The Curious Case of Falco Lombardi and Wolf O'Donnell

Should Falco and Wolf's attributes be swapped?

  • No

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other; please state your reasoning

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
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The Phantom Link
Aug 25, 2014

So, this is going to be a new thing... Foreword is that I know this probably shouldn't be a thread, but I'm going to try something new; this thread will close in about 2 weeks and probably be locked and/or merged with the social.

The question is, if you haven't looked at the poll, should Falco and Wolf's attributes be swapped to better represent their "character"? What are attributes? Attributes like moves and their appearances are what makes a character unique from each other. In this case, I'm asking if Falco's air speed and jump height should be switched with Wolf's. Why? Read on.

The Wolf and the Pheasant

This was never true or it was never verified - I'm going with it was never true -, but people believed that Wolf O'Donnell was intended for Melee, but scrapped as the developers felt he would look too similar to Falco. Even with the limitations of game development back then, it's still a weak argument, however, let's accept it as fact for this essay-thing. Let's assume Wolf's attributes were Melee Falco's attributes. The result is this: Wolf would have an average run speed, fast walk speed, below-average air speed, high fall speed, and high jump. Purely from attributes, the only things that differ from Wolf in Brawl is air speed and jump height as Wolf would keep Star Fox staples such as high fall and walk speed and keep (or gain in Melee Falco's run speed case) kind of average run speed. Those alone would have a drastic effect on Wolf or any character for that matter if their attributes were drastically altered. For example, Wolf would lose his ability to use low aerials because of his higher hop height - it would be average instead of low - and much lower air speed... except it would all make sense.

Wolf is, well, a wolf, particularly, a grey wolf. Grey wolves were recorded being able to jump 12 ft. - high jump height. Grey wolves were also recorded being able to reach 37 mph while running; they run about 31 mph to 37 mph. This also creates an argument that Wolf should be running faster than Fox since red foxes top off at 31 mph. Oh, but that's real life, this is a video game... If we go with Wolf's stats in Assault's multiplayer, Wolf has 5 stars in health and (run) speed, and 3 stars in jump. Wolf still has durability down with his high fall speed and weight, but his jump should be at least average instead of low and his run speed could be argued to be faster than Fox's. What about air speed which Assault doesn't cover and real life doesn't really cover... Wolves aren't birds. That's all I can say. Wolves can make running leaps, but they aren't exactly tuned to be able to move in the air well or sustain high speeds in the air for long. Wolf with high air acceleration? Sure. Wolf with high air speed? Kind of doesn't make sense...

To Falco, he is, contrary to belief, a pheasant and not a falcon. The only thing that really changes between a pheasant and falcon is that pheasants aren't birds of prey and they aren't known for high speed dives. Pheasants are still capable of flying which for them, they're able to reach 60 mph when chased, but regularly fly around 38-48 mph. For run speeds, they run about 8-10 mph. For jump height, there's nothing really and while this makes for a weak argument without evidence, birds don't really jump high. So, Falco, a pheasant, a bird, should really be the Star Fox character with the highest air speed not the highest jump. If we go with Assault, Falco would still be a glass cannon with his low health - lower than Fox in Assault -, but his (run) speed has 4 stars and jump has 3. The problem with that is Falco's stats in Assault were established after Melee, but even then, it would only mean Falco, if based on Assault, should have an above-average run speed and an average jump.

The Price to Pay... for Power

What are the consequences to all of this if Falco swapped air speed and jump height with Wolf? The bad? Falco's vertical recovery as it is, would be much, much worse than Wolf's swapped or not because his only option to vertically recover is Fire Bird unlike Wolf who has access to both Fire Wolf and Wolf Flash; Falco's ability to edgeguard low and juggle high would basically not exist due to a much, much lower jump, although he could try for run off aerials like Ike, it would be much riskier; Falco's U-throw setups won't work at much earlier percents; and once again, Falco's play style would change again which has put Falco players off each game. The good? Falco's ability to use low aerials, well, Bair, to bait and just hit with would increase dramatically and Falco's much higher air speed would allow him to drift back to stage easily and allow him to drift with aerials and Reflector more quickly. The ugly? Falco's aerials are probably going to be re-tuned. Realistically, with that low jump, Falco's Bair would be appropriately nerfed to reduce its abusive nature. This can come in doing less damage since even -1% on it would scale hard because of its high knockback growth or lowered knockback growth like it will have 115 instead of 130 growth which could translate to killing 15% to 20% later. Some aerials might be buffed like Uair might have to be stronger - could just return to launch Uair's frame data without the sour-spot - considering Falco's much lower jump means there's no real worry for him to have too strong of an Uair to boot someone while high up and his aerials might have much lower landing lag and/or better auto-cancel windows because he can't stay in the air for that long even though if we assume his air time would be around Roy's level, then it's only a 2 frame difference for his hop, from 32 to 30, and Roy's 48 frames from Falco's 62 in the air is still enough for him to auto-cancel all of his aerials from a jump.

For Wolf? While I covered some of the bad, the good is this: Wolf takes Falco's ability to juggle and kill high made more versatile due to both Uair and Fair being vertical kills, he takes Falco's ability to edgeguard low - Wolf's got Nair as his "Falco Fair" -, and his recovery while good despite sweet-spotting issues, especially vertically, improves drastically. The bad? As said before and outside of the whole Wolf would be different, but at least it's different between 2 official games, Wolf loses the ability to use low aerials because of his higher jump and lower air speed making it less safe and Wolf would also lose the ability to just drift back to stage through pure air speed or drift with his Blaster. The ugly? Outside of if he made it in Smash 4 and suffered the same worse landing lag and nerfed auto-cancels on his aerials and Wolf's lower active frames on his aerials outside of Nair would make it so he could receive the "Roy" treatment of having higher run speed - justified earlier by grey wolves being able to run fast and faster than red foxes - in a way that would make him kind of like the Roy to Fox's Marth or Roy gaining higher run speed from his Melee to Smash 4 transition. And I guess this is an "ugly" instead of a "bad", if this ever happened, we would never know unless Wolf returns in a Smash game. Falco could swap with Wolf's attributes and it could be the end of the story. We'd never know what it would be like to play as a Wolf with a high jump, but lower air speed, however, we'd know what it was like to play as Wolf with high running speed - hello, Project M.

Tables Because Tables are Fun

Conveniently, Fox being alphabetically in the middle of the three makes for an easy comparison.

Attribute :4falco: :4fox: :wolf:
Air Acceleration 0.07 -> 0.1 0.08 ?? -> 0.08
Air Speed 0.893 -> 1.111 0.96 1.222 -> +0.9
Run Speed 1.472 -> 1.5 2.184 1.4 -> +1.7
Walk Speed 1.28 -> 1.3 1.45 1.3 -> 1.35
Jump Height Highest -> Low Average Low -> High

Here's what I think should happen, so there's not really a literal, "Let's take Falco's attributes and swap them with Wolf's". Example being that if Falco should be comfortable in the air, then he really shouldn't have really high air speed and high air acceleration, but above-average air speed and high air acceleration would be fine to prevent aerial abuse and Wolf should run fast as or faster than Fox to compensate for lower air speed and his lower active frames on his aerials meaning he wouldn't be able to abuse them like if Falco had high air speed or run speed and without being fast in something, he'd only have a high jump as his distinguishing trait while Falco and Fox would beat him in overall horizontal movement which is what is Falco suffering. In this scenario, like Falco, Wolf should at least be the average if he should have the highest jump.

Text based it would be this:
Air Acceleration: Falco > Fox = Wolf
Air Speed: Falco > Fox >= Wolf
Run Speed: Fox >= Wolf > Falco
Walk Speed: Fox > Wolf > Falco
Jump Height: Wolf > Fox > Falco

Basically, Falco would dominate the air horizontally, Fox dominates the ground, and Wolf dominates the air vertically and is the average or perhaps dominates the ground (with Fox).


Personally, with Falco being the ace pilot and the fact that Falco is a pheasant, a bird, it makes total sense for him to have high air speed instead of a high jump as it would make sense for Wolf to have low to average air speed, but a high jump and high run speed as he's a wolf, a species known for their pounce and strong legs unlike Falco, an ace pilot and a bird known for his flying which assumes he's comfortable in the air and can move well in the air. Will this ever happen? Probably not even if fans petition this change to an insane amount of following, but still, there's some hope for a change to Falco's attributes to better reflect his bird-like nature and for Wolf to reflect his wolf-like nature. What do you all think? Am I wrong in wanting Falco to be changed again so he can be more like a bird? Am I wrong in changing a well-functioning character design on Wolf and stealing it for Falco? Or perhaps this also makes sense to you all? Or maybe you have other thoughts? Post below and remember to be civil if you wish to argue and discuss.

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Smash Apprentice
Feb 1, 2008
New Jersey
While it would be interesting to see how Falco would play with Wolf's properties, I think him losing almost all combos on his throws would hurt him too much. Only throw Wolves would actually use in Brawl was Down Throw as he couldn't follow up on any of his others. He could potentially follow up on F Throw but the others were generally not useful. To compensate Falco's Up Throw would need to not have as much KB and probably lose its ability to kill so he could actively use it. Although he could probably chase and hit Down Throw regardless of the opponents DI if he had more air speed.

This is interesting to think about but as someone who mained Wolf in Brawl and now Falco in Smash 4, I kind of worry about how much they'd both lose in their playstyles to go along with these changes D:
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