There seems to be a rumor floating around that Geno was actually intended to be a playable character in Brawl. One would be inclined to believe this as Geno ranked number one in a poll conducted by Sakurai in Japan over which characters people would most like to see in Brawl. Geno didn’t make the cut; however, the nine other most requested characters did. Odd that they would intentionally exclude the number one requested character.
The rumor says that Geno was originally playable, but was removed late in the development process due to copyright issues between Square-Enix and Nintendo. In fact, this is said to have been the cause of the original delay. While we have no proof of the validity of this claim, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised. Square has always been rather stingy with their intellectual property; we haven’t even seen any of their games on the virtual console. While one can argue that Geno had a cameo in Mario & Luigi: Super Star Saga, that was a minor appearance at best, only a few simple sprites to explain the instructions to a mini-game. Square would have likely demanded a pretty penny for extended usage of their intellectual property.
While we probably won’t know for sure, there are a couple of indicators that support the claim. First off is the character select screen:
Notice how the columns are set up. First two are Mario franchises, third Zelda, fourth retro, fifth Kirby/Pikmin (possibly the incredibly small but resized column), sixth Star Fox with Captain Falcon (pilots?), seventh Pokemon, eighth RPGs, and last being 3rd party characters. Now what’s interesting about this is the inclusion of a random button, something that we haven’t seen in either the original nor Melee. A spot that Geno would be perfectly suited for otherwise. Would absence of any SMRPG references in Brawl also support this idea?
While some also point out that IMDB has Makiko Omoto, the voice of Ness, listed as the voice actor for Geno, this could easily be the result of user abuse. At one point we had Leon Kennedy listed in there as well and that had no remote possibility of being true.
I can’t say for sure if we’ll ever find the truth behind this but there may be a few opportunities to find out some information. I’m sure somewhere out there someone will search through Brawl’s code for any evidence of Geno brief presence. Fortunately, there may be an easier way to get an answer to this. In case you were unaware, Sakurai will be holding a speech at GDC February 18th entitle “Building Characters: The SUPER SMASH BROS. BRAWL Postmortem.” Perhaps we may get some insight on characters that didn’t make the cut. If Destructoid will be covering the event, maybe someone can drop a few questions, eh Holmes??? And you know, yell “YOU MUST RECOVER!” at least once during the speech.