disproportionate. There just is not a lot of evidence that Nintendo would take this wait and see approach. Would it be neat to get Lyn like you suggest? Sure, I would love that: we still are probably getting Alear, a Genealogy character, or even a new FE character we do not know about instead.
In some franchises, they might trend towards legacy, but overwhelmingly I think relevancy will be king for the foreseeable future. It is fine if you would prefer it to be the other way. No one can stop you from preferring what you prefer. Just do not let what you want dictate what you feel likely.
Don't get me wrong, I don't really think it's likely either. But it's still one of several patterns I think Smash would be better off breaking. With many franchises like Mario, Zelda, Kirby and Pokémon recently taking a serious look at their conventions and deciding which ones to keep or break, maybe Smash should do it too. It's just regrettable that the demand isn't there.

In the quote from me you posted, there is plenty of evidence that Smash does tend to choose picks based on relevancy. I think it has gotten more pronounced in recent years if only due to how Melee and Brawl hit a lot of the bigger targets as a whole. Even then, I think you can make the case in Melee and especially Brawl that they were not exactly taking a patient approach. In the Brawl newcomer roster a super majority of the picks were from series that had a high profile release during the time period where the roster was being formed that they were present in. Only real exceptions are Pit and ROB. Does that mean that Diddy Kong got into Smash because of DK Jungle Climber and Mario Kart Double Dash? Probably not, but having relevancy is something that at worst does not hurt.
I think in Melee they absolutely did take a patient approach for the most part. The two most recent newcomers on that roster ('01) were Pichu ('99) and Roy ('02 as a future release), and they both got by on being clones. Brawl ('08) trended towards recent newcomers only slightly more, with three newcomers debuting within a three-year window: Ike ('05), Lucas ('06), and Lucario ('06), though Ike and Lucario were wholly original while Lucas was a semi-clone.

They did choose series that had high-profile releases at both those times, but they largely still went for the established mainstays of those series. And this is part of why I think "wait and see" is close to a win-win; the approach wouldn't just choose old characters, but old characters with proven staying power.

We do see some nice historical nods, such as with Duck Hunt or ROB, but overwhelmingly it does seem like being in the right place at the right time helps. The only real respite a character can have from this is sheer fan demand. K Rool is the poster child of this. K Rool's last appearance in a game pre Ultimate was... Mario Super Sluggers for the Wii. Over a decade before Ultimate launched. But because he was this titan of fan demand, he was able to overcome this deficit. If a character does have high demand, sure they might be able to circumvent their series' status. Isaac is one of the biggest first party requests left at this point, and Golden Sun has not had a game in over a decade either. Geno has a dedicated cult following for Smash, and he has been out of the limelight for even longer. If you are part of that upper echelon of fan requests, you can overcome the tide of relevancy.
No arguments there, but I'll still say a ballot for the interim between Smash games or pre-development phase of the next Smash would be useful for having an officially sanctioned, centralized way to gauge fan requests free of echo-chamber bias or hype backlash.

Some series for the most part I think will be essentially locked into the relevancy model; Fire Emblem, Pokemon, and Xenoblade likely will not trend towards older picks given the nature of their series. When you have a rotating cast, you want to show off new relevant faces. Now, if we do get more than one representative for any of those series, it would be more plausible. We could see a Gen 9 Pokemon and Eevee in the next smash given the elevation Eevee has gotten in the Pokemon franchise over the past decade. But for these rotating cast series, I would say that relevancy will almost always be king.

On the other hand, franchises that have more static casts are candidates for the approach you suggest... sort of. Mario in Smash 4 I think you could make the case sort of falls into your spectrum of waiting and seeing. Rosalina and Jr both became Mario series staples between Brawl and 4, showing up in tons of spin offs and mainline games. Now, they also drew their movesets from big relevant games that were likely on the minds of the devs when selecting 4's roster; I doubt Jr. would have a moveset themed around the Clown Car if the New Super Mario Bros games were not relevant at the time. Relevancy likely still plays a role here, but I do think it is easier to cushion the blow in these cases due to the legacy the characters built. No one is gonna call Jr. a "flavor of the month" character just because he has the Clown Car.
That's a fairly viable compromise to be sure; give these "rotating cast" franchises like Fire Emblem, Pokémon, and Xenoblade their relevant new faces and the "fixed cast" franchises like Mario, Metroid, and Kirby the "wait and see" approach.

Still, I'd say Fire Emblem and Pokémon both have accumulated so many characters over time that "wait and see" is viable for them. I'd even say that as of XC3, Xenoblade has gotten there already, just in time for pre-development of Ultimate's sequel at that.

I'll concede this though: if there's a new major IP (key word: MAJOR) released towards the tail-tail end of the Switch's life or the beginning of the next console's life, perhaps making an exception to "wait and see" would need to happen... but maybe just for DLC. Still, maybe it would be better to change Smash's release schedule to be a late-console release so that it can promote things already on that console rather than focusing on things on a departing console
 

WeirdChillFever

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I don’t mind the ”relevant new faces” approach, but I do think it is unevenly distributed across series. What I mean by that is that Pokémon and Fire Emblem for example seem to take the “relevant new faces“ approach and take it to a sort of extreme: We’ve got Corrin and Byleth as DLC as fast as humanly possible since their games’ release and Pokémon reserves a slot for the newest game in advance. Other series do not get this treatment however, and are victims of the “wait and see approach“ instead: Zelda’s rotating cast wait-and-sees to the point where the last roster addition was Toon Link in Brawl, who is arguably a reskin of Melee’s Young Link. Kirby’s Bandana Waddle Dee has a prominence that, when featured in any other series, seemingly would’ve gotten in by now.
Whatever direction Smash takes in the future on this scale, I hope they choose the same approach across the board: If the new FE protagonist has a free entrance, the same consideration should be extended to the deuteragonist in the new Zelda entries. Of course, the examples mentioned are the extremes present in the roster: The Mario series for example seems to already strike a good balance between new and proven.

I’d also like to bring up the factor of DLC: Previous Smash games leaned more towards “proven”, since one simply can’t pivot as much when developing a full game. This has lead to previous games being a reflection of the previous generation: Brawl featuring Delfino Plaza as its new Mario stage for example. That sort of one-gen-back approach did make Smash games feel a weird sort of dated, but did make sure characters and locales were “proven” before being added in some sense.

Lastly, relevance as is is actually a decent predictor of whether a character stands the test of time. Sure, Golden Sun and Geno have captured the hearts of the upper echo-lon of the fanbase, but as characters it’s doubtful they have a future: Their future would be much more certain if they appeared in more recent games.
 

Aligo

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To be fair with xenoblade, the cast doesn't necessarily rotate per se, and is on a slower cycle (5+ years). The lead roles for XC3 are also either existing characters from previous games or derivatives of existing characters from previous games.

Pokémon can also have Pokémon be prevalent through multiple generations, especially through new forms.

Fire emblem is the one of these series which is a true rotating cast series.
 

Aligo

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I haven't even played XB3 and I know this is wrong.
Subjective-ish opinions aside, it is the case in terms of smash.
They didn't even give Noah and Mio unique weapons. The lucky seven is the monado in all but name, and the twin rings are less interesting versions of the ones Nia uses. This means they have less to stand out with compared to say, Meila or Nia, who have more that they can bring to the table moveset wise, and have retained popularity over time.

Anyhoos, what do people think of using updated/regional Pokémon to represent multiple generations?
 
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Quillion

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I don’t mind the ”relevant new faces” approach, but I do think it is unevenly distributed across series. What I mean by that is that Pokémon and Fire Emblem for example seem to take the “relevant new faces“ approach and take it to a sort of extreme: We’ve got Corrin and Byleth as DLC as fast as humanly possible since their games’ release and Pokémon reserves a slot for the newest game in advance. Other series do not get this treatment however, and are victims of the “wait and see approach“ instead: Zelda’s rotating cast wait-and-sees to the point where the last roster addition was Toon Link in Brawl, who is arguably a reskin of Melee’s Young Link. Kirby’s Bandana Waddle Dee has a prominence that, when featured in any other series, seemingly would’ve gotten in by now. Whatever direction Smash takes in the future on this scale, I hope they choose the same approach across the board: If the new FE protagonist has a free entrance, the same consideration should be extended to the deuteragonist in the new Zelda entries. Of course, the examples mentioned are the extremes present in the roster: The Mario series for example seems to already strike a good balance between new and proven.
To be fair, Zelda is such a gray-area case between being a "rotating cast" franchise and a "fixed cast" franchise. There's always Link and Zelda, but in most games each Link and Zelda is a different person; plus there are all the one shots who are treated as main characters then inevitably forgotten about next game. I suppose it's easier to give Zelda "wait and see" picks because there's pretty much nothing to wait and see for anymore and probably never will in the future.

For Kirby, I think Bandana Waddle Dee can solidly be considered "proven" after Forgotten Land. In RtDL, he comes off as someone they randomly picked to round out Meta Knight and Dedede as a spear wielder. TD and PR has him in a recurring-but-minor role. SA has him playable, but it comes across only as obligation to have the RtDL crew in full. But with him as the sole co-op partner in FL, there's little excuse now.

I’d also like to bring up the factor of DLC: Previous Smash games leaned more towards “proven”, since one simply can’t pivot as much when developing a full game. This has lead to previous games being a reflection of the previous generation: Brawl featuring Delfino Plaza as its new Mario stage for example. That sort of one-gen-back approach did make Smash games feel a weird sort of dated, but did make sure characters and locales were “proven” before being added in some sense.
That's part of why I suggested the following change to Smash's release schedule:

Still, maybe it would be better to change Smash's release schedule to be a late-console release so that it can promote things already on that console rather than focusing on things on a departing console
Lastly, relevance as is is actually a decent predictor of whether a character stands the test of time. Sure, Golden Sun and Geno have captured the hearts of the upper echo-lon of the fanbase, but as characters it’s doubtful they have a future: Their future would be much more certain if they appeared in more recent games.
Short of a miracle, relevance can be rather erratic. Advance Wars is now close to relevant again after that series being dead for years, though current events have put a damper on that comeback.

Maybe having a record of sustained relevance whether in the present or the past is a better indicator.
 

Quillion

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Do you guys really think they have taken the "wait and see" approach for the Zelda series? They've been "waiting" for twenty years... They must have fallen asleep.
They've assigned the "wait and see" approach to Zelda since the beginning, or at least since Brawl considering Sheik.

It's just that there's the whole thing about Zelda being somehow between "fixed cast" and "rotating cast":
To be fair, Zelda is such a gray-area case between being a "rotating cast" franchise and a "fixed cast" franchise. There's always Link and Zelda, but in most games each Link and Zelda is a different person; plus there are all the one shots who are treated as main characters then inevitably forgotten about next game.
Plus there's the whole issue about none of the non-Triforce main characters showing up again (hence why they're called one-shot or one-off), and recurring characters like Impa, Beedle, and Tingle are side characters, with Tingle in particular having fallen off.
 

Swamp Sensei

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Where is the line drawn?
 

Quillion

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Where is the line drawn?
Between fixed cast and rotating cast?

In a rotating cast, the main characters are entirely different each installment, give or take a few recurring side characters. This is where Fire Emblem, Pokémon, and Xenoblade sit.

In a fixed cast, the main characters are the same in each installment; it might have a one-shot main character for each installment, or it might slowly accumulate new recurring main characters over time, but the point stands. This is where Mario and Kirby sit.

Zelda, with its "most Links and Zeldas are different every game" setup, is somehow both, making it so that neither "wait and see" nor a "relevant new faces" focus are ideal for it.
 
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Swamp Sensei

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Between fixed cast and rotating cast?

In a rotating cast, the main characters are entirely different each installment, give or take a few recurring side characters. This is where Fire Emblem, Pokémon, and Xenoblade sit.

In a fixed cast, the main characters are the same in each installment; it might have a one-shot main character for each installment, or it might slowly accumulate new recurring main characters over time, but the point stands. This is where Mario and Kirby sit.

Zelda, with its "most Links and Zeldas are different every game" setup, is somehow both, making it so that neither "wait and see" nor a "relevant new faces" focus are ideal for it.
That doesn't answer my question.

Allow me to rephrase, at what point has a character proven themselves?
 

Quillion

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That doesn't answer my question.

Allow me to rephrase, at what point has a character proven themselves?
That's actually a good question, and it would probably depend on whether the character is from a "fixed cast" or "rotating cast" franchise.

I'd say that for "fixed cast" appearing in at least two mainline games would be good enough for "fixed cast". So by that logic, still-absent characters like Bandana Dee and Dixie Kong are proven. There are still other wrinkles, but overall, that's the most important measure IMO.

For "rotating cast", it's more complicated since the "recurring" criterion can't normally apply. So they might have to use marketing prominence or popularity. And even then, marketing prominence is often limited since it always focuses on the most recent game at the time, while popularity is prone to echo-chambering and myopia among other things. It's hard to say for the "rotating cast" case.
 

Jotari

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I can't really fault Smash much for how it's been handled up until now. Out of the entire roster the only character I feel is particularly illsuited to Smash given their series as a whole, is Sheik. But Smash is such a beast unto itself that it has given Sheik a lot more prominence than is truly deserved.

We also have some odd cases where entire franchises are out of commission yet the characters live on in Smash despite that. Earthbound and F-Zero are the prime examples, getting into the first game in the series (somehow ahead of Fire Emblem) yet being completely dead franchises since Brawl's release. but that doesn't really seem out of place to me compared to Sheik's maintained presence. If a whole hearted wait and see approach had been taken, then we wouldn't have Captain Falcon or Ness, and I think that would be a shame. I like that the first game broadened it's net so much. If they went with purely proven popular characters in 1999, then the first Smash probably would have been a Mario-Pokemon crossover, with Link and Kirby as guest stars.

If there's any solution I'd like to have to this it would be the Koopaling approach. Alternate costumes out the wazoo. In particular this is how I think they should have handeled Simon and Richter (not that they really fall into this criteria as Castlevannia is pretty much a dead series now too). Just call the character Belmont and have each costume be a different character. They all fight pretty much the same way anyway. The series most benefiting from this would be Fire Emblem, however. And it seems to be how they were planning to handle things in Smash 4 with Lucina as a Marth costume before someone got the idea of making her a unique character by just removing Marth's gimmick. While no one seems to actually want any extra reps for Pikmin, it's also a series that could benefit a lot by expanding it's alternate costume selection beyond Olimar and Alf.
 
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Quillion

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I can't really fault Smash much for how it's been handled up until now. Out of the entire roster the only character I feel is particularly illsuited to Smash given their series as a whole, is Sheik. But Smash is such a beast unto itself that it has given Sheik a lot more prominence than is truly deserved.
Well, like how Zelda itself is a gray area between fixed cast and rotating cast, Sheik herself is a gray area between main character and one-shot. Of course, there is one comparable character to her, and that's Tetra, and while she isn't relevant now, at least she has a better record of sustained relevance than even Sheik herself.

We also have some odd cases where entire franchises are out of commission yet the characters live on in Smash despite that. Earthbound and F-Zero are the prime examples, getting into the first game in the series (somehow ahead of Fire Emblem) yet being completely dead franchises since Brawl's release. but that doesn't really seem out of place to me compared to Sheik's maintained presence. If a whole hearted wait and see approach had been taken, then we wouldn't have Captain Falcon or Ness, and I think that would be a shame.
Hey, there's no need to make "wait and see" apply retroactively either in the past or the future. As long as Smash keeps reusing and cleaning up its assets, a cut is a total loss of resources with virtually no gain.

What's done is done, but a full wait and see will be preferable for Smash for newcomers from this point forward.

If there's any solution I'd like to have to this it would be the Koopaling approach. Alternate costumes out the wazoo. In particular this is how I think they should have handeled Simon and Richter (not that they really fall into this criteria as Castlevannia is pretty much a dead series now too). Just call the character Belmont and have each costume be a different character. They all fight pretty much the same way anyway. The series most benefiting from this would be Fire Emblem, however. And it seems to be how they were planning to handle things in Smash 4 with Lucina as a Marth costume before someone got the idea of making her a unique character by just removing Marth's gimmick. While no one seems to actually want any extra reps for Pikmin, it's also a series that could benefit a lot by expanding it's alternate costume selection beyond Olimar and Alf.
That'll definitely depend on how they'll handle alts. As long as they keep the limitation that alts have to wholesale share animations, the "echo only different by animations" approach will continue. And to be honest, there is merit to that approach, since there are fans who want to quickly find Daisy, Dark Samus, or Richter on the roster rather than have them locked behind who is otherwise a different character.

However, I have suggested the idea that alts should change idles, taunts, and victory animations, so that would be a good enough bound to eliminate the "echo only different by animations" approach while keeping the idea of animations changing.

Still, TP/OoT Link wouldn't work within that bound and so would still work as an echo even then.
 

Lenidem

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They've assigned the "wait and see" approach to Zelda since the beginning, or at least since Brawl considering Sheik.
In that case, what are they waiting for, exactly?

A character with enduring popularity? Skull Kid and Midna have been there for a while.

A new recurring character? Tetra was in several games, so was Tigle, and Impa.
 

Jotari

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Well, like how Zelda itself is a gray area between fixed cast and rotating cast, Sheik herself is a gray area between main character and one-shot. Of course, there is one comparable character to her, and that's Tetra, and while she isn't relevant now, at least she has a better record of sustained relevance than even Sheik herself.
I would say no, Sheik isn't a grey area at all. It's a costume Zelda has used a grand total of once and, if not for Smash, would be no more memorable or iconic in the series than Ganondorf's Agahnim disguise in A Link to the Past (which is to say memorable, but ultimately a one shot of little consideration). Tetra is by far a much bigger character than Sheik is, even if we look exclusively at just Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker. I don't think it's a coincidence she went on to (somewhat underwhelmingly) appear in two more mainline Zelda titles while the Zelda series itself never went back to Sheik as any kind of identity for Zelda.

Hey, there's no need to make "wait and see" apply retroactively either in the past or the future. As long as Smash keeps reusing and cleaning up its assets, a cut is a total loss of resources with virtually no gain.

What's done is done, but a full wait and see will be preferable for Smash for newcomers from this point forward.
Overall I think Smash has very successfully pulled off the wait and see approach so far. When I say Sheik's the only illsuited character, what I mean is that Nintendo has successfully waited and seen what characters were popular for Smash with a very high record over the years. Sometimes they have put in very recent characters into Smash, but those recent characters, like Lucario, are characters Nintendo knew would be popular, because they were pushing those very characters with their marketing. I guess Roy would be the exception, who isn't a particularly popular character in the Fire Emblem community and what popularity he has probably comes from Smash to a great extent, but even taking context of Melee in mind, Fire Emblem's rotating cast meant there were no better choices, and wouldn't have been until Lyn and Hector established themselves a few years later. Unless they wanted to add a second Archanea character like Nabarl.

But assuming Nintendo should take a further wait and see approach, I think we're kind of passed that point. Because, let's face it, with a roster of almost 90 characters, they've kind of already put in all the enduringly popular characters. There is no doubt characters people want to see, like Luigi or Isaac, but the truly big names, the truly popular characters, they're in there already. What an "enhanced" wait and see approach henceforth would produce would be a bias towards more newly created characters like Metroid's Ravenbeak or whatever the flavour of the month is for Pokemon these days. Including the DLC, Ultimate added 18 characters to the Smash Roster. Of those 18, ten were actually Nintendo brand characters. Almost half of the new comers were from third party companies. Smash has kind of exhausted it's supply of classic Nintendo characters. Don't get me wrong, I would love if they went down a tier of popularity and gave me characters like Isaac and Saki for Smash, but if they want more characters there going to have to come from more modern games with less certain popularity status.

In that case, what are they waiting for, exactly?

A character with enduring popularity? Skull Kid and Midna have been there for a while.

A new recurring character? Tetra was in several games, so was Tigle, and Impa.
I wouldn't really say Skull Kid of Midna have enduring popularity. If they were truly popular characters than Nintendo would actually have used them again. All we get are minor visual cameos. Sure, they appeared in Hyrule Warriors, as did the likes of Darunia and Ghiarhim, they're not super unpopular, that's not my intent to say, but I don't think they have the kind of popularity they might appear to have that a character like, say, Rosalina or Mewtwo has (and even in Hyrule Warrios, I'm pretty sure Skull Kid only got in as DLC).

Now Tingle, that's someone who genuinely was popular. So popular in fact he received his own series of games. I'm sure at one point he definitely was in the running for Smash, probably around Brawl, and didn't get in due to the western dislike of the character. His popularity does seem to have died down significantly in recent years though, also only getting into Hyrule Warriors as DLC.
 

Quillion

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I would say no, Sheik isn't a grey area at all. It's a costume Zelda has used a grand total of once and, if not for Smash, would be no more memorable or iconic in the series than Ganondorf's Agahnim disguise in A Link to the Past (which is to say memorable, but ultimately a one shot of little consideration). Tetra is by far a much bigger character than Sheik is, even if we look exclusively at just Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker. I don't think it's a coincidence she went on to (somewhat underwhelmingly) appear in two more mainline Zelda titles while the Zelda series itself never went back to Sheik as any kind of identity for Zelda.
Well that's what I'm saying, Sheik is Zelda, and also a form of Zelda that's been used all of once in a mainline game.

Sheik at least has the distinction of being in one of Zelda's most pivotal installments, but Tetra has a better record of sustained relevance.

Overall I think Smash has very successfully pulled off the wait and see approach so far. When I say Sheik's the only illsuited character, what I mean is that Nintendo has successfully waited and seen what characters were popular for Smash with a very high record over the years. Sometimes they have put in very recent characters into Smash, but those recent characters, like Lucario, are characters Nintendo knew would be popular, because they were pushing those very characters with their marketing. I guess Roy would be the exception, who isn't a particularly popular character in the Fire Emblem community and what popularity he has probably comes from Smash to a great extent, but even taking context of Melee in mind, Fire Emblem's rotating cast meant there were no better choices, and wouldn't have been until Lyn and Hector established themselves a few years later. Unless they wanted to add a second Archanea character like Nabarl.
What's done is done. Keep the legacy veterans because their models can be recycled forever. 64 and Melee's weirder choices are mere Early Installment Weirdness, and all franchises have that.

But assuming Nintendo should take a further wait and see approach, I think we're kind of passed that point. Because, let's face it, with a roster of almost 90 characters, they've kind of already put in all the enduringly popular characters. There is no doubt characters people want to see, like Luigi or Isaac, but the truly big names, the truly popular characters, they're in there already. What an "enhanced" wait and see approach henceforth would produce would be a bias towards more newly created characters like Metroid's Ravenbeak or whatever the flavour of the month is for Pokemon these days. Including the DLC, Ultimate added 18 characters to the Smash Roster. Of those 18, ten were actually Nintendo brand characters. Almost half of the new comers were from third party companies. Smash has kind of exhausted it's supply of classic Nintendo characters. Don't get me wrong, I would love if they went down a tier of popularity and gave me characters like Isaac and Saki for Smash, but if they want more characters there going to have to come from more modern games with less certain popularity status.
To be honest, I really wouldn't want them to use "popularity" as a gauge for putting in characters unless it's a veritably unified, and only an official ballot can measure that. Popularity is too erratic and prone to bias in measurement anyway.

That's why I've been suggesting "record of sustained relevance" instead for "wait and see". They may not be relevant forever and may go in and out, but a record of holding relevance for some time is enough to establish a mark.

I wouldn't really say Skull Kid of Midna have enduring popularity. If they were truly popular characters than Nintendo would actually have used them again.
Bruh, the fact that they brought back Fi for BotW shows that they're not overly concerned with who's popular enough to bring back to Zelda. It's more about how they fit in with the current setting and vision.
 

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I guess Roy would be the exception, who isn't a particularly popular character in the Fire Emblem community
Roy is actually incredibly popular within the FE community.
 

Jotari

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Bruh, the fact that they brought back Fi for BotW shows that they're not overly concerned with who's popular enough to bring back to Zelda. It's more about how they fit in with the current setting and vision.
I disagree. I think Tingle was brought back so many time precisely because he was popular, not because it was necessary or particularly suitable for any vision.
Roy is actually incredibly popular within the FE community.
Because of Smash Bros. I am active in the Fire Emblem community, very active, and Roy is looked down on for being a weak unit proned to getting killed with a super late promotion time that leaves him useless for most of the game. Couple this with the fact that his game has still never actually been released outside of Japan and you have a result where most people's only exposure to him is through Smash Bros. And I have nothing against Roy. He is one of my favourite lords due to his intelligence and level headedness. I also personally like his late promotion for how much of a bamf he becomes when he has his legendary weapon. So I am personally very much inclined to the character, but from among the Fire Emblem fan base as a whole (or at least the western fanbase) there are other characters more appreciated than him.
 

Quillion

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I disagree. I think Tingle was brought back so many time precisely because he was popular, not because it was necessary or particularly suitable for any vision.
A lot of characters were brought back many times alongside Tingle though: Malon, the Cucco Lady, Beedle, Dampé; and all of them have highly varying levels of popularity. Considering most of their appearances are B-Team handheld titles though, they're probably just relying on the "reincarnation excuse" to not have to come up with new characters every time.

Also, Roy has grown from "universally hated" to "divisive" for the exact reasons you state.
 

Oracle Link

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When it comes to Kirby Reps the Wait and see Aproach would be better atleast right now then the Current new faces Approach because honestly i cant think of a single New Character in star allies that makes sense to be playable at most either Elfilis or Elfilin with Elfilis Moveset!
 

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A lot of characters were brought back many times alongside Tingle though: Malon, the Cucco Lady, Beedle, Dampé; and all of them have highly varying levels of popularity. Considering most of their appearances are B-Team handheld titles though, they're probably just relying on the "reincarnation excuse" to not have to come up with new characters every time.
And how many of them have their own video game series?
 

Jotari

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True But even more deserved than Tingle would be Impa shes there since Game one!
And she could easily be a Shiek Echo/Costume!
I would personally prefer Impa over Tingle; but I think Impa is very much the "utility" character Quillion was referring to, who is used out of tradition and role she can play in the story as a satellite character to Zelda rather than a truly popular character in her own right. After all, she has kind of radically changed who she even is in each appearance. Impa is less a recurring character in the Zelda series and more of a recurring name. That being said, between Tingle and Impa, I do find Impa more likely, as Tingle's popularity looks like it has faded over time while Impa's niche has remained consistent and only strengthened over the years (she also could serve well as an Echo or partial clone of Sheik). Which I guess is what Quillion was getting to in the first place about characters who stand the test of time rather than having ephemeral popularity. While Tingle prominence in the series is definitely bigger than Sheik's, he might feel a bit like Sheik if he had been added to Smash in The Wind Waker. On the contrary point, if we did have a hypothetical Tingle in Brawl, it probably would have caused further popularity for him and have him appear in more Zelda games and get more titles of his own. Of course Smash popularity isn't all encompassing, it certainly didn't avoid the likes of F-Zero getting buried in a shallow grave. Without a time machine and the ability to blackmail Sakurai we can't really know how things would have been different if characters had got in at different times.
 
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Wario Wario Wario

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As a whole I think "wait and see" is the best approach for both, first and third parties (though, in the case of first parties I'd consider it just "wait" alone, dig up the old and weird stuff even if there's no future in store or large fandom) - HOWEVER, I think of indie games as an exception. I feel like going for Shovel Knight or Sans wouldn't really line up with the indie game spirit of "giving a platform to the little guys" and an indie rep should instead be something new (or even upcoming) and super obscure,
 
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Quillion

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And how many of them have their own video game series?
Touché. By my measure of "record of sustained relevance", Tingle would actually qualify for "wait and see".

I would personally prefer Impa over Tingle; but I think Impa is very much the "utility" character Quillion was referring to, who is used out of tradition and role she can play in the story as a satellite character to Zelda rather than a truly popular character in her own right. After all, she has kind of radically changed who she even is in each appearance. Impa is less a recurring character in the Zelda series and more of a recurring name. That being said, between Tingle and Impa, I do find Impa more likely, as Tingle's popularity looks like it has faded over time while Impa's niche has remained consistent and only strengthened over the years (she also could serve well as an Echo or partial clone of Sheik). Which I guess is what Quillion was getting to in the first place about characters who stand the test of time rather than having ephemeral popularity. While Tingle prominence in the series is definitely bigger than Sheik's, he might feel a bit like Sheik if he had been added to Smash in The Wind Waker. On the contrary point, if we did have a hypothetical Tingle in The Wind Waker, it probably would have caused further popularity for him and have him appear in more Zelda games and get more titles of his own. Of course Smash popularity isn't all encompassing, it certainly didn't avoid the likes of F-Zero getting buried in a shallow grave. Without a time machine and the ability to blackmail Sakurai we can't really know how things would have been different if characters had got in at different times.
Eh, Smash 64 and Melee had clout to make less-popular characters popular IMO, but I think with Brawl and on, that ship had already sailed.

As a whole I think "wait and see" is the best approach for both, first and third parties (though, in the case of first parties I'd consider it just "wait" alone, dig up the old and weird stuff even if there's no future in store or large fandom) - HOWEVER, I think of indie games as an exception. I feel like going for Shovel Knight or Sans wouldn't really line up with the indie game spirit of "giving a platform to the little guys" and an indie rep should instead be something new (or even upcoming) and super obscure,
Just because Shovel Knight, Frisk, Sans, or Freddy have proven not to be flash-in-the-pan, that doesn't make them any less of a "little guy"
 

Quillion

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Under that logic, Nintendo and Disney are "little guys" too, given all companies start small.
Wha-? I highly doubt any of the indie franchises I mentioned will suddenly become big merchandising monsters by the next Smash game (except FNAF which is already there, touché).
 

Aligo

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As a whole I think "wait and see" is the best approach for both, first and third parties (though, in the case of first parties I'd consider it just "wait" alone, dig up the old and weird stuff even if there's no future in store or large fandom) - HOWEVER, I think of indie games as an exception. I feel like going for Shovel Knight or Sans wouldn't really line up with the indie game spirit of "giving a platform to the little guys" and an indie rep should instead be something new (or even upcoming) and super obscure,
I agree with this, as it helps highlight the current work of these smaller developers. Also helps that future games from these companies are often more refined than their older counterparts, even if the older ones are more well known. For instance, I believe hornet would make for a better fighter than the knight, as the former has the benefit of being made more diverse and complicated in movement and movement as a way of integrating on a previous success.
 

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Subjective-ish opinions aside, it is the case in terms of smash.
They didn't even give Noah and Mio unique weapons. The lucky seven is the monado in all but name, and the twin rings are less interesting versions of the ones Nia uses. This means they have less to stand out with compared to say, Meila or Nia, who have more that they can bring to the table moveset wise, and have retained popularity over time.

Anyhoos, what do people think of using updated/regional Pokémon to represent multiple generations?
Not exactly. Noah and Mio have the Blade switch mechanic and Ouroboros forms. They can be made fully unique because of these abilties.
 

Aligo

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Not exactly. Noah and Mio have the Blade switch mechanic and Ouroboros forms. They can be made fully unique because of these abilties.
Blade switch is from XC2, not 3, which has weapon switching instead. Ouroboros could work, and is probably the best bet, provided there is no astral chain rep. That game had a similar fused state before XC3 did, and would most likely feature as a final smash if officer Howard was a fighter. It also doesn't solve the issue of their signature weapons being copies of other existing characters in the series, as these would make up the bulk of the normals.
 

Quillion

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Not exactly. Noah and Mio have the Blade switch mechanic and Ouroboros forms. They can be made fully unique because of these abilties.
I would NOT like if Noah got in and hypothetically used a bunch of class weapons for different normals. Just specials I think they can make do, but a chaotic mishmash of all the class weapons would be annoying to look at and play like Mega Man.

Then again, I just want Melia instead of Noah and Mio.
 

Aligo

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I would NOT like if Noah got in and hypothetically used a bunch of class weapons for different normals. Just specials I think they can make do, but a chaotic mishmash of all the class weapons would be annoying to look at and play like Mega Man.

Then again, I just want Melia instead of Noah and Mio.
Yeah, I would want either Meila or Nia with Dromarch. Either would be really cool. Elma if you wanted to represent X.
 
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Jotari

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Going purely based on moveset potential, and noting I haven't played Xenoblade Chronicles 3, I would say Nia has far and away the most moveset potential. She has a tiger, she has a weird weapn. She has water powers, and she has a super secret form with a focus on healing abilities. There is a lot to work with there.
 

Quillion

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I'd still put Melia above Nia though. Sure, they're both main characters in one XC game and somewhat important characters in XC3, but Melia still starred in her own side campaign.
 

Aligo

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I'd still put Melia above Nia though. Sure, they're both main characters in one XC game and somewhat important characters in XC3, but Melia still starred in her own side campaign.
I do see your point about Meila's more or less dedicated storyline though, as that would certainly be in her favour.
 

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I would NOT like if Noah got in and hypothetically used a bunch of class weapons for different normals. Just specials I think they can make do, but a chaotic mishmash of all the class weapons would be annoying to look at and play like Mega Man.

Then again, I just want Melia instead of Noah and Mio.
I'm usually in favor of the old and tried, but I cannot justify Mellia or Nia over Noah / Mio. The queens got a role in XBC3 sure, but it's not that of a main character.

Really the weapon switching wouldn't even be that different from what Byleth does. So I don't see the fuss.
 
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