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The State of Speculation: Just Who Will DLC Fighter 11 Be?

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With another Nintendo Direct announced for September 23rd, it seems like we are about to finally learn who Smash Ultimate's final DLC character will be. Needless to say, speculation on who it may be is at an all-time high.

Ever since the Kazuya reveal, speculation about the final DLC character has generally fallen into two camps: those expecting a big, bombastic reveal of a major gaming icon as a proper grand finale, and those expecting a more low-key reveal, most likely from a first-party franchise. That said, there are a few more fringe possibilities, and it's worth taking the time to look at them.

A Grand Finale

The first camp is by far the most vocal on social media—you can't swing a stick on Twitter these days without hitting at least three tweets each about Sora, Crash or Master Chief—and it's understandable why. Smash Ultimate has already delivered on so many of the Smash community's most-wanted characters, from Ridley, King K. Rool and Simon Belmont in the base game to Banjo in the first Fighter Pass, and Fighter Pass 2 has given us two of gaming's most iconic characters in the form of Steve and Sephiroth.

There's a compelling narrative to the idea that the final DLC character will be a big reveal on similar scale, if not bigger. The literal ultimate Smash game ending on the ultimate reveal, and there is a strong case to be made for some of these.

Crash has the strongest case in his favor: He's another iconic platforming icon, and one who, while technically never owned by them, is heavily associated with Sony, the one major console manufacturer to not have a character in Smash. He's also one of the last major platformer mascots, as the genre became more niche as the 3D era went on. Despite his status as a former Sony mascot, he also has a presence on Nintendo consoles, including Switch ports for his most recent outings.

Sora is another interesting one, since Kingdom Hearts is one of the most iconic gaming franchises of the 2000s, and he's been a popular request since Brawl. At the same time, there's also the issue of having to work with Disney to make him a reality, and they tend to be infamously controlling over their IP. Even if Nintendo was able to secure a deal with Disney, the crossover aspect is a huge part of Kingdom Hearts, to the point that omitting the Disney references entirely may feel like an incomplete representation of the series. Sakurai has gone on record saying that Smash will only include gaming content, so this presents something of a barrier to Sora's inclusion.

As for Master Chief, while he's been something of a dark horse pick up until now, it's certainly understandable why he's had this boom in popularity. Halo is another one of the most iconic franchises of the 2000s, a time when many Smash players were growing up and coming of age, and it's one that helped define the first-person shooter genre in ways that persist to this day. While the presence of two other Microsoft characters in Smash Ultimate does hurt his chances, it could also prove to be a boon. Steve and Banjo were the only two Microsoft characters really seen as competition for him making it in, so if there were plans for a third Microsoft character, it's basically guaranteed to be him.

Beyond those three, there are also a few other characters that could fill a similar role. While we already have two Microsoft characters, we don't have a Sony character, and someone like Kratos, Aloy or perhaps even Nathan Drake could all bring some interesting things to the table. Despite working very closely with Nintendo over the past 10 years, Ubisoft still doesn't have a playable fighter in Smash, and they have plenty of choices with interesting gameplay potential, such as Ezio, the prince from Prince of Persia, Rayman, or maybe even a Rabbid.

Following the Pattern

On the flip side, several members of the Smash community have pointed out that Smash reveal cycles usually don't play out like that. It's more typical for one of the last two reveals to be someone more low-key, with the biggest reveals happening early on or somewhere in the middle. Brawl and Smash 3DS/Wii U had some of their biggest reveals for the base game towards the beginning, while their final pre-release reveals included Olimar for Brawl and Shulk for Smash 3DS, with a few post-launch reveals for characters like Toon Link and Wolf for Brawl and Bowser Jr. and Duck Hunt for Smash 3DS.

Likewise, while Smash Wii U's DLC did end on a high note with Bayonetta, that moment of hype also came mere minutes after the reveal of Corrin, who might be one of the most controversial inclusions in the series history. Meanwhile the last character revealed for Smash Ultimate's base game was Incineroar, who fills a similar niche to Olimar and Shulk: a character with a respectable following, but whose presence isn't a huge shock. Likewise, the final character for the first Fighter Pass was Byleth, another more low-key first-party character.

As for who could fill that niche this time around, there are still a surprising number of characters who could fit this niche. In his prediction video, Delzethin offers three such possibilities: a Generation 8 Pokemon, Euden from Dragalia Lost, and one of the Champions from Breath of the Wild, and all of them can bring something unique to the table.

Pokemon Sword & Shield has plenty of variety in terms of its most prominent Pokemon and the fighting styles they would bring to the table, from a long-range sniper like Inteleon to a quadrupedal swordfighter like Zacian. Euden comes from a first-party franchise that has no prior presence in Smash (and would be the first mobile game character in Smash) while also offering a unique gameplay concept with his dragon transformation. Each of the Champions not only has plenty of potential for a unique playstyle, but they'd also be the first new Zelda character since Brawl (and the first one who isn't a clone or semi-clone since Melee).

Two other possible, albeit less likely candidates along similar lines are Akira Howard from Astral Chain and the player character from Ring Fit Adventure, both characters from recent original first-party titles. While their respective games have had spirit events already, and recent enough that Fighter Pass 2 would likely be in planning phases by the time those events happened, they might not be out of consideration entirely, especially since the Min Min DLC shows that existing spirit battles can change to reflect DLC. The aforementioned Pokemon Sword & Shield character would also be in a similar scenario, but that game also has a lot more material to pull from for new spirits.

Of course, there are some other possibilities beyond the ones highlighted in this video. Many Smash players anticipate that rather than a Generation 8 Pokemon, we might see a Generation 4 Pokemon to tie in with the upcoming Pokemon Legends: Arceus as well as Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. While Sakurai usually tries to avoid tie-ins to games that are still upcoming at the time of a DLC character's release, a Generation 4 Pokemon does have the benefit that there is plenty of existing material for Sakurai to work with. These upcoming titles likely won't render that material too outdated, giving him an avenue to sidestep the usual risk that the tie-in for an upcoming title may end up inaccurate due to changes made late in development.

Other Possibilities

There are also a few one-off theories that fall outside of those two camps. In his video discussing Smash speculation following the Kazuya reveal, PapaGenos brought up a few less talked-about possibilities for who may come next. The evidence for of these is kind of a stretch, but also interesting possibilities nonetheless.

The first of which was Chorus Kids, who stand out in a few notable ways. There are several bits of content and unused files in Smash 3DS/Wii U that indicate that some sort of Rhythm Heaven character was planned at some point. They're also the only character listed in the Gematsu leak who hasn't made a playable appearance in Smash yet, and considering Chrom was considered for Smash 3DS/Wii U at one point, it's often assumed that leak was accurate, but based on outdated info. Of course, there are also plenty of other Rhythm Heaven characters who could be interesting in Smash, including Karate Joe, Marshal, the dancer from Tap Trial, or really anyone from the series' huge ensemble cast.

There's also the possibility of a Shin Megami Tensei character. PapaGenos anticipates that if we do get one, it would be Nahobino, the protagonist of the upcoming Shin Megami Tensei V. That said, Sakurai usually avoids adding characters whose debut title won't even be out by the time they appear in Smash, so if the final fighter is from Shin Megami Tensei, it might be someone from an older title, like the Demi-fiend from Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne or an iconic demon like Jack Frost.

There's also another, more out there prediction I've seen, particularly from gaming news youtuber Arlo in his video about who the final DLC character could be: what if the final character is something a bit more meta? While the usual joke of it being Sakurai himself or some other prominent figure at Nintendo as a playable character is probably not going to come true, there is the possibility for some non-playable, Smash-original character getting added as a playable character, be it Tabuu, Master Hand or perhaps even a Primid. It's very much a long shot in terms of its likelihood, but it's out there

Of course, it could also be someone completely out of left field. A huge chunk of Smash Ultimate's DLC characters, especially the previous three, have actually been pretty far removed from whatever the community discourse was focused on at the time, and most of the ones that the community did anticipate were either thanks to leaks (real or otherwise) putting attention on them, or the fact that we were given an early hint in the case of Min Min. Perhaps we'll get someone that nobody anticipated.

Who knows? Maybe this time tomorrow, we'll all be talking about how insane the Frogger reveal was, or asking whether Warden counts as an anime swordfighter if he's from a Western game from a realistic art style, or maybe we'll be watching younger players ask "who is Mike Jones?" It's even possible there just won't be a Smash reveal and we'll have to keep waiting until later this year. For now, only time will tell what comes next.

Writing: Scribe Scribe
Editing: @Sari & @Thirdkoopa
Graphics: Scribe


first for kunio lmao
edit - actually I kinda feel dirty just doing that, let me explain:

kunio-kun is the ultimate in sleeper picks. at least two new games (kunio's three kingdoms, river city girls 2) are coming out in the future so he's still alive and kicking. not only that, but he's basically the dragon quest of beat-em-ups. seriously big in japan, and practically invented the genre (and the platform fighter too in a later game). there's a lot more info in the support thread, and i don't exactly wanna look like i'm crapping on this article lol
good luck to you guys, tomorrow's gonna be wild whether there's a reveal or not
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first for kunio lmao
edit - actually I kinda feel dirty just doing that, let me explain:

kunio-kun is the ultimate in sleeper picks. at least two new games (kunio's three kingdoms, river city girls 2) are coming out in the future so he's still alive and kicking. not only that, but he's basically the dragon quest of beat-em-ups. seriously big in japan, and practically invented the genre (and the platform fighter too in a later game). there's a lot more info in the support thread, and i don't exactly wanna look like i'm crapping on this article lol
good luck to you guys, tomorrow's gonna be wild whether there's a reveal or not
Nah, it's all good. tbh I was really hoping Kunio would be the final character for the first Fighter Pass, for pretty much similar reasons why I wanted an SNK fighting game character (I was hoping for Kyo, but we ended up getting Terry... and now I play on a box controller because of him lol). Both River City Ransom and KoF were major design influences for Smash.
Honestly, I'm hoping the last fighter is Reimu for a few reasons:

1) I think I've seen somewhere that says it's extremely unlikely (80% about) that the fighter is 1st party.
2) Reimu would be a rather low-key reveal, which seems to be par for the course for Smash reveals.
3) It would, funnily enough, mirror the reveal of the last two fighters of Smash 4, Corrin and Bayonetta. FP1 has Byleth as our Corrin, all we need is FP2 to have Reimu to be our Bayonetta.
4) If we take Purple Theory into account, purple is the most prominent color in the Touhou franchise, even moreso than any other franchise in the series: some games have used majorly purple in their designs, and a massive chunk of the characters use purple as their main color scheme. Hell, Reimu herself has purple hair during the PC-98 days! And before you ask, yes I know Reimu would logically be associated with red, but to be fair, Terry's color is blue.
5) Touhou has had heavy rumors tied to it for a long time, dating back to 2018.
6) Remember that graze glitch from when Pyra and Mythra released? That's still around, even after Kazuya came out. Grazing is a major mechanic in Touhou, so having a graze mechanic in Smash would basically factor into Reimu.
You can't humour the idea of the last character being a PlayStation rep and not acknowledge Ratchet and Clank as the frontrunners. They have the legacy of a long-running series of system sellers across four out of five console generations, an exciting and energetic arsenal of weapons and gadgets that could make for an incredible zoning moveset, and more than enough personality to stand alongside Nintendo's characters. Plus, their latest game is all about travelling to alternate dimensions, and the device that powers that interdimensional travel canonically has the ability to access the dimensions of other videogame series.

If the last Smash character is owned by Sony, there's no good reason to make it anyone besides Ratchet and Clank.
My heart wants it to be Sora, Crash, BWD, Eggman or Phoenix Wright. My brain says to wait it out to see what happens, because it could very well be anyone.
I'm hoping for someone like Doomguy, Crash Bandicoot, or Ryu Hayabusa (Sol Badguy from Guilty Gear or Amaterasu from Okami seem more like long shots, but they'd be great inclusions), but I'm fully expecting that it will be someone like Cinderace or a character from Fire Emblem Heroes. (Cinderace could be interesting, but I figure that it's another fully evolved fire-type starter Pokemon, which seems repetitive or unoriginal given that we already have Charizard and Incineroar)

If it's a first party character, I'm hoping that it's someone from Zelda - it's been twenty years since we got a new unique playable Zelda character in Smash, which seems absurd given that it's one of Nintendo's best known series, and games like Hyrule Warriors have shown us that it's possible to make a moveset for the bug-catching girl from Twilight Princess or a boat, let alone Impa, Midna, Skull Kid, or one of the Champions.
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I'd like to see the final DLC fighter be someone from a series that has not already had playable representation; currently there are 39 series' that have at least one playable character, but I feel that it should end at 40.

With that said, whoever gets in, congrats. But personally, I'm hoping for Crash.
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Looking back, having all these characters in one place has kind of...skewed speculation. So much talk has happened about how huge and groundbreaking a crossover Ultimate has become that you see people expecting characters to be chosen based on who would make the crossover bigger or more unprecedented. But that's not Sakurai's modus operandi here, or at least it doesn't appear to be the main reason why he/Nintendo/all parties involved have been choosing newcomers, and we're best off keeping that in mind.

There's a very realistic chance that Fighter #11 is someone lower key like how every other reveal cycle that didn't involve the Smash Ballot has wrapped up, and the very idea is dreaded in some circles for misguided reasons. Fighters have more merits than just checking off a "representation" box or blowing people's minds for a couple weeks before the hype inevitably settles and everyone moves on. And if we do get someone big as our last reveal...then it probably wasn't just for the sake of having them present on the roster or to feed the hype machine.

Though apparently Sakurai has not retweeted the Direct announcement as of right now, so we might be waiting a while longer anyway...
This will probably be wrong since I would’ve never guessed that Sephiroth or Kazuya would be added, but I’ll go with Cinderace since I could see the Pokemon Company wanting a pokemon from Sword/Shield FP2 was under planning. The other options I’ll go with after are something else from Nintendo or someone from Sega.
How has nobody considered Rayman? Mario and Rabbids? Ubisoft's strong relationship with Nintendo? that alone gives Rayman a strong chance as the final fighter.
Okay, so, being as this is potentially the final hours before we find out the final character, I figured I should join in on the fun and give me thoughts so they are written down before hand in case they are right.

So first things first, let me state that we are not guaranteed a character today. papagenos papagenos goes over this in his video and the crew over at Gamexplain also tackles this idea. I honestly would not be surprised if we only get a date here for a future Smash only event.


If we do get our final character revealed today I think one of two options will occur.

1. A Nintendo character

This is a Nintendo Direct that is not E3, so this make me feel like a Nintendo character is most likely. I see a Zelda character or a Pokémon rep as most likely. Waluigi would come in a third.

As for a surprise? I could see an Advanced Wars rep as we draw closer to the release of the remake, and I believe we are missing the Advanced Wars Assist Trophy? Other than that King Boo or Porky for various reasons or even Isaac as a dark horse could fit the bill.

2. SMT V Rep

If it is not a Nintendo Rep, this is the other pick that I could easily see happen. This is exactly what I would expect Nintendo to think is a high note ending. It is third party therefore a guest star, and it is being heavily endorsed in their directs. Honestly, I still feel
like this is the most likely character.

But who I want the most?

Master Chief

As the game has evolved from Nintendo’s All-Stars Fighter to Video Games the Video Game, this feels like the best character to round thing as out.
For 1st party picks I'm hoping for Bandana Dee or a Pilotwings rep such as Lark/Kiwi. For 3rd party picks, just about anybody from an SNK game since SNK has some of the best characters ever, or maybe a shmup rep such as Opa-Opa.
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