Is Smash Ultimate’s Roster Too Big for its Own Good?

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and not of Smashboards as a whole.
Ever since Brawl, the Super Smash Bros. franchise has been known for its huge rosters. With the game being a celebration of all things Nintendo, it makes sense that Sakurai and his team do their best to stuff each title with more fighters than the last. However, with the release of Smash Ultimate and the announcement of 11 DLC fighters in total, there comes an issue that needs to be considered. Is the huge roster of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate a good thing, a bad thing, or something in between for the game’s competitive scene?

To establish how big Ultimate’s roster is, let’s look at some of the games featured at Evo this year to draw comparisons with other popular fighting games. On the smaller side, you have anime fighters like Granblue Fantasy Versus with 16 characters and Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] with 21 characters. But looking at more well-known fighting games, Street Fighter V: Champion Edition and Tekken 7 have roster sizes of 40 and 49 respectively. Meanwhile, Ultimate entirely dwarves these rosters with 81 characters (75 as of now).

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Puts things into perspective

Ultimate’s roster size does have some positive effects on the competitive scene. With so many characters, most people can find a character that’s just right for them. The roster accommodates a wide range of playstyles, while providing multiple options for each playstyle. The larger roster also allows the game to have more variety at top level. Since the larger roster size has a proportional effect on tier sizes, there are more top and high tiers that spectators get to see in Top 8s of huge tourneys.

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"I'm not just your regular zoner, I'm actually a trapper!"
However, this leads to the game having a ridiculous number of matchups to learn. Knowing your opponent’s tools and options and how to combat them with your own is essential to winning in any fighting game. So, people who don't want to lose to matchup unfamiliarity must spend hours grinding against 81 characters (no, not 80, dittos are harder than you’d think) that they may only ever meet once in bracket. The amount of work required to deal with an unlikely scenario doesn’t seem worth it, so most people don’t go out of their way to learn matchups against uncommon characters. But when they inevitably come face-to-face with a mid or low tier, or even a rarely played high tier like Pac-Man, they might lack essential knowledge on how to play against them and are forced to adapt on the fly or lose in a high stakes setting. And eventually, this can lead to a loss to that leaves quite a sour taste in one’s mouth.

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How it Feels Like in Bracket

However, all coins have two sides, and so does this debate. Due to having so many matchups, mid and low tiers now have a better shot at winning a match. Sure, their advantage is nothing like the top tier and high tiers who have the luxury of being consistently good no matter how many times they have been played against. But that element of surprise and confusion a worse character may possess can put them on equal footing, giving them a fighting chance. Also, while it is true that matches against these characters can only be won by adapting to them in time, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Adaptation is a cornerstone of fighting games, and while it can be difficult to adapt to a character in tourney, it certainly isn’t impossible. A good player will be able to learn the tools of a character through playing safe and picking opportunities, and while they may not learn how to best play the matchup, they’ll be able to learn enough about both the character and their player to come out on top.

In conclusion, Ultimate’s insane roster size isn’t likely to go anywhere. In fact, based on how the Smash series has progressed up till now, there’s a fair chance it’ll only get larger. But that isn’t really an objectively good or bad thing, it’s just an aspect of the game we must accept in order to keep enjoying it. Whether there can be too many characters in Smash is a question I plan to consider another day. But for now, I’ll be hitting up the Kirby discord to learn how to deal with his insufferable crouch.

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This Probably Counts as Too Many
 
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Arcain

Comments

More characters the better ! Ultimate is also the best balanced smash game to date every character feels fun & viable against all others. I have NEVER gotten bored with this roster (unlike past smash games were it felt like I have already played everyone after a hour or 2 of playing) Plus with all the stages (stage switching as well) & squad strike keeps the game fresh too (Why is Squad Strike not an online mode yet?)
 
My main issue with the huge roster was how it felt like some characters were very neglected in terms of balancing, and sometimes in terms of simple QA testing. This has become less of an issue now after a lot of patches but at launch this was something I had a real problem with and soured my initial experience with the game. This game gets praise for having the best balancing, but I also feel like instances of characters who feel unpolished as a result of trying to check on so many characters stick out more as a result.

The bloated roster also has a knock on effect on other aspects of the game that I feel are important personally. Ultimate's single player offerings are very shallow compared to other games in the series, no doubt a result of the roster being this game's main focus. And personally, I feel like most of the cast really is "just there". Even some of my personal favourites from their home series, I can sometimes forget they are here because well, they really just are. Compared to Brawl's roster, which sort of felt like this weird cozy family partly due to Subspace, it kinda takes some of the magic out of the crossover aspect to me.

I would much prefer the next installment be a soft reboot for the series, focusing more on a more compact but focused roster, maybe reworking some veterans like Mario and Kirby to better represent their storied history in their moveset, and giving other aspects like single player greater attention. It feels like Smash Ultimate has just been a race for big numbers (Sakurai constantly brags about them in presentations these days, almost like it's an obsession). Which is fine for what the game is supposed to be (a celebration of the series), but we can't do this every game. The problem with racing for bigger numbers is that it's a race you can never truly finish.

Ultimate is big enough, and it always will be. So if we are to get another Smash game after this, let it focus on being new and fresh rather than trying to be bigger than everything else.
 
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My main issue with the huge roster was how it felt like some characters were very neglected in terms of balancing, and sometimes in terms of simple QA testing. This has become less of an issue now after a lot of patches but at launch this was something I had a real problem with and soured my initial experience with the game. This game gets praise for having the best balancing, but I also feel like instances of characters who feel unpolished as a result of trying to check on so many characters stick out more as a result.

The bloated roster also has a knock on effect on other aspects of the game that I feel are important personally. Ultimate's single player offerings are very shallow compared to other games in the series, no doubt a result of the roster being this game's main focus. And personally, I feel like most of the cast really is "just there". Even some of my personal favourites from their home series, I can sometimes forget they are here because well, they really just are. Compared to Brawl's roster, which sort of felt like this weird cozy family partly due to Subspace, it kinda takes some of the magic out of the crossover aspect to me.

I would much prefer the next installment be a soft reboot for the series, focusing more on a more compact but focused roster, maybe reworking some veterans like Mario and Kirby to better represent their storied history in their moveset, and giving other aspects like single player greater attention. It feels like Smash Ultimate has just been a race for big numbers (Sakurai constantly brags about them in presentations these days, almost like it's an obsession). Which is fine for what the game is supposed to be (a celebration of the series), but we can't do this every game. The problem with racing for bigger numbers is that it's a race you can never truly finish.

Ultimate is big enough, and it always will be. So if we are to get another Smash game after this, let it focus on being new and fresh rather than trying to be bigger than everything else.
No. The entire appeal of Smash is that it's a crossover. Brawl's physics were complete garbage, but it outsold Melee and 64 because Mario and Sonic were finally in a game together. The same was true for Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, but that series got stale. Smash kept climbing higher, and to reboot from nothing would be suicide for the franchise.
 
Brawl's physics were complete garbage, but it outsold Melee and 64 because Mario and Sonic were finally in a game together.
I feel like the main reason Brawl outsold 64 and Melee wasn't actually because of its roster, but rather because it was on the Wii. I know it sounds super boring, but it's (sadly) true for pretty much every Nintendo IP that the best-selling game in a series is only the best-selling because of the console it's on. Ultimate is the best-selling Smash, Odyssey is the best-selling 3D Mario and Breath of the Wild is the best-selling Zelda. All of these are on the Switch, Nintendo's fastest-selling console (if I recall correctly). Likewise, Wii is the best-selling Mario Kart, Galaxy used to be the best-selling 3D Mario, Twilight Princess used to be the best-selling Zelda and Brawl used to be the best-selling Smash, because they were all on the Wii, Nintendo's second best-selling console behind the DS and fastest-selling console before the Switch. So for a big game to sell well, Nintendo just need to put it on a console that's selling well.
 
No. The entire appeal of Smash is that it's a crossover. Brawl's physics were complete garbage, but it outsold Melee and 64 because Mario and Sonic were finally in a game together. The same was true for Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, but that series got stale. Smash kept climbing higher, and to reboot from nothing would be suicide for the franchise.
I highly doubt it would be suicide for the franchise. "Super Smash Bros" is a name that stands on it's own two legs now. Perhaps it might not sell as well initially, but I'd hardly think a soft reboot for the franchise would bomb even if the roster was cut in half as long as there were other features to make up for it to make the game fresh and engaging.

Brawl's physics was never gonna hurt the sales of Brawl because the game was packed with fun and interesting content for more casual players to enjoy. It wasn't a great esports game, but it was still a fantastic game and experience overall. It was also on the Wii, so of course it sold well. Most of the newcomers in Brawl aside from Snake and Sonic were actually quite niche from a recognisablity standpoint, probably moreso than any other game in the series.

I also highly doubt they can make a new Smash game with Ultimate's entire roster intact anyway. Sakurai himself already said that this likely will never happen again. So might as well think of ways to make Smash appealing in spite of losing some characters and I think reworking old characters and including a proper adventure mode with a story again is a good way to do it.
 
The more characters the merrier. Hell, I would be up for 1000 characters if that was somehow possible which it never will due to storage limitations.
 
Jeez, was that massive roster difficult to read, since there was no enlarge option. Also because the fighters were ordered by year of debut rather than series.
 
As much as I deeply enjoy the enormous cast of Smash Ultimate and feel that it's one of the selling points of the franchise even I agree that it's getting to become too much work for a single development team to handle.

I would hope that if they decided to chop most of the cast that the core gameplay would become very refined, but it's already as good as I can reasonably ask for. I think if Nintendo ever did axe most of the cast the game would probably qualify as being an entirely different series from Smash.

If it's possible I would want to see the current trend of expanding the roster continue, but with each new entry it will become more and more of an unreasonable request for Nintendo to fulfill.
 
Honestly, with how large the roster is, it's amazing the game is as balanced as it is now. I don't know if it's the "most balanced Smash game" because I think gaps will be very apparent in terms of balance. When DLC is done, Ultimate will have 86 characters, which means there's 3,655 matchups. That includes dittos and echoes, but doesn't include PT Pokemon or the various Mii loadouts - there's 81 variants for one character!

But I wouldn't necessarily be against a soft reset of the franchise similar to Mortal Kombat 9. That game only had three new characters, but many people still like that game. Seeing some characters like Ganondorf get an updated moveset would be something I'd love to see.
 
Yes, I think it’s a bit too large. Beyond the fact I actually games with smaller but more personalized rosters; I do think Sakurai worked himself into a box of sorts with Ultimate’s “Everyone is Here” thing. You’re gonna have a small but loud group of idiots who will cry bloody murder when everyone doesn’t return in the next Smash game. That has the potentially to hurt the next Smash game unless something drastic is done to counter that.
 
Really, the only thing Ultimate's roster could do with is to make the clones and Echo Fighters into unique Fighters with their own movesets. Simply adding a brand name doesn't excuse lazy design, and frankly they could do with staying more true to their character. Dark Pit, Lucina, Daisy and Dr. Mario can be costumes if nothing else, but Dark Samus, Ken, etc. should really be their own character. You'd only lose like, 5 or 6 character slots and even then they're still in the game so you still have them playable regardless. It's just trimming the fat.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - make 'em unique or don't make 'em at all. The fanservice is appreciated, but they can do MUCH better.

I'd personally overhaul Miis too to just borrow moves from other characters to have a fully customisable moveset, but that's a different conversation.

But why? They are a nice desert that comes with the full course meal.
Would you rather Dark Samus have Samus' moves or use actual Phazon moves?
Would you rather Dark Pit use his staff for more than just his Final Smash?
Would you rather Daisy do everything Peach can do or use moves that reference the sports tie-ins?
They're not a desert, they're those fancy high-class dishes that present you with one strawberry and some cream and call it a main course.
 
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Would you rather Dark Samus have Samus' moves or use actual Phazon moves?
Would you rather Dark Pit use his staff for more than just his Final Smash?
Would you rather Daisy do everything Peach can do or use moves that reference the sports tie-ins?
They're not a desert, they're those fancy high-class dishes that present you with one strawberry and some cream and call it a main course.
I think the more accurate questions are:

Would you rather Dark Samus have Samus' moves or use actual Phazon moves not be in the game at all?
Would you rather Dark Pit use his staff for more than just his Final Smash or be in the game at all?
Would you rather Daisy do everything Peach can do or use moves that reference the sports tie-ins not be in the game at all?

It's clear that the alternative to echoes aren't unique movesets, it's non inclusion as a playable character. Of course in an ideal perfect world where Sakurai has access to an infinite amount of time and resources via some pocket dimensional Hyperbolic Time Chamber it would be great to have everyone with a completely unique moveset.

But this is the real world. A world with deadlines and budgets and limited manpower.
 
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No. The entire appeal of Smash is that it's a crossover. Brawl's physics were complete garbage, but it outsold Melee and 64 because Mario and Sonic were finally in a game together. The same was true for Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, but that series got stale. Smash kept climbing higher, and to reboot from nothing would be suicide for the franchise.
Eh, I could see it going either way tbh. Ultimate's selling point is that the whole roster is here, but that being said Sakurai has said that they may not be able to pull of Ultimate in the future (Which might not hold true if he does ever step down from being director and the new team with Nintendo's instruction decide to keep Smash's roster growing forever and never making cuts.). Still, I'm sure we'd all agree that it'd be silly to think this will be the last Smash game, as if Nintendo is going to drop this cash cow forever and we won't be seeing Smash 6 on their new console after the Switch. Still, I don't see roster cuts as being an impasse to innovation in Smash. New Smash games could offer richer first player content, bigger story campaigns, maybe new gameplay mechanics that hopefully jive well with the Smash community, and any number of things that could improve on Ultimate, albeit with less characters.

Honestly though I could totally see Ultimate being Nintendo's Street Fighter 2 in that it could become the game that keeps being re-released as basically the same game, but with slight graphical updates each time and just slapping the newcomers from 6, 7, 8, etc., into the roster with each subsequent re-release.
 
For casual play there is no such thing as too big, but for a competitive game yeah, I'd say the roster is too bloated. If a game like Tekken or Guilty Gear had this kind of roster it would almost surely ruin the game for even the most dedicated of players. Smash is a bit different tho as its not only aiming for party game fun but also has simpler character movesets and interactions to understand and learn.

Sure you can and will totally lose to some random player in bracket purely because they might use a character you've never seen in a match before to practice, but learning after that loss won't be /too/ tough.
 
I'm a casual with no interest in the competitive scene - I mean, I watch some videos from time to time but that's it. So for me, the more the merrier: a game should be as fun as possible. If some people can make a living of it, great for them, but games are not made for this minority in the first place.
 
There will never be too many characters in Smash! However I would appreciate it if they returned to a logical way to order the characters in the roster. Based on their first playable Smash game is not good enough because that still leaves the characters unsorted relative to other characters that debuted as playable in the same game and their introduction as playable character in Smash is not an important property of the character itself. It's weird to have character like Fox and Falco, Pikachu and Pichu, and the Links seperated from their respective clones/semi-clones just because the Smash series introduced them as playable in different games.
 
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There will never be too many characters in Smash! However I would appreciate it if they returned to a logical way to order the characters in the roster. Based on their first playable Smash game is not good enough because that still leaves the characters unsorted relative to other characters that debuted as playable in the same game and their introduction as playable character in Smash is not an important property of the character itself. It's weird to have character like Fox and Falco, Pikachu and Pichu, and the Links seperated from their respective clones/semi-clones just because the Smash series introduced them as playable in different games.
Honestly, a setting to arrange the roster screen however you want would be awesome. By Smash appearance, by first release of character, by series, alphabetically, drag each icon wherever you like to devise your own unique system, etc. Maybe even allow for 1-3 presets so your friends don't get angry at you when you bring Smash over and they're looking for Young Link on your own weird select screen organization.
 
Honestly, a setting to arrange the roster screen however you want would be awesome. By Smash appearance, by first release of character, by series, alphabetically, drag each icon wherever you like to devise your own unique system, etc. Maybe even allow for 1-3 presets so your friends don't get angry at you when you bring Smash over and they're looking for Young Link on your own weird select screen organization.
A system like that should have been there in the base game, or in a patch. At least give us the opportunity to group the characters by franchises.
 
I go with others who support bigger casts, mostly because some seem to forget the origins and nature of Smash: it's a huge party game with tons of crossovers. Sure it can be played competitively, but that's only a small part of it.

As for the balance, I think again people are looking at it only from a competitive's perspective. Kirby is one of the most played characters for beginners, and he can be quite difficult to deal with when you don't know how to play the game too well and he keeps flying around and rocking people down. Making him stronger for competitive would mean he'd wreck people down at more beginner/casual levels. And so balancing needs to account for all levels of play, and that's why you'll never see a full roster all equally viable in competitive.

And then again, the meta itself is almost like a mob mentality, poisoned by tier lists thrown everywhere: even Joker, considered the best character by many, is barely played right by most except MkLeo. So all we need is people that ignore the meta and just play their best with their favorite characters, and we'll see change. It's too bad that super good Isabelle player was harassed and stopped playing competitively, that was a good example of how a lot of characters can do amazing so long as you give them a chance.
 
As a relatively casual person who plays Ultimate and occasionally enters small tournaments put together by friends for a little competition, I think having more characters is a great thing! As discussed earlier, more characters allows for a greater number of opportunities for someone to find a character that just clicks with them and their playstyle. Perhaps the person has multiple ways they like to play the game and the higher variety of characters also allows for this.
I personally don't mind this iteration of the series being so roster focused as I think thats always been the franchise's greatest strength.

From a spectator's standpoint watching the competitive scene, I absolutely love the variety of characters being used and the fact people are more open now to picking up secondaries. I think it speaks well to the game's overall balancing and its entertaining to see multiple kinds of characters all throughout the competition and top 8's.
In one sense, you could say the enormous amount of matchups possible makes the person incredibly skillful and knowledgable when they can consistently come out on top when compared to a game with a much smaller roster.

Of course, as shown by your picture, having 500+ characters would be majorly overdoing it :awesome:
 
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I firmly believe that there is a limit to how many distinct matchups a competitive fighting game asks it’s players to memorize. When you start asking people to memorize hundreds of distinct matchups the game starts to reward memorization over its actual gameplay. However I also recognize that not all characters represent distinct matchups. I think smash is bordering on having too many for a competitive game. As a big crossover though it can’t have too many, and that’s the brought Nintendo will go with it.
 
I think the more accurate questions are:

Would you rather Dark Samus have Samus' moves or use actual Phazon moves not be in the game at all?
Would you rather Dark Pit use his staff for more than just his Final Smash or be in the game at all?
Would you rather Daisy do everything Peach can do or use moves that reference the sports tie-ins not be in the game at all?

It's clear that the alternative to echoes aren't unique movesets, it's non inclusion as a playable character. Of course in an ideal perfect world where Sakurai has access to an infinite amount of time and resources via some pocket dimensional Hyperbolic Time Chamber it would be great to have everyone with a completely unique moveset.

But this is the real world. A world with deadlines and limited manpower.
Then give me the timeline where those Fighters aren't in the game. If they can't do those characters justice, don't bother, like BRUH, Dark Samus' ASSIST TROPHY was more accurate. You seriously telling me they couldn't port those moves over?
 
I've said it before and I'll say it again - make 'em unique or don't make 'em at all. The fanservice is appreciated, but they can do MUCH better.
It's clear that the alternative to echoes aren't unique movesets, it's non inclusion as a playable character. Of course in an ideal perfect world where Sakurai has access to an infinite amount of time and resources via some pocket dimensional Hyperbolic Time Chamber it would be great to have everyone with a completely unique moveset.
Ken is Ken so no issue there. Chrom feels distinct enough from Roy despite the many similarities between the two. Lucina too distinguishes herself from Marth, but a certainly lesser extent. Dark Pit is this weird limbo because he only has 3 different things from Pit. And he's in a better position because the rest of the Echoes are where the problem truly lies. Because Daisy, Dark Samus and Richter are, for all intents and purposes, completely identical to their originals. And the worst part is that, given what 3.0,0 did to Daisy, it's intentional.

When the Echoes were announced, we all expected them to be similar to their counterparts, but a few adjustments here and there could have made them feel more as their own. All we had for speculation was how Lucina and Dark Pit were handled in SSB4 and people didn't really have may hopes, but Chrom and Dark Samus changed that to an extent. And then came Ken, who is basically his own character, so hopes were reinvigorated. Hype went down the drain once players found out how similar certain Echoes were, and salt came when they took away Daisy's one difference.

Why did only some of the new Echoes receive care? You can argue that Ken is special because third-party, and Richter was confirmed to be developed alongside Simon due to each contributing to the moveset (had Simon not been chosen, Alucard would have made it instead), but the rest?

-Chrom gets a different idle, different animations for certain moves, an unique Up B and an unique FS (at least compared to Roy). His sword's properties, along the afforementioned changes, distinguish him from Roy sufficiently.
-Dark Samus is basically reanimated but is otherwise identical, elemental changes aside.
-Daisy has several changed effects and non-attack animations but is otherwise identical to Peach. And when players found a difference between them, it was patched out.

The true issue here is how inconsistently Echo Fighters were handled.
 
I go with others who support bigger casts, mostly because some seem to forget the origins and nature of Smash: it's a huge party game with tons of crossovers. Sure it can be played competitively, but that's only a small part of it.

As for the balance, I think again people are looking at it only from a competitive's perspective. Kirby is one of the most played characters for beginners, and he can be quite difficult to deal with when you don't know how to play the game too well and he keeps flying around and rocking people down. Making him stronger for competitive would mean he'd wreck people down at more beginner/casual levels. And so balancing needs to account for all levels of play, and that's why you'll never see a full roster all equally viable in competitive.

And then again, the meta itself is almost like a mob mentality, poisoned by tier lists thrown everywhere: even Joker, considered the best character by many, is barely played right by most except MkLeo. So all we need is people that ignore the meta and just play their best with their favorite characters, and we'll see change. It's too bad that super good Isabelle player was harassed and stopped playing competitively, that was a good example of how a lot of characters can do amazing so long as you give them a chance.
Do you what does the word "meta" means? It is the state of the competitive landscape, what strategies and players are relevant at the present, and more importantly it always evolves, as players discover or revaluate their strategies. The meta is not made by keyboard warriors who complain about nothing all day, it is made by the people who play at tournament and top. The meta cannot be ignored, it exists whether you like it or not. The only way the meta dies is if the tournament scene dies.
 
Melee's smaller cast of viable characters actually helped it's meta-game develop faster and to a higher level, as match ups becomes more and more complex every year.
In addition competitively It can feel pretty impossible to prepare for all the match ups I may have to play against, so I don't even bother most of the time.
So I think a smaller, more focused roster is theoretically better for the competitive scene, or at least has some serious pros.

Even casually I feel like the huge roster has removed something from smash, maybe it's like I feel some characters feel unfinished or old, not entirely sure.
I think it has something to do with how many 3rd party characters we have now.

With all of that said the Pros seriously outweigh the cons in terms of roster, throw as many of them on there as you can.
(Would still be down for a franchise reboot next game tho)
 
On the related question of the Echoes, I think some of them could not be there and that would be just as good. I'm talking about Daisy and, to some extend, Dark Samus. Yes, they are there. But they do not feel like they're fully there. Daisy should have no business at all with turnips and Toads, and there is no reason for her to glide. And Dark Samus felt more unique when she was an Assist. It's like Peach and Samus are impersonating their counterparts... So if there is no time to fully flesh them, maybe in some cases, a cool Assist and a skin would be better than a lame Echo.
 
On the related question of the Echoes, I think some of them could not be there and that would be just as good. I'm talking about Daisy and, to some extend, Dark Samus. Yes, they are there. But they do not feel like they're fully there. Daisy should have no business at all with turnips and Toads, and there is no reason for her to glide. And Dark Samus felt more unique when she was an Assist. It's like Peach and Samus are impersonating their counterparts... So if there is no time to fully flesh them, maybe in some cases, a cool Assist and a skin would be better than a lame Echo.
Those two definitely need to be tweaked later down the line but at this point I'm definitely not expecting it.

The very least they could do is remove Daisy's glide and tweak the rest of her moves accordingly, making her the easier of the two to play and initially do well with but having Peach the more rewarding character to learn in the long run.
Similar to Chrom and Roy in that sense.

Seeing as there is a lot they could do for Dark Samus, I'm not sure how far they'd be willing to go if they were to change her but there is also the idea of instead significantly changing Samus, perhaps after the new game comes out it'd be the perfect opportunity to change her moveset accordingly. Dark Samus could retain the overall floaty traits while Samus becomes more streamlined and about quick evasion in her ball form.
 
I think the more accurate questions are:

Would you rather Dark Samus have Samus' moves or use actual Phazon moves not be in the game at all?
Would you rather Dark Pit use his staff for more than just his Final Smash or be in the game at all?
Would you rather Daisy do everything Peach can do or use moves that reference the sports tie-ins not be in the game at all?

It's clear that the alternative to echoes aren't unique movesets, it's non inclusion as a playable character. Of course in an ideal perfect world where Sakurai has access to an infinite amount of time and resources via some pocket dimensional Hyperbolic Time Chamber it would be great to have everyone with a completely unique moveset.

But this is the real world. A world with deadlines and limited manpower.
I think it really is the argument of "Do you want the character for the variety they could bring?" or "Do you want the character for the sake of the character?" And both sides have good cases going one way or another: in the Vs. games Roll became a more fun and viable character when she got a unique moveset in TvC compared to the MvC games, and the Injustice games showed that alternate characters can work wsith things like the TMNT, Bizarro and several others.

I guess the general fear some have is that since the Echoes got into Smash the way they are, that's pretty much how they are going to essentially stay. looking at some of the more infamous clone/semiclone examples for instance, Ganon has new Smashes and a variable Side Special but still follows the same moveset skeleton as Cap, Roy was brought back in Sm4sh with very little variation of his Melee self an Luigi has had roughly the same moveset for 20 years and only is different now due to changes given to Mario.
 
I think it really is the argument of "Do you want the character for the variety they could bring?" or "Do you want the character for the sake of the character?" And both sides have good cases going one way or another: in the Vs. games Roll became a more fun and viable character when she got a unique moveset in TvC compared to the MvC games, and the Injustice games showed that alternate characters can work wsith things like the TMNT, Bizarro and several others.

I guess the general fear some have is that since the Echoes got into Smash the way they are, that's pretty much how they are going to essentially stay. looking at some of the more infamous clone/semiclone examples for instance, Ganon has new Smashes and a variable Side Special but still follows the same moveset skeleton as Cap, Roy was brought back in Sm4sh with very little variation of his Melee self an Luigi has had roughly the same moveset for 20 years and only is different now due to changes given to Mario.
Note that in Luigi's case, it would be wierd if he was not very close to Mario.
 
I like having the large roster along with bringing everyone back since it gives players many choices and emphasizes the crossover aspect of SSB (It’s pretty cool to see :ultmario::ultlink::ultpikachu::ultsnake::ultsonic::ultmegaman::ultpacman::ultryu::ultcloud: all in one game together).
While I like this huge roster, it’ll be a problem once the sequel is being made since it’ll be very hard to carry over 88 fighters into the next game, and it was already mentioned that using a new engine would cut the roster size down to a third (about 23 unique fighters, 4 semiclones and 2 echoes in the end or in the case of ultimate's beginning 20 unique and 3 full clones/echoes), which means a lot of characters that people like, such as the 3rd parties, will be cut. A roster with the bare essentials (e.g. Original 12, :ultbowser::ultpeach::ultzelda::ultmarth::ultpit::ultvillager::ultmiifighters::ultinkling:) could work if the gameplay, stages, modes, and character revamps are done well enough. While the roster will be a problem for sequels, I think that the large roster is a good thing overall and hope the rebooted series would eventually get an Ultimate sized roster.
 
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