We Need to Talk About the New Smash Characters

Super Smash Brothers has always been the game you enjoy because it brings so many characters from so many genres together. There’s so much variety in the fighters, both in gameplay mechanics and in style. Smash is the only game where you can have Sonic the Hedgehog and the Villager from Animal Crossing fight Pac Man and Greninja. Nintendo’s idea of including all the past fighters in Super Smash Bros Ultimate and releasing even more as DLC is marketing genius. But recently, the decisions on which fighters to include as downloadable extras has been questionable. And I’m not talking about the omission of Waluigi.

The first few fighters were great. We got the Piranha Plant, and then we got Joker. I was excited to see Hero come to Smash because I’d been enjoying Dragon Quest XI and because, surely, he would be the last sword fighting character to come to the already sword-saturated game. My fears were – or so I thought – just paranoia as the next characters were the iconic Banjo & Kazooie.

It’s not that I don’t want characters from well-performing games included in Smash – that’s what the game is all about. But it needs variety and, frankly, more sword fighters don’t add much to the meta. There are already more sword fighters in the base game than any other type of character. With the DLC, Nintendo had – still has, technically – the opportunity to flesh out the game and incorporate more variety.

And then we got Byleth, yet another Fire Emblem character. Terry and Min-min were interesting choices but provided some good variation. But the next two characters were Steve from Minecraft (essentially the Mii sword fighter with a few twists) and Sephiroth. Steve was a cool idea, but he plays like a sword fighter. I can see why Nintendo wanted to include Sephiroth as well, riding the hype from the Final Fantasy VII Remake.

There are a lot of sword fighters in the game already.

And so, when Nintendo’s long-awaited Direct happened last week I thought for sure they would take this opportunity to release a long-awaited character or, at least, a character with iconic and unique appeal. They have, after all, a plethora of options. They could have announced Crash Bandicoot or Geno from Super Mario RPG. They could have gone with Bomberman or Rayman, or perhaps Shovel Knight. Any of these could have added a level of uniqueness to the game.

But instead they announced Pyra and Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicles. Another sword fighter from another JRPG. Don’t get me wrong, I love all these games. But Nintendo is throwing away an opportunity to expand the Smash meta and evolve the game. Maybe they think the characters will sell better. If so, they’re choosing profit over gaming experience. I hope I’m proved wrong with the next several characters, but if the past is any predictor of the present get ready for some more sword-based characters in Smash.

How do you feel about the Smash DLC? What characters would you like to see make their way onto the Final Destination stage?

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