Letís talk the new Smash bros. Namely, what to expect, what not to expect, and then just random speculation for shits and giggles. Ready? Here we go?
What do we already know or at least think we already know? We know some of the character roster already. Thereís Mario, Fox, Samus, Link, Pikachu, DK, Kirby, Bowser, Pit, Mega Man, The Villager, and the WiiFit Trainer. We also know some of the stages for both versions. Oh, thatís right, there are two versions of the game (3DS and WiiU). On top of that, both versions feature different art styles. There wonít be any cross-console play between the two
, BUT you can level up characters in the 3DS version (apparently) and transfer them between the two games. Whether this becomes a major incentive to buy both or not remains to be seen. Though I expect theyíll have some kind of bundle deal to help promote the purchase of both titles.
Anything else? Gameplay wise, we already have some details. We already know how Mega Man and the Villager will function to a fair degree. And while we didnít get many details on the WiiFit Trainer, we did see that her movements are SIMILAR to that of Zero Suit Samus (from Brawl). We also can see Bowserís moveset has radically changed from previous iterations as well. It looks like he moves better as well. The tripping mechanic is reportedly gone
and the developer (Sakurai) says that heís aiming to blend the competitive nature of Melee with the casual nature of Brawl. That last sentiment, to me, is a welcome idea. I liked Melee, it was probably the best of the series, but I will disagree with the majority in that it isnít perfect. The gameís mechanics did make the nature of it TOO competitive for me to thoroughly enjoy. And while Brawl isnít great, there was something to it that, in some ways, made it superior to Melee. Granted, some aspects were broken as hell, but some of it worked.
All that said, what can we expect going forward from here? Talking characters, Sakurai has already made statements that the game wonít feature an increase in the roster number
(or at least not a significant increase). What this means is that we can expect the roster to remain close to the number it was in Brawl with the POSSIBILITY of there being maybe two or three more total characters from last time. From where Iím sitting, I donít like that. I get the need to maintain balance in the game to some degree, but hereís the thing. Smash Bros, by Sakuraiís own admission, was designed more as a fun fanservice game and not so much a strict competitive fighting game. The concept of balance, to me, comes off as irrelevant at that point. Plus, wouldnít you WANT more characters in a fanservice game? Granted, Iím not sure which fans wanted the WiiFit Trainer to make the cut. Probably the same kind of people who were drooling at the mouth for Charmy the Bee to appear in Sonic Generations. BUT letís assume that weíre keeping the roster at the same number until weíre given information from Sakurai that says otherwise. What does that really mean?
It means that since weíve already seen three NEW characters, that some characters will be getting cut from the previous titles. This to also annoys me to no end. I get cutting Dr. Mario (though he would have made sense as an alternate costume). This also applies to Roy and Pichu. But why the fuck did they cut Mewtwo? I didnít play him much or consider him to be a great character, but he fit the Smash formula and was certainly more interesting than Lucario. Yet they kept Falco and imitation Ganondorf (because the real Ganondorf would use magic spells and not really slow punches that imitate Captain Falcon). But this also means that a possibly good character from before will be replaced by the likes of someone like the WiiFit Trainer (yes, Iím bitter about that).
But letís put all that aside for a moment and enter the realm of speculation. Iíll start with third party characters because that will be the easiest thing to speculate. First, we already have Mega Man, which is one third party character. Assuming Snake and Sonic will remain in the next game, that will probably be ALL the third party characters we get, keeping in mind this is a primarily Nintendo thing. That said, if Sonic or Snake get replaced, who do they get replaced with? Iíll go on a limb and say Sonic is the least likely of the two to get replaced, but Iíd hate to see either leave the next game because theyíre both fun characters. Also, Sakurai has said that Namco characters will not be given a priority
to being in the game, despite the fact Namco is helping make the game
. While the possibility of Heihachi, Llyod Irving, or Nightmare being the game is still there, it seems very unlikely. Of the three, Lloyd is most likely because I donít see anyone from Soul Calibur making it. And Heihachi is already in PS All-Stars, so I doubt theyíd have him in this too.
As for other third party characters? Bayonetta would be a welcome addition, given her latest Nintendo exclusivity. I also wouldnít mind shout outs to old NES exclusives like Ryu Hayabusa or Simon Belmont representing Team Ninja and Konami. But of the three, Bayonetta is MOST likely with Simon taking up the next most likely spot. Again, assuming that we get any more third party characters, which I seriously doubt at this point unless Snake is taking a leave of absence.
Moving on to Nintendoís roster, Iíll go over Pokemon first because theyíre the easiest. Of all the ones remaining that I can see being replaced most easily, itís down to Jigglypuff and Lucario to be quite honest. Jigglypuff is largely irrelevant in the whole scheme of Nintendo and Pokemon while Lucario was essentially the surrogate Mewtwo for Brawl. I know plenty of fans are awaiting the return of Mewtwo for the next game. While I would like that, I see the Mewtwo/Lucario spot just as easily being filled by Generation Vís Zoroark. Given my dislike of Generation V Pokemon, this would annoy me, but I supposed I would tolerate it. †Jigglypuff is less likely to leave over Lucario, BUT I can see her/it getting replaced for another Pokemon from Gen VI. Nothing specific, but because of the introduction of the new ďFairyĒ type, I can see a new representative taking her place unless she gets that type distinction as well.
I neglected to weigh in on the Pokemon Trainer because Iím not quite sure how he works under the character roster limit. Heís one character, but functions as three distinct characters. So does his removal free up three slots or does it only free up one? More importantly, does Sakurai keep him because heís unique or drop him because his gimmick didnít really grab everyone in the pleasurable way he had hoped and dreamed? Personally, losing him wouldnít be the biggest loss. The concept was interesting, but having to deal with playing as Ivysaur was annoying when I only wanted to play as Charizard or Squirtle. And I imagine a lot of other players had a preferred character from this trio or maybe just one they didnít like either. I donít know what will become of him though given that Iím not sure how he counts in the numbers of the roster. So Iím just going to say weíll likely keep the trainer around, BUT I can see him getting new Pokemon for the next game. Weíll see. Preferably, Iíd like to see him replaced with just three new characters.
Iíll tackle the Mario series (DK included) next because thatís also quick and painless. For as similar as he is to his brother, Luigi will be back. Itís the touted ďYEAR OF LUIGIĒ right now and it would make Sakurai look like a ponce to not include the more important brother of the two in the roster. Peach will also be back because sheís one of the three Nintendo poster girls (the main one, in fact). Losing her to the roster is like if we killed off a stupid unicorn. Yeah, it serves no purpose. But itís rare and kind of pretty. And while I can see him being replaced, Wario was a unique and fun addition to Brawl, where I donít see him leaving in the next iteration. But of all of them, Iíd say heís the most likely to be swapped out.
Yoshiís exclusion from the trailer makes me wary he MIGHT not be returning in the next game. That said, heís been around since game one of the Smash series. I very much doubt theyíd axe him all of the sudden without reason. But I can also see him becoming an assist trophy instead (if that item ends up returning). Maybe you can ride him and eat people then? Also, I donít know about Diddy Kong. I wouldnít mind seeing him return, but will he come back? Iíd say heís borderline at the moment. Maybe if they gave him a Dixie Kong alternate model so I can have the option of both, then he has more value staying. Otherwise, give me King K. Rool instead because two things were hurting for Brawl. It needed more women †and more villains. King K. Rool may not be the best villain, but at least heís something doable.
On to Zelda, which should be interesting. I can already say that I expect Toon Link to be cut. Reason one: because Young Link was cut without question for Toony and I can very much see the same treatment happening to our cell shaded friend. My other reason is because heís in the background of one of the levels of the game. While that doesnít mean much (given Marvel Vs. Capcom gets away with that kind of nonsense), I personally find that having a playable character in the background of your stage distracting, breaks ANY sense of immersion, and can even mess me up in a game. Yes, the one in the background is wearing a completely different outfit, but his being there would still get to me and Iím sure it would to others too. Plus, is Toon Link really anyoneís favorite? I see him being replaced and I have a few suggestions as to who to expect. Perhaps Ghiraham from Skyward Sword (given that thereís a new Skyward Sword stage) and Iíll always be pulling for Vatti because I think having an actual playable wizard would be cool.
What about Zelda, Sheik, and Ganondorf? Well, Zelda/Sheik is in the same boat as the Pokemon Trainer in that I donít know how many character slots they actually count for in the way Sakurai has explained it. Is it two or one? Much like Peach, I donít see Zelda leaving because of the already small number of females the game has to offer. If Sheik is, indeed, counted separately, then she may very well get the boot. Ganondorf is also on the chopping block because he totally tricked us in the last game. We all expected him to come back with some new tricks and not be ďImitation-Captain Falcon.Ē We were all pulling for him to use his sword in the next game too. But we got neither and he ended up being one of the worst characters in the game. I want G-daddy to return. But if he does, it has to be done proper. Give him a new moveset and make him playable. Also, heíd better not get replaced with Demise from Skyward Sword or youíll have just wasted a perfectly good character slot and pissed off a lot of Zelda fans.
Metroid is quick and painless. ZeroSuit will likely be dropped. I know, itís sad. But we donít need TWO SAMUSES! You might think the whole ďTHIS MAKES IT SO THEREíS LESS WOMENZ IN SMASH!Ē But thatís not the case because Samus and ZeroSuit Samus are the same person. I donít count the same person twice for a census, why should they count for two people here? It seems like WiiFit Girl may have a similar moveset or at least movement compared to her so I suspect a replacement may have occurred. I also doubt weíll see anyone NEW from Metroid. Dark Samus is a possibility (though a stupid one) as sheíd be better for an alternate costume/model than an actual character. I wouldnít mind seeing another hunter like Rundas, but I find it doubtful. Overall, Iím still pulling for Ridley after all these years. He almost had it as a boss character in the last game. This time around, Iím pulling for him to make it as a play able character. I know it wonít happen, but I can still dream though. Also, bring back Kraid and Brinstar Depths! Best level in Melee!
StarFox is going to be controversial as I know people who are in a camp for all three different characters for who their favorite or the best actually is. First, we all know Fox is in the game. Not only is he essentially the title character from his series, but he was in the trailer. So we all know this comes down to Wolf and Falco. Now, the fact Falco dodged the chopping block in the first game is shocking. And while he sported some new moves in Brawl, I donít feel like heís fundamentally different enough from Fox to justify him being a separate character. Like I mentioned before, Falco as an alternate model to Fox would be acceptable. Itíd be sad, but itís better than losing him like we did Roy. Wolf, however, functions differently enough to justify him still kicking around. Maybe some tweaks to help set him apart more, but nothing too radical. I could see Krystal taking over for Falco or WolfÖ but I personally feel like fans would prefer to keep Falco instead of Krystal and Iíd prefer to keep Wolf over KrystalÖ so I think sheíll sit this one out again.
Meta Knight will likely be back. He was top tier last time. He was a fan favorite for YEARS. Sakurai wanted him in the game early on along with Dedede. Ergo, I donít see Meta Knight leaving at all. Dedede is a tougher sell. More villains is good, but I know Sakurai was worried about flooding the earlier Smash games with his characters and he may feel the need to cut back. Iíd be sad to see either leave because both have been fun. But itís ultimately his call. If they get cut, I donít see any other Kirby characters coming into the fray as none of them are close to memorable (though all of them are more memorable than the fucking WiiFit trainer).
Captain Falcon will be back. Heís iconic. Heís a meme. If he leaves the game, people will riot in the streets. Sakurai will likely be hung by a very angry fan mob. And Iíll just sit back and watch the world burn. Ö But seriously, Falcon will be back. No other F-Zero races are likely, but Captain Falcon is a lock. If Iím wrong, then I will personally bend over and take a twelve inch black dildo up the ass. Thatís how confident I am on that one. Ness is another one that is pretty much a lock for me. Lucas will likely be cut, but Ness is getting Earthbound rereleased for the WiiUís virtual console this year. Smash is what made him grow in popularity and now Earthboundís rerelease will do the same for him in Smash, I believe. So letís just agree that Ness is another lock, but itís not as confident as the Falcon.
Fire Emblem is also a tough one to really go over. Marth has been a staple for the series, being Americaís first introduction to the franchise as a whole THANKS TO Melee having him in the roster. Roy was cut, but that was because he was a clone/twin of Math and I assume he was less popular than Marth as well, though his assets are apparently in the game still. If Marth is removed, I speculate that he will be replaced with another Fire Emblem character, but he/she will have the same or nearly the same moveset as him. If Marth is replaced, I also guess that Ike would be more likely to stay. BUT Iím going to say Ike is more likely to be replaced by someone else. The lead guess is Chrom (spelling?) from Awakening because there is a stage from that game and he is one of the more popular characters from that series. But given the size of the series and how many characters there are to choose from, the list could go on. Personally, I would prefer a more magic-based character and/or a female just to add more variety to the existing roster of fighters.
As for other returning characters, I see the Ice Climbers returning because they functioned in such a unique way, that it would hard to replace them with really anyone else. Mr. Game & Watch is a character I could see getting replaced due to his less than stellar reception from fans, often being wrote off as a gimmicky joke character (which is what WiiFit Girl seems to be this time around). If Game & Watch manages to stay, itís almost a guarantee that ROB gets the boot then. ROB isnít really a character. And while his whole character is unique, there isnít much that is really ďgoodĒ or ďfunĒ about him. Their inclusion in the story mode from Brawl may warrant them a pass for the next game, but I donít expect to see a return of Game & Watch or ROB. But I could be wrong. Pikmin is popular among a lot of fans. With a new game coming out, I canít imagine that Olimar will be getting cut from the next installment at all. If he did, I would be somewhat surprised, but again, I expect to see him returning for the fourth game.
Those are all the characters and franchises already introduced through the existing character roster from previous games and current trailers. That said, if we start making all these cuts and replacements, who else is likely to make the cut from Nintendoís list of candidates? Given that the WiiFit Girl has made the cut (HA) itís safe to say virtually anyone has a shot at making this list. But letís go over the ones we can assume to be the most likely and the ones that fans would probably be most accepting of.
For starters, I could see Shulk (Xenoblade Chronicles), Zael (Last Story), and Aeron (Pandoraís Tower) all being possible candidates. And, if enough cuts are made, I would even argue that all three are, in fact, possible. All three games were well received, and some of them were even considered the best games the Wii had to offer. They even sold decently in Japan, which was one of the main factors that pushed the localization efforts for America. Oh, and that whole Operation Rainfall ordeal that got these games an American localization shows thereís an audience for these characters. Iím willing to bet at least ONE of them makes it in. But all three would be rather spectacular. Upon further reading, Iíve found out that Shulk is not only more connected to the Nintendo brand (being made by Monolith) but also that Xenoblade was actually more popular than the other two. So Iím going to say Shulk is most likely, but Iím not counting out the others entirely.
Saki Amamiya from Nintendoís ďSin & PunishmentĒ series has a fair shot to make into the roster this time as well. Non-Japanese were introduced to her as an assist trophy in Brawl. It was shortly after that we gained access to the Japanese only game for the N64 on the virtual console and even got a Wii game from the franchise. While Iím not sure how well either did, the fact this series went global gives me a good feeling we could see more of her in this game as her character and series both looked pretty interesting.
Thereís also the other popular series Iíve almost overlooked, Golden Sun. Isaac made his Smash debut already in Brawl as an assist trophy. And if we have Saki (above) as a potential character, I feel like Isaac is just as worth to being promoted to part of the roster. I know a lot of people are pulling for him or another Golden Sun character. And, quite frankly, I can see him working better as a playable character than an assist trophy anyway.
Last bit of speculation would be thrown towards playable Miis in the game. I donít want to assume this would happen. More importantly, I feel like Miis would have been put in over the WiiFit Girl. At this point, if the Miis do make it in, theyíd likely be akin to customizable characters. Whether or not this ends up being the case, I donít know. But letís keep this one on the table because itís within the realm of possibility.
So all that said and done, what CAN we expect our full roster to look like? Here is my speculative list of characters that will make the final cut for SSB4. This list operates under the assumption that Zelda, Samus, and the Pokemon Trainer all operated as one character respectively and their alternate forms were a part of their one character for the sake of determining roster size. Otherwise, Iíd have a much more diverse list. Those marked with ď*Ē are obviously not confirmed at the time of writing.
Mario, Fox, Pikachu, Link, Samus, Kirby, DK, Yoshi*, Captain Falcon*, Ness*, Luigi*, Peach*, Bowser, Zelda/Sheik*, Ganondorf*, Ice Climbers*, Marth*, Mewtwo or Zoroark*, Pit, Wario*, Meta Knight*, Olimar*, Sonic* Snake*, †Wolf*, Diddy Kong*, WiiFit Trainer, The Villager, Mega Man, Saki Amamiya*, Ghiraham*, Chrom*, Shulk*, Isaac*, Lloyd Irving*, and Bayonetta.
The last two are my wild cards in that Iím not entirely sure who else would fit, but I wanted to throw down two candidates I would PREFER to see in the game from what Iíve already mentioned. Yes, I know I dropped TWO Pokemon characters to make this list, but I feel Pokemon has always been a bit over represented with this series anyway. And a couple of characters I still really want didnít make my final cut. While Iím sure my list will have plenty of inaccuracies, I look forward to seeing just how long until we can confirm or deny any of my possible suggestions. On top of that, if we can open up a three more slots (to replace the other two Pokemon from the trainer as well as Zero Suit) then I would add the following three to the roster above: Undetermined Fairy-type Pokemon (possibly Jigglypuff) [alternatively, Zoroark and Mewtwo instead of just one or the other], King Dedede for the return, and Iíll say Ridley, however unlikely that might be. A man can dream, right?
So those are my Smash Bros. 4 predictions. Iím looking forward to finding out over the next year how close I am to the actual roster. I really think Iím fairly accurateÖ but the WiiFit girl was pretty fucking surprising so I could be totally fucking wrong on this whole ordeal.