Back in March, we were treated to a long-awaited Nintendo Direct, which aired amidst the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic has caused mass cancellations of events, closure of schools and businesses, nation-wide quarantines and more, with the gaming industry heavily impacted due to an abrupt transition to remote working. Masahiro Sakurai stated that the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate team has changed to start working from home and further went on to explain that the team has adapted well to these new conditions. In the aforementioned March Mini Direct, Challenger Pack 6 of Fighter’s Pass Vol. 2 was confirmed to feature a character from ARMS. This series first appeared on the Nintendo Switch and was an interesting take on the entire fighter genre which gave all the characters extendible limbs to fight others with. These characters could also customize their attacks by equipping different ARMS onto themselves.
Ultimate has ARMS content with a Spring Man Assist Trophy, Mii Costumes, and Spirit. Ribbon Girl also got a Mii Costume and Spirit, while Ninjara, Min-Min, and Twintelle were made Spirits. This announcement could change a lot in the world of Smash speculation due to a number of factors. The Smashboards News Team took a few days and discussed who this new fighter could be and what this announcement means for Smash.
Amiibo Doctor Orange
@NonSpecificGuy Sky Blue
Scoliosis Jones Red
@Octorockandroll Light Red
@pupNapoleon Light Yellow
Venus of the Desert Bloom
Spring Man: Yay or Nay
Our biggest discussion point was whether Spring Man, the most visible character from ARMS, will be promoted from Assist Trophy to playable character. Spring Man is the de facto mascot of the series and, as we have seen with other characters, Sakurai has a tendency to always choose mascots to represent their respective series. Spring Man, however, is in merely the game as an Assist Trophy, Mii Costume, a Spirit and Spirit Battle. While we still don’t have concrete proof that Spirits deconfirm characters, neither Assist Trophies nor Mii Costumes have been promoted in the Smash game they have first appeared in. Samus and Captain Falcon may be Mii Costumes, but both characters have been in Smash from the start. King K. Rool and Isabelle’s Mii Costumes make a second appearance, coinciding with the actual fighters appearing in Ultimate. Spring Man appearing as a promoted Assist Trophy/Mii Costume character would be a game changing thing. According to ZeroSoul,
He went on to say,“If it was Spring-Man. I highly doubt they'd ever give us this guessing game, I feel like they'd just say it's him.”
This is a very good point, as both Nintendo and Sakurai know that people will automatically gravitate to Spring Man and generate discussion regarding his status as an Assist Trophy. At least with Fighter Five, we had no idea who to expect. The game they are playing with Fighter Six is a bit different. Thirdkoopa agreed“What's the point of making people guess who's in and then adding the main character[?] lol.”
However, he also states,“I don't think it's going to be Spring-Man. *If* it is Spring-Man, I think it will open a lot of our eyes to revisiting other characters, and not only Assist Trophies.”
ZeroSoul would later mention,“I'm not sure I agree about Assist Trophies not being able to be promoted - just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it *won't* happen. Granted, I don't think most assist trophies have the draw to become playable characters (even if echo fighters are included)”
It certainly does raise questions about why they are hyping this up when a good amount of the fan base could be underwhelmed by Spring Man as our fighter. Thirdkoopa brought up an interesting point in that promoting Spring Man as an Assist Trophy will smash the age-old fan rule that they can’t be promoted and opens the floodgates for other Assist Trophies to be promoted. It should be noted that while characters like Midna would then be eligible, why would they again add Twilight Princess content when it’s already there. It seems characters from yet-to-be-represented or poorly-represented series are viewed as prime candidates for future promotions.“About my previous statement on Spring Man, while it's true I think he's not in the running to be the ARMS character, it has nothing to do with his status as an assist trophy. I don't think it's impossible at all for an assist trophy to become playable. If Nintendo wants a character to become playable for any reason, I imagine they'll be able to get that to happen unless they're unable to acquire the rights to use said character.
The reason I don't think it's him is purely because I feel like making a guessing game where the main character is the winning option is silly. Like, imagine if the Pokémon Company announced a Pokémon platforming game but left the identity of the main character you'd play as a mystery to be revealed at a later date and hyped it up. Then imagine they later reveal that the main character's Pikachu or Eevee, wouldn't that feel waaaaaaay too obvious? If it was really Spring Man or Ribbon Girl I imagine they'd just skip this whole guessing segment and show us a render of them back when they told us the next character's from ARMS.”
However, that’s where the resistance against Spring Man stopped with most of the team expressing…
Scoliosis Jones“I am of the opinion that it will be Spring Man as well. He has, since the beginning, been the mascot of the series. Any character we get from the series would be ‘unique’ in terms of a Smash character, so the face of the series just makes practical sense. My best guess, my hope really, is it will be Spring Man with a mish-mash of special abilities from other characters, such as Ribbon Girl's multijumps or Ninjara's warp dash. That being said, I think it would be ideal to make each costume a different character a la Koopalings.”
NonSpecificGuy“My perspective is that we have never received a newcomer from a previously unrepresented series without getting the main/mascot character. That’s been consistent with every single series, and while folks point to the Party Crash that Min-Min won, there isn’t really a reason to assume there’s any connection to Smash. The idea that they wouldn’t pick Spring Man because he’s ‘lame’ compared to other ARMS characters is irrelevant in my humble opinion, because he would be unique just by existing in Smash compared to the rest of the current Smash roster. The conversation itself takes me back to when folks said Nakoruru would get in over Terry Bogard because ‘she’s unique.’ Yet here we are. I would just find it strange that ARMS would be the *only* series in Smash history to not get the cover character/mascot in as their first pick”
Those responses don’t really explain how Spring Man could be included while he’s already an Assist Trophy, a Spirit and a Spirit Battle. While we do have a precedent that Spirit Battles can be edited after release (Cuphead and Mughead Spirit Battle), this isn’t a reoccurring practice.“I’m fairly confident it’s going to be Spring Man or a conglomerate character including Spring Man. Sakurai made it clear that with Spring Man and Rex they just barely missed the boat for being brand new and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see the face of ARMS getting upgraded”
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s first take a look at how Spring Man could spring past the fan rules and get his arms on coveted Challenger Pack 5. Scribe had this to say about it:
This seems to be a prevailing speculation that Spring Man could easily be switched with Springtron. Springtron is the robotic doppelgänger of Spring Man and was a playable character after launch via update. He has most of Spring Man’s moves plus a few extra thanks to his robotic body. There's no precedent for an Assist Trophy model being switched for another due to its promotion to playable character. In fact, we don’t have any precedent for that happening. However, it should be noted that there are two examples that show that it can be done. The first is how Conductor Link switches for Alphonso when Toon Link is selected in the Spirit Tracks stage. The whole “Leave it to me” opened up speculation regarding stage content getting included, though we have yet to see this type of thing again in other stages. Another example is the “Alucard vs Wii Fit Studio” issue.“I think the Assist Trophies with the best chance of being promoted are, like, ones where you can replace the AT with another character, e.g. replacing Spring Man's AT with Springtron.”
Scribe further explained
“...though I know Chia once mentioned on twitter that there's also the potential of, like, just disabling the AT when the playable version is in a match, rather than removing the AT entirely, sorta like how Alucard doesn't appear on the Wii Fit stage or certain other ATs don't appear on certain other stages, either because the character already appears in the background, or because of visibility issues”
Fighters who are assist trophies can make it in the game imo. There's already instances where certain assist trophies won't appear based on various criteria. Did you know the Alucard AT won't appear on the Wii Fit Studio stage?— 🐼📦 Chia 💚 (@CLASH_Chia) March 26, 2020
Additionally, according to SmashWiki,
“Alucard cannot be summoned in Wii Fit Studio. It was stated during a tournament hosted by Nintendo Spain that he doesn't appear because the stage has a giant mirror, referencing how vampires do not have a reflection in mirrors.”
So we know that developers can either switch content like Toon Link and Alphonso or completely lock it out. Thus it’s possible that Spring Man, if selected as a playable character, would either cause Springtron to spawn or to have his Assist Trophy be locked away altogether.
And, truly, promoting an Assist Trophy is sadly the only chance they have left at being playable, as Scribe explained,
We will tackle the Spirit situation further down in the article so let’s take this time to wrap up Spring Man for now. He’s the de facto mascot. He may not be the most popular character, but he’s iconic and was chosen to be an Assist Trophy for a reason. Spring Man as Challenger Pack 6’s character seems closer to being a reality, but let’s take a further look at the other characters.“Characters that they kinda wanna test the waters with, or characters that they wanted to include in some capacity but couldn't fit into the base roster or season 1 of DLC and a lot of ATs are kinda in a similar boat. Characters that they felt it was important to appear in the game, but that they couldn't build a full character out of, either because the roster was already finalized, because there wasn't enough moveset potential, or because they felt like making them playable would be redundant for whatever reason.
And a second season of DLC *might* be a second chance for the characters that were chosen as ATs or costumes after the roster was already finalized.”
How about a promotion of other characters in the game from Spirits?
Ribbon Girl, Ninjara, Min-Min, and Twintelle are all in Smash as Mii Costumes or Spirits. A number of people think that Spring Man will keep his Assist Trophy role and another character will take up the representative mantle:
ZeroSoul, after disagreeing that Spring Man is our guy, said“I imagine Twintelle will be the one coming to Ultimate given the dedicated online following that still stans her even all these years after the game's release... "
PupNapoleon said,“...I think the two most likely ARMS characters right now are Min-Min and Twintelle. Min-Min because she won the Party Crash Bash (an in-game event for ARMS), and Twintelle because of the immense popularity she enjoys. Also, on the topic of Twintelle I've seen some of my friends point to Bayonetta's old Infinite Witch Time glitch as evidence that she's the ARMS character. However, I don't think that should be counted as evidence in her favor for two reasons. Firstly, it's an incredibly massive assumption to assume that a time-related ability having a bug is because the dev team is working on another ability like that. Secondly, even if we did assume it's evidence of a future character having a time-based mechanic (we really shouldn't lol), there's a ton of characters from many different series that could also play upon that.”
Min-Min was the winner of the Party Crash Bash which was a tournament to see who would be crowned the champion. Min-Min also ranks highly in popularity amongst both ARMS fans and Smash fans. The fact she is the only fighter with a projectile sets her apart from the roster.“Min Min is my guess. Then Twintelle. Then Helix. I believe they will be echoes. Or potentially something new entirely. Or it could just be alts.”
Twintelle is yet another popular character who has a sizable fan following. She is a fighter who uses her hair while, as the game's title suggests, her rivals all use their arms to fight. As ZeroSoul stated earlier, Bayonetta’s old Witch Time glitch possibly hinting at Twintelle was based on how some DLC character development was based on pre-existing characters. Potential evidence can be found in past or current glitches. This was the case for Duck Hunt (Banjo & Kazooie) as well as for Mii Sword (Hero). This could possibly point to a Bayonetta glitch being caused by the development team using her model for Twintelle. On the topic of Ribbon Girl, the news staff didn’t outright suggest her as the default character, but she certainly does have a sizable following and fan base who would love to see her included.
But wait, Ribbon Girl, Min-Min and Twintelle (and Spring Man!) are Spirits. How would this work? Like with Cuphead and Mughead, we have seen them edit Spirit Battles before, but this is a whole different issue. Even the whole “Mewtwo and Lucas were Trophies in Wii U and 3DS but were made DLC fighters with different trophy poses” argument doesn’t hold much water. Trophies didn’t have a specific purpose other than to collect and display. Spirits have a special purpose in enhancing characters, and this is especially the case with the ARMS characters.
Scribe was very vocal about how he felt this wasn’t an issue and suggested a work-around by keeping the ARMS Spirit as is but having the Fighter Spirit feature another artwork of that character. He went on to explain:
Going back to Spring Man…“... through a quick google search I can only find one official render for [Min-Min] but multiple pieces of official promotional art published through official channels they can pull from.”
“e.g. this one posted by the Nintendo Versus twitter account
To celebrate Min Min's big win in the #ARMS #PartyCrashBash and the game's 2nd anniversary, the development team has created this special commemorative artwork of our champion! Thank you to all for supporting ARMS on #NintendoSwitch! pic.twitter.com/DaUg6i0ju6— Nintendo Versus (@NintendoVS) June 27, 2019
which also shows up on the official Japanese twitter account for ARMS”
He then went further to say,“Spring Man also has multiple renders, including this one
and this one
Spirits are an entirely unknown territory, as they are new elements from the game. Many fans believe that, currently, Assist Trophies and Pokeballs can’t be promoted because it’s never happened. Spirits, while acting similar to Stickers and Trophies, are very important aspects of gameplay, and the development team can’t go throwing away Spirits when they want to use a character. Scribe’s way of using other artwork for the character seems to be a logical way to avoid the Spirit issue.“so, e.g. if we got Spring Man
I could see the old spirit and associated battle remaining intact, with the same render as its image while his Fighter Spirit uses one of his other renders. Or if we got Min-Min, her old spirit and associated spirit battle could remain intact, and she could get a new Fighter Spirit with a piece of promotional art as the associated image.”
Still, it’s never been done before, so we will have to wait and see. With that in mind, why not just look at other characters that aren’t in the game yet? ARMS has tons of other characters to choose from besides the five already mentioned.
However, aside from PupNapoleon suggesting Helix, there wasn’t much discussion about characters other than the top five.
Sari even stated,
You also have to consider who is left if the Spirits are off limits. The candidates would then be:“I don't see it being anyone aside from the ones that are currently spirits in Ultimate (as well as possibly Dr. Coyle). If the goal of the character is to represent ARMS as a whole, I think it'd be best for them to be one of the more basic fighters that isn't too gimmicky.”
- Master Mummy
- Kid Cobra
- Byte & Barq
- Max Brass
- Lola Pop
- Dr. Coyle
It seems that the top five are what many people think of (maybe not Ninjara) for the default ARMS character and, while interesting, characters like Master Mummy, Misango, and Lola Pop are simply not default character material. Thankfully, Max Brass and Dr. Coyle have a certain amount of fan support. Personally, I’m all for Dr. Coyle as our character. So let’s cut that short and jump to a topic that has more discussion to it… could we get a Hero or Koopalings treatment?“I think we're at a point where if characters with Spirits are completely off the table, it's comparable to making a game with a guest character from Street Fighter, and being told that Ryu, Ken, Chun-li, Guile, Sakura and Akuma are all off limits. Which leaves you with, what? Sagat? Cammy? Charlie Nash? Yang and/or Yun? Rashid? The options are there, and hardcore fans would certainly appreciate them, but they don't have the same catch in the eyes of general audience.”
What about a Hero/Koopalings situation happening?
In Wii U and 3DS, Bowser Jr got seven costumes featuring the Koopalings while in Ultimate, Hero got four alternate costumes featuring different Heroes from Dragon Quest. Unlike Bowser Jr and the Koopalings, Hero got two color swaps per alternate costume. Could we possibly see the same situation for the ARMS character, with not only Spring Man, but other characters as well?
Sari had this to say:
Some voiced concern that all the ARMS characters are unique.“I think that **the ARMS rep is going to be multiple characters like Koopalings/Hero**. The ARMS character was apparently a production request from Nintendo as stated by Sakurai on Twitter. If they want to make ARMS their next big thing via a promotion pick, I think it'd make sense to have more than one of the colorful characters playable in some form.
My roster prediction is 4 characters each with a single color palette swap. Most likely the following:
- Spring Man (with Springtron color swap)
- Ribbon Girl (with Twintelle color swap)
- Ninjara (with Misango color swap)
- Min Min (with Mechanica color swap)”
said Scribe“I think the body types and unique abilities for a lot of ARMS characters are a bit too varied to have a similar situation to Bowser Jr. and Hero”,
This makes sense, especially for the larger or unique characters like Max Brass, Master Mummy, Byte and Bark, and Helix when coupled with Spring Man or Ribbon Girl. Even Twintelle would be strange given how her hair ARMS work.
Sari continued to explain on how having different character alts could work:
I also had an idea where the ARMS rep would be composed of four characters via alts, and each of the four special moves would correspond to them. So in a way, it'd be like each character is represented similarly to how Byleth helps represent the three house leaders from Fire Emblem: Three Houses.“In ARMS, you can switch your main weapons for different ones that have similar properties. You aren't just stuck with one type of ARMS weapon.”
Sari went further to explain,
Would it even be possible to give each ARMS character a unique ARM to fight with, especially since Sakurai likes to keep everything balanced? Each ARM has a different property and, unless the characters use ARMS that are similar to each other, this might not actually work. It would be interesting if the ARMS rep could change ARMS mid-match regardless who is being played, though.“So certain characters can have similar equippable weapons. For example, both Spring Man and Ribbon Girl can use the basic ‘Toaster’ gloves, while Ninjara and Min Min can use the ‘Triblast’ gloves. These four characters also have similar glove counterparts, for example Spring Man/Ribbon girl having the ‘Tribolt,’ which is similar to the ‘Triblast.’ Basically, a lot of characters (especially those four) can use similar weapons, which is why I think the character will be more than one.
So in terms of four gloves for specials you can use:
Scribe was quite vocal about Assist Trophies/Spirits being promoted, but expressed both support and concerns to such a Hero/Koopalings situation:
They could make it work with the combo of, say, Spring Man, Ribbon Girl, Min-Min and Ninjara, like Sari said“Looking over the cast and their in-game abilities, I think a situation like Hero, Koopalings or Olimar/Alph is possible, but it would likely require a very specific set of characters with very similar body types. Characters like, say, Byte & Barq, Mechanica, Twintelle or Master Mummy would be completely off the table, and some like Max Brass, Helix or Lola Pop would be a tough include.”
This certainly is a possible way the development team could make each alternate costume true to the character without making the character super unbalanced. Even though each Hero has unique abilities from their own Dragon Quest game, the development team made it seem very natural for them to use different attacks and spells, even those they learn in their respective games. This could be the case for the ARMS rep.“I could maybe see Kid Cobra, Misango, Springtron and Dr. Coyle in there as well if they wanna go for a full set of eight. Some passive abilities, like Misango's spirit pillar or Ribbon Girl's extra jumps, would likely have to be ignored entirely, while others, like Ninjara's teleport dashes or Coyle's levitation, would likely appear in a purely cosmetic capacity when that skin is chosen.”
A lot of the staff thought it would be Spring Man as the default, or possibly Ribbon Girl or Min-Min. Twintelle could work technically, but it might be a bit difficult to implement her, as mentioned earlier. It would make sense for ARMS to have more than one character to represent it since a large portion of the cast is quite popular. It would be a very Sakurai thing to say “ARMS is about the roster, so let’s do that too.” However, you can’t just slap Master Mummy onto Spring Man and expect Spring Man to hit like him. Well, you could, but it might look weird.
Cyndane made point about how having alternate costumes would truly bring the best out of the series:
Most of the News Team participating agreed that we could see a Koopalings or, more likely, Hero situation.“If Spring Man is going to represent the game, I think it would be ideal if he represents the best the game has to offer, or, more to the point, what works best in a Smash setting. Especially if this is the only ARMs character that is going to be in this iteration of Smash. If that is the case, this is where the Koopaling-type dynamic I mentioned would make the most sense insofar as getting the most out of the series character-wise.”
Amiibo Doctor said,
The general consensus was that Spring Man, Ribbon Girl, Min-Min, and Ninjara were the front-runners for nabbing the roster spot. While there are certainly lots of hurdles to jump to get numerous alternate costumes, it would make the most amount of sense.“I think the most likely option is that they do a Hero and just have several characters as reskins of each other, so they can skirt around the character norms.”
ARMS 2 on the horizon?
There were some who thought that content in Ultimate could point to a new game in the works. Many thought the series was dead in the water and Spring Man’s early reveal as an Assist Trophy was the final nail in the coffin, but that doesn’t seem to be so.
NonSpecificGuy echoed this as well:“I also do think that this is tied to some new ARMS content in some way shape or form. That and it's insanely suspect that they said ‘It could be any one of these!’ - This is the first time ever in Smash history that that's been done. Not that the character should be overhyped on the expectation roof from that.”
It’s certainly possible that we could not only get an ARMS 2 reveal, but also a redesign element based on that. For example, Luigi had a new redesign for his Poltergust, which was used in Luigi’s Mansion 3. However, I agree that perhaps using an entirely new fighter as a series representative would be way too random. Regardless, it seems Nintendo has something in store for the series, and it’s not as dead as we previously thought.“I think we could get an ARMS 2 announcement… it could tie the character in with having the new design from Arms 2 as either a costume or as their base appearance, but I don’t think it will be a character from Arms 2. A redesign though, yeah.”
It was certainly seems possible, with Nintendo and Sakurai elevating the series to not only being represented in Smash but now getting its very own fighter. As also mentioned earlier, this could be the very first time we see a promotion from Assist Trophy to fighter. Along the same note, it’s quite wild to consider that a series like ARMS could get the same sort of treatment as older, more popular and established franchises like Animal Crossing, Fire Emblem, Dragon Quest, and Super Mario Bros. and get multiple alternate costumes.“Something else to consider: ARMS clearly has a future. Nintendo would not, three years later, decide to waste money investing in an IP (in the way of marketing via Smash Bros), if they did not have plans to continue the series. Whether or not that future is soon (or even on the Switch at all- it could be mobile, or the next system), doesn't matter at all. It would be poorly spent time and money. Nintendo plays for the long game.”
There was a contending thought though by Sari:
This could certainly be the case since ARMS was kind of a “look-what-the-Switch-can-do” game that also was trying very hard to be the next Splatoon and its own established series. They could intend to wait to make ARM2 and, instead, roll out updates and DLC for the original game. It’s obvious Nintendo wants to continue ARMS, and Smash is just the thing to get it back on its feet.“I feel like more content for the ARMS games will be announced in some form. I'm not sure about ARMS 2 though since I feel like that would be saved for a future.”
Ever since news of ARMS getting a character, speculation has focused on Spring Man. If Assists/Spirits can be promoted, ARM2, will there be alt costumes and more related topics. Based on the discussion between the News Staff, there seems to be a number of potential scenarios that could happen:
- Spring Man is promoted to playable character, with his Assist Trophy highly modified or removed.
- One of the four ARMS Spirits is promoted as the default fighter
- We could get a Hero situation and have four alternate costumes with four recolors
- There could be a tie in with ARM2
While it’s an entirely different situation, we are just as in the dark as we were within Fighter 5. We know the character's original series, we know that the series already has a presence in Smash, and we know, regardless of the path the development team takes, it’s going to be a huge game changer.