Hello everyone. Welcome back to the second half of our Microsoft Character Draft. Before you read this one, make sure to read Part 1 of the Article as well.
TCTphantom: Also @Janx you got your second pick.
Janx: Oh, I thought we were gonna circle around again. I'll start my second one now.
BC_Guy: Crap, not counting Doomguy I can only think of two Microsoft characters left. One I like but can't list that many pro chance things. The other I can, but I hate them.
TCTphantom: Act blizz time.
Thirdkoopa: If I go that route, i have at least two absolutely wild options.
Janx: Forza is one of Microsoft's largest games, undeniably, with over 16 million in sales. But one could argue that a fighter from that franchise is nigh impossible. There are few human characters in the series, and if there were, no one remembers Forza for its characters, they remember it for the cars. In fact, the cars are pretty much characters in and of themselves with how sleek and beautiful they appear in-game. Most of these cars are branded, however, and existed long before the given Forza game did.
There is an exception to this rule. A vehicle that made its first appearance in a Forza Horizon game and does not yet exist IRL, letting it fit within the one public rule Sakurai has for the Smash series. Making a splash on the cover of Forza Horizon 5, the Mercedes AMG-One would be completely unexpected, but make perfect sense as the next Microsoft character( in Smash.
TCTphantom: That is a car.
Janx: Sure is!
BC_Guy: (To be fair we do have a potted plant)
DanganZilla: Brain explodes
But to be fair there was a playable car in a fighting game once so it's possible I guess.
Janx: The main issue here is that it has the Mercedes name, which I imagine would be a giant copyright hassle on its own.
Thirdkoopa: Which one?
TCTphantom: Putting in a real life car is a bit weird.
Janx:Daytona in fighters megamix.
Thirdkoopa: Not impossible. We did have the Mercedez-Ben in Mario Kart 8.
DanganZilla: Fighters Megamix.
Thirdkoopa: Granted, that's a racing game and this one... Yeah.
So it's possible for a car to fight lol.
TCTphantom: The licensing is such a nightmare I’m gonna say no to a Mercedes being in Smash.
Thirdkoopa: I can't speak for everyone, but I don't find the Forza car super probable. That said, I think if they wanted a third-party choice to surprise people, it's not completely out of reality.
If Microsoft was hosting a platform fighter, Forza Car would remind me of our Wii Fit Trainer.
Janx: I will not shy from the weirdness in this pick. I was fully aware of that during my research. But I would say that if Microsoft were to look at their most popular franchises to decide which one could use a Smash fighter, Forza could probably be up there. I would also say that in terms of licensing, we know for a fact that Nintendo did negotiations with Disney for Sora, and their de facto logo is on the character himself, so I wouldn’t put it out of reach for Nintendo and Microsoft to work with Mercedes on this one.
TCTphantom: Also ask yourself: does Mercedes’ want their car to get crushed by Bowser or Falcon punched?
BC_Guy: For what it's worth I'm having a better time imagining the pro Forza for Smash arguments than a certain other Microsoft character who we haven't covered yet.
Janx: They’re fully ok with it being driven through tons of debris in acts of reckless driving so I would say yes.
DanganZilla: Yeah to be fair Forza is very popular and is very much relevant.
Thirdkoopa: It's also worth noting that it doesn't have to be Mercedes - it could be any car. So if, say, Mercedes dropped out early in the process, they could reach out to other car companies
Janx: For sure.
TCTphantom: Hey Ryu can fight his long time rival.
@DanganZilla you are up
DanganZilla: Oh, I had some big choices lined up first. um let me think for a moment lol. I'm decent at improv.
Thirdkoopa: And here I was worried that Microsoft would be too safe, lol.
When it comes to the phrase "NES hard", several games pop up in people's minds. One of them is Battletoads. It's a beloved NES classic and we all know that Sakurai likes to put in classics from that era. The series continued to get games for years and Rash even appeared in the 2013 Killer Instinct game.
The Battletoads are a very unique trio. Regardless of who they choose, each Battletoad is able to stretch out their limbs to perform unique attacks and adjust their hitboxes. While they aren't the most likely in Microsoft's catalog, people will be able to recognize them as NES stars.
BC_Guy: Nice pick.
In a case like this I can't really think of any counterpoints other than the general Microsoft competition.
TCTphantom: The Smashboards comments will have our heads on pikes for sure.
BC_Guy: For what it's worth I do think Doomguy is likely, but I just don't really know what to say.
Thirdkoopa: I'll just spoil it now and say that my choice won't be doomguy LMAO.
DanganZilla: The only thing is how they would approach this in regards to the characters. I imagine they will probably just choose one character and make the others skins.
TCTphantom: Does anyone remember that Battletoads had that remake and it just went poof?
BC_Guy: It did get released though it just sort of... happened.
Seems it got mixed reviews.
Thirdkoopa: I don't know how well it sold, but it definitely wasn't well received. Mixed reviews on Steam and mostly 5-6/10's
Janx: From what I remember it got a lot of attention at the announcement, but people weren't a fan of the artstyle so it was basically dead at its doorstep. Visual draw is an important thing to nail down in today's gaming market.
Thirdkoopa: If it was received a lot better, I would think more of Battletoads chances
TCTphantom: Honestly in terms of third party retro picks also, it would feel weird as heck to have the toads and not Hayabusa
Thirdkoopa: Honestly, I didn't mind the visual artstyle on its own.
My 'hottest' take is that I don't think Hayabusa is all that likely, but that's a discussion for another day.
Janx: Thirdkoopa Me neither, I grew up with a lot of flash-based games so anything with an artstyle like them is a win in my book.
Thirdkoopa: There is still some love for the toads - they at least got a game under Microsoft, which is more than I can say for most of Rare's franchises. That and they managed to make it into Killer Instinct.
TCTphantom: There is some love, but I’m still not sold.
DanganZilla: Fair, but that's why I mentioned them now lol. I was ready to drop a big name but that will have to wait.
Thirdkoopa: Same. I'm definitely not sold, but I do hope the toads get another shot at a game, or make a return in KI.
TCTphantom: Thirdkoopa you’re up.
My nod goes to Axel Steel from the Guitar Hero franchise - Though really any character would do - While this is an extremely left-field pick, the influence of the Guitar Hero franchise can not be understated. Guitar Hero managed to sell over 40 million copies in its (mostly) short run. To put that in perspective, Kingdom Hearts has sold 35 and Fallout has sold 38. In addition to its influence on gaming history, there is interest in reviving back Guitar Hero, and we still have yet to see Rhythm Games brought over in any form.
The biggest problem is that Guitar Hero does lack influence in Japan.
(Smashboards will have our heads on a pike LOL)
BC_Guy: I'm gonna mention Doomguy don't worry.
DanganZilla: Oh that's the perfect left field pick.
BC_Guy: Mainly just cause it'd be weird for us not to. Is Guitar Hero still active/popular today?
iirc it sort of just died out in the late 2000's.
Thirdkoopa: @BC Guy Yes and no. Not in the official games, but it has plenty of community power.
DanganZilla: A character based on guitar and music sounds rad and Sakurai could do some wacky stuff with that kind of material.
TCTphantom: Now that is a left field pick I can kind of see, the issue I have is moreso how Guitar Hero is kind of ... dead.
Janx: It had Live (which I thought was okay but wasn't super well liked at the time) and then just kinda dipped. Not a whole lot in guitar-based games since then, unless you count that software thing Ubisoft has.
BC_Guy: Is Axel the main pick for a GH rep? Are there any other characters to choose from?
Thirdkoopa: @BC_Guy Plenty of Guitar Hero characters including The Grim Reaper, Axel Steel, and Izzy Sparks.
TCTphantom: Guitar Hero Live was kind of dropped, and it was a big fad in the late 2000s but after Warriors of Rock and Guitar Hero saturation it fell off.
Janx: @BC_Guy slash for Smash.
TCTPhantom: Maybe if we get Guitar Hero to come back again I would be more supportive.
Thirdkoopa: The biggest problem with bringing Guitar Hero back is music licensing... ain't exactly cheap these days, even for Microsoft. It'd definitely be a risk, but seeing Clone Hero get love and support over ten years later shows that there's potential.
DanganZilla: I never really got into Guitar Hero but the concept sounds so amusing I dig it. As for probability, yeah I don't see it as very likely.
Thirdkoopa: Honestly the biggest problem is that Microsoft has waaay more character than I realized. And this is from someone who can list most of Activision's IP's from memory.
So coming in surprisingly late to this discussion is Doom Slayer (aka Doomguy). He hasn't been mentioned yet since I feel he's one of those characters that everyone agrees has a good shot and not much more. His series helped shape the FPS genre as a whole and he even got a mii costume in Ultimate. The main hurdle is that from what I understand, the series isn't too popular in Japan.
TCTphantom: Good pick, now the universe will be at peace.
DanganZilla: I think what really helps out Doomguy in particular is his legacy, plus pretty much all the Doom games are on the Switch so for what it's worth Nintendo has been very supportive of Doom.
TCTphantom: Doomguy also got a jut of support at the right place and the right time.
His support came too late for ult, but just in time to be recognized for a mii costume.
The elephant in the room with Doomguy I think is the whole Doomguy vs Master Chief debate.
BC_Guy: Yeah, I do feel like Doomguy clashes too much thematically with Chief, who is more likely
Thirdkoopa: I think there's room enough for both Doomguy and Master Chief - they've both had their influence on gaming. The recent Doom games have been received well - Eternal sold better than any other game in the franchise.
Before even a week has passed, Bethesda announces that DOOM Eternal has the best first-day sales of any DOOM game in the entire franchise.
DanganZilla: Both have a lot of legacy, but Master Chief probably has the edge due to being slightly more popular in Japan because of the anime and Chief being on the front cover of Famitsu.
TCTphantom: They are not too similar imo, but people love to gatekeep that you can only want one.
Honestly, pending how much dlc the next game gets, us getting anywhere from 2-4 microsoft chars would not surprise me much at all.
Thirdkoopa: Plus, Doom did receive a costume in Smash. I don't think a costume means in, but I'd say it means he's on their radar.
Janx: A point I often see brought up against Doomguy is that the gore is too much while also being integral to his character and series, but honestly I think that could be solved with a simple workaround. You can still do plenty of brutal things without gore, and if you really need it, you can just dim the fighters into shadows for the more brutal attacks, like Joker's Final Smash.
TCTphantom: Also, the gore is not the first thing I think of for doom, it's the speed.
Doom has you as this one man army that is mowing through everything, I think of how blisteringly fast it is.
DanganZilla: Yeah, as long as you have the guns, the speed, and some brutal grapples he will feel like doomguy.
TCTphantom: Anywho, my final pick.
There are so many good Activision Blizzard picks that are on the table now. Spyro, Tracer, Diablo, you name it. But I am going to go with something broader that imo will be wider reaching. I am going with a World of Warcraft character. In terms of who, it is hard to choose due to how the game's factions work, but I would go with a fan favorite like Illidan Stormrage or The Lich King.
Warcraft is huge. It is the series that put Blizzard on the map. It defined RTS games for a long time. It defines MMOs to this day. Heck, Hearthstone now defines the card genre. It is massive the reach warcraft has. Does it have much of a Nintendo connection? No, but its roots run deep.
BC_Guy: Nice historical pick. Main issue is that it seems to be not popular at all in Japan.
Janx:For the influence it has had on the fantasy genre alone I think it's worth getting in Smash.
DanganZilla: Solid choice. It's one of those games like League of Legends where if Nintendo wanted to expand their third party catalog in Smash, WoW is an excellent choice.
TCTphantom: Also HS battlegrounds is dominant in the Auto Battler Genre.
TCTphantom: @BC_guy The thing is while WoW is not popular in Japan, it is popular elsewhere in Asia, particularly China.
BC_Guy: That could help.
DanganZilla: Nintendo has been trying to get into the Chinese market, which has a huge potential playerbase, so I can see Nintendo trying to appeal to it by putting a character like a WoW rep in Smash.
Thirdkoopa: That and World of Warcraft's influence on gaming history cannot be understated. Of the franchises mentioned, few match its pop culture influence.
Hope you enjoyed part 2 of this article. An article about some honrable mentions that did not make the cut will be out sometime next week. We hope you look forward to our next article in this series as well.
Editing: @Zerp, @Sari
Thumbnail Graphics and Chart Graphic: @Zerp
Social Media: @Zerp