How to make Ryu an interesting character in Super Smash Bros.

Listen up, Nintendo!

Street Fighter‘s Ryu is currently rumored to be coming to Nintendo’s newest entry into the Super Smash Bros. series, thanks to some hidden files in the most recent update to the game. It makes a lot of sense; Capcom already has a representative in the game, a new Street Fighter is coming out, and EVO and E3 are right around the corner.

However, if Nintendo just plops Ryu into the game and gives him the moves everyone expects him to have, it will be extremely underwhelming. Ryu would essentially be a clone of Mario, and that’s not an appropriate fate for one of the most recognizable fighters of all time. Mr. Sakurai has said before that he wants to “[provide] accurate portrayals of characters,” which is the reason why Ridley isn’t in the game. It’s also incredibly obvious to anyone who has played Mega Man in the newest Super Smash Bros.

There’s plenty Nintendo and Capcom could do to make Ryu an interesting character that players will want to play as and — this is important, Nintendo — purchase as DLC.

Sprite GIFs used are all from the Street Fighter Wiki.

Give him an EX meter and EX moves

So, let’s assume Ryu has his Hadoken, Shoryuken, Tatsumaki Senpukyaku, and some fourth move like a counter or his Joudan Sokutogeri. What would make Ryu unique isn’t so much his actual set of moves, but what he can do with them. Give Ryu an EX meter, similar to Little Mac’s KO meter, and allow him to build it up and use it.

It could build just like it does in Street Fighter IV, by connecting with attacks or getting attacked. Spending this meter can work in a few ways. One would be double-tapping the B button to use an EX move instantly. Double-tapping is weird and I’m not sure it would work in Super Smash Bros., but it’s an idea. Another option is to allow Ryu to consume an EX bar to make his next move an EX move. For example: when there’s at least one bar of EX glowing, Ryu can hold B to drain it and store it, similar to how many characters store a charged up move. Then, the next special move Ryu executes will be an EX version of that move, with different properties. 

If Nintendo really wants to get fancy, it could even work with Capcom to include Street Fighter V’s mechanic of spending an entire EX meter to make a character “super-charged” until he is knocked down. 

Art by DeviantArt user kupbot

Make Ryu’s alternate costumes like Bowser Jr.’s

Whether Nintendo meant to or not, they set a precedent with Bowser Jr. and his alternate costumes. Ryu is a perfect candidate for this method of alternate costume since there are plenty of Shotokans for Nintendo to choose from. Since each character has seven alternate costumes, here is what I’ve come up with for Ryu’s alternate costumes: Ken, Akuma, Dan, Sean, Gouken, Sakura, and Evil Ryu.

Let’s be honest, Ryu is boring. He’s the “guy on the box.” Sure, he’s recognizable, but most people tend to gravitate to someone else in Street Fighter. He’s a wonderful beginning character and incredibly important to the franchise, but I will be way more willing to use Ryu if I can actually play as Sean or Dan. Sure, it may only be an aesthetic change, but to some, aesthetics really matter. Speaking of which…

Give Ryu custom moves from other Shotokans

While it is incredibly disconcerting that Mewtwo does not have custom moves at the moment, I am still holding out hope that DLC characters will eventually come with or get their own custom moves. Considering it’s one of the biggest new features in this entry of Smash Bros., it only makes sense to do so.

Assuming Ryu does get some customs, why not take them from the characters that make up his alternate costumes? Here’s some basic ideas:

Hadoken custom move ideas:

Tatsu custom move ideas:
Note: This is assuming Ryu’s basic Tatsu moves him horizontally 

Shoryuken custom move ideas:

Since the fourth move could be a multitude of things, I’ll just stop here. I think the point is clear: there are a ton of variants on these moves, and it would be a shame to see them go to waste!

Two different Final Smashes

Luckily, Street Fighter’s Ultras convert directly to Super Smash Bros.‘s Final Smash. So why not give Ryu two of them? Everyone already expects the Shinku Hadoken to be his Final Smash, but what if, by hitting B and a direction, he could execute a different one? He could have the Shin Shoryuken or even the Shinku Tatsumaki Senpukyaku. 

I honestly have no idea if this would be possible, but it sure would be cool!

The bottom line is, Ryu is possibly going to be in Super Smash Bros., but without going the extra distance, he’ll be a character not many people will be interested in playing. If Nintendo and Mr. Sakurai give Ryu the same care and attention I know they are capable of giving, Ryu could be a favorite character for many players. Roy on the other hand…

Patrick Hancock
During the day, he teaches high school kids about history. At night he kicks their butts in competitive games like Rocket League, Dota 2, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike. Disclosure: I've personally backed Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2, Dead State, SPORTSFRIENDS, Torment: Tides of Numera, STRAFE, and The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls. I have previously written for AbleGamers.com and continue to support them whenever possible (like HumbleBundle).