Thoughts on Potential Characters and Stages for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch

Ah, Super Smash Bros…. the eternal fighting game series beloved by all Nintendo fans that makes everyone want to speculate.

That series is now confirmed, as of March 8th, 2018, to be coming to the Nintendo Switch!

So now that we know it’s coming, it’s time to talk about it again. That said, I wanted to share my thoughts on what this iteration of the game might be bringing to the table in terms of characters and stages. But before that, there are a few things we need to consider…

What do we know about the game and the development of its predecessors?

Before we start discussing what characters and other content that might be included in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch, I think it’s important for us to gain a proper perspective of what we already know about this upcoming game and how the development went on for the two previous entries in the series, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS (entry 4) and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (entry 5). That way we can better attempt to grasp the limits of the content that might be added to Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch (entry 6) in relation to the previous entries.

Officially, we know that:

– Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch is being marketed as a new entry in the series and not simply as a port, which is clearly being communicated to us by various factors such as the new dedicated website, the various new assets used in the announcement trailer (like the logo and music, for example), the previous Super Smash Bros. games’ website now having a banner redirecting to the new game’s website, and Nintendo’s simplistic announcement that didn’t immediately clarify it as a port.
– The Splatoon franchise will be added to the series as a new Primary Universe due to the Inklings joining the roster as playable characters.
– Mario and Link are clearly returning as Veterans, with Link now sporting his Breath of the Wild look. If that simply means he has a new alternate costume or this Link is a new playable character, we don’t know, and it is something we will discuss later on.
– Several other Veteran characters are set to return, as we can see their silhouettes in the announcement trailer. The number of characters shown, and who they are, is made unclear to us, because it depends on how each person looks at their silhouettes and interprets them. You can find my personal interpretation below, where I point out the 18 characters I strongly believe to be depicted by the silhouettes.
– Masahiro Sakurai is working on the game to some capacity, as confirmed by himself on Twitter and translated by our friends at Source Gaming.
– A Super Smash Bros. Invitational 2018 has been announced as part of Nintendo’s plans for this year’s E3, which basically means they will likely have to showcase the game in some capacity before announcing more details about their E3 plans around early May.

Besides that, we should also take into account various other details regarding the previous games and several rumors flying around regarding Super Smash Bros. for Switch before we begin to seriously speculate about the game. That said, we should take into account the important information that Source Gaming has compiled over time in the following articles:

Smashing Some Smash Switch Misconceptions
Timeline of Smash Switch News and Rumors
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS Development History
The Definitive List of Unused Fighters in Smash

What can we expect of the development cycle of Super Smash Bros. for Switch?

So now that we have a general idea of what we know, let’s consider what the development cycle of Super Smash Bros. for Switch could be like. Keep in mind this is all speculation based on what we know, and currently there are a lot of unknowns, so this is just conjecture based on some amount of logic.

There are basically two possible scenarios we could be looking at. The first scenario is that Super Smash Bros. for Switch was planned as a new game from the start, which is my opinion is unlikely as we will see later. The other scenario is that the game started out as a port but was converted into a full game after a change in plans occurred, and we will be taking a look at why that is probably the case from now on.

We know that Sakurai “caught a breather” after finishing the DLC for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS but already knew what his next work was going to be. This means that Sakurai already knew he would be working on the next Super Smash Bros. game at the start of 2016, and was possibly on break for most of February (assuming he was involved until the very end), since the final Wave 6 of DLC released on February 3rd, 2016, and according to this page his average leave time would probably be between 10 to 20 working days depending on his particular situation, unless Nintendo, knowing of his health problems, decided to contractually grant him some more time to rest and recover. So if we assume he took his time off from February 3rd until the end of the month, he would potentially be on break for 17 work days, which fits within the average we suggest above.

We also know that, after the end of DLC development, version 1.1.4. of the game was probably archived, and a monitoring team kept researching online match records to determine the small adjustments that would be made to characters in versions 1.1.5. and 1.1.6., with the latter releasing on May 20th, 2016. The game would only be updated one last time after that on July 18th, 2017 to add support to the final Wave 10 amiibo, which released worldwide three days after that. This could suggest that either the team felt there was no more balancing they could do, which is unlikely considering how fans kept claiming how certain characters were unbalanced, or that the team in question was now needed for something else, like making and testing a new game. If this were the case, it might be that Sakurai and his main team completed or updated the basic game system until the end of May 2016, after which the monitoring team was brought back into the action and started helping with development too. This seems to fit within the three to four month period it took for the previous two games’ system to go from being a prototype system to a complete system, especially when we consider they are now developing for a single console, even though it has three possible display modes (TV, Tabletop, and Portable). There’s also the fact that the game likely started as a port, meaning that the system would be already “half built”.

Now if this were a regular development cycle, Sakurai would have finalized the roster by that time, and would probably be explaining to his team how the various character moves are supposed to work around June-July 2016. However, we have reason to believe that wasn’t the case initially, since there were plenty of rumors flying around until the end of 2016 claiming that the game was being developed by Bandai Namco again, that it would be a ported and remastered version of the Wii U game containing some content from the 3DS game, that it possibly would only feature a couple of new characters, and that the Wave 10 amiibo were being held back so they could be released with it in 2017. However, after December 2016 we stopped hearing rumors of the game being ported, yet the amiibo in question did indeed release on July 21st, 2017. What this could mean is that the game might have initially been planned as a remastered port that combined assets from both the Wii U and 3DS versions, but the plan probably changed into making a full new iteration sometime in late 2016, prompting Nintendo to license the remaining amiibo in April 2017 and release them sooner rather than later. The rumored minimal amount of characters added until that point, only two, also suggests that the game was likely not being developed as a new game at the beginning.

So assuming that that was the case, Super Smash Bros. for Switch was very likely a port of the Wii U game, to which content from the 3DS version was being added to, alongside two new characters, some amount of other new content, and a ton of polish. Taking that into account, it’s safe to say that one of the characters in question was probably the Ice Climbers, provided that the Switch doesn’t suffer from 3DS’ limitations, supposedly even in portable mode, which this game is basically guaranteed to have to run on, and possibly even in tabletop mode, where it could need to be playable with a single Joy-Con per player. This leaves one other character, which could have been chosen as a new addition to the series, such as the Inklings, or alternatively a quickly made clone, such as Alph, which was allegedly in line to be made into a clone character after Dr.Mario, Lucina, and Dark Pit if there was enough time. Considering that the game was initially going to be a simple remastered port, I would say Alph was more likely. Even if the game was planned to be a new title from the start, the time it would take to port the previous game to use as a base, optimize and polish certain things from the 3DS version, recover the Ice Climbers, and develop the game system, among other things, would likely have taken them until nearly the end of 2016 to do. Of course, it’s possible the two characters in question were actually new characters instead that were developed with the intention of giving players a reason to buy the remastered port, so we should consider that possibility too.

Taking all of that into account, we now have a general idea of what the game could have looked like until the end of 2016, which is when things supposedly started to change. Around this time, in December, an interview was published where Sakurai mentioned that he had recently bought a model of a mech from Ginga Hyoryu Vifam, an anime series from 1983, because he was interested in using its riffle as reference for his work. Now the problem is that there are various figures of Vifam, and as far as I know he didn’t specify which one he got exactly, so it’s impossible to say for sure which gun we are talking about. However, the only currently relevant Nintendo characters that have guns nearly identical to these figures and that also operate mechs would be the Xenoblade Chronicles X cast, which drastically increases Elma’s chances of making a playable appearance in my opinion.  Besides that, a source of mine with access to the posts made by the Pokémon Japanese Riddler told me that he mentioned that Sakurai visited Game Freak in early February 2017, which suggests he might still have been working on his project plan back then. In the end, all of this implies that new characters were probably being considered, if not in development already, by Sakurai and his team between Q4 2016 and Q1 2017 as he prepared his updated project plan for a new full blown Smash game and Nintendo moved on from the idea of a port by licensing the last Wave 10 amiibo.

Since we now know that other characters were being considered in that time frame, we can speculate that the team would have at least nine months of 2017 and nine months of 2018 (18 months total) to add those new characters to the game alongside other new content, assuming that Super Smash Bros. for Switch will likely release alongside the Nintendo Switch Online Service in September, or soon after before the holiday sales period hits in November. We also know that, when it comes to the previous games, Sakurai was explaining character moves to his team in August 2012 before development started on them and that the 3DS game released in September 2014, which amounts to about two years and three months (27 months total) of actual character development and balancing time. So if we consider that in that amount of time the team managed to create 15 newcomers alongside tweaks to the rest of the cast, we can calculate a potential maximum number of 10 newcomers joining the Switch game, alongside the Ice Climbers and maybe Alph, assuming they had already worked on at least those two by late 2016. If by any chance the two characters were actually new characters, meaning character development had already started in Q4 2016, then we could be looking at 2 years (24 months total) of character development instead, which would leave us at a maximum number of around 13 new characters. We also need to take into account that balancing becomes harder with more characters, that there will likely be clones to some capacity, and that various characters might be getting tweaks in how they play, as Link seems to indicate. When we couple that with the fact that we have no real idea of how big the team is this time around, all of these already shaky calculations can easily be thrown out the window, but for now let us stay optimistic and believe that we will at least get almost as many characters as last time among unique newcomers, last minute clones, and reworked assets from the previous games that got axed back then.

Finally, it is important that we take into account the time at which this new roster was theoretically put together, which appears to have been between Q4 2016 and Q1 2017. From previous iterations of Smash, we know that Sakurai prioritizes characters that can add something new and unique to the game, while being from recent and currently relevant releases at that time, therefore following the industry trends. He also likes to include at least one retro character, because he enjoys bringing back old characters from old franchises through the Super Smash Bros. games, as stated in this interview. He is also known to sometimes choose characters from games that are currently in development and will soon be relevant, as is the case with Greninja from Pokémon X & Y, or make “strategic choices” by picking characters from growing franchises, such as Corrin from Fire Emblem Fates, which had already become popular in Japan due to the games being released earlier over there before he was ever included in Smash via the DLC. These yet to be released characters are mostly from franchises that are almost guaranteed to have some new unique character among a large cast, as is the case with Pokémon, so it isn’t applicable to all of them. Taking into account Sakurai had finished the roster for those games in August 2012, and that Pokémon X & Y released on October 2013 (14 months after), I think we should be considering characters from all the games that were released or announced between August 2012 and the end of Fiscal Year 2017 (March 2018) that weren’t referenced in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS in some way already and whose games had at least a considerable amount of development time put into them at that time. We should also take into account that Super Smash Bros. for Switch is likely to get DLC support for at least a year after its release in late 2018, so characters from games such as Metroid Prime 4, Fire Emblem Switch and Pokémon Switch, which we know literally nothing about yet, will probably have less of a chance of being in the initial roster, as they would be prime candidates to include in said DLC instead after their games have actually been released. That doesn’t mean they won’t be chosen, just that we should consider the chances of it happening to be much lower than other potential characters.

Now that we have established a background for what the Super Smash Bros. for Switch development cycle could potentially be like and what characters are likely to be considered, we can properly start speculating by taking a look at each franchise and its most relevant recent releases not yet referenced in Smash to see what unique characters could get picked from them and how they could influence potential changes to veteran characters.

Characters and Stages from Primary Universes

Super Mario, Yoshi and Wario Ware Universes

Relevant games:

– Super Mario Odyssey
– Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
– Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
– Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions
– Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey
– Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
– Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
– Paper Mario: Color Splash
– Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure
– Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World
– Yoshi for Nintendo Switch (2018)
– WarioWare Gold

The characters from the Super Mario series don’t really need much of an overhaul, but I could still see them getting a few tweaks here and there.

Mario could get a few new moves based on Cappy from Super Mario Odyssey, even if it isn’t made obvious in the teaser trailer that Cappy is with him. For example, he could replace his Side Special with the Cap Throw, Hold and Jump mechanics to increase attack and mobility options, or replace his Down Special with a Ground Pound that can be cancelled into a Dive for the same reason. His Dash Attack could be replaced by his new Roll move, and I could even see him getting the Capture ability as his Final Smash, letting him guide another character off the ledge for a free kill. He could also get a bunch of new costumes based on the costumes from Odyssey, but that would take a bit more time to implement, so it’s unlikely they will go overboard with it.

Luigi likely won’t get that many changes, but we could perhaps see a Dr. Luigi costume for him, or even as last minute clone if Sakurai deems it important enough, but most likely that won’t happen.

Peach could at least use a new Final Smash, so I propose changing it into Cat Peach to reference Super Mario 3D World, since she has appeared in several places with that look since then, including as a character in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and as a show host together with Cat Mario in the still ongoing The Cat Mario Show. She could even ride the Cat Cruiser from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for added effect. It might not happen if they want to keep her character more neutral and in-line with her Super Mario Odyssey appearance however.

Like Luigi, Bowser and Yoshi might not see that many changes, especially considering that they were already reworked in the previous games. Yoshi might get a new costume based on his appearance in Yoshi’s Woolly World though.

Likewise, Rosalina & Luma and Bowser Jr. are recent additions to the roster, without much that could change, so they will likely remain untouched for the most part.

Wario could get something new, considering the recent announcement of WarioWare Gold, but it’s hard to say what that would be when we don’t know much about the game yet. Like many other fans, I would like him to at least have a shoulder bash move in some way again, to reference the Wario Land games, but I don’t see it happening since in Smash he’s portrayed in his current WarioWare incarnation over everything else. The recent Wario Land trademarks could mean that will change in the future, but it wouldn’t be a factor at the time Sakurai drafted his project plan.

When it comes to new characters, I can only see two likely candidates being chosen to represent recently relevant spin-off Mario series. Those would be Paper Mario and Captain Toad.

The Paper Mario series has grown a lot over the years, and has set itself apart from other Mario games in both gameplay style and visual looks. This version of Mario is also very different from regular Mario, since he’s able to fold his body like paper and usually fights while wielding a hammer, something they tried to hammer into our minds in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. Besides that, Super Smash Bros for 3DS already had a stage based on the Paper Mario franchise, which could technically be re-used as his home stage with a few tweaks if they didn’t have enough time to develop a new one, therefore boosting his chances of inclusion. As a fighter, Paper Mario would mostly rely on his hammer, jump techniques, and a few items for most of his moves, probably drawing from the various Stickers and Cards available to him in Sticker Star and Color Splash. His Special Moves could be the Hurlhammer (B), Shell Toss (S-B), Spring Jump (U-B), and Flip (D-B). For his Final Smash he could draw from the “Things” of more recent games and use the easily recognizable Fan, or maybe transform himself into Papercraft Mario. Overall, his chances are high due to being featured in two recent games and the fact that he would be an interesting new addition to the roster.

The other potential new character, Captain Toad, comes from a more recently established, yet well received, new spin-off of the Mario series. The character itself debuted in the Super Mario Galaxy games, but kept rising in prominence until it got its own spin-off in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, which is currently being ported to Switch and 3DS, and keeps making cameos in other games, such as Super Mario Odyssey. One of the possible barriers to his inclusion is the fact he can’t jump in his own games due to carrying a heavy backpack, but this could be turned into one of his gimmicks in Smash, by giving him more grounded moves or a very poor air game, in addition to a better running ability. His Special Moves could be the Headlamp Flash (B), Super Pickaxe (S-B), Turnip Cannon (U-B), and Turnip Pluck (D-B). I could also see his Neutral Special potentially involving his backpack in a similar fashion to the Villager’s Pocket, since Captain Toad is shown to be somewhat greedy and always picking up treasure when he can. His Final Smash would likely involve the Toad Brigade and the Starshroom, unless they make the Starshroom his Up Special, in which case the Turnip Cannon would be a fitting Final Smash. Speaking of the Toad Brigade, his alternate costumes could be based on them, Toadette, who is also playable in Treasure Tracker, Toadsworth, and the Mummy-Me enemies. Due to him having a more limited amount of options, I think his chances aren’t as high as Paper Mario’s, but he could work out in the end, such as by implementing other traits from regular Toad characters into his play style.

When it comes to stages, there are various interesting possibilities. The one that immediately comes to mind is a traveling stage that revolves around the Odyssey visiting the various Kingdoms from Super Mario Odyssey. We could also get another new stage based on Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, possibly its version of the Rainbow Road, replacing the Mario Kart 7 one that was in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U was also apparently going to have a stage based on Dr. Mario with the Viruses as bosses or stage hazards, which I could see actually being included this time. Paper Mario could maybe have a new stage based on Port Prisma or the theater from The Thousand-Year Door’s battle system, which featured an Audience that could be used as a stage hazard. Captain Toad could have a stage based on the plot relevant Wingo’s Watchtower, with maybe Wingo included as a boss. Since Yoshi is about to get a new Switch game that involves levels made out of cardboard, that seems like a logical choice for another stage, contrasting Woolly World, and possibly replacing one of the two Yoshi’s Island stages. Finally, Wario could also receive a new stage based on WarioWare Gold’s mini game collection or something similar, since it’s the largest collection in the series yet, potentially replacing the Wario Ware, Inc. stage.

Donkey Kong Universe

Relevant games:

– Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

The Donkey Kong series hasn’t gotten any new games that the Smash team wasn’t already aware of when developing the previous two Smash games, but since Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is being ported to the Switch, it’s safe to say it will be looked at as the most currently relevant entry in the franchise.

Although the Donkey Kong characters don’t need much of an overhaul in this upcoming game, I think that at least Donkey Kong’s Final Smash could be changed to reflect more recent games, maybe by incorporating the Slot Machine Barrel or the Kong POW, but it’s not a high priority change by any means.

One thing that the Donkey Kong Universe could use though, is more playable characters, and in my opinion the two most likely candidates for new characters are Dixie Kong and King K. Rool.

Dixie Kong recently made her triumphant return in Tropical Freeze, where she was a playable character. She was also considered for a potential playable character slot in Brawl, where she would have been part of some type of tag team with Diddy Kong that was ultimately scrapped, which essentially boosts her chances of being chosen again. Her character model would also be faster to work on, since her body is similar to Diddy Kong’s, so the team could use their knowledge of working on him to more easily make her. Contrary to popular belief, Dixie Kong would play very differently from Diddy Kong, to the point where you can’t even consider making her a clone. Her play style would likely revolve around using her hair to hit, grab and juggle opponents and extend her jumps, in addition to using her legs and feet for somewhat acrobatic moves. Her Special Moves could be the Gumball Popgun (B), Helicopter Spin (S-B), Squawks (U-B), and Ponytail Slap (D-B). You could even replace a few of those with moves that reference her guitar, involve barrels, or use items like the Watermelon Fuse Bomb and the Water Sack. The Gumball Popgun is different from Diddy’s because the gumballs bounce forward in arcs and stun on contact. The Helicopter Spin is her Side Special because it’s mainly used to cover terrain horizontally in the original Donkey Kong Country games, and Squawks would probably make for a more reliable recovery move. Her Ponytail Slap could be a faster but weaker version of Donkey Kong’s Down Special with a hit box that includes her direct surroundings in addition to the ground, since she would be swinging her ponytail back and forth. Her Final Smash could probably incorporate some important element from the Donkey Kong games that isn’t present in the other characters yet, such as Rambi or a Minecart ride. Overall, I think the timing is in her favor and she could be a fun character to play as, that also could have some appeal to female players.

The other character we must talk about is King K. Rool, the main antagonist of the Kong family. Although he has a big following in the Smash community, and certainly has the potential to be an interesting character that would also be one of the few villains in the game, he hasn’t really been relevant in his series for a rather long time, and was notably excluded from the most recent Donkey Kong Country games. That said, I feel like he has less chances of being included, especially over Dixie, unless his popularity in the previous game’s ballot helps to shift his chances towards him being considered, at least as a DLC character, since DLC is for fan service, as Sakurai stated before. King K. Rool would likely play as a reasonably fast heavyweight character, that relies on powerful punches and grabs to beat his opponents into submission. This would be complemented by his Special Moves, which could be the Blunderbuss (B), Crown Boomerang (B-S), Helicopter Pack (U-B), and Ground Slam (D-S). For his Final Smash he could make use of his own ship, the Gangplank Galleon, and shoot a barrage of cannonballs that would rain down on the stage. Moreover, for costumes, he could sport clothes from his various different appearances in the Donkey Kong Country games, but those would take more time to develop than usual, so would likely not happen. He would probably be an entertaining and quirky character to play has, but his lack of current relevancy might turn him into an afterthought, making him miss the boat again.

Regarding stages, I guess we are bound to get a Tropical Freeze stage, which would likely have ice and snow to reflect the game’s theme, so maybe Homecoming Hijinxs is one of the most likely options in that regard, since it even features the Snowmads Theme as the area’s background music. If King K. Rool was chosen, we would probably get a stage based on Crocodile Isle, but if that doesn’t happen, I think it would be interesting to maybe see a stage based on the visual effects of Sunset Shore and Busted Bayou from the two recent Donkey Kong Country games instead. Would also be cool to get Kongo Jungle back.

Game & Watch Universe

The Game & Watch Universe can’t really provide any relevant changes or additions to its titular character, so it only really leaves us with a few options for new stages. I think they will keep Flat Zone X as the main, and maybe only, stage because it combines the various elements present in both Flat Zone and Flat Zone 2. So at most I can only see them create a Flat Zone 3 stage, that references other usable Game & Watch games, such as Turtle Bridge, Fire Attack, Green House, Rain Shower, and Lifeboat.

Punch-Out!! Universe

Relevant games:

– Arcade Archives: Punch-Out!!
– NES Remix 2
– Ultimate NES Remix

The Punch-Out!! series is another one that hasn’t evolved much in the last few years, so there’s no reason to change Little Mac. The series at least managed to somewhat remain in the memory of players via the NES Remix series and the soon to be released Arcade Archives title for the Switch eShop. Even when it comes to stages, there’s not that many relevant things that could be added, since most of the action of this series happens in the Boxing Ring, which is already a stage. At most I could see a stage based on the iconic training intermissions of the games, possibly via some type of gym, but that was already referenced in Little Mac’s announcement trailer for the previous game, and more interesting things could be done with other series, I guess.

The Legend of Zelda Universe

Relevant games:

– The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
– The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
– The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
– The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D
– The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
– The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes
– Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition

The Legend of Zelda Universe is one of the prime candidates to get a bunch of changes this time around, if the tease of Link in his Breath of the Wild look is anything to go by. In fact, taking into account how some of the characters from this franchise don’t properly represent their in-game appearances, I think it’s about time that is dealt with.

Link is an hard one to predict this time around, since we don’t know what they are going to do exactly. They could simply be giving Link a new alternate costume, be fully reworking what he can do based on his new abilities from Breath of the Wild, or even be making a totally separate character to portray that new Link, possibly leaving us with three different Links in the roster. I wouldn’t really mind that actually, since this new iteration of Link is wildly different from his previous incarnations. For example, he could have a Neutral Attack that reflects the new Master Sword Jab Combo, or a Perfect Guard Forward Tilt that can deflect projectiles when properly timed. His Spin Attack could be his Down Smash instead of Up Special, and elements from the Champions could be implemented into his moves, such as Daruk’s Protection for his Shield, and Urbosa’s Fury for one of his Smashes. His grabs could then revolve around the Magnesis Rune, which would also be able to pull certain items towards him, for example. Furthermore, his Special Moves could now be the Traveler’s Bow & Ancient Arrows (B), Cryonis Rune (S-B), Paraglider & Revali’s Gale (U-B), and Remote Bomb Rune (D-B). For the sake of including Mipha’s Grace, we could even give him an exclusive quirk that passively restores health in very small amounts or increases the amount of health recovered by items. I also imagine that his Final Smash would be titled The Champion’s Ballad and would somehow involve the Divine Beasts wrecking the stage while a musical performance by Kass can be heard. Alternatively, we could see Link use the Stasis Rune to lock opponents in place, allowing him to hit them several times before releasing them with an amount of cumulative knockback proportional to the damage received. As you can see, Breath of the Wild Link could be shaped into a very different and interesting character, and we didn’t even cover the possibility of using different weapon types and other features like Shield Surfing, so the sky is the limit here.

Moving on to Zelda, which likely won’t see many changes. Her character sort of embodies the correct elements of the series you would expect, such as magic powers, in this case of the Three Goddesses, and Phantom Zelda from Spirit Tracks. Considering her Breath of the Wild iteration we could possibly see her get a few more light-based powers, in addition to new costumes based on her three main looks from that game, and I would also suggest changing her Final Smash into the “Triforce Seal” she uses on Calamity Ganon towards the end of the game. Not that the Light Arrows aren’t true to character though. She should also get a costume based on Princess Hilda.

Now Sheik is a weird one. Sheik is barely relevant as a character nowadays, since she hasn’t been featured in main series games since Ocarina of Time, which actually marks her first and only appearance. Part of me feels like she is only still in Smash because she was lucky to get in during the Melee development cycle and became really popular with Smash players, besides representing the Sheikah tribe in her own way. She also doesn’t reflect her in-game character completely, since she relies only on her ninja-like skills instead of using her own Harp, for example, something Hyrule Warriors actually depicted much better. So while I think she would be hard to fully rework as a character, at least they could give her a new Final Smash based on the Harp songs, and pull from a few extra elements of the Sheikah and Yiga from Breath of the Wild perhaps.

Next up is Ganondorf, which is just a lame clone of Captain Falcon at the present time. Since Link might be getting updated in a plethora of ways, I think now is the optimal time to also completely revamp Ganondorf to better reflect the array of powers and abilities displayed by him throughout the series, which is long overdue. In fact, I would go as far as combining powers from both his Ganondorf and Ganon personas, just so he could wield the Trident as his main weapon in addition to his magic powers, which would give us a character with a very distinct fighting style. His Special Moves could then be the Dead Man’s Volley (B), Spinning Trident (S-B), Blazing Tornado (U-B), and Shock Wave (D-B). To better explain, Dead Man’s Volley and Shock Wave would reflect his powers from Ocarina of Time, where he throws energy spheres at the player and pounds the ground with his fist creating shock waves, while Spinning Trident and Blazing Tornado would reflect his powers from various games where he appears as Ganon, such as A Link to the Past, where he can throw his spinning trident in boomerang-like fashion before teleporting towards it, and spin his trident over his head, creating a tornado of Blazing Bats, that in this case would propel him up when used as a recovery move. The Hyrule Warriors team once again managed to create an interesting rendition of something similar to this idea. His Final Smash doesn’t really need to change however, as it would fit this concept to include a transformation into a more beast-like Ganon.

The final character of the current group is the hero of another timeline, Toon Link. This one I don’t see an urgent need to change, but I guess he could incorporate some other items from his games into his moves to help differentiate him from regular Link a bit more. Possible examples of this include the Skull Hammer, Bombchu, and Whip. However, we don’t know what’s going on with Link at this moment, so if Link gets changed, then I could see Toon Link simply remaining as he is to depict a more vanilla version of Link. More importantly, since Toon Link already has the Wind Waker with him in the games, why the heck doesn’t his Final Smash make use of it to create a tornado that storms the stage yet?

When it comes to new characters, it’s always hard to choose a character from this series that isn’t Link, Zelda, or Ganondorf/Ganon, since they are the three main recurring characters throughout the whole chronology of the franchise. However, more recent games have brought a few options to the table that are worth exploring. Out of these, I feel like Ravio and Impa are the most relevant ones we should consider.

Ravio is an interesting case, because he would “still be Link, without being Link”, which is hilarious when you think about it. While he didn’t play a hugely important role in A Link Between Worlds, his character was still iconic and important enough to be chosen as one of the representatives of the game for Hyrule Warriors, through which we can get a very nice idea of what he could be able to do in Smash too. In essence, I think Ravio could be added to represent the Fallen Hero Timeline and some of the unique items from those games that haven’t been seen in Smash yet, but mostly items pulled from A Link Between Worlds, A Link to the Past, and Tri Force Heroes. His play style would likely revolve around using the Hammer as his main weapon, and the Hookshot or Sheerow for grabs. His specials could then be the Fire Rod (B), Sand Rod (S-B), Tornado Rod (U-B), and Ice Rod (D-B). If they wanted, they could also reference items from other games as previously mentioned, such as the Water Rod, Gust Jar, Cane of Somaria, and Cane of Byrna. Who knows, Ravio could even have a Magic Meter gimmick to prevent him from overusing all these special items repeatedly, and force him to fight with his Hammer for a while as it restores. For his Final Smash, he probably would have something related to Ravio’s Bracelet and Wall Merging, maybe turning opponents caught in his power into wall drawings, or alternatively use a Super Bomb for a massive explosion. I think he’s one of the few Zelda characters we have seen over time that really has a chance of providing something unique and entertaining in Smash, so from that perspective his chances aren’t that bad to me, especially when considering the game he comes from was one of the most relevant top down Zelda games in years when it comes to the direction the series would take soon after. However, since he probably will remain irrelevant in future titles, that could compromise his chances of ever being considered in the first place.

The other character I would like to briefly consider is Impa. She has appeared in several titles over the course of the series, but her appearance and identity have greatly fluctuated from title to title, which could be a problem when trying to portray her. In some games she’s just Princess Zelda’s aide, and more of a wise and older advisor, while in others, she’s a warrior from the Sheikah tribe, and acts more like a dutiful bodyguard and strategist. The other big problem is that we barely see her fight at all outside of brief moments in Skyward Sword and as a playable character in Hyrule Warriors (where she uses a Giant Blade and a Naginata), which also would limit the team when depicting her as a character, since they would potentially be forced to come up with their own moves for her. In fact, this is a problem with many of the other minor character from this series that we could consider as well. The final problem is that with her also being a Sheikah warrior, her character could overlap a little bit with Sheik’s concept, but then again that hasn’t been much of a problem for other Universes before. With that said, if she were made playable, Sakurai and his team would have to come up with a unique design and moves for her, and find a way to make her easily recognizable to the audience too, which would be no easy feat to achieve.

So overall, think of Ravio, Impa, and a few other Zelda characters as potentially being in the list of characters that might be considered, but don’t convince yourself that they will get in because it’s unlikely, especially when you consider that Link, and maybe Ganondorf, could be getting fully revamped this time around.

For stages, I think they will prioritize games not yet represented in Smash over others. That means we will probably get a traveling stage based on the Great Plateau, much like Skyloft was chosen to represent Skyward Sword. I think it would also be interesting to have a stage based on Lorule’s Castle or Sacred Realm, or maybe a stage that travels between various locations in Hyrule and Lorule via Fissures. Finally, since Majora’s Mask was recently remade, it would be nice to at least bring back the Great Bay stage from Melee to honor that fact.

Metroid Universe

Relevant games:

– Metroid: Samus Returns
– Metroid Prime: Federation Force
– Metroid Prime 4 (TBD)

The Metroid Universe belongs to one of those series that is currently rising in prominence again, but is hard to deal with due to the fact that no other character really stands out besides Samus, which already has her two best known appearances as different playable characters in the game.

Samus hasn’t changed much since her last depiction in the Smash series, which is based on her design from Metroid: Other M. However, Samus Returns did give her a few new toys to play with, in the form of a Melee Counter and Aeion Abilities. Due to that, I suggest changing her Forward Tilt into the Melee Counter, which could deal more damage when her opponents are about to attack her and deflect small projectiles when properly timed. The Aeion Abilities would probably be best incorporated through her Final Smash, where they could simply replace the Zero Laser with a barrage of shots inspired by the Beam Burst, or combine that with the Lightning Armor and Phase Drift, allowing her to more easily track down her opponents while sustaining less damage in addition to having increased firepower. Another interesting idea I came up with, that probably won’t be implemented in any way, is to give Samus an actual Morph Ball mode as her Down Special. This would transform her into the Morph Ball, which would then have the ability to hop, drop Bombs (B), use the Boost Ball (S-B and U-B), and latch onto platforms and walls using the Spider Ball. Since the Spider Ball would replace her Shield, and she could take more damage while in this form, I don’t think it would be super unbalanced, but the Spider Ball could cause problems with her camping outside of the opponent’s reach while waiting for the match to end, so some counter measure to that would need to be put in place. Overall, it’s an interesting but ultimately unpractical idea, which is why they probably haven’t done it until now. Her suit could also be updated to the “new” design based on Samus Returns. It’s important to keep in mind though, that Samus Returns released in late 2017 already and the game was mostly developed outside Japan by MercurySteam, which means Sakurai might not have taken those game’s new abilities into heavy consideration and would end up leaving Samus mostly unchanged.

Zero Suit Samus hasn’t appeared in the games recently, so she’s fine the way she is right now.

Now new characters is a very delicate topic when it comes to the Metroid Universe. Any hardcore Metroid fan, me included, will tell you they would like to see Ridley as a playable character in the game, but Sakurai seems opposed to the idea due to his recurring portrayal as a really big character, which would be hard to translate into Smash without loosing half the characteristics that make Ridley what he is. And I have to be honest, I kind of agree with him and can understand his point of view, so I don’t think he will have a chance to get in until we see him in a smaller form in future Metroid games first.

Knowing Ridley will likely not get in leaves us with only a few other minor characters in the series, the most likely of which to ever be playable in Smash is probably Sylux, which will soon have a main role in the series as an antagonist of Samus and the Galactic Federation when Metroid Prime 4 releases on the Switch. Since Sylux was already playable in Metroid Prime: Hunters, and was teased to have a relevant role in the future at the end of both Metroid Prime: Corruption and Metroid Prime: Federation Force, it’s safe to say that at least the developers of the Prime series have taken an interest in him as a character, which is why they will be exploring him further. Moreover, with the rumors of Metroid Prime 4 being developed by Bandai Namco, which is probably developing Smash too as far as we know, his chances increase a little bit, since it might be easier to obtain source material for him and know how he would be portrayed in the upcoming game before it even releases. The only real problem here is how far in development that game is, which could make this back fire and actually make Sylux harder to develop and more likely for DLC, as a potential strategic choice to help simultaneously promote both games. His play style would likely involve the Shock Coil and Lockjaw, while his Final Smash would likely involve the Delano 7 in some fashion, probably to fly over and bombard the stage. In my opinion he isn’t going to be part of the initial roster, but is one of the most likely characters to be considered for DLC, since Metroid Prime 4 will likely release sometime in 2019.

When it comes to stages, I think it’s very likely we will get at least one new stage referencing SR388 to some capacity. One of the most likely options is probably SR388 – Surface, with Proteus Ridley as a boss and the Baby Metroid occasionally attacking him, possibly replacing the Pyrosphere stage. The other option would be SR388 – Area 4, where Samus is pursued by the Diggernaut, which could actually lend itself to an interesting new scrolling stage. If Sylux happens to get in from the start, we could also see a stage based on Vesper Defense Outpost, which is where he’s encountered in Hunters. If not, we would likely get some new stage based on a yet unknown location from Metroid Prime 4, if it has released by the time DLC comes around. Speaking of Metroid Prime, since that sub-series is now returning in full force, I think it would also be neat to have the Frigate Orpheon stage back in the game, possibly over Brinstar or Norfair if there are too many Metroid stages already.

Kid Icarus Universe

Relevant games:

– NES Remix 2
– Ultimate NES Remix

Much like Punch-Out!!, the Kid Icarus series hasn’t seen any big releases since its reboot game, Kid Icarus: Uprising, but has been minimally kept in players’ memories via the NES Remix series.

The characters from this series also don’t need much of a change outside of Dark Pit. Pit is pretty much true to himself as he is, and Palutena can only perhaps be improved a little bit by replacing some of her standard moves with some of her custom moves. Dark Pit could be made into more of a semi-clone of Pit if there’s enough development time though, since he could probably use a few different weapons instead of just copying all of Pit’s moves directly.

New characters is something that this universe is likely not going to get this time around, due to its lack of current relevance, unless some unannounced game is in the works. The most likely candidates are probably Viridi, Medusa, and Hades, although they would need to be shortened to human size so they could fight with the other characters. Out of the three, I think the most easy one to translate into Smash right now is Medusa since, with her being the Goddess of Darkness, she would contrast with Palutena’s Goddess of Light, and she could even be a semi-clone of Palutena with slightly different Special Moves that provide a more offensive fighting style, and a different Final Smash probably based on her monster form and turning opponents to stone.

Regarding stages, Kid Icarus: Uprising still has a lot of areas that could be drawn from. Areas like the Labyrinth of Deceit, Space Pirate Ship, Lunar Sanctum, Lightning Chariot Base, and City of Souls, all looks like they would make for cool, visually appealing stages. In fact, I would be surprised if the Space Pirate Ship wasn’t used for a stage this time around. If Medusa was chosen for a character, I think the Underworld Castle would then be an obvious choice, so she could have an home stage that fits her.

Fire Emblem Universe

Relevant Games:

– Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
– Fire Emblem for Nintendo Switch (2018)
– Fire Emblem Warriors
– Fire Emblem Heroes
– Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

The Fire Emblem Universe is one of the most likely to get new content in Super Smash Bros. for Switch due to the series’ currently growing popularity, to the point where it’s now considered by some to be part of Nintendo’s core IP.

The characters we currently have in Smash are unlikely to change, since the main ones are unique and I don’t see Lucina being anything else other than a clone. Maybe Roy could be further tweaked into even less of a semi-clone if he returns too, but I doubt that would happen if he does. At least I have faith that Roy will either return or come back later in a future iteration of Smash, since the Fire Emblem developers seem interested in eventually remaking The Binding Blade. I suppose Robin could also get an alternate costume based on the Summoner from Heroes if Sakurai deems the mobile game to be relevant enough.

As many of you probably have realized by now, the Fire Emblem series doesn’t have a fixed cast, and each game brings with it more and more interesting characters, to the point where it’s impossible to consider them all as worthy of being playable characters in Smash. Due to this, after much thought revolving around the various titles that have blessed the series as of late, I have concluded that the most likely candidates for a new playable character are Celica and Azura.

Why not the main protagonist of Fire Emblem for Nintendo Switch, you ask? Well, for starters, it could end up being an uninteresting character, similar to Marth or Ike, that would add nothing new to Smash. Next, there’s the fact that we know nothing about the game, not to mention that it was announced at a time where Super Smash Bros. for Switch would already have been in development for a while, which also just happens to be a time period that coincides with the ending of development for Shadows of Valentia, which would favor it as the most relevant upcoming title when Sakurai was putting the roster together. Moreover, although the game was announced with a 2018 release date, it’s likely that it won’t release before the last quarter of the year, around the same time as Smash, making it instead more likely that it will be considered for DLC content in 2019 instead, after they know for sure which characters are the most popular among players, creating a scenario similar to Corrin’s inclusion via the previous games’ DLC. I’m not saying it’s impossible, just that it’s extremely unlikely to happen, especially when it comes to the game’s initial roster.

Now Celica is a character that I think has a ton of potential to be quite unique in Smash if properly handled, despite giving the initial impression of just being another Fire Emblem Lord using a sword like Marth and company, and that is because of the battle system of Shadows of Valentia. You see, Celica might be carrying a sword, but she can also cast Black Magic and White Magic spells, which in this game cost you HP and aren’t bound to tomes like in other Fire Emblem games, being instead learned via level up depending on each character’s preferences. In Smash, this could translate into Celica auto-inflicting some damage percentage to herself to cast her spells, which would be her Special Moves (slightly more powerful than usual), perfectly representing the self-sacrificing nature of her personality. That said, those could be Ragnarok (B), Seraphim (S-B), Excalibur (U-B), and Aura (D-B). Ragnarok would be chargeable and shoot out up to five fire balls, while Seraphim could look more like the Gaiden version of the spell and have some sort of special effect when it hits opponents. Meanwhile, Excalibur would be similar to Robin’s Elwind, but shoot out only one blade that multiplies into several smaller ones upon impact, while Aura would simply create a light pillar surrounding Celica that could be used to defend against opponents attacking from above. Since she would be using spells that auto-inflict damage percentage, she would of course need to balance that out by using her sword more regularly for various moves, which could glow in different magic colors for her Smash Moves, just like in Fire Emblem Warriors. Furthermore, her sword, the Beloved Zofia, grants her the Recovery Skill, which in Smash could help offset the self inflicted damage by recovering 5% of her current damage percentage when she fulfills some special condition, like for example defeating an opponent or hitting them with a smash attack (and I mean 5% of her total damage, not her total damage minus 5%). For her Final Smash, I initially thought about her ultimate skill, Ragnarok Ω, but since that can just be part of her Neutral Special when it is fully charged, I thought it would be more interesting to give her Mila’s Turnwheel instead. The effect in Smash could be something like returning Celica’s damage percentage to 0%, while giving back to her opponents any percentage that they might have healed off by using items in their current stock or something similar to that. Another tiny little detail they could implement is an alternate costume based on her Rigain Overclass, since they would be using the Aura spell learned through that class already. Overall, all these details could make Celica into an interesting micromanagement character that is intended for experienced players, and that sets herself apart from Marth and Robin due to her particular quirks and being a true spellsword that doesn’t rely on tomes with limited uses and flashy sword moves for specials. Bonus points, she is also the only female Lord character in the entire series to not have blue hair or clothes. The only real obstacle to her inclusion is the low amount of sales the game had when compared to Awakening and Fates, probably caused by franchise fatigue, coming out towards the end of the 3DS’ life cycle, and having considerable differences from its predecessors in terms of gameplay.

The other alternative I thought could be likely for a potential playable character is Azura, the deuteragonist of Fire Emblem Fates, the best selling game in the series so far, which boosts the chances of it being represented by two characters, much like Awakening (even though Lucina is a clone…). What makes her interesting is that she could represent the often special Dancer class (even though she is a Songstress) while also giving us a lance user that can bend water to her will. Her play style would therefore rely on her lance for most moves, while her specials would likely revolve around her singing and water bending powers, in a similar fashion to the way she’s portrayed in Fire Emblem Warriors. Her Final Smash would also obviously reference that scene where she sings and dances while water bending in front of Garon. She would also inevitably sport both of her dresses as alternate costumes. In the end, Azura is a safer choice in relation to Celica due to the higher sales numbers of Fates, and even though her characteristics overlap a little bit with Corrin, the fact she uses a lance and her powers are different in practice is enough to set her apart.

Perhaps I should also mention the offbeat chance of Anna being chosen, since she has appeared in nearly every game, and has a growing repertoire of playable appearances, making her increasingly relevant. I imagine she would be mostly a jack-of-all-trades joke character, probably referencing the fact each game features a different Anna, which are all members of her lovely family of lookalike merchants that appear to be able to travel between the various worlds of the Fire Emblem series. So who knows what would happen if they found a gate to other worlds outside their series… Why wouldn’t Smash have its own Anna too, right? Right?

When choosing stages, I think it’s obvious we need a stage from Fates, since Corrin didn’t get any last time. My mind immediately went for the Plains of Hoshido, which I feel encapsulates the theme of choices prevalent in that game. It also has a bridge, which could be the central part of the stage, and could even involve the Hoshidan and Nohrian soldiers as stage hazards if need be. If Azura gets in, we could have a stage based on the Cyrkensia Opera House, which is where she performs her previously mentioned dance. It could be an interesting stage due to having a central platform surrounded by a pool of water with boats on it, and the track “Lost in Thoughts All Alone” would easily fit there or the aforementioned stage idea. Finally, to represent Shadows of Valentia, we could have a stage based on the Temple of Mila or Shrines. Either would do for Celica (especially the former) and could host many of the beautiful tracks from the game’s OST, such as With Mila’s Divine Protection, The Sacrifice and the Saint, Mila’s Ordeal, or the Heritors of Arcadia, just to name a few. Even Smash’s remix of With Mila’s Divine Protection could be used for it, I guess.

Duck Hunt Universe

The Duck Hunt Universe is one of those that will probably barely change in the upcoming game, since the characters and games it references haven’t seen any new iterations in the modern era. The Duck Hunt legacy still remains strong in popular culture though, as modern game developers still reference the classic in their own games, as is the case with the recent Duck Season by Stress Level Zero, for example.

At most I can see them adding a retro stage based on the Saloon from Wild Gunman or the City Block from Hogan’s Alley, since both game are referenced in some of Duck Hunt’s moves.

Ice Climber Universe

Relevant games:

– Arcade Archives: Vs. Ice Climber (TBD)
– NES Remix

The Ice Climber Universe is in this part of the article because I fully expect it to return in Super Smash Bros. for Switch. It might not have that many new things going for it outside of a few references in NES Remix and the upcoming Arcade Archives game, but hey, at least Smash players really like the characters and would probably be sad if they didn’t return for another entry in the series, right?

While I don’t expect Popo & Nana to play much differently than they did in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, I think it would be neat if we got a new retro inspired stage for them, similar to 75m, based on the Mountains from their games, since Vs. Ice Climber is going to be released on the Switch in the near future anyways. Of course, this would be complemented by the likely return of Summit. Outside of that, there’s not much we should expect. I will keep on holding to the hope that Nintendo will reboot the franchise in some way in the future though… (a 2 Player Co-op Puzzle and Exploration game would work so well with the Joy-Con and Tabletop Mode… *sigh*)

Kirby Universe

Relevant games:

– Kirby Star Allies
– Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
– Kirby Battle Royale
– Kirby: Planet Robobot

The Kirby Universe is in one of the best positions possible to receive various amounts of new content, be it characters or stages, due to the large amount of love the series has gotten in recent years.

Regarding the three characters already playable in the Smash series, I don’t feel like they need to change that much, since they are nearly perfectly represented as is. Maybe we could see them get a new move or two, or different Final Smashes based on powers and events from more recent games, but overall I think it would barely bother fans if it didn’t happen. It would be fun to see Final Smashes where Kirby pilots a Robobot Armor or King Dedede turns into his new “macho form” though.

The only character of this series still worth considering for a playable spot in Smash is, of course, the last member of the currently recurring Kirby cast, the one and only Bandana Waddle Dee. In fact, it’s now more likely than ever that he could be chosen, since he has been constantly appearing in the games and merchandise, and even had a playable and plot relevant role in the very recently released Kirby Battle Royale. Moreover, he would provide us with a type of fighter we haven’t seen in Smash so far, that being a spear and parasol user. In fact, maybe they could even go as far as combining both and giving him a “spearasol” for added variety and utility. The spear would be used for his strongest moves, while the parasol would be used for weaker moves and support, besides granting him a few interesting quirks, such as the ability to Drift back onto the stage more safely. Considering that his moveset would then combine the Spear and Parasol copy abilities, then his Special Moves could be the Spear Throw (B), Parasol Swing (S-B), Spear Copter (U-B), and Parasol Shield (D-B). The Spear Throw could even be chargeable and turn into the Spear Barrage and Triple Throw, and the other abilities could be incorporated into his moveset, such as Spear Thrust, Multispear Attack, and Pinpoint Thrust for his Neutral Attack, Skyward Thrust for his Up Tilt, Moon Drop or Windmill for his Down Aerial, Gale Thrust for his Forward Smash, Parasol Dive for his Forward (or Down?) Aerial, Circus Throw for his Grab, Pummel and Throws, Parasol Drill for his Dash Attack, Parasol Twirl for his Down Tilt, and Parasol Spin for his Down Smash. For his Final Smash, I think it would be fun to have a reference to Megaton Punch, where Bandana Waddle Dee first showed up, where he could crack the stage in half with a punch or something like that. It’s worth noting that Kirby Battle Royale only released in very late 2017, which means Sakurai might not have considered his parasol abilities from that game, in which case he would probably be a full blown spear user. However, since Sakurai is very familiar with the franchise and its developers, he could technically have been aware of that at the time he put together the project plan, so it’s hard to say for sure what could happen to Bandana Waddle Dee’s moveset since it largely depends on timing.

When it comes to stages, I think Megaton Punch could be used for that too, becoming Bandana Waddle Dee’s home stage. Alternatively, he could get a stage based on the Battle Arena, since he was recently playable in that game. From Star Allies we could get a stage based on Clash at Castle Dedede or a Dream Palace, while Planet Robobot could possibly provide a stage based on the early parts of Resolution Road or Overload Ocean. It would be interesting to see a stage made after the clay motif of Rainbow Curse too, possibly based on the few above-water sections of Indigo Ocean. Finally, I wouldn’t mind seeing Green Greens or Fountain of Dreams make a return.

Star Fox Universe

– Star Fox Zero
– Star Fox Guard
– Star Fox 2

The Star Fox series will probably get some decent representation this time around, due to the few new releases of the latest years and the fact Smash dropped the fan favorite Wolf as a playable character last time.

I don’t expect Fox and Falco to change that much, but I think they should at least have different Final Smashes. For example, you can give Fox the Landmaster anyways, but then give Falco an Arwing, that may or not be able to transform into a Walker, just so they are more different. Besides that, I honestly expect to see Wolf come back due to how well the release timing of Star Fox Zero coincides with the start of development for this Smash game. It would be especially interesting if they managed to give him some different moves this time around, to further differentiate him from Fox and Falco. Yes, I know he wasn’t a clone, but you have to admit that having three characters designed after the same principles with just slightly different moves gets old fast, right? Following from the logic I established before, I also think he should have the Wolfen Hunter as his Final Smash, so his one is different from the others’ too.

When considering stages, I think we should keep in mind that all Star Fox stages so far involve flying spaceships in some way, so the most likely candidate for a new stage seems to be the Salvadora. I also think it would be cool to acknowledge the miraculous release of the previously cancelled Star Fox 2 via the SNES Classic by having a stage themed after it, which could possibly be based on Astropolis. That way we could even have Miyu and Fay featured in Smash in some minor way, possibly via stage conversations, I guess. Finally, it’s important to remember that Star Fox Guard exists, so we could also get an unusual Star Fox stage based on a facility from Corneria Precious Metals Ltd., which could feature some of the invading robots as stage hazards, and maybe even act as R.O.B.’s home stage if he doesn’t get a proper one yet again.

Pokémon Universe

– Pokémon Sun & Moon
– Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon
– Pokémon for Nintendo Switch (2018 or Later)
– Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon
– Pokkén Tournament DX
– Detective Pikachu

The Pokémon series is perpetually evolving and gets some type of new release every year, so it’s always bound to incite changes and provide new content for its Smash Universe.

From the Pokémon characters currently present in Smash, only Charizard and Mewtwo look like they don’t need any real changes. Lucario can also end up not changing, but I feel like it should get at least a couple new moves referencing Bone Rush, which is commonly associated with it in the anime and Pokkén Tournament. The remaining characters will probably receive some changes though.

Pikachu’s Final Smash will likely be changed to Catastropika, since it’s an improved Z-Move version of Volt Tackle. Alternatively, it could use its other exclusive Z-Move called 10,000,000 Volt Thunderbolt instead, which uses Thunderbolt as a base. Pikachu could also get a new alternate costume with a Detective Hat and Cape as a friendly nod to Detective Pikachu. Greninja’s Final Smash will likely also change into Ash Greninja, allowing it to throw a massive Water Shuriken at its opponents while transformed. Finally, Jigglypuff could use a couple new moves based on Disarming Voice and Hyper Voice to emphasize its ability as a singer, and a new Final Smash based on the Fairy-type Z-Move Twinkle Tackle.

Now for new characters, I know many of you are probably thinking we will get a Pokémon from the upcoming Generation 8 games for Nintendo Switch just because Greninja was chosen way ahead of its time, but I seriously doubt that will be the case. Much like Fire Emblem for Switch, these Pokémon games are probably not releasing until very late in 2018, if not 2019, since the current estimation by Nintendo is “2018 or Later”, which would reduce the chances of a Generation 8 Pokémon being chosen to nearly zero. That said, if a Generation 8 Pokémon becomes popular it can later become a candidate for a DLC character to cross promote both games. Besides that, let’s not forget that the previous Smash games had only two trophies mentioning the Generation 6 games Omega Ruby and Alpha Saphire, which means that Generation 7 is completely unmentioned in Smash as of now, and when Sakurai was making the roster for the Switch game, the games that were going to be relevant in the relative future were Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. That said, I think we should consider some of the most popular Pokémon from Generation 7 that can both stand upright and have interesting moves as potential candidates for Super Smash Bros. for Switch, since those would make for fighters that are more appealing and easier to work with. That means our most likely candidates for a spot in the roster are probably Decidueye, Midnight Lycanroc, Mimikyu, Necrozma, and Zeraora. Honorable mentions go to Incineroar, Primarina, Bewear, and the Ultra Beasts, which although possible would probably overlap with what other fighters can already do or would be considerably harder to make work properly. Let’s now briefly tackle each of our aforementioned choices.

Decidueye is probably the choice that everyone is expecting, and it’s easy to understand why, since the concept and potential moveset pretty much speak for themselves, and it would finally give us a cool Grass starter to play as too. Decidueye would probably play as a technical archer that patiently hunts its prey through sheer persistence. Most of its moves would likely revolve around its “bow” and legs, as shown in Pokkén Tournament, and its Special Moves could be Spirit Shackle (B), Leafage (S-B), Brave Bird (U-B), and Phantom Force (D-B). Spirit Shackle would be similar to Pit’s bow, but have slower arrows that stun on contact. Leafage could be portrayed as a quick barrage of leaves, making for a faster but weaker extra projectile. Brave Bird would obviously be your recovery move, but could also develop into a second phase where Decidueye swoops down towards the stage for an extra attack. Phantom Force would behave in a similar way to Meta Knight’s Dimensional Cape, but be impossible to block by shielding, forcing opponents to try and dodge it instead. Its Final Smash would inevitably be the Z-Move Sinister Arrow Raid, which is based on Spirit Shackle and would make several arrows rain on the stage. I have heard some people use the excuse that Decidueye is already in Pokkén Tournament so it won’t be chosen for Smash, but they forget that everyone else is in both Pokkén Tournament and Smash, except for Jigglypuff and Greninja, and that Sakurai chooses characters based on how well they translate into Smash and mesh with the rest of the cast, not what other games they are already in.

Another Pokémon that would fit perfectly in the context of Smash is the Midnight Form of Lycanroc, because its whole personality is built on the premise of wanting to fight the strongest opponents possible with reckless abandon, and what better place is there for that than Smash, right? It would also give us a unique fighter with a brutal fighting style based on stamina and punishing its opponents. Its Special Moves would likely be Crunch (B), Stone Edge (S-B), Rock Climb (U-B), and Counter (D-B). Crunch would be similar to Wario’s Chomp, while Stone Edge would produce a wave of rising stone pillars, forcing the opponent to jump out of the way. Meanwhile, Rock Climb would create small stones that Lycanroc can climb up towards the stage while dropping them on opponents below it. Last but not least, Counter should be pretty self explanatory considering there are plenty of those in Smash, but this one would likely follow the Pokédex entry and have considerable horizontal knockback due to Lycanroc headbutting opponents (or it could also take a page from Donkey Kong’s Headbutt and momentarily bury them instead, but that sounds kinda broken…). For its Final Smash, Lycanroc would then use its exclusive Z-Move based on Stone Edge, Splintered Stormshards, hitting opponents with a falling storm of pointy stones. In the end, Lycanroc could make for a reasonably interesting fighter with a wild spirit.

Our third candidate is one of the most beloved Pokémon from Generation 7 and would admittedly be more of a joke character. Of course, I’m talking about Mimikyu and its never ending murderous grudge towards Pikachu, which could be finally fully realized in Smash. There could also be plenty of jokes about Nintendo’s greatest stars trying to find out what is under its costume, only to tragically fail at it like everyone else in the Pokémon world. While Mimikyu might initially seem like a weird and unlikely choice, you need only remember that Jigglypuff has endured in Smash and it was once considered a weird choice too. Mimikyu would probably translate into a sort of sneaky glass cannon play style, but would be able to take one hit for free due to its Disguise ability. Its Special Moves could be Wood Hammer (B), Play Rough (S-B), Splash (U-B), and Pain Split (D-B). I think the first two moves are pretty much self explanatory, but I should probably note that Splash is actually called Hop in Japanese, which would mean Mimikyu is rather bad in the air and would have a short recovery. Pain Split would be a sort of Counter move where both fighters’ damage percentages get added and then equally split between both, which could quickly turn battles in Mimikyu’s favor when handled by an expert player. I didn’t include Shadow Claw as a special move because I thought it would be used for most of its other moves instead, since Mimikyu has no arms but regularly uses that move as a way to make up for it. Mimic could also make for an alternative special move similar to Kirby’s Inhale, where it gets to copy someone else’s special for the rest of the battle. Its Final Smash would obviously be the hilarious Let’s Snuggle Together, its exclusive Z-Move that improves upon Play Rough. Just don’t forget, if Mimikyu ends up getting in Smash, it is just looking for friends…

The next potential choice for a playable Pokémon is the star of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, and possibly one of the most misunderstood Legendary Pokémon since Mewtwo, the prismatic Necrozma. While Necrozma doesn’t seem that popular with fans, it’s still very unique among the Generation 7 Pokémon and could provide us with a bulky and floaty character with a novel moveset completely themed after light, as suggested by USUM’s official website. That would make its specials Charge Beam (B), Photon Geyser (S-B), Sunsteel Strike (U-B), and Prismatic Laser (D-B). Charge Beam would be a chargeable move that shoots a straight beam of electric particles in front of Necrozma, while Photon Geyser would see Necrozma shoot out a dark sphere that erupts into a pillar of light when it hits something. Meanwhile, Sunsteel Strike would be a two part recovery move where Necrozma rises up into the air and then crashes down into the stage enveloped in a burning sphere of light, while Prismatic Laser would surround Necrozma with deflected light beams possibly forming a rainbow colored shield that deflects projectiles or something like that. I know that Necrozma doesn’t learn Sunsteel Strike without capturing Solgaleo, but Robin also doesn’t learn Nosferatu in Awakening yet has it in his Smash repertoire, so I think it’s a reasonable stretch to make. You could alternatively give it something like Magnet Rise as a recovery move, if you want to be 100% faithful to the games. For its Final Smash, Necrozma would capture Solgaleo, stealing the stage’s light before transforming into Ultra Necrozma and using its ultimate move, Light that Burns the Sky, to hit the stage with a massive light explosion that covers most of the screen.

Our fifth and final contender is the recently revealed Zeraora, mostly because it will be the most relevant Generation 7 Pokémon later this year and the series’ fans warmed up to it pretty quickly. It would also be easier to make by using the knowledge the team has already acquired while making Pikachu, Lucario and Charizard. Its body is somewhat similar to Lucario’s, and its preferred ways of fighting seem to involve throwing punches, scratching opponents with its claws and shocking them with its electric moves, all moves with special effects that could be quickly achieved by re-using know-how and assets from Lucario, Charizard and Pikachu respectively, in addition to a few other characters. All of this combined makes for a fast moving close quarters fighter supported by Electric-type moves that can perhaps stun its opponents for increased attacking opportunities. Taking that into account its specials could be Discharge (B), Wild Charge (S-B), Quick Attack (U-B), and Quick Guard (D-B). Discharge could be an electric version of Ness’ Psi Magnet that damages opponents and destroys projectiles instead of absorbing them to heal your own damage, while Wild Charge and Quick Attack would obviously be simple electricity re-skinned versions of Charizard’s Flare Blitz and Pikachu’s own Quick Attack. Quick Guard would round out the moveset by providing a counter move that can’t be used twice in a row, to differentiate it from other counter moves and force the Zeraora player to mix it up. Moreover, other moves in Zeraora’s learnset could easily be adapted into its Smash moveset, such as Scratch for its Forward Tilt, Spark for its Dash Attack, Fury Swipes for its Neutral Attack, Thunderpunch for its Up Smash, Slash for its Forward Smash, and Close Combat for its Down Smash, just to give you a few examples. Its Final Smash would have to be based on its signature move, Plasma Fists, which would have it charge its fists with electricity and then smash them into the ground, sending two waves of electric energy traveling towards both sides of the stage, as seen here. Overall, Zeraora would never be the most unique Generation 7 Pokémon they could possibly include, but it would certainly be the most relevant at the time of release and relatively faster to put together due to already having resources they could use to make it. It’s also worth considering that Game Freak and The Pokémon Company might convince Sakurai that it is the best strategic choice to make when considering the future, although I doubt that will be the case.

Finally, let’s quickly talk about stages. My two suggestions coming from Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are a transforming stage based on the Alola Pokémon League, as per usual Smash tradition, and a traveling stage called Ultra Warp Ride that starts at the Altar of the Sunne and proceeds to travel through the various main locations accessible through Ultra Space, before finishing in Ultra Megalopolis and then repeating the cycle. I feel like that would be a nice way to showcase the Ultra Beasts, plus Solgaleo and Lunala, without needing to have them in the game in other forms, but seems a bit unlikely due to how much work it would involve. My last choice would be a stage based on ORAS’ Sky Pillar that slowly scrolls up, and stays at the top once it gets there, since we haven’t had that many vertically scrolling stages and I think it would be nice to reference the Delta Episode as it was one of the most important new additions to the remakes. They could even take that old Rayquaza model from Brawl and re-use it for this after polishing it a little bit, for example.

R.O.B. Universe

The R.O.B. Universe hasn’t seen any significant changes since the last Super Smash Bros. games, so there isn’t much we can discuss about it.

Since there’s no reason to change R.O.B. as a character, I think the little guy only needs an actual home stage based on one of the couple games that were compatible with it. Therefore, I suggest the addition of a stage inspired by Gyromite, that could even be one of those retro stages that tries to replicate the feel of the original game.

EarthBound Universe

Relevant games:

– EarthBound Beginnings

The EarthBound series also hasn’t seen any truly relevant changes lately, but at least we finally got a localized version of the original game, which says something about fan demand.

Due to that, I don’t expect Ness or Lucas to change, even though they aren’t that true to their in-game counterparts. After all, they are more of an amalgamation of various elements from their own games being showcased in Smash through them.

Maybe we could see a new stage based on a location from either game, but I doubt it will be something from EarthBound Beginnings due to its similarity to Earthbound. Maybe a stage based on Saturn Valley could be fun, since they would be able to include more references to the Mr. Saturn race.

F-Zero Universe

Relevant games:

– Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

The F-Zero Universe is yet another one that hasn’t gotten any new games in recent years, but at least Nintendo gave fans “something” by including some content in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe that pays homage to the series.

Taking into account Captain Falcon’s moveset is completely made-up just for the purpose of Smash, I guess we can only really hope for another new stage based on one of the recurring tracks from the original F-Zero. I think Sand Ocean could be cool, so let’s go with that one.

Animal Crossing Universe

Relevant games:

– Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Welcome amiibo
– Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
– Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival
– Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

The Animal Crossing Universe has basically become a mainstay in Smash as of the last entry, due to the series’ massive growth in the last few years. With all the recent releases and the looming shadow of the inevitable Switch entry in the franchise, it also doesn’t seem like it will stop growing anytime soon.

That said, I think the Villager already represents the series pretty well, and the only thing I would change about him is his appearance and various alternate costumes, which could be a bit more in line with the standard set by all the games released from New Leaf forward. I also don’t think the series needs another representative for now, since all the other characters are relatively irrelevant due to only fulfilling compact support roles. At most, I could see Isabelle being chosen to represent a few other aspects of the series since she has basically become the mascot everyone identifies it with, however I don’t think it’s likely due to her personality, which makes her more suited to the role of an Assist Trophy, which she actually was in the previous Smash games. They could still probably come up with some weird moveset for her though, that would likely involve other items the Villager doesn’t use, such as the Fishing Rod, Megaphone, and Toy Hammer, her City Tripper from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and other things based on the fact she’s your generic clumsy secretary. Overall, I feel like Villager will remain the sole representative of the series and Isabelle will retain her Assist Trophy position.

Now when it comes to stages there are a few more options. Taking into account the recent releases and already available stages, two possible ideas came to mind. One idea would be to combine elements of the Campground from Welcome Amiibo with elements of the Campsite from Pocket Camp so we could have a sort of forest stage where RVs and Tents would show up in some way. The other idea would be a stage that combines the various buildings from both iterations of the Main Street so we could have a stage where you can use parts of those buildings as platforms.

Pikmin Universe

Relevant games:

– Hey! Pikmin
– Pikmin 4 (TBD according to Miyamoto)

The Pikmin Universe is probably not going to receive much attention in this upcoming iteration of Smash due to its latest release being a spin-off game.

What I expect will happen is that Alph will become a semi-clone of Olimar and, to differentiate them, Olimar will get an extended jump revolving around his new jetpack. Meanwhile, Alph will be able to use Rock Pikmin as a shield breaking move, like everyone has been suggesting for the longest time now. This way Olimar has better mobility while Alph has more offensive presence, making them play differently despite having similar movesets. They could also tweak some of their moves or allow them to have different numbers of Pikmin to further distinguish them from each other.

For new stages, perhaps we could add a new one based on the Pikmin Park from Hey! Pikmin, just to reference the most recent game in the series.

Wii Fit Universe

While the Wii Fit series is pretty much irrelevant now, the Wii Fit Universe will likely remain in Smash as a representation of the series’ massive success during its time of fame.

This is one of those series that hasn’t got much going for it that we could use for new content. At most, I could see them giving the Wii Fit Trainer some alternate costumes based on her look and hairstyle from Wii Fit U (which is already shown in a single trophy) and maybe incorporate some of the mini games from that game in some sort of transforming stage. In the end, the content from Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U is what we will probably see in the Switch iteration though.

Xenoblade Universe

Relevant games:

– Xenoblade Chronicles X
– Xenoblade Chronicles 2

The Xenoblade Chronicles Universe is full of potential new content that can be added to Smash. The series has grown considerably well in the last few years and according to the developers has in fact been divided into two different RPG series that run in parallel, Xenoblade Chronicles, focusing more on story driven games and fantasy elements, and Xenoblade Chronicles X, focusing more on exploration and sci-fi elements. Due to this, I think it’s even possible that Smash could interpret the second series as its own and use an X to represent characters and stages from those games, but that’s something we will have to wait and see what happens.

Now while Shulk will probably not change much in relation to the previous Smash game due to each entry having its own unique story and characters, I think we should consider the possibility of getting at least two new characters, one from each series, even if one of them only shows up later as DLC. There’s also a third character from the Xeno series that I wish to briefly discuss, because it remains relevant through appearances in several recent games. With that said, let’s take a look at Rex & Pyra, Elma, and KOS-MOS.

Rex is not our most likely candidate for a new Smash character from this series, despite what most people might think. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 might be the most recent game and have sold slightly better than X, but it was in mid-development at the time Sakurai would have been preparing his Smash project plan. However, taking into account the good reception it got from the fans, it’s highly likely that it will be featured in some type of DLC later on. Besides Rex, I think Pyra needs to at least be present as some type of background support for him (similar to Pokémon Trainer) or as a following AI (similar to the Ice Climbers) to properly reflect the Driver and Blade affinity mechanic from the game in some way. This way, Rex would become stronger when in close proximity to Pyra and weaker when they get separated. The only problem with this is that it could be hard to make it work in modes such as 8-Player Smash, since Pyra is a humanoid and even taller than Rex, which would possibly strain the processor under conditions like those, so it’s possible that some type of workaround would need to be implemented instead. In case it turns out to be doable, I suppose that Pyra will be involved in Rex’s play style in some way, probably through her Specials, which is why I propose that we turn Rex’s Aegis Arts into his grab and Smash Moves instead, leaving the Special Moves to Pyra. This would make it so that his grab is based on Anchor Shot, while Sword Bash, Double Spinning Edge, and Rolling Smash would be his forward, down and up smashes. Meanwhile, his special moves would actually be performed by giving the sword to Pyra so she can use one of her Specials, although I’m not sure which special move would be each one of them. Alternatively, you could just mix and match between Rex’s Arts and Pyra’s Specials to make up his special moves instead. Another point worth bringing up is that Pyra has another form called Mythra that has her own Specials, something Sakurai would probably try to showcase in some way. Since we are now done with transforming characters in Smash, I could see her play a part in his Final Smash instead, or maybe forcefully switch with Pyra after Rex has reached a certain amount of damage percentage, making Rex’s moves stronger and replacing Pyra’s Specials with her own while she’s in play, which would mirror what she does in the game sometimes (think of something similar to how Lucario grows stronger the higher his damage percentage is, for example). Rex could have one move that makes him switch between both Blades, but I’m not sure that’s the best way to implement this idea. His Final Smash could also be a Chain Attack, allowing some of his party members, such as Nia, Dromarch, Tora and Poppi, to show up in the game in some way. Overall, Rex could be an interesting and deep character to have in Smash, provided they somehow manage to represent the Driver and Blade relationship in a satisfactory manner.

The other character I would like to talk about is Elma from Xenoblade Chronicles X. I have seen many people quickly dismiss her as a potential choice due to Rex being from a more recent game, but we can’t forget that Xenoblade Chronicles X also sold very well, the developers are interested in porting it to the Switch, and X is a parallel series to the main one, so it’s possible it will be treated as a separate series in Smash too. Moreover, this is one of the few currently relevant games I could think of that features riffles similar to the ones that Sakurai was interested in, be it assault riffles for humanoid characters or various guns for their Skells, so it’s entirely possible it was intended as inspiration for something related to this game. As a character, Elma would rely on the abilities of Full Metal Jaguar, her class in the game that wields Dual Swords and Dual Guns, which are also the basis for two of her signature Arts, Shadowstrike and Ghost Factory respectively. As such, her abilities in Smash would probably be the combination of a few original moves with moves inspired by her own class progression in her game. Taking that into account her Special Moves could be Electric Surge (B), Sliding Slinger (S-B), Shadowstrike (U-B), and Ghost Factory (D-B). They could even replace Electric Surge with Hundred Shells or Sliding Slinger with Stream Edge, for example, depending on what they are trying to achieve and how they want to incorporate her Arts into her moveset. Her Final Smash would likely revolve around boarding one of the aforementioned Skells or having her activate Overdrive, since either one works well for that purpose. I think the Skell is more likely though, considering Sakurai’s interest in the Vifam figure and the fact it’s depicted on the game’s box art, meaning it is more iconic and has much more relevance than Overdrive in the great scheme of things. In the end, Elma could become a new Smash character with a very unique play style that relies on two different weapon types at the same time and would therefore be quite distinct from everything we have seen before.

Although she is related to the Xeno series as a whole instead of just Xenoblade, I think we should briefly consider KOS-MOS as a character that might be potentially given some thought by the team. If you look into her, you will actually realize that she’s far from forgotten, having recently appeared in not only Xenoblade Chronicles 2 as a rare Blade, but also in the Project X Zone series, more notably Project X Zone 2, where she was not only paired with Fiora from Xenoblade Chronicles but also interacted with other characters currently present in Smash in various ways such as Lucina, Chrom, Ryu, and Mega Man. Moreover, she has considerably influenced the design of some Xenoblade Chronicles characters as well. All of this, alongside the fact she’s still well remembered, kind of turns her into an icon of the gaming world, which slightly boosts her chances of being considered for a spot in Smash as a special guest character of sorts. I don’t think she will show up, but thought I should give you a heads up anyway just so you know she might be considered for DLC later on or something like that, since the Xenosaga series was born out of the partnership between Bandai Namco and Monolith Soft, and as far as we know Bandai Namco is probably working on Smash, so the chance exists they could bring her up to Sakurai as a possibility.

For stages, I don’t have any concrete ideas but I suppose they would be based in relatively early areas from the two aforementioned games. I think it would be nice to see a Xenoblade Chronicles 2 stage that features the Cloud Sea in some way, since it has an iconic feel to it, even if it’s just for aesthetics surrounding the place they actually decide to choose for the stage. Perhaps a stage based on the Ancient Ship could work well? When it comes to Xenoblade Chronicle X maybe a traveling stage that stops at some of Mira‘s Scenic Viewpoints could be interesting and pretty to look at, so I will go with that.

Splatoon Universe

Relevant games:

– Splatoon
– Splatoon 2

The Splatoon Universe is a new addition to the Super Smash Bros. series, and from what we have seen it will likely be focusing on content from the first entry in the series for the most part.

The Inklings are now confirmed to be joining the roster, so let’s briefly discuss them. Taking into account Splatoon’s gameplay, the Inklings will probably have a territorial play style based on inking the stage to increase their mobility. They will likely use their Splattershot in most of their moves to this effect, and probably will be able to duck into the ink when pressing down to reflect their squid form abilities. Some of their other moves, such as Smash Moves, could possibly make use of other Main Weapons, like Rollers or Sloshers. The Special Moves will probably make use of a few Sub Weapons, so they could be the Splat Bomb (B), Seeker (S-B), Super Jump (U-B), and Ink Mine (D-B), for example. Their Final Smash will likely be based on one of the more intense Specials, such as the Kraken or Inkstrike. When it comes to alternate costumes I think it’s obvious the Inkling Boy will cover half of them, and that maybe we could see an Octoling costume, but I doubt that last possibility will happen this soon when Smash seems to be giving priority to the content of the first game over the second and that the Octo Expansion for Splatoon 2 is only releasing in the upcoming summer. In the end, the Inklings will certainly be one of the most solid additions to this next entry of Smash when you consider their unique abilities and current popularity.

Regarding stages, I think we will see a couple of them, most likely based on some of the initial stages from the first Splatoon, unless they decide to turn Inkopolis or Octo Valley into one. I could see Saltspray Rig or Blackbelly Skatepark being chosen for this purpose.

Mii Universe

Relevant games:

– Miitopia

The Mii Universe is probably going to stay around for this next entry of Smash since Miis are still relevant as Player Avatars on the Switch, among other things.

When considering the Mii Fighters I wasn’t sure if they would change much or not, but since there will be new characters with new moves added to the roster I could see them either give the current Mii Fighters new tools to work with or maybe add new types of Mii Fighters to take advantage of all those new resources. That said, I think we could at least get a Mii Spellcaster that takes advantage of the various magic-like attacks that the series will probably have accumulated by the next entry. If there are enough characters using spears and lances or bows and trapping moves I could also see a Mii Lancer or Mii Ranger, but in the end it will depend on what other newcomers join the roster and if the team wants to expand the concept of the Mii Fighters or not. I guess we should also expect more Mii Costumes based on characters that weren’t chosen for the upcoming roster if the Mii Fighters do return.

Since Miitopia is the latest big release involving the Miis we will probably get a stage inspired by it. So most likely, in that case, it will be a stage based on one of the island’s regions, although I’m not sure if there’s a particularly iconic one or not that would likely be chosen.

Bandai Namco Universes

Relevant games:

– Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus
– Namco Museum

So far the only universe we have in Smash that comes from a Bandai Namco series is the Pac-Man Universe, and this is one of the likely ones to stay due to how iconic Pac-Man is to gaming.

I can’t really think of any other Bandai Namco characters that have the weight that Pac-Man has, but there are some long standing franchises that could be considered at some point, most likely for DLC, such as Digimon, Soul Calibur, Taiko Drum Master, Tales of, Tekken, or Dark Souls, to name a few. However, I don’t see any new playable characters from Bandai Namco making it into the initial roster.

If for some reason these 3rd party characters are supposed to have only one stage representing them in the game, then I would like them to include the Pac-Maze stage over the Pac-Land one, but since we don’t know that for sure let us expect that both will be brought back.

Capcom Universes

Relevant games:

– Mega Man 11
– Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 + 2
– Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 + 2
– Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers
– Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection

Smash currently has two Universes based on Capcom series, the Mega Man Universe and the Street Fighter Universe, and I think that they aren’t going anywhere based on how these two series are what Capcom is using to support the Switch.

Mega Man might get a new move or two based on the upcoming Mega Man 11, since the objective of the game is to properly resurrect the franchise, but I’m not expecting it to happen. Likewise, I don’t see much of a reason to change Ryu, so I’m not expecting that either.

The only other recently relevant Capcom franchises on Nintendo consoles are Ace Attorney, Monster Hunter, Okami, and Resident Evil, which I don’t see getting any characters in the initial roster. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to perhaps see a Monster Hunter character as DLC, since the series has been one of Capcom’s pillars on Nintendo platforms for a long time now. If that happens I think it would be much more fun to have a Felyne Prowler representing the series instead of a regular human hunter, since they have become playable in more recent games, already have their own spin-off games, and have become a mascot for the series, even making cameo appearances in Nintendo franchises such as Animal Crossing, for example. So to me, if Capcom is getting any new characters at some point, the Felyne Prowler is the most likely one.

Finally, when it comes to stages, I think Wily Castle and Suzaku Castle will likely stay with their respective characters, but I would like to see a way to turn off bosses in stages like Wily Castle. In case that isn’t implemented, I think we might see another Mega Man stage.

SEGA Universes

Relevant games:

– Sonic Mania
– Sonic Forces
– Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice
– Bayonetta
– Bayonetta 2
– Bayonetta 3 (TBD)

SEGA is another 3rd Party with two Universes in the Smash series, with those being the Sonic Universe and the Bayonetta Universe. Taking into account how Sonic has already shown up in three games and Bayonetta is now at home in Nintendo platforms, I think both will return in this upcoming entry too.

Sonic probably won’t change much from his past iterations in Smash, but Bayonetta is another story altogether. As she is now, Bayonetta might be a little bit too overpowered, so I imagine that either her combo-prone moveset or her damage dealing potential will be overhauled in some way, or some fans might not be happy about her return in the end.

Outside of Sonic and Bayonetta, the only other longstanding SEGA series that have recently shown up in Nintendo platforms are basically Puyo Puyo, Phantasy Star and Valkyria Chronicles, and the last two are pretty recent cases, so would likely not make it into Smash anyways. So considering that, the only potential character is really Arle Nadja from Puyo Puyo, which could actually work if they managed to mix gameplay elements from Puyo Puyo, the Puyos themselves, and her various magic powers in some way, taking into account she has also been featured in RPG games before. Her design from late 2016’s Puyo Puyo Chronicles would work pretty well alongside the other Smash characters in my opinion. She’s also a very popular character request among Japanese players and shares her series’ long history of well known puzzle games, which could help her secure a spot eventually, but probably not before DLC comes around I would imagine. Don’t see it happening, but a possibility nonetheless. Since Atlus’ series now belong to SEGA, you can also consider their two main series as potentially usable, with those being Megami Tensei and Etrian Odyssey, which have had plenty of entries on Nintendo’s platforms and could provide various types of content for Smash, but I also doubt they would be considered right away.

When it comes to stages, I’m pretty sure Green Hill Zone isn’t going anywhere due to it being one of the zones in the recent Sonic Mania and simply one the most iconic Sonic areas ever. Speaking of Sonic Mania, wouldn’t be surprised if they made another new Sonic stage based on one of its other zones either. For Bayonetta I’m not really expecting a new stage alongside Umbra Clock Tower, but it’s possible they would look at the intro of Bayonetta 2 and make a stage based on the airplane sequence or something similar.

Square Enix Universes

Relevant games:

– Pictlogica Final Fantasy
– Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call
– Final Fantasy Explorers

The only Universe we have in Smash from all of Square Enix’s series is the Final Fantasy Universe, which is actually one of the hard ones to say if it will come back or not, considering that keeping all the rights related to Cloud for another game might or not be complicated depending on various factors. Hopefully the team manages to pull that off.

 

Cloud probably wouldn’t change much as a character, like most of the other 3rd Party characters, since they already reflect their iconic traits well. This only leaves us with the possibility of Square Enix potentially lending Nintendo another guest character, maybe from Dragon Quest due to the large amount of games that series has seen in Nintendo platforms lately and how historically important it is within the RPG genre. Other possibilities include someone from the Bravely series or from the upcoming releases of The World Ends with You: Final Remix and Octopath Traveler. We also have the fan favorite Geno from Super Mario RPG, which almost got in last time via DLC and basically has his own special moves already, so you never know. However, I don’t see any of these series getting a character in the initial roster, so if it happens it will likely be via DLC later on. I personally would like to see Bub and Bob from Bubble Bobble and Puzzle Bobble, but I realize it will probably never happen when there are countless Square Enix characters that are more important and worth considering, such as Chrono.

I’m not expecting to see any new stages from Final Fantasy, so I will be happy if we get Midgar back alongside more content from the series, since last time that felt really minimal compared to other 3rd Party characters, probably due to licensing problems.

Characters and Stages from Secondary and Minor Universes

Rhythm Heaven Universe

Relevant games:

– Rhythm Heaven Megamix

The Rhythm Heaven Universe is one of those that has a considerable likelihood of getting a playable character and increasing its presence in the next Smash. The series has gotten at least one game in every one of the last hardware generations, starting with the GBA, moving on to the DS and Wii, and more recently on the 3DS. It is also considerably popular, making for some pretty decent sales numbers overall when compared to other series. Besides that, it would also represent a genre of games not yet featured in Smash, that being music and rhythm based video games. The latest series entry also released in the west near the end of 2016, which places it in the sweet spot time frame where Sakurai would be considering characters for the new game’s roster, which boosts the chances of this series getting noticed again.

Now the series has many characters overall and, although some are recurring, most of them are all pretty self contained and related to particular types of mini games within the series’ various entries. This means that whoever gets chosen to represent Rhythm Heaven would need to be a sort of blank slate character that can amalgamate elements from the various mini games in the series, much like Mr. Game & Watch references most of the various Game & Watch games via his moves. To this end, I do think Sakurai might have potentially considered the Chorus Kids for a playable character, since they fit the blank slate idea and because their name also indicates the type of game they come from, a music related game. It’s also not that hard to imagine that their own mini games, Glee Club, would probably be the inspiration for their Final Smash. However, with the advent of Megamix including a story mode featuring Tibby, there’s a chance he might be chosen instead since he fits what is necessary too, but in my opinion the Chorus Kids would still be a more iconic and interesting choice. They even fit the “All-Star” idea of the game better, because they are trying to be stars in the music world already. The other character most people would consider too is Karate Joe, which I also thought would be a nice choice at first, but then I started to ponder that his design would probably slightly overlap with Ryu as a character, and that it would be harder to portray him doing certain silly things that would fit in with the Chorus Kids much better, so I ended up concluding that his chances are lower. In the end, this series has a lot of variety and would probably give us a very interesting character with a unique play style, especially if Sakurai tries to incorporate the rhythm based aspect of the games in some way.

When it comes to stages, it’s hard to say what could be chosen specifically, but it probably would make sense to add one of those stages that changes between mini games, like the WarioWare, Inc. stage, because that way you could more easily portray the many types of mini games and music tracks the series is well known for.

Dillon’s Rolling Western Universe

Relevant games:

– Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers

The Dillon’s Rolling Western series started its life as a small title on the 3DS eShop and, despite having mixed reviews in terms of reception, must keep selling reasonably well because Nintendo recently announced a third entry in Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers, which is even going to have a retail version in Europe and Japan this time.

That might seem irrelevant at first, but you need to remember that Dillon was already an Assist Trophy in the previous Smash entries, which means Nintendo and Sakurai must see some value in the character. This third game might just be releasing a little bit too late to have an impact in Dillon’s chances of being upgraded into a playable character, but it doesn’t mean he couldn’t be considered for DLC later. Another problem with Dillon is that his character could potentially overlap a bit with Sonic due to both having similar ways of moving around by rolling into a wheel shape. However, he does have some very distinct characteristics that Sonic doesn’t have, which would make his Specials Moves very different and easy to choose, so he is worthy of consideration. You can get a general sense of his abilities and what his Special Moves could look like from watching this gameplay footage from the point I selected forward. There’s also something inherently cool in being able to have a battle between the “Red Flash” and the “Blue Blur”, but that might just be me. I think Dillon is slowly getting up there in terms of relevance, but he might still not be quite iconic enough to become playable, but who knows, we could be sleeping on a potentially unexpected playable character here, so keep him in mind.

I have no idea if there’s any location in particular that could be used for a stage, since I haven’t played the games, but from the looks of it, it would likely be some sort of desert style stage.

Golden Sun Universe

The Golden Sun series is one of those series I wouldn’t be talking about if its characters didn’t have so much moveset potential and it didn’t have an Assist Trophy during the Brawl days. I say that because the first GBA game had great global sales of over 1 million copies, but the following GBA game only sold about half of what the first game did, and then the third game was only released around eight years later on the DS and had a rather average reception and even worse sales numbers. This third game also left us with yet another cliffhanger at the end, which has remained unsolved since 2010 due to no sequel being made until the present time, and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon because Camelot is too busy making Mario sports games for Nintendo. That said, the main problem with a character from Golden Sun ever being considered by Sakurai is the current lack of relevance of the franchise, and that would probably be hard to overcome even if the results of the previous games’ ballot were positive for its characters.

The good thing is that Isaac, the protagonist of the original game, and Matthew, his nearly identical son and the protagonist of the third game, have huge amounts of potential when it comes to building a unique moveset that heavily references their games. I made a complete moveset for them as a single character, that you can find in this document, to try to showcase how varied and interesting the character could be if even only some of those ideas made it into the game. It was also built to try and correct some misconceptions that people who haven’t played the games might have about this character, since it includes elements that are important to Golden Sun’s battle system that are often ignored by those trying to depict Isaac in Smash due to how complex they are. Overall, I imagine he could take some ideas from how Shulk plays but become an even more complex and unique character than him, making him obviously intended for advanced players due to how intricate his systems would be .

When it comes to stages, I think the most obvious and likely choice for one is Mt. Aleph‘s Sol Sanctum, since that location is relevant to important plot points of all three games to some capacity. It could either be a traveling stage that visits all of its rooms, or maybe it could just focus on the Elemental Star Chamber, which I imagine could look visually stunning and even feature the Wise One in some way. The other location that comes to mind as likely is Venus Lighthouse, since Isaac and Matthew are Venus Adepts and that place serves as the point of transition between Golden Sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age. The stage would likely focus only on the aerie portion of the Lighthouse though. Furthermore, since Venus Lighthouse literally splits into four quarters during an earthquake at one point and becomes whole again soon after, that aspect could provide an interesting stage hazard similar to what happens in the Midgar stage when Odin is summoned.

Nintendo Wars Universe

The Wars series has been an important part of Nintendo’s IP collection since 1988 and has a long history of twelve games despite its current lack of relevance, since Intelligent Systems has been focusing on Fire Emblem since Awakening’s success. That history, coupled with the fact that there’s already an Assist Trophy in Smash, could help this series get a playable character that would be considered retro or not depending on who is chosen to represent it.

My intuition makes me think that Sakurai could look at this series from a retro perspective due to how old it is and therefore label it as Famicom Wars, making the Infantry unit a playable character. After all, they are the most common and iconic unit in all the games, and are the ones doing all the fighting and capturing most of the time. However, let us be honest, they don’t have the biggest of personalities or the most varied abilities due to being generic units, and even Captain Rainbow considered them to be often forgotten Nintendo characters. Due to that, I think it would be beneficial to look at the more recent Advance Wars games instead and use one of the most popular COs (Commanding Officers) as a playable character. That said, the one that I feel would best embody the series is Sami because she is an Infantry specialist, so she could depict a similar type of character but with the added benefit of having more personality and being able to pull off some different moves based on other units available in the games. Moreover, she could also provide a thematic replacement to Snake while adding a strong willed female to the roster. For a character like her to join the roster though, we would have to deal with the fact that she uses a riffle to fight and Smash isn’t very welcoming to characters that use realistic weapons, so to overcome that hurdle I propose that we have Sami shoot cartoon-like bullets similar to Mega Man’s Mega Buster and what Advance Wars: Dual Strike units do in the game’s Combat Mode. If Bayonetta can use realistic guns because they shoot magic bullets, then Sami can also use guns that shoot cartoon-like bullets, right? This way, we can make her basic moves more acceptable and then have other moves revolve around projectile weapons, which seem to be allowed due to characters like Samus already using missiles, for example. Taking that into account, I suggest that her Neutral and Tilt Moves should make use of her riffle and hand-to-hand combat just like regular real life soldiers. Then her Smash Moves could take inspiration from some of the weapons used by the game’s Indirect Attack units being fired at close range, such as the Anti-Air Missile Launcher (Up Smash), the Rocket Launcher (Side Smash), and the Artillery or Anti-Tank (Down Smash). Meanwhile, her Special Moves could more closely relate to Infantry-style units and could be the Mech Bazooka (B), Motorbike (S-B), Transport Helicopter (U-B), and Capture (D-B). The Mech Bazooka would work in the same way as its corresponding Unit, and would make sense since Sami carries that weapon around in some game artwork, while the Motorbike would be inspired by its namesake unit too and could work in a similar way to Wario’s bike. Next we have the Transport Helicopter, that could have a small sprite of that unit carry Sami upwards while she hangs on to a ladder, and to round things out she could maybe grab an opponent and then stomp them into the ground using the Capture command. Finally, her Final Smash would be inspired by her Super CO Power, Victory March, slightly increasing her movement speed and the power of her Riffle, Bazooka and Capture related moves, in addition to summoning a small army of eight Infantry and Mech Units to help her defeat her opponents. This could take a page from the previously mentioned Infantry and Tanks Assist Trophy and have the sprites appear out of nowhere, or maybe they could storm the stage in Transport Helicopters and APCs just so it looks cooler. In the end, I think Sami could be a simple yet iconic character that offers an interesting play style revolving around the use of different weapons, but since the series hasn’t seen a new game since 2008, and Sami’s last appearance was in 2005, it could be difficult for her to overcome the current lack of relevance of the franchise.

For a stage, I think we could go with something based on the Orange Star Headquarters, since the series doesn’t have many specific locations or places to design a stage around.

The Mysterious Murasame Castle

Relevant games:

– The Mysterious Murasame Castle VC

The Mysterious Murasame Castle is one of the most likely retro games to contribute a playable character to Super Smash Bros. for Switch due to its historical relevance as one of the first games in the “stylish action” genre, paving the ground for others that would come over time, including the Bayonetta series which is already part of the Smash family. The game was also originally released in 1986 in Japan, one of Nintendo’s golden years of the Famicom/NES era, which also blessed us with the likes of The Legend of Zelda, Metroid and Kid Icarus, meaning that this game has an historical link to those three. In fact, much like Kid Icarus was based on a tweaked version of Metroid’s engine, the same happened with The Mysterious Murasame Castle, which had a tweaked version of The Legend of Zelda’s engine. Takamaru is also one of the few retro characters that has been constantly referenced in multiple games in recent years, such as Captain Rainbow, Samurai Warriors 3, and Nintendo Land, to name a few. He was also considered for a playable role in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, but ended up not making the cut due to a lack of familiarity with western players, being relegated to an Assist Trophy role instead. However, this problem might have been slightly mitigated since then due to the recent Virtual Console release, potentially converting him into a more acceptable choice at the current time.

Takamaru could become an interesting character due to his design being heavily influenced by Japanese culture and him being proficient in distinct Japanese sword fighting techniques, supported by various other weapons, that still hasn’t been used by any other Smash characters before. Most of his moves would probably involve sword slashes to some degree, so let us focus more on his potentially interesting Special Moves instead, but before that it’s worth mentioning that Takamaru would likely be able to deflect physical projectiles using some of his sword slash moves. When thinking about his Special Moves we should consider the various unique weapons and abilities that Takamaru can use in his game. Based on those, I think his Special Moves could be the Shogi Shuffle (B), King Throwing Knives + Rook Windmill Swords + Bishop Fireball (S-B), Red Sandals (U-B), and Invisibility Scroll (D-B). Shogi Shuffle would rotate between the three King, Rook, and Bishop shogi pieces that determine the directional orientation of Takamaru’s attacks in his game, but in Smash it would also change the projectile he can use with his Side Special. The King piece would allow him to throw three stacked Knives in front of him, while the Rook piece would let him throw four Windmill Swords in a cross pattern, and the Bishop piece would make him throw three Fireballs in a paper fan pattern. The Windmill Swords would have the highest reach but be the weakest weapon, while the Fireballs would be the strongest but also have the shortest reach, and the Throwing Knives would provide a simple weapon with balanced reach and power. Since the Red Sandals allow Takamaru to run twice as fast, and the Blue Sandals allow him to walk on water as fast as on the ground, then maybe his Up Special could reference both Sandals in some way. The Down Special would likely be the Invisibility Scroll, that would turn Takamaru invisible for a few seconds and protect him from opponents moves until the time runs out or he uses another one his moves that doesn’t involve his sword. This special could then have some sort of a limited amount of uses per stock to prevent spamming, since it can only be used three times in a row in the original game anyways. Alternatively, it could easily be reinterpreted as a counter or trap move of sorts. For his Final Smash, Takamaru would use the Inazuma Lighting technique while wearing the Kabuto Helmet, essentially making him invincible for a the duration of the Final Smash as three lighting bolts fall down on the stage, potentially KOing any opponents hit by them, while Takamaru tries to Smash his remaining opponents into oblivion. Overall, I think Takamaru could turn out to be a rather unique character, plus he would finally complete the “Famicom 4” group, making Smash that much better of an historical record of Nintendo’s achievements.

When it comes to the stage, I think it makes the most sense to use the titular Murasame Castle, right? Maybe it could even have the Murasame Statue, or the Mysterious Life Object that took over it, as a stage boss.

Panel de Pon / Puzzle League Universe

Relevant games:

– Animal Crossing: Puzzle League

The Puzzle League series is another Nintendo IP with a long history since its initial debut as Panel de Pon back in 1995. Unfortunately, it hasn’t seen a proper game since 2009’s Puzzle League Express, which in Japan actually used the original Panel de Pon aesthetic under the title Chotto Panel de Pon. However, it was significantly included as a mini game in 2016’s Welcome Amiibo expansion to Animal Crossing: New Leaf, named Animal Crossing: Puzzle League, through which you could acquire various in-game items themed after the series, including four items that make up a full costume based on Lip, the protagonist of the original Panel de Pon game. While this might seem insignificant, this is one the few times that Nintendo has clearly referenced Lip and the original game, whose aesthetic seems to have been mostly abandoned over the years in a supposed attempt to gather interest from a larger number of players due to the original look possibly being considered “too girly” by many. This is important because it gives our potential playable character Lip some exposure in the west, and means that Nintendo still hasn’t forgotten the series’ roots and is interested in keeping it around, even if only through minor formats like this.

Now I know what you are going to say, how can Lip fight if she is part of a puzzle game series, right? Well, for starters, she is called the Fairy of Flowers for a reason, and wields a Flower Wand that is already an item in Smash called Lip’s Stick, which inflicts the Flower effect, so logically she is probably capable of controlling plants to some degree and maybe her Smash moves could revolve around the wand causing that effect. She is also seen waving this wand in her game when producing a garbage block to interfere with her opponent’s game, which is actually one of Kirby’s Stone transformations in Smash, so that could be another one of her moves, a crushing garbage block with a flowery theme. This could potentially be her Side Special and maybe be a ranged attack like Zelda’s Din’s Fire, dropping the block once the B button is released, potentially even Meteor Smashing opponents caught directly below the block due to how big and heavy it is or just launching them sideways due to having a high Knockback. Furthermore, in Captain Rainbow, she has a pet Piranha Plant, a type of enemy in Super Mario games that also appears in Tetris Attack, so maybe that could be a fun nod to both games if it were included in her moveset too, perhaps as a ranged grab move similar to Link’s Clawshot. Speaking of pets, her Up Special could probably make use of that winged, dandelion-inspired creature that pulls her up in Panel de Pon’s title screen. Moving on to her Neutral Special, I think it should revolve around dropping or shooting the colored blocks from her game in some way. If the blocks were dropped, they could stack together when near each other and explode when three of the same type of block are lined together. Meanwhile, if they were shot from her wand instead, maybe each block color could inflict different types of effects on opponents when they hit them, such as Flame for red blocks, Paralyze for yellow blocks, Freezing for cyan blocks, etc., which would somewhat reference the special effects of various Item Blocks from Planet Puzzle League and introduce an element of unpredictability to her moveset. If the first approach is taken, then maybe her Down Special could replicate the game’s white selection box that switches the position of blocks to switch any two characters or objects in the screen when they are relatively close, and could also be used to manipulate the dropped blocks into lining up with each other, deliberately causing planned explosions. If not, then maybe her Down Special could be a bubble based on the tutorial screens of the Game Cube game instead, that reflects certain types of projectiles but mainly energy based moves. For the Final Smash, they could use the stone wall and sparkling stars that fill up the play area at the end of each match, or they could get creative and do something that revolves around the “rainbow road” at the end of the game’s VS Mode. In the end, Lip could be a pretty unique character if you get creative with her moveset and play to her strengths, but the lack of current relevance and familiarity with players is a big obstacle that isn’t easy to overcome and basically prevents her from being seriously considered, much like Takamaru has proven before.

It’s a bit hard to come up with a concrete stage, but maybe they could do something around the initial flower level of the VS Mode, since Lip is the Fairy of Flowers, or maybe they could simply replicate the playing area of the games with various blocks falling down from time to time and hitting the players that are fighting below them.

Chibi-Robo! Universe

Relevant games:

– Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash

The Chibi-Robo! series is one of those cases where I’m split between its titular character, Chibi-Robo, being a likely candidate or not. On one hand, you have the fact that this is a sort of cult classic series that Nintendo has tried to make more popular over time, with a recent game, and that also happens to feature a lovable main character with lots of potential for a unique moveset due to how different his games are from others in the market. Then on the other hand, you have the fact that Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash didn’t perform that well and was supposedly one of the last chances Kensuke Tanabe and his team had of turning the IP into a mainstream series. However, Tanabe did mention that they might be able to make another adventure game featuring Chibi-Robo if the character gained more recognition so, taking into account its uniqueness, maybe Nintendo and Sakurai could make the strategic choice of including Chibi-Robo in the next Smash game as a way of improving said recognition in an attempt to guarantee a future for the series. In fact, taking into account the success of the Switch, I could see them do that and then try to reintroduce the series in its original format in the near future, but then again why do that when you can just invest your resources into developing a brand new IP, right? This is a hard one to predict.

So how would Chibi-Robo play, right? While Chibi-Robo is rarely seen using his body to fight, I think he could do it for most of his basic moves or instead rely on some of the various items that he uses in the games. His Smash Moves could also use a few of those, such as the Toothbrush (Side Smash), Spoon (Down Smash), or Squirter (Up Smash), to name a few examples. For his Grab, he would probably make use of his tail cord to reach out to opponents from a distance, and for his Dash Attack he could make use of his Bike. Then for his Special Moves he could use the Quick Throw + Power Throw (B), Chibi-Blaster (S-B), Chibi-Copter (U-B), and Vacuum Cleaner (D-B). The Neutral Special would have different outcomes depending on how the button is pressed. A quick press of the button would result in a Quick Throw forward of Chibi-Robo’s Plug & Cord, while holding the button would result in a Power Throw that would have Chibi-Robo electrify his Plug and swing his Cord around, letting you aim towards any direction until you release the button, making the the Plug & Cord shoot out a certain distance while ricocheting on surfaces and shocking opponents hit by the Plug. The Side Special would work much like Mega Man’s Mega Buster, shooting energy blasts that get more powerful and travel farther the longer you charge it. Meanwhile, his Up Special would help him recover using the Chibi-Copter, and the Down Special would pull opponents and items towards him using the Vacuum Cleaner. The Final Smash could then involve the Giant Chibi-Robo from Zip Lash’s final boss battle. I’m certain there are plenty of other elements from his games that could be used in his moveset, so I’m confident that he would be a fun and unique character to play as. The only real problem is the aforementioned lack of recognition that could make Sakurai shy away from choosing him as a playable fighter in the face of other, more relevant, characters.

Chibi-Robo’s home stage could be something similar to the Living Room stage based on the Sanderson’s House, taking into account that Chibi-Robo would navigate said house while performing various chores in the original title.

Characters and Stages from New Nintendo Universes

BoxBoy! Universe

Relevant games:

– BoxBoy!
– BoxBoxBoy!
– Bye-Bye BoxBoy!

The BoxBoy! series is a relatively new franchise developed by HAL Laboratory of Kirby fame, yet it quickly became rather popular and grew into a trilogy, which was even released physically in Japan, together with its soundtrack and an amiibo of the series’ protagonist, Qbby. Moreover, it even spawned its own official Japanese Youtube Channel, and had a celebration of its 2.5 years of existence in parallel with Kirby’s 25th anniversary. Despite marketing Bye-Bye BoxBoy! as the last entry, it seems like the series might actually continue in the future, since they released a “To Be Continued…?” video and Yasuhiro Mukae commented on how multiplayer could work well on the Switch, but never confirmed anything. So all things considered, it looks like Qbby might be here to stay and is a plausible candidate for a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. for Switch.

In fact, Qbby would be rather easy to develop, since it’s only a cube with eyes and legs, but could also provide us with a rather unorthodox character with a very distinct fighting style. One of the obstacles to his inclusion is that, unlike Kirby, he lacks arms, so it could be hard for them to come up with a way for him to grab items and opponents. What about fighting you ask? Well, who needs arms when you can just ram a row of boxes into your opponent’s face, right!? I imagine that his basic attacks would have him produce a single box, while his Smash Moves could have him ram opponents with a straight row of 3-4 boxes instead. Meanwhile, his Special Moves could rely on the four types of special boxes that Qbby can create. His Neutral Special could create a group of boxes that Qbby can throw to hit opponents and use as a platform or shield, but maybe it could have some way of applying a Warpbox at the end, to which Qbby could teleport towards some moments after letting go of the boxes. His Side Special would likely involve a chain of Remoteboxes that he can control from a distance to juggle opponents. Then the Up Special would make use of Boxrockets for both recovery and offense, while the Down Special would produce a Bombox that can be thrown and explodes soon after. I also suppose that his Final Smash could involve the Box Ship in some way. Even other elements of his games could be made into part of his moveset, such as Spiky. Overall, Qbby could be a really unique addition to the roster, but his lack of arms and more notoriety might prevent him from being chosen.

While there are plenty of levels in this series that probably would make for cool stages on their own, I think it would be much more interesting if they made a transforming stage that rotates between different stage hazards, such as spiked floors, laser beams, conveyor belts, inverted gravity areas, etc. I think it would better showcase the variety of puzzle elements in the series and would give players plenty of ways to trap their opponents using these elements.

ARMS Universe

Relevant games:

– ARMS

ARMS is one of Nintendo’s newest IPs and was constantly pushed by the company in an attempt to replicate Splatoon’s success. Although it hasn’t grow to such degree yet, ARMS did manage to become quite popular with players, solidifying itself as another well received and successful franchise in Nintendo’s ever growing catalog. Due to this, many players are expecting content from this series to make its way into Super Smash Bros. for Switch, but they forget to take into consideration that the franchise was announced after the time that Sakurai would have been making his project plan, plus Nintendo had no idea how successful the game would become, which considerably lowers the chances of it showing up in the initial lineup of Universes represented in Super Smash Bros. for Switch. To put it into perspective, it could have easily flopped like other games from around the same time frame, such as Ever Oasis, which sold really poorly. However, considering the game will likely get some amount of DLC content post release, this franchise is one of the top candidates to receive a playable character and stage through it, so let’s take a look at it anyways.

All of ARMS’ characters could prove to be a unique fighter in Smash, since all of them share the same basic characteristic of having stretchy arms, but since the developers have often stated they think of Spring Man as the mascot of the series, let’s consider him our most likely candidate. Taking into account the aforementioned stretchy arms, I would expect him to have some of the longest reaching attacks and grabs in the game. This would of course be counteracted by making Spring Man more floaty and slightly on the slower side. Moreover, they could incorporate the way shields look in ARMS into his Shield too. I assume his Special Moves would revolve around his three main types of ARMS, the Toaster (B), Boomerang (S-B), and Tribolt (D-B), plus the trampolines of his home stage for a “Spring Jump” (U-B). The three Special Moves revolving around his ARMS would all be chargeable, in which case they would acquire their corresponding elemental effect and deal increased damage. Moreover, they could make it so that Spring Man can roll dodge out of these charged specials, performing his own parry move from ARMS that lets him deflect incoming attacks, which in this case could maybe apply to at least physical projectiles. The Final Smash would probably be based on Rush attacks, unless that was made into a meter reflecting the original game, much like Little Mac has a Power Meter that reflects his own game’s mechanics. If that were to happen, I would expect the Hedlok Mask to play a role in his Final Smash instead. When it comes to costumes, Spring Man already has four color combinations in his own game, so they just need to come up with another four, either based on other characters or just random colors that fit him. If Spring Man does get in, I also think it’s inevitable that we will see a Springtron clone one day, since he’s based on him, but for now he might just be featured as a costume for Spring Man himself. Overall, Spring Man could easily be a unique fighter in Smash and will likely be one of the first DLC picks if he isn’t part of the initial roster.

As previously mentioned, Spring Man’s home stage in ARMS is the Spring Stadium, which would likely become a stage in Smash too. I think it would be somewhat similar to Little Mac’s Boxing Ring, but feature trampolines on the edges of the stage that could assist players in jumping and ricochet them in the opposite direction when thrown against them, possibly sending them off stage at high percentages.

Characters and Stages from New 3rd Party Universes

Ubisoft Universes

Relevant games:

– Rayman Legends
– Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

While Ubisoft is one of those 3rd Parties I wouldn’t usually expect to easily get a playable character in Smash, if any western company will ever get to do it at this point, it will probably be them. Let’s face it, Ubisoft’s relationship with Nintendo is at an all time high due to the success of their close partnership while developing Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Moreover, Rayman was already highly requested for the previous Smash games, and Ubisoft even sent Sakurai’s team a 3D model of him out of their own will after being asked for 2D drawing references for a trophy, which the team clearly showed appreciation for. So knowing that Sakurai likes to work closely with other creators, which is basically why we have only gotten characters from Japanese companies so far, there’s a chance of Rayman being chosen as a playable character at some point if Ubisoft shows the intent to collaborate with him directly, much like they did with Nintendo, which can now function as a bridge between both parties. I don’t really expect it to happen before DLC if it ever happens, but I thought I should bring it up as a somewhat realistic possibility that we should keep in the back of our minds.

Konami Universes

Relevant games:

– Super Bomberman R
– Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate

Now Konami is the company I expect will get at least one playable character in Super Smash Bros. for Switch, and no it likely won’t be a returning Snake since the Metal Gear series has mostly moved away from Nintendo platforms again and its future is somewhat uncertain for now. That said, Konami is the owner of various legacy franchises from way back then, such as Hudson Soft’s Bomberman and their own Castlevania, so I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one of those two franchises got some representation in Smash, if not both at the same time. To put it into perspective, Bomberman and Simon Belmont are older than any other 3rd Party Character currently present in Smash outside of Pac-Man, which barely wins over Bomberman due to the 3 year gap between them. Moreover, both franchises helped redefine certain game genres over time, namely the “puzzle maze” and “action adventure” genres, and in Castlevania’s case, would even spawn a whole new subgenre of games similar to it and Nintendo’s Metroid series, the highly regarded Metroidvania subgenre. So both Bomberman and Simon Belmont could be interesting characters that also have an historic legacy to back them up.

Out of the two, Bomberman is probably in the best position possible to get in, since the franchise just saw the successful release of Super Bomberman R on the Switch, which will also expand to other platforms on June 12th/14th. This places it in the public eye, bringing back to attention a long beloved series, which would probably contribute to a better reception of Bomberman as a playable character if he was somehow chosen to be part of the roster. While not super highly requested, he is one of those characters that “feels at home” among Nintendo series, due to the high amount of games released on Nintendo platforms since the NES days and how iconic and recognizable his design is to Nintendo fans. Heck, he even has connections to Wario of all characters! His brothers and sisters are also easy choices for alternate costume material. The bigger problem with Bomberman is making him work within Smash’s limitations without making him feel out of place or untrue to his source games. Due to that, his moveset would have to be built around the concept of producing bombs with his Neutral Special and then being able to throw, punch and kick them all over the place until they explode using his regular moves, something that might not be that easy to properly visualize and implement as one might think. His other Special Moves would potentially rely on changing his bomb with different kinds of properties, like those triggered by power ups, such as the rubber, remote, and mine bombs, or different kinds of elements, such as the ice, wind, and water bombs, just to name a few examples. Moreover, his Up Special would likely draw from aspects of the Power Gear, such as the Bomber Jet or Bomber Copter, for recovery purposes. Even the Final Smash could easily draw from gameplay elements like the Dangerous Bomb. When it comes to his home stage, they could pull off something similar to Pac-Man’s Pac-Maze and replicate the style of the Usual maze from the Super Bomberman games in a stage too, for example, but there are plenty of other possibilities from games in the series that could be used to similar effect. In the end, Bomberman could be a very fun legacy character revolving around his concept of bombing everything in sight, but we will have to wait and see if Sakurai even sees the character in such light.

The other character, Simon Belmont, is currently in what I feel is a slightly worse position, due to the series not having a game on Nintendo’s hardware since Mirror of Fate, and that version of Simon is a bit different from the classic one. However, Castlevania is a currently recovering franchise, since the recent Netflix animated series was a reasonable success and Konami just announced Grimoire of Souls for iOS, featuring several heroes of the series, including Simon in his initial depiction with honey-blonde hair, which suggests an attempt at recapturing the character’s roots for a new generation. In my opinion, if Takamaru makes it into the game, I think that Simon Belmont has a higher chance of being chosen too, since Castlevania and Simon were also born in 1986, so he would further complete the historical get together of important characters from that year. In fact, you need only look at the list of games included in the NES and SNES Classic Editions to see that Nintendo realizes that, since three Castlevania games were chosen as part of the lineup. Besides all of that, Simon Belmont would also provide a unique play style revolving around his Vampire Killer whip and some of the classic sub weapons of the series, which would feel quite fresh even though Zero Suit Samus also uses an energy whip half the time, since it’s part of her Paralyzer. I’m not entirely sure what they could use for his Up Special to make it into a recovery move, but maybe they could involve the whip in some way. For his remaining Special Moves, I think the Axe (B), Cross (S-B), and Holy Water (D-B) would fit quite well though, unless you want to make the Dagger his Neutral Special and find a way to incorporate the Axe into his Up Special somehow. I also think the Stopwatch would make for an interesting Final Smash where Simon slows down time for everyone else, making them easy targets that can’t properly defend themselves. Even the stage would be easy to choose because it’s bound to be Dracula’s Castle. Overall, Simon Belmont is one of the few missing heroes of the early Famicom/NES days with historic relevance to Nintendo and gaming as a whole that has still to appear in Smash and would simultaneously provide us with a reasonably unique play style if he did.

Koei Tecmo Universes

Relevant games:

– Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge

Koei Tecmo is a company worth mentioning due to their recent collaborations with Nintendo on various games, such as Hyrule Warriors, Fire Emblem Warriors, Metroid: Other M, and Fatal Frame: Maiden of the Black Water, and the support they provided to recent platforms like the Wii U and Switch. While many people think one of the original characters from Hyrule Warriors would be a fine representation of the company in Smash, I disagree and think that honor should go to the Ninja Gaiden series instead. The series had its start on Nintendo platforms and the original Ninja Gaiden on the NES had the historical distinction of being one of the first console games (if not the first) to feature cut scenes as a way of presenting its story, which would later become an industry staple over the years. Moreover, not only was the game regarded for being “Nintendo hard”, but it also introduced players to what would become one of the most iconic ninjas of the gaming world ever, Ryu Hayabusa. In fact, Ryu is so iconic and popular that the developers had to find a way to bring him back in other titles like the Dead or Alive series as well, just to continue his legacy. Ryu Hayabusa would also be a rather unique character in Smash, since unlike Greninja he wields the Dragon Sword and has a plethora of fighting techniques that could be used to build his moveset, including various Ninpo that would certainly make for some very interesting Special Moves that wouldn’t be possible for other characters to perform. Since I’m not that familiar with the series, I’m not going to attempt to describe a potential moveset for him in detail, but I still thought it was worth mentioning the character as a potential candidate for a playable 3rd Party spot in the Smash roster that would make sense to include at some point due to its historical relevance.

Level-5 Universes

Relevant games:

– Yo-kai Watch
– Yo-kai Watch 2
– Yo-kai Watch 3
– Yo-kai Watch 4 (2018)
– Yo-kai Watch Busters
– Yo-kai Watch Busters 2
– Yo-kai Watch Sangokushi

Speaking of companies that have strong partnerships with Nintendo, Level-5 is another one of those that is worth considering. While some of its staple franchises, such as Professor Layton and Inazuma Eleven, would probably be hard to incorporate into Smash, I think their recent success with Yo-kai Watch might have finally provided us with something to work with. Moreover, Yo-kai Watch is a prime example of a series that very quickly rose to prominence and became part of the “All-Stars” despite being only five years old. It even gave Pokémon a run for its money in Japan, where it captured the imagination of an entire generation of children and managed to infiltrate almost all aspects of Japanese daily life that you might possibly think of. It might not last forever, but I’m pretty sure the series will remain relevant as one of Level-5’s pillars for several years to come. That said, I think the series is in a good place that would allow it to receive a playable character in Smash, and that would probably be Jibanyan, its mascot. Much like Pokémon characters, I think he would be easy to put together, since you basically only need to draw inspiration from his own moves for his Special Moves, even thought I’m not sure which one would be which. His Final Smash would probably be Paws of Fury though. Also, much like Pikachu wears different hats, Jibanyan could wear some of its costumes as well. Overall, I think he’s one of the 3rd Party characters we are bound to see in Smash eventually, but this time around I think he might only show up as DLC if he does, since there are still likelier candidates for the initial roster.

Indie Universes

Relevant games:

– Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove

With the current rise of Indie games in the industry as a whole, and taking into account how important they have been for Nintendo’s strategy, I think we should consider the small chance that Sakurai will actually consider including an Indie character in Smash. The problem with such characters is that they are rarely popular and recognizable at the global level, so the only real candidate we can even consider is probably Shovel Knight, since he’s extremely popular in both east and west and has already made cameo appearances in plenty of other Indie games developed by various different groups. Besides that, I think that he’s the only Indie character that would look like it belongs in Smash, while his various abilities can be easily converted into a pretty unique moveset. I mean, it’s easy to imagine that he would fight using his trusty Shovel Blade and his signature Shovel Drop move would be his Down Aerial and have Meteor Smashing capabilities. Moreover, it’s easy to think about the Relics as Special Moves, which could be the Flare Wand / Throwing Anchor / Chaos Sphere (B), Dust Knuckles / Mobile Gear (S-B), Propeller Dagger (U-B), and Phase Locket / Alchemy Coin / War Horn (D-B), for example. Some of them, such as the Phase Locket or War Horn, could even be used for his Final Smash instead. When it comes to a stage, I guess Pridemoor Keep or Tower of Fate are the most likely choices for one, since the first is one of the earliest stages while the second is one of the most relevant in the whole game. In the end, I think it would be fun to have Shovel Knight in Super Smash Bros. for Switch, but I don’t really see it happening, and if it does I don’t think it would be as part of the initial roster.

Proposed Roster and Conclusion

Now that we have discussed various franchises and how they might contribute to the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Switch, I want to finish this article by giving you a generic idea of what to expect from the roster.

Taking into account that the game was likely a port at first and that we are expecting a number of newcomers between 10 and 13, let’s improve on the previous game’s roster by adding 12 new characters initially, and 8 via DLC. Let’s also bring back the Ice Climbers and Wolf, and maybe include Alph as a semi-clone. It might seem like too many characters, but this is basically just to give us a general idea of what to expect, so don’t worry too much about it even if we don’t get as many in the end, ok?

So, among these 12 initial characters we can probably expect at least two legacy 3rd Party characters and one Retro character if the previous games are anything to go by. We also need to include the Inklings from Splatoon, since they have already been confirmed, which leaves us with 8 other slots that will likely be covered by currently relevant Nintendo characters instead. From those we discussed, I think it’s safe to expect at least one character from each of the Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Fire Emblem, Kirby, Pokémon, and Xenoblade franchises, which leaves 2 slots remaining. I think one of those will go to the Rhythm Heaven series, so we are only left with 1 final slot for some other random series to take, which is much harder to guess. If Sakurai wants to show more attention to currently relevant characters, then Chibi-Robo and Dillon might be considered for that spot, however, if he wants to favor uniqueness instead, I think Isaac easily makes the most sense. It’s also possible that he will consider adding two characters to a single franchise, meaning we could get another Super Mario or Donkey Kong character, for example. When it comes to the 8 DLC slots, I think that at least three of those will be filled by 3rd Party characters, which leaves us with 5 empty ones. From those 5, one will probably be an ARMS character and another one will probably be a Xenoblade character, which leaves 3 remaining slots. These last 3 slots I think will be either used to promote currently relevant games at that time, such as the upcoming Fire Emblem, Pokémon, and Metroid games (probably among other currently unknown games), or to include fan favorite characters that didn’t get in the initial roster for some reason, such as due to a lack of current relevance. All of that considered, this should be our generic unordered final roster.

Using that as a base, and considering that certain characters could be made into semi-clones (like Alph and Dark Pit), I would like to propose the following ordered roster made out of the most likely characters that we previously discussed. I know a few of them might be more uncertain, so if you disagree with some of them feel free to replace them with those you think are likelier.

As you can see, if we assume the final roster to be similar to the one above while not counting DLC, then about half the newcomers will be from series that are already part of Smash’s ever growing list of Universes, while the other half will be from new Universes, two of which would be based on 3rd Party series. Curiously, this particular character distribution ends up being quite similar to what happened with the Newcomers that joined the roster for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, which probably means we are on the right track and this is a rather viable possibility for what the final roster might look like, at least in part, since it’s impossible to predict every single choice the team might make.

To conclude, we can surmise that Super Smash Bros. for Switch likely started as a port before transitioning to a full blown new entry in the series a few months after, which means it will likely retain most if not all of the characters from the previous Smash games. Moreover, we calculated that, based on the likely time frame in which the direction change happened, the final roster will probably include around 12 new characters in addition to the ones that were already present before, making this the largest roster ever at 71 different characters, most of which would have unique play styles. Furthermore, assuming the game will be supported with DLC for at least a year to a year and half, this number would potentially increase to 79 playable characters, if we assume that around 8 newcomers could be made during that extra time frame dedicated to DLC. If this best case scenario ends up happening, then we will definitively have the greatest Super Smash Bros. roster ever created so far, assuming that the next game probably won’t be able to keep all these characters, which would make this an historical moment in the series’ lifetime that we should thoroughly enjoy.

With these final words, I leave you to your own thoughts about what surprises Super Smash Bros. for Switch might hold for us in the near future. Hopefully this article was helpful in giving you some new insights and perspectives about Smash and how certain characters could play like.

As usual, if you would like to discuss any of this with me or other Nintendokusou readers hit up the comments section, Twitter, or our Discord Server.

Thanks for reading! Good gaming!

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Koma
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Koma

“Now Konami is the company I expect will get at least one playable character in Super Smash Bros. for Switch, and no it likely won’t be a returning Snake since the Metal Gear series has mostly moved away from Nintendo platforms again and its future is somewhat uncertain for now. ”

Not really, it got Metal Gear Survive, a movie, a concert, whatever relation it has with Death Stranding, etc.

If Nintendo platforms were so important then it should have stopped other third-party characters from appearing and focus on Nintendo characters instead. Not to mention Super Smash Bros was created by a third-party, not Nintendo.

Butts_Mckenzie
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Butts_Mckenzie

Pretty great run-down. Though one thing that stuck out for me was the Phantasy Star mention. It had a GBA collection of the classic games and PSO was the primary use of the Gamecube’s broadband adapter.

Spark
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Spark

Just a small correction. Both of the GBA Golden Sun games sold 1 millions. The first one sold 1.64k while the second sold 1.12k. We know this because Nintendo actually gave that numbers (they always publish the total sales when the software cracks the 1 million mark).

Apart from that, good article.

Maz
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Maz

You’re utterly insane if you think this game is going to have almost 80 characters.