It’s no surprise to diehard Smash fans that Smash development is an arduous process. Planned characters are cut, others thrown in at the last minute, and occasionally entire modes are withheld for a DLC release. With this history in mind, I propose that Piranha Plant was planned for Super Smash Bros Ultimate’s initial fighters roster, but wasn’t finished until later.
Piranha Plant released shortly after Ultimate’s launch. While the other downloadable characters took months to develop, including a five-month delay between Joker’s announcement and release, Piranha Plant had been finalized for the demonstration alongside Ken and Incineroar, the last two non-downloadable characters to be revealed. In addition, you’ll notice that Piranha Plant’s reveal trailer was entirely in-game footage, possibly an indicator of a lack of time after the finalization of the design to produce a CGI trailer.
Piranha Plant’s amiibo hit shelves quickly after Ultimate’s release, on February 15 2019, and in a set with non-downloadable characters. Amiibo require several months for production, with the typical development time being 6-9 months after the release of the DLC character. No other DLC character has had an amiibo release or announcement. If Piranha Plant was intended to be released with the vanilla game, it would make sense that Nintendo would begin production of the amiibo ahead of time to have it ready for the February launch date. It’s possible that the reason behind their February release date was to avoid selling an amiibo for which no character had been released.
In addition, Piranha Plant is the only DLC fighter to have a unique Palutena’s Guidance. It is also the only DLC fighter to have a 28-second “fighter video” on the official Smash Bros website.
Given all of this information and the uniqueness of Piranha Plant’s treatment compared to the other DLC fighters, it seems reasonable to conclude that Piranha Plant was planned to be available at Ultimate’s launch. It’s likely that the development team couldn’t complete him before launch, so they chose to use him as an incentive for players to pre-purchase the digital version of Ultimate.
Do you think this theory is correct? Let us know in the comments below why or why not!