A Nintendo Direct Mini shadowdropped on March 26th which gave out tons of new information with glimpses into notable titles such as Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition, Pokémon Sword and Shield DLC, and Bravely Default II. However, for us, the biggest announcement was the grand reveal of Fighter #6! Well, it was a reveal but not the way we thought. Move aside Crash, Hayabusa, and Sora! An ARMS character is coming!
What has a lot of people scratching their heads is that we already have ARMS content in Smash. Spring Man, Ribbon Girl, Ninjara, Min-Min, and Twintelle all appear as Spirits and Spring Man appears as both an Assist Trophy and Mii Costume alongside with Ribbon Girl’s costume. This has left much of the community confused with some even saying the announcement was underwhelming and deflating. However, this recent Ultimate news is far larger than what many people think. Here’s why:
With Spring Man as both an assist trophy and as a Mii Fighter costume, it brings into question if either one could be promoted as a playable character. While Assist Trophies have been promoted, it’s only been in the game after their debut. This was the case for Little Mac from Brawl to Smash 4 and Dark Samus and Isabelle to Ultimate. If Spring Man is indeed Fighter #6, then the decade-long rule of “No Assist Trophy Characters” is thrown out of the window which opens the door for characters such as Waluigi, Isaac, Skull Kid, Shadow, Knuckles, Shovel Knight, Zero, Bomberman, and more. It should be noted that ARMS didn’t come with a stage upon launch so the aforementioned characters from already established series in Smash are probably unlikely. This is huge within Smash speculation and a huge game changer which will single-handedly smash that rule. This will also greatly change character speculation in future Smash titles it’s Assist Trophies due in fact return.
Both Spring Man and Ribbon Girl are Mii Fighter costumes. While we have seen fighters get Mii Fighter costumes such as Link, Captain Falcon, and Samus; this hasn’t been the case for DLC characters. Again, this is huge since this means previous Mii Fighter outfits are also eligible to be promoted. This would open for characters such as Rex & Pyra, Chibi-Robo, Lip, Ray MKII, and Saki Amamiya to name a few. However, I would say characters like Sans and Cuphead will probably remain as enhanced Mii Fighter costumes. Much like Assist Trophies, a Mii Fighter outfit won’t mean the character getting deconfirmed if this is the case. The community has often used Assist Trophies and Mii Fighter outfits as the standard to how we deconfirm characters bit this announcement could possibly break this fan-created rule entirely.
As previously mentioned, ARMS does have Spirits available which includes the Spring Man and Ribbon Girl as well as Min-Min, Ninjara, and Twintelle. If we were to get any of these characters, that would mean that Spirits could be promoted. This wouldn’t be as huge of a game changer like the above mentioned but would be a huge impact in Ultimate speculation. Promotion of Spirits has been an ongoing debate since they were first announced but we have yet to see a single Spirit promoted. In fact, the lack of Three Houses spirit event with Byleth’s eventual announcement was a huge blow to the “Spirits Don’t Deconfirm” camp. This means that characters such as Geno, Shantae, Zacian and Zamenta, Elma, Chris Redfield, Tetris Block, Mach Rider, Chorus Kids, and Rayman are open for promotion. It’s unknown how this would impact future Smash titles as it’s entirely possible that Spirits won’t return.
Now, aside from the obvious Assist Trophy/Mii Fighter Outfit/Spirit condodrum, why else would this announcement be huge? Well, this announcement could point to the tone for Fighter Pass #2 which could focus on Nintendo and first-party properties. Joker in Pass #1 helped set the tone of “expect the unexpected” as we got five characters that no one really expected outside of Erdrick Hero. So it’s possible that having Spring Man and ARMS content could mean we could see Pass #2 focusing on the first-party instead. This would especially be the case if Spring Man and Ribbon Girl is announced.
The best place to view cherry blossomseno Park, has been closed due to an increase of COVID-19 cases.
This could also possibly reflect the current COVID-19 pandemic. An ARMS character could have been chosen as opposed to a third-party or western character as it would be easier to deal internally within Nintendo. Currently, Japan has locked down international travel to and from foreign countries including the US, many cities have asked people to avoid traveling to Tokyo due to a sharp increase of coronavirus cases in the capital, Tokyo has begun shutting down with closure of events, businesses, nightlife, etc., and remote working has been in place for some time. This would greatly impact Sakurai’s preferences to meet “face to face” with developers to discuss including their characters. While DLC development obviously was going on during the development of Pass #1, an ARMS candidate might have been easier given the current situation.
ARMS getting a Fighter’s Pass slot plus being available to play for free for Nintendo Online users could possibly point to a sequel. ARMS wasn’t the success story that Splatoon was but it still was well-received among critics and gamers alike. With Nintendo calling the shots (is Sakurai is to be believed), then perhaps this points to a future sequel? This would be good news for ARMS and also solidify the series as an important franchise to Nintendo.
Lastly, we will be getting both the reveal and release in June which was when E3 would have been held if it had not been canceled due to COVID-19. This is entirely speculation but it’s possible that Fighter #6, who was intended to be revealed at E3, was replaced with the ARMs rep and then pushed to another date. It’s also possible that the ARMS rep was intended to be revealed and release around this time with Fighter #7 released in June. This could potentially cause the ordering of Pass #2 to be rearranged and, like Sakurai states earlier, delayed. The fact we are getting Fighter #6 this late means we could be getting our last character sometime in Spring or Summer 2021 a year later!
Needless to say, 2020 has been a very strange year for everyone and this is especially the case for Smash. Everyone wasn’t expecting an ARMS character due to the above mentioned reasons so it was pretty shocking to get that confirmation. It goes without saying that Smash speculation will consist of promotion, ARMS, and Fighter #6 and 7 speculation. So let’s sit back in our quarantined houses and enjoy this exteeeeeended wait for characters that could have a loooooong-lasting impact on Smash. Ok….that was a bit of a reach.
Author’s Note: ARMS was one of my top picks prior to Ultimate’s release and was sad when Spring Man appeared as an Assist. I thought he could have provided an interesting Moveset and play style that would have been the antithesis to Little Mac. What do you think about this recent announcement? Do you agree with the article assessment of ARMS impact on Smash? Are you deflated or excited? Let us know in the comments below!