My Thoughts on Smash Ultimate’s Newcomers, Base Game Speculation, and the Potential Future for the Series

BluePikmin11

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To be frank with you, I should have finished writing my Smash Ultimate thoughts a long time ago. Due to classes taking my time away and my procrastination, I ended up delaying my thoughts too many times. I must apologize for keeping you guys waiting. I know the Smash community likely has moved on from speculation for good (or temporarily due to the lack of newcomer Fighter Pass announcements), but I still want to share these thoughts with you, mostly to close off my personal journey as a Smash speculator for good. I will finally share my thoughts on Smash Ultimate’s newcomers, base game speculation, and the potential future for the series. Thank you for waiting patiently.


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On November 1st 2018, the Smash Ultimate speculation community faced the biggest twist in Smash history when Sakurai presented the final Smash Ultimate direct. 90% of the Smash fan base were convinced by the Grinch leak a few weeks prior, due to the large amount of “evidence” and events going on around the time that made the leak convincing to most. At the time, I immediately considered the Grinch leak to be fake because of the lack of a Pokémon newcomer and how blatantly obvious the leak was catering towards Smash fans that primarily wanted fan-popular characters. The newcomers in the leak felt like the most un-Sakurai decisions to me, considering the previous Smash games’ newcomers were a mix of popular and Sakurai’s personal choices.

In the midst of the chaos, I had confidently committed to my 10+ unique newcomer predictions I made back in July 2018 due to me miraculously maintaining my unique newcomer prediction streak. An hour before the Smash Direct aired, I felt unusually confident that Sakurai was going to deliver. It was a feeling that Sakurai was going to bring more than the expected Ken and Incineroar. There were numerous possible newcomer scenarios I thought could happen in the direct that excited me, ranging a barrage of Japanese gaming icons being revealed to getting 5+ newcomers that did not match the Grinch leak’s unrealistic choices for unique newcomers. All of these scenarios were positively stimulating to think about, but I kept expectations low.

Would my in-depth newcomer research pay off? Would my time spent on Ultimate speculation end up being a disaster? The emotional combination of uncertainty of truth and positive expectations grew as the direct was closer to airing. As I watched the direct, my eyes paid close attention to every single detail. After the early point of learning that Ken and Incineroar were the last two newcomers, I could not help but laugh, being shocked at the same time that Source Gaming’s box theory happened. At that point, the only things I wanted to know to were execution of the game’s features and modes and who would be disconfirmed as Assist Trophies.

After that direct, I could not help but laugh again, expressing my brief thoughts on social media in a knee-jerkingly way, saying that I would quit speculation for good after seeing the things in the direct that turned my perspective of DLC newcomer speculation into a complete 180º. So many things regarding speculation came into my mind, clashing with the empathetic thoughts of many fanbases of newcomers I thought had a real chance like Shadow and Skull Kid, clashing with my thoughts on other things like Spirits Mode and lack of trophies, and clashing with my thoughts on how Sakurai handled the fueling of speculation from beginning to end, The only things I could enjoy left were the memes that spawned from the direct on Twitter. I felt that my knowledge on Nintendo and speculation had been wasted. The issues I had was so much, that trying to write my thoughts on Smash Ultimate overall while not being a terrible mood was a very difficult task for a while, until now that is.


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Thoughts on Smash Ultimate Game Modes and Other Content

Before I get into the meat of this thread, I want to briefly go over the content I liked and disliked. I do not have much to delve into with likes though. In terms of modes, the single player modes in particular are pretty lacking. The only single-player mode that was satisfying to play every time was Classic Mode because of the nice variety in challenges and the quick pacing of completing each character’s campaign. I did not bat an eye on the rest of the modes. Except for Spirits, which is overall a very disappointing feature of Ultimate.

At first, I kind of liked the idea of Spirits because it allowed most of Nintendo’s niche IPs to be represented. But the more Spirit of Light and Spirit Board I played to grind for all the spirits, the more of a chore it became. The rewarding feeling of obtaining spirits started to wear down on me near the 1000+ mark. As much as I can admire Sakurai’s effort of implementing somewhat interesting gameplay mechanics/variety of each Spirit, getting spirits became more of an “mobile-game-like” addiction more than an enjoyable time. At that point, it felt like I was just collecting art of Nintendo characters that I have already seen as a hardcore Nintendo fan.

Spirits could have easily been better had Ultimate’s budget been larger to make a few adjustments. At least, Spirits should have had descriptions so that players that obtain them can learn a bit more about the origins to invite players into exploring other Nintendo IPs. Spirits should have at least been original models of characters akin to the likes of Melee’s retro character trophies so that they would have some sort of value in collecting. Heck, if Sakurai were to really make Spirits as a concept work, the staff could have gone a little farther and made animated models of every spirit. I would have preferred that scenario the most, even if it meant sacrificing some representation of obscure Nintendo IPs in the process.

Spirits generally feel like a shallow way to represent everything in Nintendo history. Spirits feel like a quantity over quality problem. Trophies should have just returned. Trophies have become engraved into Smash’s unique identity for past three Smash games, and it is saddening that they had to be replaced with a feature with far less depth. Even with the issues I have with Spirits, should a new Smash game come, I would like to see Spirits revisited and revised. But, I feel it is likely going to be a concept Sakurai moves away from with regret like Subspace Emissary.

As for other content I liked, the only things that sparked my interest was Lip getting a special nod by Sakurai with the Mii costume. As someone that closely participated in the Lip support thread and speculated Lip as Ultimate’s retro newcomer, I found the Mii costume to be dope. I use the Mii costume often in online matches when I get the chance. The other Mii costumes from niche IPs like Golden Sun and Chibi Robo were dope too. Playing as Mii Fighters now is a lot more fun and inviting now with the niche Mii costumes. The only disappointing thing about Mii costumes is that there is no Mii costume for Prince Sable, which I would have loved (though it probably would not have happened due to low ballot demand I bet).


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My Thoughts on Smash Ultimate’s Newcomers

How do I feel about the newcomers that Smash Ultimate’s base game provided now that time has passed? I will finally give those thoughts out now, starting from Ridley to the most recent Joker. I will go over the character speculation wise and go over a bit how I feel about each gameplay wise.

Inklings: I had predicted Inklings in a hypothetical Smash Switch game prior to the reveal Inklings in Smash Switch in March 2018. Based on the huge success of the IP and their potential as fighters, it was pretty obvious to me in 2016 that they would get in. The number of merits they have as a newcomer was so massive, that it would have been shocking to not see them in a new Smash sequel. There is not much to say about Inklings beyond that, speculation-wise.

Playing as Inklings is weird. Gameplay-wise, it is bizarre to play as Inklings in a 2D plane, when I am used to playing as Inkling with the buttery-smooth 3D controls of the original Splatoon. I got used to it eventually though. As strange as it sounds, I do not play as much of Inklings online heavily because of that. Not being able to dive in ink I splatted and move swiftly inside the ink for defense is a huge disappointment. I feel Sakurai could have something to make Inklings more faithful, while having the diving ink movement mechanic present. As for the character’s moveset itself, it is fine and I do not have much to say about, though I generally find the Splat Bomb to be pretty slow in start-up. That special move could definitely use a buff.


Ridley: I began predicting Ridley the moment Vergeben posted a rumor of Simon and Ridley being playable characters, days prior to more insider sources coming to side with Vergeben’s sources. This was a very risky prediction to me, because of the controversial Ridley debates that happened for the past three Smash games. I used have a firm negative stance on Ridley back in the Smash 4 speculation days. I was as skeptical of the 2018 Ridley rumors as most of the fan base back then before Verge posted his rumor. As soon as Verge posted his rumor though, I contemplated on my thoughts on Ridley and quickly concluded that predicting Ridley was worth it based on Sakurai’s past decisions of changing his mind on newcomers. Now would have been the best time to predict the space dragon before predicting him near E3 would feel like a bandwagon prediction with the potential increasing credibility of frequent Ridley rumors, I thought. I managed to get Ridley correctly, and it felt rewarding to see a risk come through, though I had said I would not get bragging points for the risk. I was pretty happy to see the Ridley fan base go wild towards the reveal.

As for my thoughts on playing Ridley, he is ok. He has some neat killing options all around his moveset, but I find the start-up in some moves and overall movement to be too slow for my personal liking. He is not a fighter that I have fun playing as, as fun as other heavies as Bowser and King Dedede. I would be playing Ridley online heavily, had he not been the first and only character I unlocked Elite Smash with. I am afraid that I will lose Elite Smash mode if I play as Ridley again online. I might try playing as him offline more to master the character and find fun combos and mix-ups.


Daisy: This character threw me off. Before her reveal, I concluded my thoughts that Daisy would not get in due to her lack of importance in mainline Mario games after Super Mario Land. I predicted that there was going to be one semi-clone newcomer, veteran, and one near-clone akin to Dark Pit. A “Wolf, Jigglypuff, and Toon Link” of Brawl in a sense, but with a near clone as the third instead.

When Daisy was revealed at E3 2018, the main criteria for near clones (now called echoes) begun to change for me. I thought if her significance to the Mario series was not a detriment in echo decisions, then the criteria for echoes must be very loose. I opened up to other possibilities, thinking about the possibility of third-party echoes like Shadow, since his Assist Trophy disappearance in Ultimate’s E3 2018 demo was missing. In terms of fan reception, I was most glad to see memoryman3’s wish come true since Daisy was the last thing I expected from Sakurai, though that user quickly transitioned to complain about Daisy’s clone status right after.

Gameplay-wise, I think Daisy is a pretty dope inclusion. I do not like the play-styles of Peach and Daisy personally, but when I am in the mood to play as either, I go with Daisy because of her tomboyish personality. I do not have many thoughts on Daisy beyond that.


Simon Belmont: Like Ridley, I began predicting Simon as soon as Verge posted his rumor on GameFaqs. I had a neutral stance on Simon prior to the rumor because of the company Konami being **** towards their employees and Kojima. I thought this would change Sakurai morally to not add Snake and other Konami newcomers, even when I knew Masahiro Sakurai had close memories growing up with the franchise. It turns out this was not the case, which I assumed when the Vergeben rumor came. I took the early risk to predict him because Sakurai possibly changing his mind. As a result of Simon, I also predicted Snake right after.

It was sort of a dramatic ride maintaining my prediction of Simon up to the August Direct, because some Smash fans were debating about Simon not being in, even after Snake’s reveal in the Everyone is Here trailer that made Simon an easy prediction to make at that point. This skepticism was understandable to an extent due to Verge’s mixed record of correct rumors. I saw Simon supporters losing hope as the negative environment around the character grew. When his reveal came, I was pretty happy. Like Ridley though, I said to myself I would not get bragging points for being wrong about Simon prior to the Verge rumor. It was so disappointing to see the reactions outside of the support thread, because the most popular reaction videos I saw were people who seem to hardly care about Castlevania (Outside of Somecallmejohnny’s reaction).

Looking back, I should have realized back then ultimately Sakurai wanting to bring veterans back would be the ultimate reason Sakurai would willingly negotiate with Konami for their characters. Even then, I still think that there still may have been a moral dilemma. Transitioning to the gameplay of Simon, I will clarify more on that with the next newcomer.


Richter Belmont: This echo threw me off-guard. I knew a bit about Richter’s game with Somecallmejohnny’s review on Rondo of Blood prior to the reveal, but the idea of him as an echo fighter was never thought of. I was mostly thinking about popular echo choices like Octolings and Shadow prior to the reveal that Richter was never brought up in the Smash speculation community as a real possibility. I had realized after Richter’s reveal that the criteria for echoes were absolute loose. The possibility of a large number of new echo fighters came into mind for me because of the ease of development and Sakurai possibly catering to as many fans as possible with these kinds of characters. My prediction ended up being not true, with Smash Ultimate’s echo count being lower than expected. Richter Belmont’s inclusion definitely shows Sakurai’s love (and bias) for Castlevania. I like to think when Sakurai decided to add Richter, he was like “To hell with it, I will feed my ego and do what I want!”

I personally prefer playing Richter over Simon due to his personality. His brave look compared to Simon’s rather grim expression made me choose to play Richter. I kind of liked playing as Simon when I got him in World of Light. But after I beat the story campaign to unlock all characters, I started playing Richter more. After playing as Richter online multiple times, his play-style is now embodied to my spirit and soul.

It is fun to play as Richter when I am playing mix-ups aggressively on an opponent. Sometimes, it is a bit of a struggle to play as Richter when playing against characters with quick priority attacks, but the challenge in winning those kinds of matches is so gratifying. I do not exactly main Richter, but I enjoy playing as him when I am in the mood to do so. Richter is one of my favorite characters to play as out of all Ultimate newcomers. Nowadays, I imagine an alternate universe where Richter was the big star of Castlevania and not Simon, because he is much cooler to me.


Chrom: I would have never predicted Chrom getting in as an echo fighter. I thought after Daisy’s reveal that even in the situation of echo fighter criteria were very loose, Sakurai would not add Chrom due to his feelings on Fire Emblem representation in his interview about Corrin. That interview is why I did not predict Lyndis and why I eventually stopped predicting Celica as a possible Fire Emblem semi-clone of Robin (Which was an idea I used to strongly believe in). Chrom’s reveal further cemented the idea that echo fighter rules were absolute absolutely loose, and that the echoes could be anyone.

Gameplay-wise, I used to not like playing against him online, because the matches I play against him tend to go for the same strategies and relying on the Up-Special for cheap kills. The Up-Special tactic is fixed in a latter game patch and makes playing against Chrom less frustrating. I remember when Smash Ultimate first came out, his addition felt very rushed in the first release, given the notable discrepancies I saw on social media like Chrom appearing in Robin’s Final Smash. The care Chrom got made me see the character negatively at first.

Nowadays, I enjoy playing as Chrom because of his absurd quick attacks, movement, and excellent aerial game. I find the character most fun to play when I use constant mix-ups, with a playstyle that it is not the typical Chrom online player. When I play as Chrom, it is kind of a fun game of “every attack matters, and if you miss an attack, you are wide open and prone to losing a stock quick by edgeguard.” I enjoy playing as him, more than Roy admittedly. Chrom is possibly one of my favorite echoes to play, as alongside my other echo main Dark Pit.


Dark Samus: Like Chrom, I would have never predicted Dark Samus either. Her not appearing in recent Metroid games made me doubt her (Just so you know, I thought the dormant Nintendo character logic applied only to unique Nintendo newcomers as a possible echo at the time). I did not think that the lack of her AT in the E3 2018 demo was an indication of her playable. I believe I said that after Ridley, that would be all the character representation Metroid got. Of course, I was wrong on that front. Looking back, I wish I was not so concerned about franchise representation to bet on echoes and betted on riskier echo choices instead of playing it safe with choices I had near confidence on.

As far as playing as Dark Samus goes, she is fun to play whenever I get the chance. I prefer Dark Samus over Samus aesthetically with her blue plasma attacks Beyond that, I do not have anything more to say about the character. I have not explored Samus and Dark Samus enough, neither am I so interested in practicing them at the current moment.


King K. Rool: This was one of the few Smash newcomers that I considered a risky bet prior to the reveal. King K. Rool was a very risky prediction to me because there were hardly any sources of Sakurai talking about the Donkey Kong Country games and Diddy inclusion in Brawl. Even when I researched the current situation with Rare and the team at Nintendo who were in charge of the Donkey Kong IP now, it went nowhere. There was hardly anything that made me feel sure about K. Rool, contrast to the confidence people had about the character primarily due to only the ballot and nothing else.

The main things that made me willing to predict King K. Rool was the Mii costume in Smash 4 and Sakurai’s statements about Geno when discussing his Mii costume. The latter was the biggest positive factor to me because it suggested that there could be a chance that Sakurai could make characters that were dormant in their respective franchises finally playable. Out of all of the dormant Nintendo characters, I felt more confident on Geno and Skull Kid, since there were more things that could’ve line up for their inclusion (In SK’s case, that was way before the Moon Assist reveal in the August Direct). Funny how things work, because King K. Rool ended up being the only old, dormant character that got in Ultimate’s base game. K. Rool’s reveal back then gave me further confidence that Skull Kid and Geno could also get in as a result, but that did not happen. I feel lucky that I managed to get K. Rool right.

Playing as this character is pretty fun. His aerials are surprisingly fast and satisfying to use (Back-Air and Down-Air are highlights). I like using his projectiles sometimes to mix things, usually the Crown Toss since it starts up faster. I wish his cannonball special move angled in more directions, but the strict angle is good enough in terms of unpredictability for me to be ok with it. I think K. Rool’s super armor belly makes the character too broken, even with the drawbacks of the shield being able to make K. Rool dizzy. The shield armor should only be in K. Rool’s counter special. Issues aside, I think K. Rool is one of the best heavies to play as. I personally play K. Rool online far more than Ultimate’s other unique newcomers.


Isabelle: Since the beginning of Smash Switch speculation, I had 99% confidence of Isabelle getting in. The heavy marketing and promotion that the character received since her debut in New Leaf (similar to Rosalina prior to her reveal in Smash 4), the large popularity she has worldwide, and the unconventional moveset potential she had akin to Villager and Wii Fit Trainer made me sure that she was going to be in. She had become a huge staple for the Animal Crossing franchise that I would have been shocked if Sakurai excluded her.

Although I was confident about Isabelle, it was a bit annoying to hear the arguments of Isabelle being too pacifist. At the time, I personally felt that Isabelle’s personality and characterization would non-issue for Sakurai. The speculation community’s idea that her fighting would go against the character was an extremely weak argument to me. I believed that Sakurai would be capable of integrating Isabelle’s personality in the little details in her moveset to make her work well in Smash. I also thought that Sakurai would be able to make a unique moveset for Isabelle, but she got the semi- clone treatment, which I have mixed feelings towards.

I personally think Isabelle could have easily gotten a unique moveset and stand out play-style distinct from Villager. I thought Sakurai would explore Isabelle to as much of a degree as Rosalina, exploring the core mechanics of New Leaf’s mayor gameplay mechanics to build a moveset out of, like how Sakurai utilized Super Mario Galaxy’s gameplay mechanics to create Rosalina’s moveset. But, it seemed like Isabelle was more suited to an echo fighter to Sakurai initially than anything else according to interviews, which, considering Sakurai’s level of creativity in making movesets, is very disappointing in my opinion.

As far as gameplay goes Isabelle’s moveset is not of my personal preference. As fun and useful as the Fishing Rod is, I prefer Villager more in terms of setting up tactics. I think Villager’s tree special alone is fun enough for me to use Villager over Isabelle. Although, one thing I love to do with Isabelle is when the opponent is vulnerable as hell, I like to pull-off Isabelle’s Side Smash as a surprise attack. It gives me an excuse to scream out “SURPRISE ************!” when I pull out the party popper, and that makes the move satisfying when KOing opponents. Isabelle is a nice inclusion and I was initially quite happy when she was revealed, but creatively, a lot more could have been done to her moveset.


Ken: If I could go back in time to change my second major newcomer predictions, I would have added Ken. For some reason, despite being open to echoes since Daisy’s reveal (somewhat), I did not seriously consider Ken. The community’s idea of Ken being likely because of him being the “original echo fighter” did not convince me to add him in my predictions. I do not remember the details, but I believe I excluded Ken when I made my new predictions in June 2018 because I thought the number of echoes was going to be a small number at the time. (I later expected a bigger echo count after the August Direct) After Daisy’s reveal, I believed Octolings and Shadow were next and only echoes left (which ended up not being the case).

I do not have much to say about him speculation-wise beyond that. Nor do I have much to say about playing as him. I hardly play Ken or Ryu in Ultimate due to the range of their attacks being too short and their movement being too slow for my tastes. I thought I would love Ken because of his cool personality, but I was not interested after playing with him the first few times. I am not interested playing more of Ken at the moment.


Incineroar: I have an interesting history with predicting Pokemon newcomers. At first, I joined the bandwagon and predicted Decidueye as early as 2016. But, when I came back to speculate newcomers for Smash Switch and evolved my mindset over time, my thoughts slowly began to change. I remember fondly in May 2018 when I made the bold decision to predict Lycanroc over Decidueye. I found major flaws in the community’s arguments the more I researched Sakurai’s process of choosing Pokemon newcomers, and that the super chances people gave to the archer owl were primarily driven by just popularity and moveset potential, not taking into account other factors such as how much the Pokemon really gets marketed in merchandise, games, and the Sun & Moon anime. That was what I was thinking at the time.

I was firm of Lycanroc in particular because he had the most notable marketing in Pokemon Sun and Moon. I did not think anyone else would be in because he had the most going for it. But as time passed, Vergeben eventually came forth to say that the Pokemon newcomer was not Decidueye, Mimikyu, or Lycanroc. This came across as really strange to me, and I continued to stay bold about my choice on Lycanroc until weeks or months later. When more insiders were hinting Incineroar, I began sharing my thoughts on why Incineroar did not make sense to me, saying that the Pokemon was not as marketed as Lycanroc and saying that the wrestler part of the Pokemon would not be enough to convince Sakurai to make him playable. My argument being that the sort of character already fills in the fire-based heavy niche with Charizard and Bowser, and because of that, Sakurai would have compared Incineroar to other characters and not find him interesting, find more unique, better opportunities for Generation 7 Pokemon fighter.

But the more I thought about this, as the last Smash direct came closer to airing in November, the more I realized that the Sakurai could find that wrestler style unique, regardless of Pokemon type, possibly thinking about it in fighting game terms where he had not tried out the grappler archetype until now. I also thought, “Maybe you do not need to be the most promoted Pokemon to get in, you just got to be promoted notably enough”. I had accepted my loss at that point, grasping the little hope I had that Lycanroc would get in with non-Vergeben rumors at the same time.

I still felt pretty mixed after Incineroar’s reveal, not really liking the character until I got to play as him heavily online. He is pretty slow and his range sucks, but his killer tools like his build-up counter special and the snarky attitude he has after attacking an opponent made me like him a lot. I hardly win matches with Incineroar online because of his weaknesses, but he is still overall pretty fun.

Looking back, I wish I had considered Incineroar more and had not thought about him negatively in a moveset comparison sense. The past is the past though, and I admit to my logical faults on Incineroar speculation-wise. Now I like his inclusion. The time of predicting Pokemon newcomer for the base game was a wild ride from beginning to end. Incineroar is the only unique newcomer in the base game that I was wrong about. The funny thing about Pokemon newcomer speculation in is that Decidueye ended up being one of the final two candidates in Ultimate’s project plan. I realized that maybe the Pokemon criteria did not matter. Maybe uniqueness was the first and most important factor Sakurai considered when choosing a Pokemon newcomer. That aside, I am happy about his inclusion, mostly because Golden-senpai finally got what he wanted in Smash Ultimate (Poor Shadow though).


Piranha Plant: If you told me that a generic Super Mario enemy would actually be playable in Smash, I would not have believed you, even in the hypothetical timeline where Vergeben had the courage to say Piranha Plant was in Smash when he was given this info earlier before the November 2018 Direct. I was in disbelief when I saw that reveal. I initially saw Piranha Plant in a negative light after the direct. I am still mixed about his inclusion today, but not as much as before.

Seeing Sakurai say in an interview that he was the kind of fighter equivalent to Mr. Game & Watch, R.O.B., and Duck Hunt was disappointing to me. Personally, I like the surprise fighters that represent an obscure, but essential part of Nintendo’s history, and Piranha Plant left a bad taste in my mouth, being just a generic enemy not really representing a core part of Nintendo or even Mario well. I would have been fine with Piranha Plant had there been more kinds of surprise fighters like retros in the base game, but he is the only surprise Nintendo newcomer choice of Ultimate thus far.

Playing as Piranha Plant, he is not a bad character. I enjoy playing as him, though not primarily for the jokes. I think all of his special moves are absurdly good that makes him a solid edge-guarder and a beast in stage control. My favorite non-special moves to use are his F-Air, B-Air, and Side-Tilt because the start up of those moves is very quick and do decent damage (Especially the latter, where I can pull off two Side-tilts in early percents). Piranha Plant is a dope addition, gameplay-wise.


Joker: I had actually thought of the possibility of Joker before and added him in a hypothetical line-up where all the big Japanese 3rd-party newcomers are present, putting Joker as the Bayonetta-kind of character. By that, I mean Sakurai making an exception to the rule, where being a long-time gaming icon does not matter, moreso franchise merits that make his inclusion worthy for Smash.

Persona was definitely in the ranks worthy of merit to me because it was one of the most critically acclaimed JRPG series ever, much like how the Bayonetta games are considered by Sakurai to be one of the most fluid action games ever. Joker felt like a choice Sakurai would go for if he broke his third-party criteria again. That is why I saw him as a real possibility, though not for the base game because of the project plan date preceding Joker’s game (P5 was first released in Japan in 2016 after all). And with DLC, I was not willing to predict him at all, given the continued uncertainty of project plan dates at the time to make the bet. I was focused on predicting bigger Japanese gaming icons like Frogger, Leon Kennedy, and Sora. I shrugged off the possibility of a Bayonetta-esque third-party under the carpet.

To be honest, I wanted to be hyped by Joker’s reveal back then, but when I saw the reveal trailer, I was dying for a P5 Switch port more than anything else. My reaction to the Smash invitation was disappointment initially. If that was a reveal for Yu (the protagonist of Persona 4, which is my f#2 favorite game ever), I would have been hyped. At that time, I have not played P5 to be as hyped as other people were like AfroSenju XL back when the Game Awards aired in December 2018.

Playing as Joker is very fun. He feels like the best combination of Fox and Sheik, and racks hits pretty fast. Something about playing as him makes me want to give my all in skill. This satisfaction of playing as him likely comes from the fact that most of his moves have very little end lag. Joker nearly hits the sweet spot for me in terms of move options. Because of playing as Joker online so much and having a PS4 at the time (which I primarily bought for Kingdom Hearts 3), I ended up buying Persona 5 this May to finally play the protagonist’s game. So far, I am enjoying the game a lot, though not as much as Persona 4. It is too addicting to play though, to the point where the game is responsible for eating the time away from writing my Smash Ultimate thoughts after classes this spring were over. Oops.


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Thoughts on Smash Ultimate’s Newcomer Lineup Overall

In my opinion, the overall lineup of Ultimate’s base game newcomers come is alright (speaking in number of unique newcomers), but I feel it is very small. I understand that Sakurai’s goal of bringing back every veteran was the number one priority for Smash Ultimate. That feat is worthy of high admiration, but it is not something I completely jive with, as someone that prefers the large number of unique newcomers Sakurai set forth in the previous two Smash games.

I personally think the only glaring omission in Ultimate’s newcomer list is a retro character. In my opinion, retro characters are what distinguished Sakurai as a game director that truly showed the passion he had for Nintendo, representing even the most obscure works in Nintendo history. Retro characters kickstarted the idea of potential revivals of dormant Nintendo IPs, bringing a feeling of hope for people that one day, those old franchises can get sequels like KI: Uprising. I adore that retros have made some Smash fans feel this way.

Retros also have moveset potential that cannot be found in other kinds of Nintendo characters bringing a unique nostalgic flavor and distinction. I speak of retros like Lip the fairy with her flower puzzle abilities and Takamaru the samurai with his Japanese weaponry. Without the retro, Ultimate’s overall list of newcomers loses that special touch of Sakurai magic, with the newcomer variety feeling somewhat lacking as a result. One new retro would have made Ultimate’s newcomer list satisfying enough for me.


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Looking Back on How I Speculated for Smash Ultimate

When I saw the ‘Everyone is Here!’ trailer in Nintendo’s E3 2018 direct for the first time, my mind was blown. As someone that had read a ton of Sakurai interviews for the purposes of Ultimate speculation, I believed Sakurai would go beyond veterans and include 15+ unique newcomers to blow the most hardcore Smash speculators away, given his notable improvement in efficiency in developing unique newcomers over the past four Smash games.

In retrospect, that prospect was ridiculous to me now when considering the number of characters in the roster Sakurai would have to balance carefully and give content for, if the number of unique newcomers went beyond the six he chose for the base game. I rejected the fewer newcomers possibility and Sakurai’s statement of “not many fighters to reveal left”, but not for simple reasons. It goes beyond that, rooting in the beginnings of me speculating for Smash Switch in March 8, 2018.

I originally did not want to speculate at all, being content with my new hobbies of anime and manga. I said that I would be hanging on the sides with speculation this time, not going full-on speculation mode as Smash 4. However, over time, I started to get back in a groove of researching Nintendo franchises, Sakurai interviews, and possible third-party connections that could lead to a character in Smash, I began to enjoy speculating. I was more careful into connecting the dots. I researched in-depth on every possible newcomer candidate, gradually forming those thoughts through discussions on the Smash Switch’s Newcomer Speculation section. My primary reasons for speculating blossomed over time, those reasons being:

1. Speculating in general was a nice exercise of improving my writing skills. At the time of speculating for Ultimate, I was also writing in-depth impressions of anime and manga I finished, analyzing the execution of story, characters, presentation etc. These skills of writing about anime came to use for speculation and I was way better at explaining things than I previously was in Smash 4 speculation times. I greatly enjoyed explaining in-depth on why I believed Tom Nook had a high chance of being in Smash, why I believed Lycanroc had a solid chance of being the Pokemon newcomer, or why I stuck to my belief of Isaac and Captain Toad having a small chance getting in Smash in the Rate Their Chances thread.

2. I wanted to redeem myself for pulling back my Bayonetta prediction last minute, a before she was revealed in Smash 4’s final direct in 2016. I had the strong belief that Bayonetta would get in due to Platinum Games’ close connection to Nintendo, ballot popularity, and the endless amounts of moveset potential that Sakurai could utilize for the character in Smash. I pulled back because I did not have full faith and greatly feared potential ridicule if I ended up being wrong. When it came to Smash Ultimate speculation, I set a new goal of sticking to my beliefs and not following the popular consensus on which newcomer is likely or not.

That belief stayed true to an extent, since I wanted to revise my predictions after the E3 2018 Nintendo Direct. When I chose to redo the predictions, I told myself that it would be the last time I revise them. I stuck with my beliefs and I got rewarded for it. The bold prediction of predicting Simon and Ridley before they were seen as likely at later points of speculation worked in my favor (again, no bragging points for this, haha!). I stuck to my beliefs of Isabelle likely getting in and finally saw the pacifist argument come to a close. My risky prediction of K. Rool actually came true. Those particular newcomer reveals kept me faithful to my predictions. I was on a streak of correct unique newcomer predictions. As the months went by with the streak continuing, I believed that sticking to my gut was the right way to go. It felt like I might finally nail my newcomer predictions this time.

3. The friends I had close bonds with over the course of Smash Ultimate base game speculation. I was following many support threads at the time, speaking openly with supporters of Bandanna Dee, Ashley, Isaac, King K. Rool, Chorus Kids, Lip, Professor Layton, Lycanroc, Sora, Prince Sable, Isabelle, and many other newcomers. I gained closer friendships with many Smashboard users like N3ON, King Sonnn Dededoo, Cosmic77, Pacack, WeirdChillFever, and GoldenYuiitusin over discussing Ultimate speculation. A number of users that closely participated in the Rate Their Chances thread became closer buddies to me. Those friendships eventually expanded outside of Smashboards like mimique’s Discord server.

These three things kept me going as a Smash speculator and made me keep faith in my newcomer predictions. That belief was so strong to the point where I found the possibility of veterans getting in the way of developing more newcomers to be very unlikely. I believed I was in the right path. I even took the risk of betting real money to Cutie Gwen, betting that a Hanafuda character would be in Smash. That pure faith had a big part in being initially disappointed with the November 2018 Smash Direct. I do not regret the time I spent with my friends to discuss Smash though. I would not have enjoyed Smash Ultimate speculation as much if it were not for them. That being said, if there is anything you can learn from my actions, it is that even when you have a multitude of convincing things that drive your beliefs, it is not a guarantee that your faith will lead to an end goal of satisfaction. What you see as ideal and probable to happen in Smash even with solid evidence may not be a part of Sakurai’s creative vision.


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The Downs of my Smash Ultimate Speculation Journey

This section was the hardest to write about. I am going to do my best in explaining the struggles I faced in Ultimate speculation, without sounding like a salty doofus. If I come across that way at some points in this section, I apologize greatly. Ever since Smash Switch’s announcement, I had gradually become more passionate and open-minded about speculation over time. I had a major goal of influencing speculators to get outside the mindset of expecting only ballot newcomers before E3 2018 came. I did heavy research, arguing over a variety of newcomers and their chances of being playable to the best of my ability in the Rate Their Chances and Smash Switch Social thread. Yet, even in finding many speculators I could openly talk to, the community was still certain days prior to the E3 2018 Direct that the ballot would be the only thing that mattered without critically thinking about other factors.

The popular newcomers mindset was further cemented in the community after the Everyone is Here! trailer. At the time, I had somewhat of an emotional breakdown over the direction Ultimate was taking. I was unable to process all the information that I believed this Smash changed speculation for the worst. I took speculation too seriously. That was the first major low-point. After giving it some thought, I wanted to speculate once more with a second newcomer analysis in early July, changing the way I speculated, as well as changing my behavior to be less melodramatic towards things I am wrong about.

I was enjoying speculation again. I grew closer to many newcomer support groups and found more people to discuss Smash speculation in-depth with. At some point, however, I started to feel isolated. The popular newcomers only mindset was still a major belief, and eventually that made me ponder new questions in my mind: “Will the community ever change their mindset on speculation?”, “Will I ever find more people who have the level of passion in speculating as me?”, and “Will I ever find a speculator that is open to many possibilities and willing to take as much risks in predictions as I have been doing?”. I never found those kinds of people around the time and the community did not really change much either. In early August, it got to the point where I moved on to other hobbies I enjoyed (like anime) while waiting for something interesting to happen in the speculation scene.

The August Smash Direct was when more of my unique newcomer predictions had come true with Simon and K. Rool. I felt far more confident about my Skull Kid and Geno predictions with dormant characters being a real possibility and the Moon AT. I stuck to my beliefs closer, yet I still felt isolated. The same questions appeared in my mind again and I took breaks on speculation as I waited for the next newcomer reveal in September. I was more firm on my predictions after I got Isabelle right. It was around that point where I felt confident about my 15+ newcomer predictions, and believed Sakurai’s statement of not many fighters to reveal left to be a tactic that would allow Sakurai to reveal a large bundle of newcomers later.

Then the leak scene came around in October. Vergeben was sure about Incineroar in Smash and the Grinch leak spread like wildfire. I realized the speculation scene was not going to change at that point, and believed in my predictions, alone. When the November Smash Direct came, well, you already know what happened to me when I saw the November direct the first time. This was my second major low-point as a speculator. I went through a myriad of mixed feelings on several things. Neither the side that believed only popular newcomers nor the side that believed the opposite had much of a victory. Newcomer fan bases I cared about lost hope. It was definitely not a pleasant time for me.

In the end, I did not have much influence to change the Smash Ultimate speculation community scene for the better. Now, the speculation community has pretty much dried up, with some waiting for Erdrick to be revealed already. The few hardcore speculators I knew retired, left, or grew tired of speculating. To be honest, I am still willing to speculate DLC newcomers. There is a chance that I could find more open-minded speculators to discuss with. But sadly for me, I have to move on.

I wanted to have the best time in speculating Smash Ultimate’s base game with the community in 2018 before I focused and studied hard for my future career in 2019. Unfortunately, many circumstances regarding speculation, Smash, Sakurai, and the community itself lead to me not having the best experience. That is just how life goes I suppose. It sucks. Still, there are a couple more things that I want to express about Smash before I leave speculation and Smashboards for good. I still have a little more strong passion for Smash left within me!


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Newcomers I Personally Believe Smash’s Roster Needs

I want to use my knowledge of Nintendo and Japanese gaming one more time with this particular topic because it is interesting to talk about. Throughout my year-long research of every potential Smash Bros candidate, I have created my minimum, but definitive list of newcomers that I believe Smash needs to make the roster complete. I want to start this by discussing Nintendo newcomer choices. Out of all of Nintendo characters I researched, the three I list below are the only ones I believe would truly complete the Nintendo all-star line-up. I feel these particular characters have earned their place in Smash due to a large number of strong achievements. I will go over the possible reasons for their exclusion in the base game, as well as speculate what their chances are if they were get in as DLC or the next Smash game.


Tom Nook
: Understandably outmatched by Isabelle, in terms of recent significance to the Animal Crossing franchise, to be not be chosen in the small pool of Ultimate’s base game newcomers, Tom Nook is the only significant Animal Crossing character not yet playable in Smash. Even when Isabelle started to become the new star of the AC franchise, Tom Nook still had his fair share of significant roles in later games and still cultivated a large number of fans that loved to depict the character in tax, office, and debt related memes. The merchant is still a widely beloved Nintendo icon who continues to be strongly relevant in the Animal Crossing games. I am personally still baffled that Tom Nook is not playable to this day.

I still believe there is a lot of mainstream appeal to making Tom Nook a fighter that would get the most casual Animal Crossing fans to playing Smash, primarily for the bizarre and hilarious idea of finally beating up the merchant for debt troubles or to assert dominance by playing as the Tom to smack many players with bell bags. Tom Nook’s fighter theme of money for power is clear to me and it can easily translate to a unique play-style. One idea for Tom’s play-style is earning bells when Tom Nook is skillfully hitting opponents. The more bells obtained, the more powerful his special moves become, being able to spend bells for strong, sturdier tools such as a longer lasting recovery or a bigger house that can be spawned on the ground and crush opponents like Villager’s tree.

Tom Nook has many ways he can be unique if he were in Smash, but judging by how in Ultimate’s planning phases Sakurai initially seen Isabelle as an echo and not been able to find the potential and take creative liberty as he did for Rosalina in Smash 4 in, Tom is not an idea I can be excited for anymore when I think critically about the reality of the potential outcome. I thought when Sakurai mentioned the importance of having non-combatant newcomers back in an early Smash 4 interview, he would now be capable of thinking at a more creative level than the past Smash games to be able to come up with fun moveset ideas for Animal Crossing newcomers he planned to add in Ultimate. I overestimated Sakurai’s creative capabilities in that regard.

It seems to me that the thought of echo material for Isabelle became the emphasized thought to Sakurai more than anything else, clouding the possibility of going beyond to make a stand out play-style for the character. The low number of Ultimate unique newcomers planned via base game may have also played a part in limiting creativity, with the selection consisting of multiple ballot suggestions, a new IP character, and the placeholder new generation Pokemon, not giving room for Isabelle to come off as an standout idea worth exploring in the process of elimination to Sakurai. It is a shame because Sakurai could have done more with Animal Crossing newcomers if he thought about Isabelle a little more.

Should Tom Nook be playable in Smash one day, whether it is Ultimate DLC or a new Smash, in Sakurai’s creative hands, I think the most he will be creatively capable of is perceiving Tom as just a potential clone to expand later to distinguish as a semi-clone by using other tools in AC games that are not used by the two Animal Crossing characters in the roster. It is because of how Isabelle’s moveset was done in Smash Ultimate that I cannot passionately want Tom Nook in Smash anymore. Should Tom likely be in as a semi-clone acting as another variation of Villager’s play-style one day, I think most fans would be happy. But for me personally, it would honestly not be a satisfying outcome. It would be the least satisfying way to make one of the most iconic Nintendo characters playable.


Chorus Kids: I am incredibly surprised by the exclusion of Chorus Kids in Ultimate. I thought that the Switch having not the same level of limitations as the 3DS would not only bring back the Ice Climbers, but also re-implement the concept of Chorus Kids made in the Smash 4 planning phases too. Sadly, the most Rhythm Heaven got for representation is a bunch of stickers and music tracks.

The only explanations that could have caused their exclusion might have to do with the franchise’s popularity status in Japan in 2015 or some technical limitations that prevented the Chorus Kids from being developed. Technically speaking, I do not think the character would have faced much issues, considering the simplicity of the character designs. Perhaps the moveset concept of utilizing rhythm and timing for more powerful attacks for a unique play-style did not work well in practicality? I cannot imagine that being the case at all, as it is an idea that I feel is not as complex to implement as integrating Heihachi and Tekken mechanics in Smash.

Considering the other Smash fighters that have moves involving input timing like Wii Fit’s Down-B and Incineroar’s Side-B, I do not think it would be a hard task for Sakurai. Unless, this became a problem in multiplayer, where multiple players that are playing Chorus Kids have to listen to cues to activate the full power of rhythm-based moves and that becoming a potentially frustrating task. Perhpas that is the issue, but it is hard to imagine that being a problem, as there are easy solutions to making that work, such as adding visual effects that indicate timing, like a shrinking enclosing, almost invisible circle in every move that lets you know when to attack when it shrinks to a dot.

Maybe Sakurai only had one new IP newcomer in mind, and chose to add Inklings in Smash Ultimate over Chorus Kids due to the mainstream success of Splatoon, being compared to Rhythm Heaven Megamix’s underwhelming sales performance in Japan in the same year (Megamix had only been localized and released at the West in 2016 to not be a factor for Ultimate’s 2015 project plan)? Maybe the uniqueness Inklings had perhaps struck more of a chord with Sakurai than his old Smash 4 concept of the Chorus Kids?

To be honest, it frustrates me somewhat that the Chorus Kids are not in yet. Rhythm Heaven as a franchise has gained a strong cult following in the West over the years, continuing to stay strongly relevant today with fan projects like Rhythm Reanimate. It has such a dedicated fan base that is as passionate as the MOTHER and Xenoblade fan base. Now in some parts of the Smash community, Chorus Kids is just seen as a joke that should not be in over other fan wants. The Rhythm Heaven franchise has been proven to be worthy of a playable character in Smash 4 through game success and popularity of the DS and Wii iterations, yet it has not happened yet.

I have a small grain of hope that Chorus Kids might be in the Fighter’s Pass due to Reggie’s old Game Awards 2018 statement of DLC fighters being new to the series and the spirit stuff not being an impenetrable wall after looking into several bits of data-mined information. I generally think that all the DLC fighters will be profitable third-party guests that attract new audiences to Smash. I do not think Chorus Kids will be part of it because of that, but who knows?


Dixie Kong: I remember when many supporters had regained hope for Dixie after Isabelle’s reveal opened up the possibility of other semi-clones in the September 2018 Nintendo Direct. Unfortunately, Isabelle was the only character to receive the special semi-clone treatment, while every other new clone was echoed. Dixie Kong’s large amount of votes in the ballot ended up getting the character at most a special nod by Sakurai with the Mii hat. That likely closes the door for Dixie being playable in Ultimate.

It is very weird that Dixie is not in Smash’s roster now, considering the prime timing of Tropical Freeze’s 2014 release that made Dixie a relevant, significant character in the Donkey Kong Country franchise again and her scrapped playable appearance in Brawl. My guess for Dixie not being considered seriously for Ultimate probably lies in Sakurai’s mindset of deciding clones, specifically the first step of the process on deciding whether the character is appropriate for echo treatment. Considering the likely semi-clone plans Sakurai likely sketched for Dixie in Brawl and the distinct body features that make her different from Diddy, there is a real possibility that Sakurai came in conflict and first deemed Dixie Kong not appropriate for echo treatment. Thus, the potential next step of Dixie becoming a semi-clone never passed for Sakurai and his Ultimate project plan.

Realistically, the only way I can see Dixie become playable is if she becomes relevant with a significant role in a new DKC game and maintain strong fan-popularity for a new Smash. That is, if Sakurai has the semi-clone development mindset again with new potential semi-clone candidates not impeding the way for Dixie. The planets would have to align for Dixie to get in. If I were being honest, I would much rather have seen Dixie get the semi-clone treatment and not Isabelle to accompany King K. Rool and complete DKC character representation. Beyond that, I have not much else to say about the character. Dixie is the only remaining significant DKC newcomer not in Smash yet.


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Transitioning to third-party newcomers, I am going to talk less from a speculation standpoint and more of what I want to see happen. I had this thought for a while ever since I finalized my third-party newcomer choices in my second predictions, and I strongly believe that Sakurai should add the remaining gaming icons for the Fighter Pass. If Sakurai is not going to add the remaining Nintendo all-stars in Ultimate, at the very least, add characters from iconic, high-selling franchises such as Frogger, Resident Evil, Kingdom Hearts, and Tekken are from companies Sakurai already has been given permission to use IPs of.

Hell, if Sakurai is going to add third-party characters from franchises whose success roots mostly from Japan such as Erdrick (assuming he happens), he might as well add Monster Hunter and Lloyd Irving too (Though the former is kind of unlikely to happen now, given Ratholos and its role in Ultimate’s base game). Represent every huge Japanese video game franchise that moved the gaming era forward. Ultimate should expand with more fighter passes to make the remaining third-party guests playable before the inevitable licensing nightmare comes for the next Smash game. That is a dream feat that should happen while we still have the dream feat of every Smash veteran returning in Ultimate.

But, it feels likely that Sakurai will be settled and satisfied after the first Fighter Pass has been completed in development. I would not blame Sakurai if he decided to take a long break from Smash for after DLC is done. It would be a warranted move given Sakurai’s huge efforts for Ultimate. But if things are going to end with the first pass, it will be a missed opportunity in my opinion. Sakurai should achieve another dream scenario for Ultimate before he possibly leaves Smash Bros. for good. This kind of roster should happen:



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A Potential Route for a Future Iteration of the Super Smash Bros Series

I want to talk about the potential of a new Smash game. A new Smash sequel would likely never reach the dreamy heights of Ultimate’s roster and probably alienate the fan base should an adjusted roster with a large number of veterans and newcomers cut happen. I personally think the best route a new Smash can go to that could make the franchise refreshing is not by exploring Nintendo characters and gaming icons again. Rather, by exploring characters from other Japanese mediums, specifically characters from anime and manga.

I dabbled around the concept for fun at the start of 2019 after being invested in the Japanese mediums for two years. I grew fonder appreciation for anime and manga over time for the emotional character stories and wacky ideas/concepts used to tell compelling themes and messages. The more I thought about it, the more I loved the idea. I adored the idea of representing more of the Japan media industry via anime and manga characters in Smash, beyond Japan’s gaming icons.

Anime/manga characters have a more to dabble with in terms of moveset potential. They have a whole goldmine and have a high level of distinction that not even third-party characters can provide. Magical girls that kick *** like Nagisa & Honoka from Pretty Cure and Cardcaptor Sakura. Shonen protagonists with bizarre powers and intriguingly complex battle systems like Gon’s Nen abilities and Luffy’s Devil Fruit powers. Mecha fighters like Simon of Gurren Lagann and Shinji Akari of Evangelion that would make R.O.B. **** his pants. Where else in the video game medium would you find famous characters who can turn into an epic titan like Eren Yaeger, a godly martial artist like Goku, or a swift and badass detective like Shinichi Kudo? All of these potential ideas drive my imagination like crazy. It is why I want to see Sakurai do an anime Smash so badly. Like, really REALLY badly!

The major things that would impede the idea from happening are licensing matters and Sakurai’s potential difficulties with incorporating anime/manga characters in Smash. To be honest, I have no idea how collaborations and negotiations happen between anime/manga companies and publishers, contrast to my vast, but limited knowledge of how negotiations works between many Japanese gaming companies. Chances are that it would probably cost a lot more to license the big time popular anime/manga franchises for characters. It would be even harder when considering the potential difficulties of licensing anime OSTs, opening and ending songs to add in an anime Smash.

Regarding Sakurai’s potential difficulties, it is more so from a gameplay and gaming stance. It could take a lot more creative liberties and extensive research to translate anime/manga characters in Smash. Not anime/manga characters can provide a core gameplay mechanic from their franchise that can easily set down a foundation for a unique Smash play-style. I think this way because I get the feeling that Sakurai might be more comfortable with the gaming side than of the anime/manga side, given his history of playing tons of video games in his life. It would take many big steps for Sakurai to be cozy with the idea of an anime Smash.

Even with the major obstacles that could prevent the idea, I think that it is possible, considering Sakurai’s high reputation in the Japanese game industry and Sakurai’s known fondness for uniqueness in characters. Perhaps his reputation will let other Japanese anime/manga companies and publishers, with Sakurai being capable of handling characters in the most faithful ways that could impress them to allow their characters in Smash. Should Sakurai take the potential opportunity, he will have a nearly endless set of characters that I personally believe will fuel his mind with a sparking pool of creative gameplay ideas. If the idea comes ends up too difficult, perhaps Sakurai can simply start out with using Shonen Jump characters, starting with an IP he is comfortable with such as JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, then expanding with new anime/manga properties from there. I strongly believe an anime Smash would be the ideal and refreshing route for Sakurai to take on for the next game of the franchise.


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These are all of my thoughts. I had a boatload to write about. There may or may not be contradictions and messiness in these thoughts, and I apologize if there are any. I tried my best at remembering as much details of events and interactions of Smash Ultimate speculation community. Feel free to ask me a few questions about Smash speculation and perhaps ask my opinions on other stuff. Although at my current state, I might not be able to answer the questions in the best way. I plan to leave Smashboards for good by the end of May or early June to move on to a new point in my life, so think about the questions carefully.
 
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BluePikmin11

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#3
What would you say was your all time favorite moment of Ultimate Speculation?
This is more of a self thing, but my favorite moment was realizing how much of a real chance Sora from Kingdom Hearts had when I researched the character, Square Enix, and Disney in-depth around May or April 2018. Every day from that point to E3 2018, I have been listening to KH music nearly every day, listening to potential reveal themes like Night of Fate, Hand in Hand, and Fragments of Sorrow, consistently imagining the potential scenarios. I was pretty crazy about Sora and my excitement was through the roof at the time. I banked hard on the character at first, and I kinda bailed out after the missed opportunity of not revealing packed KH3 info AND Sora in Smash Ultimate at the same time in E3 2018. My first speculation analysis on the character gained pretty good traction, especially on reddit, which was nice. I still think Sora has a pretty good chance, if the Square DLC character is not Erdrick (which is really unlikely to happen at this point). :p
 
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#4
Smash bros. does seem to be up against a wall when it comes to how future games will have to be handled, which makes me wish Ultimate would have extended support with a second fighter pass, but realistically Sakurai is probably going to get his rightfully deserved rest after the first pass is completed. Because of this, I see him retiring from the series due to how hard it would be to make a sequel to ultimate and possibly health issues.

I have to say I’m not personally sold on the anime smash bros. idea, seeing as I’m not to well versed in anime and don’t particularly care for shonen anime in general. If that’s the future of smash, I’ll probably just stay with ultimate instead.


Also, now I wish we had Tom Nook in smash, he would be hilarious to play!

Edit: by the way who is your most wanted for DLC?
 
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BluePikmin11

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#5
By the way, who is your most wanted for DLC?
Quite frankly, only Professor Layton comes to mind. Frogger comes second.

I am closely attached to the Layton franchise now after finishing the anime series and playing a couple of Layton games last year. I would go crazy if he was revealed.

For Frogger, I still think there is great novelty in having another arcade icon in. The battle of the most iconic arcade mascots: Pac-Man vs. Frogger still stimulates excitement for me.

Everyone else is either characters I am not personally interested in, are very unlikely, or are already disconfirmed in Smash Ultimate. I kinda got my dream want with Persona getting a character (though not Yu). And Sora, who I used to want badly I lost interest in after I found KH3 to be overall a disappointing game.
 
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#6
Since I got mentioned here I think it's only fair that I would post my thoughts on both speculation and this post as a whole as well. I'm a bit rusty in typing long posts on the matter so it might be a bit short though.

I might be mostly known for my contributions to the Daisy thread I believe or from my Smash 4 days where I supported a lot. After Smash 4 DLC ended, I began focussing my research, debating, moveset capabilities and overall speculation on Daisy, to the point where I could name little other newcomers that I actively supported. When E3 rolled around and Daisy got confirmed, I had no reason to be pulled back into the heat of Smash speculation, taking a backseat to watch it mostly unfold. While I still kept being updated on leaks, my emotional attachment to characters not in Smash yet was and is gone. The newcomers for me where thus cool to see, especially K. Rool and Ridley, who were my most wanted characters back in Smash 4. That said, I don't play as them now and simply like their presence as a means to make the roster feel complete. Same goes for Inklings, Isabelle, Simon and Incineroar really. I barely play as them and while I acknowledge the choices made and acknowledge their importance, I don't feel like playing as them. The Echo Fighters however have quickly conquered my heart, including Daisy obviously, but also Richter, Chrom and Dark Samus. They're all great characters with Dark Samus quite possibly having the best animations of any newcomer.

Piranha Plant is an exception. While the idea of a generic enemy is absurd, I have rooted (hah) for Petey in the past and have fond memories of beating both Dino and Peewee Piranha. Playing as Plant is pure fun, even though he's quite undertuned balance-wise.

I don't think it's a stretch to say however, that Toad, Dixie Kong are glaring omissions. Not enough to the point where they can pull me back, unless someone like Delzethin is at the wheel, whose alluring underground Lycanroc movement has occasionally gotten me back to SmashBoards to throw in two cents. Takamaru would be a very pleasant surprise for me as well, so is Waluigi.

Smash Ultimate is a fun game, one that might not elict the sheer wonder Brawl did on little baby me, but a fun experience to let off some steam or compete online. Single player is a step-up from WiiU, but honestly I'd rather fall down the stairs than play Smash Tour.

As for your ideas regarding anime fighters in Smash, I don't think it's neccesary. Characters like Rosalina and Luma proved there's cool mechanics to be found in Nintendo gaming for those willing to take creative liberties and while I feel Smash Ultimate didn't have the same spark Smash 4 newcomers had moveset-wise, there's still a good few steps to go before Nintendo's greatest hits stop being sources of amazing and mindblowing movesets. The director, be it Sakurai or someone else, has simply to be willing to truly break limits and introduce fighters that can employ minions, fight with multiple weapons, fight while mounted or with a different weapon than a sword or terraform in a meaningful way. The future of Smash doesn't have to be an anime fighter, it simply needs to embrace deeper mechanics and flashy visuals at either the cost of the popularith of the characters or the need to take creative liberties for the sake of fun gameplay.
 

pizzadudemanguy

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#7
Alright, so... I'm just kind of improvising impressions here on reading through your whole string of thoughts.

For myself, I wound up not really being part of the speculative community during Smash 4 DLC, and I think one factor of that was re-evaluating my own ideas of speculation, like you have been doing now from what it sounds like. A lot of predictions I had been building up for years didn't happen, such as Ridley, K. Rool, and Chrom. My thought process after Brawl was that Smash would continue adding the “next in line, most important characters of the franchise,” whereas what ACTUALLY wound up happening was an influx of unique newcomers, like Villager, Rosalina, and Robin.

I started taking a very different attitude in speculation when I got back into the scene, thinking more about WHAT certain characters could bring to the table, rather than trying to predict WHO was the likeliest candidate. I treated “speculation” as more of “support for certain characters,” which wound up paying off this time since many newcomers were basically fan service. It was as if my old predictions were just a game later; maybe you'll wind up having the same experience next time!

We'll get back into these feelings in a bit; for now, onto the practical stuff. I think Trophies are much more ideal than Spirits in Smash Bros., both for substance and tradition. At the very least, I strongly agree Spirits should've had descriptions. That said, I wound up having a real positive experience with the Spirit Board and World of Light. It was long, but it never felt dull to me; it just felt like more to do. Honestly, I would love if there was even more; now that I have all the Spirits, I'm much less inclined to play Smash Bros. on my own.

Maybe a better replayable single player mode would ameliorate this though? I do have to admit that I don't think World of Light is particularly interesting to do a second time. Like Trophies, I think something closer to Subspace Emissary would be more ideal. I also miss Smash Run; that could be both a great single player AND multiplayer mode. Their priorities obviously were, for better or worse, including as many characters as possible, and I actually don't disagree with that. It would be great to get both a huge roster AND a ton to do with it, but if I'm told to pick one or the other, I'll take the roster.

I'm enjoying Mii Costumes much more this time around; maybe because it's not as strenuous unlocking all the pieces? I'm definitely using it much more than I used to, and I think the costume choices help with that. I hope they add even more.

The newcomers; Inklings. I mean, who didn't predict these? It very well may have been the most obvious Smash newcomer selection I've ever seen. I think the translation of them into Smash Bros. was pretty fitting, but I think you brought up some very good ideas for improvements.

Ridley. It felt very good to have this finally fulfilled. I was cautiously optimistic with the leaks and rumors, but I didn't want to get personally invested and disappointed. All-in-all, I think it's a good translation.

Daisy. I felt like we were reaching a point with Mario that Daisy and Waluigi were among the next choices, but with her, Daisy brought about the notion of echoes. It was interesting to see the community shift from the negative opinion of clones, to the open acceptance and even speculation of potential echoes. It opened up new avenues, and wound up being a pretty fun topic.

Simon. An old desire of mine, and between Snake's return and the leaks, I had very high hopes for it, and I think it turned out pretty great. Not much else to say.

Richter. I think this wound up being another turning point in “Echo Speculation;” at the time, a lot of people were still reserved with echo choices. People brought up Shadow the Hedgehog or Ken, but were uncertain about 3rd Party Echoes. This unexpected choice paved the way. Personally, I was excited to see Richter. As I mentioned, I had long desired Simon, but Richter was always the one to have the most fighting moves, so I assumed a playable Simon would have a lot of these. Seeing Richter fully playable on top of that was surprising and exciting to me!

Chrom. This was one of my most anticipated echoes after Daisy's reveal. I liked Chrom, he had been a previous speculation of mine, and it bothered me that 2/3rds of Awakening's main cast was playable WITHOUT the actual main lord. With Lucina as an echo, I felt Chrom had a chance in this realm as well, although I imagined him as an Ike echo. Chrom once again expanded our boundaries of what counts, having a moveset that doesn't completely match his base. I think his implementation could've been a bit better, but ultimately, I was glad to finally play as Chrom.

Dark Samus. Like Chrom, this was one of my most anticipated echoes. It was nice to see because it REALLY fleshed out Metroid; not only does it feel like it has it's necessities with Samus and Ridley, but with a couple extras like Dark Samus, it feels fully... “recongnized” now. It's a nice, complete feeling.

King K. Rool. I called this character my most wanted for this cycle, so it was great to finally see him. It was especially nice to see that many others seemingly felt the same way in the ballot, and that fan demand played a role in bringing him in. I wouldn't want EVERY Smash character to be a fan pick; I like surprises. But getting the occasional treat like this sure is nice.

Isabelle. I pretty much agree with your sentiments on this. The reception that she was “too pacifist” was ridiculous, and I got into a BIG fight with GoldenYuitsuiin over it. However, her implementation is basically as an alternative take to Villager, and that's...too bad. You really could have done something unique for her, and it sets this bar/expectation that any potential future Animal Crossing characters wouldn't offer anything new either. My guess is that she was simply lower priority than the previously mentioned newcomers, so they borrowed a lot of Villager concepts rather than make something new. That's unfortunate.

Ken. Before Richter's reveal, I didn't think of this too much. After Richter's reveal, it seemed obvious to me. And then, well...we'll talk about it with Incineroar.

Incineroar. At this point, I wasn't “speculating” much anymore; I already sort of “knew” Incineroar was coming. Beyond the leaks, I wound up being the recipient of some exclusive insider information that proved to me Incineroar and Ken were real, but I had to hold my tongue on it. The one piece I leaked, at the request of the person, was Spirits, which I did a video on. This made any Pokemon speculation dull on my end, although I was pretty surprised how many people rode the Lycanroc train. I never thought of Lycanroc as a particularly interesting Pokemon, and I didn't think he gained prominence until a time after character selection would've already taken place.

I actually wound up getting into Piranha Plant as the surprise character BECAUSE it was surprising. I totally agree with you on the novelty of having something more “historic,” but it felt like we speculated all of those; characters like Sukapon, Sheriff, or even Hanafuda had been discussed! But with Piranha Plant, we somehow still wound up with something that we never expected. That's kind of cool.

Joker. This choice makes me so excited for the future of DLC; it sets a pretty high bar of getting some cool, big, unique newcomers. It felt like that was one of the missing things on the roster; just the NUMBER of newcomers. I'll get to this in the next sections.

Getting every single veteran back was such a cool novelty; that concept in itself was so hype inducing to me, it felt just as exciting as a new character reveal. But in hindsight...I don't know if I agree it was the best path. With that as the priority, it means we probably lost out on other potential newcomers, and I think some of those would've been “worth more” than selections like Pichu or Pokemon Trainer.

That said, DLC is the advantage to all this. A large chunk of Smash 4 DLC was veterans, so now, they can flesh out the roster with a more “expected” number of newcomers using DLC since they ALL have to be newcomers, especially if they really do wind up doing a second fighter's pass. DLC speculation is pretty fun to me right now since there's such a range of possibilities still, but I definitely agree we may have missed out on what we thought were essentials.

In particular, I will argue that Takamaru is the most glaring omission. It didn't have to be Takamaru, but that was one of the big characters I was rooting for, and in place, we didn't get a single true “Nintendo Retro.” It definitely feels like a missing section of the roster line-up. I might agree that the newcomers we DID get were bigger priorities, but I can't help feeling this is missing still.

There's a magic to “speculation” to me. I got pulled back in after my “hiatius,” and I was glad to see you and so many others get pulled back in too. I tend to spend more time on my own than in discussion since I like making videos, but I still consider many of the people I DO talk with online about Smash “friends,” or at the very least, the vast, VAST majority of people I've come to meet and like through the Internet were because of a mutual interest in Smash. I don't think that will ever change, and even if I wind up “leaving the scene” again, I'm sure a new Smash game will pull me right back in!

The speculation scene was very different this time. With Ridley as an early reveal, eventually leading into King K. Rool, the scene shifted to “popular characters” being seen as the more likely candidates. Of course, this isn't entirely the case; there were still other things to “speculate,” like the number of new characters, or the inevitability of a new Pokemon, and who that would be. But with the consistent accurate/convincing leaks around, it made speculation as a whole feel a bit more...restrictive? Talking about ideas outside what had been passed around was fun, but felt more like a “what if” scenario than a serious consideration.

For the way you speculate and the types of characters you speculate, I can imagine this being disheartening. We put so much time into the thought process of this, that when it's doesn't happen, it feels like a letdown. The best... “advice,” I guess, I can give to this is to tie your speculation to something creative that can last so that the time you put in doesn't feel like a waste.

I'm finding enjoyment through my new videos this way, and I think your writing can accomplish the same thing, or maybe just the friends and experience you had justifies the time you've spent on this just like any other hangout with friends. Whatever the case, I hope you'll retain some kind of passion for Smash Bros. without taking these kinds of letdowns too personally.

On “missing characters:” Tom Nook. As I mentioned before, I worry that Animal Crossing in Smash has this perception now of having all similar concepts, which is too bad since Isabelle could've easily been more of the one to bring something new to the table. I like Tom Nook as a next choice; maybe I don't see him as AS much of a necessity, but it would be great if he were unique.

Chorus Kids. You probably know I'm a much bigger fan of Karate Joe, but regardless, the point is Rhythm Heaven. I believe if we had had a more fleshed-out newcomer selection than, like Takamaru, a Rhythm Heaven character would've been a prime candidate. It's too bad it hasn't happened yet, because now I worry it won't ever happen. However, the recent reception of the series has had me pleasantly surprised; may fan demand can play a role in this after all!

Dixie Kong. My guess is that she simply wasn't a priority in the face of K. Rool, but like Dark Samus, Dixie's inclusion would make DK feel “complete” to me. Unique or semi-echo, this would be such a satisfying inclusion.

Some people believe there will inevitably be some new 1st Party character choices in the Fighter's Pass, but I agree that there are plenty of big 3rd Parties to pull from, and I think Joker has somewhat set that bar. I often forget about Frogger, but it's a good historic icon that makes sense as a follow-up to Pac-man; would be a definite surprise! Resident Evil makes so much sense in this regard. Kingdom Hearts is a big “yes” or “no” for most people, but personally, I don't think you can ignore the hype behind the series or behind Sora as a character choice. Tekken seems like such an obvious follow-up to Pac-man and Ryu; I would love if they found a way to work it out. Dragon Quest is highly rumored of course, but I think is a great addition regardless. Monster Hunter may already be showcased with Rathalos, although there's more potential to explore. Lloyd Irving is another route for potential new characters from Namco, although I'm personally a bigger fan of Yuri Lowell. There's so many avenues for DLC speculation, and with an overall lack of leaks, it's pretty exciting!

It would be so cool if they really did a Second Fighter's Pass; a last “hurrah” to really make Ultimate feel ultimate since, as you mention, it'd be hard to do another thing like this. What I would like is if this hypothetical pass bended character choices completely to allow for pretty much anything. You might not agree, but with Daisy in the roster now, I feel like Waluigi is a very notable missing character, and Isaac has had a very persistent fanbase as well. I think opening the gates to these and other choices would be fantastic.

It's hard to conceive what a future Smash Bros. would be like. Maybe they prioritize the most unique or iconic characters, then add a bunch of newcomers? Maybe they really could port old assets and do another Ultimate? It feels so much more up in the air than ever before.

Having something fully Japanese themed that also incorporates anime characters would be difficult for me to view as a Smash game. I could see it as a great new franchise or spiritual successor, but I'm sure it'd be an adjustment for a lot of people. That said, a Smash styled game directed by Sakurai featuring a lot of anime characters would be really cool all on it's own. And hey, maybe it really is the direction we go from here.
 

BluePikmin11

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#8
I should say to you all that it is ok to contest my points. I know it's my departure, but even if you do have harshly negative points, it will still be good to me, I primarily made this thread because I love to discuss for fun. Go all out if it helps you. :p

I started taking a very different attitude in speculation when I got back into the scene, thinking more about WHAT certain characters could bring to the table, rather than trying to predict WHO was the likeliest candidate. I treated “speculation” as more of “support for certain characters,” which wound up paying off this time since many newcomers were basically fan service. It was as if my old predictions were just a game later; maybe you'll wind up having the same experience next time!
I do not think it is a bad idea to think about speculation from a moveset potential standpoint. It is just that it is hard to find someone that will be willing to critique the moveset stuff unless it's done via fan art. I did this with Dr. Kawashima previously, and it did not convince many. Personally, I like speculation in the literal sense cause there's a complexity to it that makes me wanna solve it like a puzzle. :p

In particular, I will argue that Takamaru is the most glaring omission. It didn't have to be Takamaru, but that was one of the big characters I was rooting for, and in place, we didn't get a single true “Nintendo Retro.” It definitely feels like a missing section of the roster line-up. I might agree that the newcomers we DID get were bigger priorities, but I can't help feeling this is missing still.
I would be ok if the retro was Takamaru (Considering the Metroid to Kid Icarus to Zelda deal). I wish he was not ultimately excluded because of his niche status outside of Japan. He was a missed opportunity to me, Sakurai should have opened up to those kinds of choices IMO.

There's a magic to “speculation” to me. I got pulled back in after my “hiatius,” and I was glad to see you and so many others get pulled back in too. I tend to spend more time on my own than in discussion since I like making videos, but I still consider many of the people I DO talk with online about Smash “friends,” or at the very least, the vast, VAST majority of people I've come to meet and like through the Internet were because of a mutual interest in Smash. I don't think that will ever change, and even if I wind up “leaving the scene” again, I'm sure a new Smash game will pull me right back in!
I don't think I will ever come back after Ultimate, but if somehow I manage a career and be capable of managing my free time well, I could come back. It depends on what goes with Nintendo and Japanese gaming in terms of progression of successful IPs. Frankly, it also depends if Sakurai decides to cut the roster in half for the next Smash game. If that happens, I'm not gonna bother speculating cause it would probably not be fun to discuss with fans.

Having something fully Japanese themed that also incorporates anime characters would be difficult for me to view as a Smash game. I could see it as a great new franchise or spiritual successor, but I'm sure it'd be an adjustment for a lot of people. That said, a Smash styled game directed by Sakurai featuring a lot of anime characters would be really cool all on it's own. And hey, maybe it really is the direction we go from here.
For me, it's easy to imagine, cause when I think of an anime Smash, I think of the most iconic ones, which have cartoony designs similar in the vein of Nintendo character designs:



When i imagine what the anime roster would be like, it's kinda like a healthy mix of cartoony and animeish designs with characters like Edward Elric and Guts that it would still have the "Smash Bros spirit" to me.
 
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NonSpecificGuy

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#9
The amount of thought and love you put into this post is... intimidating. The amount of care that was put into every word is impressive and it's surely telling that you love this game. It's taken me 3 days to read the whole thing but if you are moving from us it's a damn shame and I wish you the very best.
 

RetrogamerMax

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#10
King K. Rool: This was one of the few Smash newcomers that I considered a risky bet prior to the reveal. King K. Rool was a very risky prediction to me because there were hardly any sources of Sakurai talking about the Donkey Kong Country games and Diddy inclusion in Brawl. Even when I researched the current situation with Rare and the team at Nintendo who were in charge of the Donkey Kong IP now, it went nowhere. There was hardly anything that made me feel sure about K. Rool, contrast to the confidence people had about the character primarily due to only the ballot and nothing else.

The main things that made me willing to predict King K. Rool was the Mii costume in Smash 4 and Sakurai’s statements about Geno when discussing his Mii costume. The latter was the biggest positive factor to me because it suggested that there could be a chance that Sakurai could make characters that were dormant in their respective franchises finally playable. Out of all of the dormant Nintendo characters, I felt more confident on Geno and Skull Kid, since there were more things that could’ve line up for their inclusion (In SK’s case, that was way before the Moon Assist reveal in the August Direct). Funny how things work, because King K. Rool ended up being the only old, dormant character that got in Ultimate’s base game. K. Rool’s reveal back then gave me further confidence that Skull Kid and Geno could also get in as a result, but that did not happen. I feel lucky that I managed to get K. Rool right.
1. King K. Rool is 100% percent owned by Nintendo not Rare/Microsoft. Nintendo owns all the original characters Rare created for the series including K. Rool and the Kremlings. Steve Mayles the creator of King K. Rool didn't know he was in the game until after he was announced, read this: http://www.nintendolife.com/news/20...inks_of_his_appearance_in_smash_bros_ultimate also if you still really think he is owned by Rare, he shouldn't have been in all those spin offs like Jungle Climber, King of Swing, Barrel Blast, and Super Mario Sluggers and he shouldn't have been a trophy in every Smash Bros. game. I repeat, he is Nintendo's property.

2. Is your opinion on thinking Geno and Skull Kid had a higher chance before hand because you thought K. Rool was owned by Rare and Microsoft? If he was I would kind of agree with you, but he isn't. K. Rool was always in the top 5 in any of the polls you would see on the Internet so he was always more likely than Geno and Skull Kid who both were really only in 1 game if you don't count any of their cameos. Actually, Skull Kid was in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess as well, but still his importance, status, and popularity dwarfs compared to K. Rool who was the main antagonist of the best selling SNES trilogy, which all 3 are in the top 10 best selling SNES games. And DK64, which is one of the top 10 best selling N64 games. K. Rool's legacy completely overshadows Geno and Skull Kid's and it makes sense he got in over them. I'm not bashing Geno and Skull Kid, but I'm just stating the facts.

3. You shouldn't feel lucky you got K. Rool right because myself and a lot of people were saying he was going to be in this game, especially after seeing Ridley get in. He was the only character post-E3 besides Simon that almost everybody was 99% percent sure was going to be in this game if predicting or thinking of any character that had the best chance outside of who Verge was leaking.
 
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Cosmic77

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#11
I've been meaning to respond to this for a while now.

It's really nice to see how much description and detail you put into this. Reminds me of all the times you'd do some research and make a case for a character or idea that others didn't have as much faith in. I didn't always agree with you, but I still thought it was admirable to see someone put forth the effort in trying to stay as objective as possible. Felt like you'd always try your best to let facts and trends influence your opinions more than anything else.

Anyhow, here are a few things I wanted to respond to:

Spirits could have easily been better had Ultimate’s budget been larger to make a few adjustments. At least, Spirits should have had descriptions so that players that obtain them can learn a bit more about the origins to invite players into exploring other Nintendo IPs. Spirits should have at least been original models of characters akin to the likes of Melee’s retro character trophies so that they would have some sort of value in collecting. Heck, if Sakurai were to really make Spirits as a concept work, the staff could have gone a little farther and made animated models of every spirit. I would have preferred that scenario the most, even if it meant sacrificing some representation of obscure Nintendo IPs in the process.
As someone who loves references to other games, I was a little disappointed in Spirits and their lack of descriptions. I can understand why creating 700+ trophies might have been too difficult to accomplish with such an aggressive schedule, but adding a description of each Spirit couldn't have been THAT time-consuming for the staff. That's something they could've easily finished in one or two days of work.

Ridley: I began predicting Ridley the moment Vergeben posted a rumor of Simon and Ridley being playable characters, days prior to more insider sources coming to side with Vergeben’s sources. This was a very risky prediction to me, because of the controversial Ridley debates that happened for the past three Smash games. I used have a firm negative stance on Ridley back in the Smash 4 speculation days. I was as skeptical of the 2018 Ridley rumors as most of the fan base back then before Verge posted his rumor. As soon as Verge posted his rumor though, I contemplated on my thoughts on Ridley and quickly concluded that predicting Ridley was worth it based on Sakurai’s past decisions of changing his mind on newcomers. Now would have been the best time to predict the space dragon before predicting him near E3 would feel like a bandwagon prediction with the potential increasing credibility of frequent Ridley rumors, I thought. I managed to get Ridley correctly, and it felt rewarding to see a risk come through, though I had said I would not get bragging points for the risk. I was pretty happy to see the Ridley fan base go wild towards the reveal.

As for my thoughts on playing Ridley, he is ok. He has some neat killing options all around his moveset, but I find the start-up in some moves and overall movement to be too slow for my personal liking. He is not a fighter that I have fun playing as, as fun as other heavies as Bowser and King Dedede. I would be playing Ridley online heavily, had he not been the first and only character I unlocked Elite Smash with. I am afraid that I will lose Elite Smash mode if I play as Ridley again online. I might try playing as him offline more to master the character and find fun combos and mix-ups.
I can take the pleasure of being able to say that I was expecting Ridley BEFORE Verge's comments. Nintendo had been tying his name with Smash so often, I felt like something fishy was happening behind the scenes. My suspicions felt validated once Ultimate was teased.

As a character, Ridley is exactly how I wanted him to be. His moveset depicts him perfectly, and I can tell how much effort Sakurai put into him. Regarding tier placement, he's certainly not top-tier, but he's not what I'd call bottom-tier either. He's better than most of the large heavyweights and still viable in tournaments, so that by itself feels like a win.

Daisy: This character threw me off. Before her reveal, I concluded my thoughts that Daisy would not get in due to her lack of importance in mainline Mario games after Super Mario Land. I predicted that there was going to be one semi-clone newcomer, veteran, and one near-clone akin to Dark Pit. A “Wolf, Jigglypuff, and Toon Link” of Brawl in a sense, but with a near clone as the third instead.

When Daisy was revealed at E3 2018, the main criteria for near clones (now called echoes) begun to change for me. I thought if her significance to the Mario series was not a detriment in echo decisions, then the criteria for echoes must be very loose. I opened up to other possibilities, thinking about the possibility of third-party echoes like Shadow, since his Assist Trophy disappearance in Ultimate’s E3 2018 demo was missing. In terms of fan reception, I was most glad to see memoryman3’s wish come true since Daisy was the last thing I expected from Sakurai, though that user quickly transitioned to complain about Daisy’s clone status right after.

Gameplay-wise, I think Daisy is a pretty dope inclusion. I do not like the play-styles of Peach and Daisy personally, but when I am in the mood to play as either, I go with Daisy because of her tomboyish personality. I do not have many thoughts on Daisy beyond that.
After everything she had to put up with, she deserved to get in. That being said, I'm extremely disappointed in how she was treated as an Echo. There's so little to differentiate her from Peach that she could've worked as an alt. Her animations are the only thing she has to justify a separate spot from Peach.

King K. Rool: This was one of the few Smash newcomers that I considered a risky bet prior to the reveal. King K. Rool was a very risky prediction to me because there were hardly any sources of Sakurai talking about the Donkey Kong Country games and Diddy inclusion in Brawl. Even when I researched the current situation with Rare and the team at Nintendo who were in charge of the Donkey Kong IP now, it went nowhere. There was hardly anything that made me feel sure about K. Rool, contrast to the confidence people had about the character primarily due to only the ballot and nothing else.

The main things that made me willing to predict King K. Rool was the Mii costume in Smash 4 and Sakurai’s statements about Geno when discussing his Mii costume. The latter was the biggest positive factor to me because it suggested that there could be a chance that Sakurai could make characters that were dormant in their respective franchises finally playable. Out of all of the dormant Nintendo characters, I felt more confident on Geno and Skull Kid, since there were more things that could’ve line up for their inclusion (In SK’s case, that was way before the Moon Assist reveal in the August Direct). Funny how things work, because King K. Rool ended up being the only old, dormant character that got in Ultimate’s base game. K. Rool’s reveal back then gave me further confidence that Skull Kid and Geno could also get in as a result, but that did not happen. I feel lucky that I managed to get K. Rool right.

Playing as this character is pretty fun. His aerials are surprisingly fast and satisfying to use (Back-Air and Down-Air are highlights). I like using his projectiles sometimes to mix things, usually the Crown Toss since it starts up faster. I wish his cannonball special move angled in more directions, but the strict angle is good enough in terms of unpredictability for me to be ok with it. I think K. Rool’s super armor belly makes the character too broken, even with the drawbacks of the shield being able to make K. Rool dizzy. The shield armor should only be in K. Rool’s counter special. Issues aside, I think K. Rool is one of the best heavies to play as. I personally play K. Rool online far more than Ultimate’s other unique newcomers.
I thought he was a bit risky, mainly because of how the franchise basically moved on without him. Excluding Echoes, I'd say he was the only character who got in strictly because of fan demand, and his moveset kinda reflects that.

Though I'll have to disagree with you on his viability. Despite all the praise he's gotten, no one can seem to put their money where their mouth is and use him in a tournament. I feel like he's somewhere in the bottom 10 in terms of tier placement.

Isabelle: Since the beginning of Smash Switch speculation, I had 99% confidence of Isabelle getting in. The heavy marketing and promotion that the character received since her debut in New Leaf (similar to Rosalina prior to her reveal in Smash 4), the large popularity she has worldwide, and the unconventional moveset potential she had akin to Villager and Wii Fit Trainer made me sure that she was going to be in. She had become a huge staple for the Animal Crossing franchise that I would have been shocked if Sakurai excluded her.

Although I was confident about Isabelle, it was a bit annoying to hear the arguments of Isabelle being too pacifist. At the time, I personally felt that Isabelle’s personality and characterization would non-issue for Sakurai. The speculation community’s idea that her fighting would go against the character was an extremely weak argument to me. I believed that Sakurai would be capable of integrating Isabelle’s personality in the little details in her moveset to make her work well in Smash. I also thought that Sakurai would be able to make a unique moveset for Isabelle, but she got the semi- clone treatment, which I have mixed feelings towards.

I personally think Isabelle could have easily gotten a unique moveset and stand out play-style distinct from Villager. I thought Sakurai would explore Isabelle to as much of a degree as Rosalina, exploring the core mechanics of New Leaf’s mayor gameplay mechanics to build a moveset out of, like how Sakurai utilized Super Mario Galaxy’s gameplay mechanics to create Rosalina’s moveset. But, it seemed like Isabelle was more suited to an echo fighter to Sakurai initially than anything else according to interviews, which, considering Sakurai’s level of creativity in making movesets, is very disappointing in my opinion.

As far as gameplay goes Isabelle’s moveset is not of my personal preference. As fun and useful as the Fishing Rod is, I prefer Villager more in terms of setting up tactics. I think Villager’s tree special alone is fun enough for me to use Villager over Isabelle. Although, one thing I love to do with Isabelle is when the opponent is vulnerable as hell, I like to pull-off Isabelle’s Side Smash as a surprise attack. It gives me an excuse to scream out “SURPRISE ************!” when I pull out the party popper, and that makes the move satisfying when KOing opponents. Isabelle is a nice inclusion and I was initially quite happy when she was revealed, but creatively, a lot more could have been done to her moveset.
I think making Isabelle a semi-clone was a good decision. Shows us that Echoes didn't destroy the chances of getting semi-unique characters like Lucas and Toon Link.

In terms of what her moveset could've been, that's up to each individual's interpretation. Personally, I feel like you might be over-complicating her. Most of the iconic AC elements were implemented in Villager's moveset. Isabelle basically got the scraps that weren't used with Villager (fishing rod, party popper, etc.) and a few random but still somewhat fitting attacks like her Up-Smash. Meshing those with what already existed through Villager worked well enough IMO.

Though, I fear that another AC character would be extremely difficult now that most of the obvious attacks have been used. Now Sakurai will have to go out of his way to make a new AC character unique, and people aren't even requesting one to begin with.

Incineroar: I have an interesting history with predicting Pokemon newcomers. At first, I joined the bandwagon and predicted Decidueye as early as 2016. But, when I came back to speculate newcomers for Smash Switch and evolved my mindset over time, my thoughts slowly began to change. I remember fondly in May 2018 when I made the bold decision to predict Lycanroc over Decidueye. I found major flaws in the community’s arguments the more I researched Sakurai’s process of choosing Pokemon newcomers, and that the super chances people gave to the archer owl were primarily driven by just popularity and moveset potential, not taking into account other factors such as how much the Pokemon really gets marketed in merchandise, games, and the Sun & Moon anime. That was what I was thinking at the time.

I was firm of Lycanroc in particular because he had the most notable marketing in Pokemon Sun and Moon. I did not think anyone else would be in because he had the most going for it. But as time passed, Vergeben eventually came forth to say that the Pokemon newcomer was not Decidueye, Mimikyu, or Lycanroc. This came across as really strange to me, and I continued to stay bold about my choice on Lycanroc until weeks or months later. When more insiders were hinting Incineroar, I began sharing my thoughts on why Incineroar did not make sense to me, saying that the Pokemon was not as marketed as Lycanroc and saying that the wrestler part of the Pokemon would not be enough to convince Sakurai to make him playable. My argument being that the sort of character already fills in the fire-based heavy niche with Charizard and Bowser, and because of that, Sakurai would have compared Incineroar to other characters and not find him interesting, find more unique, better opportunities for Generation 7 Pokemon fighter.

But the more I thought about this, as the last Smash direct came closer to airing in November, the more I realized that the Sakurai could find that wrestler style unique, regardless of Pokemon type, possibly thinking about it in fighting game terms where he had not tried out the grappler archetype until now. I also thought, “Maybe you do not need to be the most promoted Pokemon to get in, you just got to be promoted notably enough”. I had accepted my loss at that point, grasping the little hope I had that Lycanroc would get in with non-Vergeben rumors at the same time.

I still felt pretty mixed after Incineroar’s reveal, not really liking the character until I got to play as him heavily online. He is pretty slow and his range sucks, but his killer tools like his build-up counter special and the snarky attitude he has after attacking an opponent made me like him a lot. I hardly win matches with Incineroar online because of his weaknesses, but he is still overall pretty fun.

Looking back, I wish I had considered Incineroar more and had not thought about him negatively in a moveset comparison sense. The past is the past though, and I admit to my logical faults on Incineroar speculation-wise. Now I like his inclusion. The time of predicting Pokemon newcomer for the base game was a wild ride from beginning to end. Incineroar is the only unique newcomer in the base game that I was wrong about. The funny thing about Pokemon newcomer speculation in is that Decidueye ended up being one of the final two candidates in Ultimate’s project plan. I realized that maybe the Pokemon criteria did not matter. Maybe uniqueness was the first and most important factor Sakurai considered when choosing a Pokemon newcomer. That aside, I am happy about his inclusion, mostly because Golden-senpai finally got what he wanted in Smash Ultimate (Poor Shadow though).
It's... kinda hard to put my relationship with Incineroar into words. He's my favorite of the three starters, but I'm sick of starters getting in Smash. I like his design, but his moveset potential was (and still is) lacking. He was my next guess after Lycanroc, but I was still surprised because I hadn't really seen anything aside from his concept art that indicated he was going to be pushed way harder than the other two starters.

I guess I'm content with this outcome. I just hope Incineroar doesn't become the next Jigglypuff. Greninja got unbelievably heavy promotion in the anime, yet it's already struggling to stay relevant in newer gens.

Piranha Plant: If you told me that a generic Super Mario enemy would actually be playable in Smash, I would not have believed you, even in the hypothetical timeline where Vergeben had the courage to say Piranha Plant was in Smash when he was given this info earlier before the November 2018 Direct. I was in disbelief when I saw that reveal. I initially saw Piranha Plant in a negative light after the direct. I am still mixed about his inclusion today, but not as much as before.

Seeing Sakurai say in an interview that he was the kind of fighter equivalent to Mr. Game & Watch, R.O.B., and Duck Hunt was disappointing to me. Personally, I like the surprise fighters that represent an obscure, but essential part of Nintendo’s history, and Piranha Plant left a bad taste in my mouth, being just a generic enemy not really representing a core part of Nintendo or even Mario well. I would have been fine with Piranha Plant had there been more kinds of surprise fighters like retros in the base game, but he is the only surprise Nintendo newcomer choice of Ultimate thus far.

Playing as Piranha Plant, he is not a bad character. I enjoy playing as him, though not primarily for the jokes. I think all of his special moves are absurdly good that makes him a solid edge-guarder and a beast in stage control. My favorite non-special moves to use are his F-Air, B-Air, and Side-Tilt because the start up of those moves is very quick and do decent damage (Especially the latter, where I can pull off two Side-tilts in early percents). Piranha Plant is a dope addition, gameplay-wise.
My reaction was positive, and I understand why he got in. We're getting to a point where we have to choose between notable characters who would be "next in line" and characters with unique movesets; finding someone with both is becoming increasingly difficult. Between Waluigi, Geno, and PP, PP seems like it has the most moveset potential, if only because there's been a gazillion variations of it over the years.

Thoughts on Smash Ultimate’s Newcomer Lineup Overall

In my opinion, the overall lineup of Ultimate’s base game newcomers come is alright (speaking in number of unique newcomers), but I feel it is very small. I understand that Sakurai’s goal of bringing back every veteran was the number one priority for Smash Ultimate. That feat is worthy of high admiration, but it is not something I completely jive with, as someone that prefers the large number of unique newcomers Sakurai set forth in the previous two Smash games.

I personally think the only glaring omission in Ultimate’s newcomer list is a retro character. In my opinion, retro characters are what distinguished Sakurai as a game director that truly showed the passion he had for Nintendo, representing even the most obscure works in Nintendo history. Retro characters kickstarted the idea of potential revivals of dormant Nintendo IPs, bringing a feeling of hope for people that one day, those old franchises can get sequels like KI: Uprising. I adore that retros have made some Smash fans feel this way.

Retros also have moveset potential that cannot be found in other kinds of Nintendo characters bringing a unique nostalgic flavor and distinction. I speak of retros like Lip the fairy with her flower puzzle abilities and Takamaru the samurai with his Japanese weaponry. Without the retro, Ultimate’s overall list of newcomers loses that special touch of Sakurai magic, with the newcomer variety feeling somewhat lacking as a result. One new retro would have made Ultimate’s newcomer list satisfying enough for me.
Personally, I felt like the original six newcomers made a better lineup than the entirety of Smash 4's. Feels like Sakurai tried harder to balance out the attention between casuals and hardcore fans. Plus, most of these characters were specifically requested by fans, whereas barely any of Smash 4's were.

A Potential Route for a Future Iteration of the Super Smash Bros Series

I want to talk about the potential of a new Smash game. A new Smash sequel would likely never reach the dreamy heights of Ultimate’s roster and probably alienate the fan base should an adjusted roster with a large number of veterans and newcomers cut happen. I personally think the best route a new Smash can go to that could make the franchise refreshing is not by exploring Nintendo characters and gaming icons again. Rather, by exploring characters from other Japanese mediums, specifically characters from anime and manga.
Ehh... I think we might have yin-and-yang opinions here. If people want a game like that, go talk to the minds behind Jump Force. I think the current strategy of focusing on Nintendo reps is works best.

Now creating new and exciting modes? That's something Sakurai should look into. I'd recommend ditching everything that doesn't really stick from the previous game (Smash Tour, Master/Crazy Orders, Bomb Rush) and keeping the things that do. Then, using that extra time, I'd try finding really weird and unconventional ways to use Smash characters. Maybe add a few of those online too so people have other options besides traditional Smash games?

One idea I had was something inspired from Mario Party minigames. Make a new mode where players are on a non-moving floating platform and have them avoid an onslaught of weapons, attacks and enemies. Players who take a certain amount of damage are eliminated. Person who survives or has the lowest damage percentage wins.



Well, that's about all I had to say. Gonna miss seeing here though. Hope you change your mind and visit Smashboards again when the next Smash game comes out, whenever that may be.
 

BluePikmin11

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#12
You guys have till tomorrow night to ask questions, just so you know. Tomorrow night will be my departure.

1. King K. Rool is 100% percent owned by Nintendo not Rare/Microsoft. Nintendo owns all the original characters Rare created for the series including K. Rool and the Kremlings. Steve Mayles the creator of King K. Rool didn't know he was in the game until after he was announced, read this: http://www.nintendolife.com/news/20...inks_of_his_appearance_in_smash_bros_ultimate also if you still really think he is owned by Rare, he shouldn't have been in all those spin offs like Jungle Climber, King of Swing, Barrel Blast, and Super Mario Sluggers and he shouldn't have been a trophy in every Smash Bros. game. I repeat, he is Nintendo's property.
I knew about K. Rool being 100% owned by Nintendo when I researching K. Rool prior to his reveal. The research I done with K. Rool was specifically with looking into sources that could hint at possible negotiations, like me researching K. Rool's creator to see if he got contacted for something secret, or looking into Sakurai's thoughts on Diddy Kong in Brawl interviews. I apologize for being vague with that statement.

2. Is your opinion on thinking Geno and Skull Kid had a higher chance before hand because you thought K. Rool was owned by Rare and Microsoft? If he was I would kind of agree with you, but he isn't. K. Rool was always in the top 5 in any of the polls you would see on the Internet so he was always more likely than Geno and Skull Kid who both were really only in 1 game if you don't count any of their cameos. Actually, Skull Kid was in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess as well, but still his importance, status, and popularity dwarfs compared to K. Rool who was the main antagonist of the best selling SNES trilogy, which all 3 are in the top 10 best selling SNES games. And DK64, which is one of the top 10 best selling N64 games. K. Rool's legacy completely overshadows Geno and Skull Kid's and it makes sense he got in over them. I'm not bashing Geno and Skull Kid, but I'm just stating the facts.
At the time, Geno had a higher chance to me because Sakurai talked about wanting Geno in Brawl and Smash 4 in interviews, and that was more concrete evidence to me that could suggest the real possibility of him getting in, despite not appearing in years, which led to me risking for characters from already represented franchises like Skull Kid and K. Rool.

And with Skull Kid, I do recall having chosen to predict him because both him and Geno were supremely popular candidates from one-shot games of already represented franchises. That and the Majora's Mask 3D remake coming out around the time Sakurai was deciding Smash Ultimate's base game finalization suggested to me the real possibility of Skull Kid.

3. You shouldn't feel lucky you got K. Rool right because myself and a lot of people were saying he was going to be in this game, especially after seeing Ridley get in. He was the only character post-E3 besides Simon that almost everybody was 99% percent sure was going to be in this game if predicting or thinking of any character that had the best chance outside of who Verge was leaking.
Well, I took a lot into consideration when I chose a character prediction in Ultimate base game speculation. There was a bunch of unknown factors surrounding K. Rool and DKC content in Smash that made me unsure of his chances. I am not the kind of speculator that looks at an extremely popular candidate and concludes they are likely.
 
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#13
Sad to see you go Blue. Wasn't really sure what to say before. We spoke a lot during Sm4sh's speculation but didn't really cross as much during Ultimate. Regardless it'll be sad to see you go.

But I do have a few questions which I don't think you've answered yet:

1.) Biggest speculation regret?

2.) If you could have personally designed a Fighter's Pass what would you have chosen?

3.) Biggest surprise exclusion?
 
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BluePikmin11

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#14
1.) Biggest speculation regret?
It was definitely the time I backed out on my Bayonetta prediction last minute before Bayonetta was actually revealed in the last Smash 4 direct.

I was sort of celebrating by changing my username in a way that made people initially think that I predicted Corrin and Bayonetta (I owned the support thread for Corrin at the time, and with Bayonetta, I had a strong gut feeling that she would be in because she seemed like a character Sakurai would add for the immense moveset potential). I felt very guilty after bragging about something that I pulled back from. lol

That was pretty much the only time that I could have felt the strongest satisfaction for, for getting an actual unlikely prediction with uncertainty from the hardcore Smash community right.

2.) If you could have personally designed a Fighter's Pass what would you have chosen?
Personally, I would have kept Joker and added the remaining three Nintendo all-stars Tom Nook, Dixie Kong, and Chorus Kids. Plus Professor Layton. Though if we're speaking a brand new hypothetical Fighter's Pass, I would add Frogger or Bub for sure in place of Joker.

3.) Biggest surprise exclusion?
Definitely definitely Tom Nook. He is the only prominent Nintendo all-star left that has yet to see playability in Smash. TBH, it is kind of sad that the Smash community treated Tom like a non-entity because of Isabelle. It still happens to this day for whatever reason and Tom hardly gets mentioned as a Nintendo all-star needed in Smash, but it is understandable.
 
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