A few days ago, a Nintendo Direct came and went. Since this was the first general Nintendo direct in, well, seven months, there was plenty to talk about and get excited over. The big announcements included an Animal Crossing event, a release date for Xenoblade Chronicles HD, a new mode for Ring Fit Adventure, and the first announcement for Fighters Pass Volume 2.
We have already done an article for why an ARMS character is such a big deal but in this, I’m hoping to focus on a larger picture.
1. Everything You Know Is WrongOr, more to the point, everything in speculation should be thought of as pros and cons.
How I (try to) approach character speculation, as how most characters should be addressed this way, is by trying to think of the advantages and disadvantages rather than jumping to a conclusion. There’s only one hard rule to having a character in Smash: It must be a video game character. Even then, James Bond was in consideration before. Heck, we live in the timeline where a freaking Piranha Plant is on the roster before half-a-dozen Nintendo characters I could list off.
Here, ARMS, a series that got underlooked simply for already having stuff in Smash (even by me!), ends up not only having a character in Fighter’s Pass Volume 2, but being the first character, thus setting the tone for the rest of the pass.
What I’m getting at here is, any and all gaming properties should be considered, and when discussing, the focus should be towards looking at pros and cons, not outright dismissing any possibility. We really don’t know what’ll be up next, especially since this is DLC. We’re over 70+ characters in the series, and this is our 14th DLC character (if you count the three veterans).
2. Revisiting already included content is entirely possibleSo ARMS is the first time we’re getting a DLC character from a new series that already has existing content. ARMS has 5 spirits, two mii costumes (+ Masks), and an assist trophy. Here’s the twist: The top 5 contenders that people have their eyes on are already spirits. Revisiting games or franchises with already included content should be included on “things we can change.”
“Having a spirit means they can’t have a character” to which I scratch my head at. I can understand drawing a line at Assist Trophies, but spirits? There’s, like, over a thousand of them. To think a multi-billion dollar company will disclude a character simply because of a pre-existing .PNG is mind boggling.
3. Any time, any way
Focusing a little less on characters over here...
This Smash cycle has introduced us to numerous announcement timings - We had the quickest hype cycle from the game’s announcement (in June) to release (early December), an announcement for a direct at EVO, and the first fighter’s pass character at The Game Awards. To top it off, we got the reveal of the first Volume 2 character less than three months after the initial announcement (to be fair, a character was not included in it) and a direct that took 7 months of in-between time.
We have six characters and we’re in it for the long haul. Any major event, or any random day, is really on the table.
Another important thing to remember: This announcement was right in the middle of a direct with about a minute focused on it. Previously, we’ve been treated to CG Trailers. Will that still be the case here? Probably, but the actual announcement could be done in any way.
4. Marketing (probably) Counts
Or doesn’t? I don’t know. This is a hard gamble to say. It’s weird that ARMS, of all things, was chosen. The series that had a release near launch, dropped off the face of the earth for three years, and then gets a character in Smash and a free weekend.
Immediately after this announcement, I heard talks of ARMS 2, or them revisiting ARMS in some way, and I could see it. ARMS was a fairly early launch game to test the waters, so I could see them making another game, throwing it at E3 this June’s direct. In addition, if it’s a new ARMS protagonist, this should be more inclusive to our speculation instead of the opposite (considering new franchises that we may not even know about could be on the roster, rather than going back to ‘discluding spirits’).
Or, quite the polar opposite: The series enticed Sakurai so much that, on second look, he decided to revisit it and Nintendo worked around that as an extra chance to remarket the game.
Two wild conclusions on the table, and here’s what I get out of it: If the character was a marketing choice, I believe it’s possible for the Smash team to revisit franchises that already exist. If the character was truly a revisiting franchises choice, then maybe marketing will play a lesser role.
How will we know? No way to really tell until the character comes out.
Smash Ultimate came out towards the tail end of 2018. We endured a year-long DLC cycle that went all through-out 2019 and ended January 2020. With the completion date to be done by December 31st 2021 (possibly sooner, given that Fighters Pass 1 was slated to be done by February 2020 and finished in January 2020), this makes it a three year long DLC cycle.
5. The Longest DLC Cycle for a Nintendo game (thus far)
5. The Longest DLC Cycle for a Nintendo game (thus far)
This doesn’t even include the possibility (currently, none) of there being more DLC during, or after the DLC cycle. Given that we’ve had surprises like the Cuphead, Sans, and Assassin’s Creed Mii to keep people enticed, nothing’s off the table.
Folks, we’re in this for the long haul.
I won’t dive into endless speculation about ideas like an Echo Fighter pack or alternate costumes, but focusing on what we have at hand, Smash is no longer the main juggernaut that Nintendo’s advertising; other games are releasing, so there’s a good chance that these announcements will be less bombastic and more spread out.
Despite an ARMS pick being underwhelming to many, I think the longer cycle does present itself for at least one or two big surprises to keep people back into playing the game.
So to recap:
- Pros and Cons for discussing characters, not shoe-ins and exclusions
- Revisiting previous content is possible
- Don’t expect characters to be announced at a certain time or in a certain way
- Marketing could count; reigniting interest most definitely does
- We’re in for one of the longest DLC cycles for a Nintendo game, so who knows what’ll happen
Author’s Note: What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!