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Filed under: Editorial, Super Bros. Smash For 3DS, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Super Smash Bros. Series

No Best Choice: Weighing Some Characters’ Chances

weighting charas

WARNING: This is an opinion article. You are allowed to disagree.

I’m attempting to explain why certain characters might not make it in. Before you accuse me of bias, you can see who I want here, and who I expect here. Do not take it as these characters are 100% deconfirmed, as I do not represent Sakurai or the Smash team. A character on this list could very well make it in. The following is my opinion, and I could be wrong. 

King K. Rool:

King K. Rool is one of the most popularly requested newcomes online. His name constantly comes up as being one of the front runners, and a lot of people see him as a “shoo-in”. The one issue I believe that King K. Rool has is relevancy. He hasn’t been used all that recently, and while he’s popular with hardcore fans the “silent majority” may becharacter-portrait unaware of the King’s greatness. I do believe pre-ballot is over, and costume DLC could signal a death sentence. TheAnvil has already written a great piece on his chances, pre-costume reveal. Some people worry that King K. Rool might be considered ‘too OP’. I don’t think this is the case, as he has the same amount of power and size as Bowser. With Ridley, being difficult to represent in Smash has to do partly with his size, and how his boss fights were handled in the Metroid series. I do not think King K. Rool has this issue as his size has somewhat varied in the Donkey Kong series.

Shantae/ Shovel Knight:

shantae_smashified_by_hextupleyoodot-d8xf3wpDLC characters need to appeal and sell not only to both hardcore and light users, but worldwide. SmashChu has explained the economics behind DLC choices in DLC Econ 102: Opportunity Cost and Character Selection. Shantae and Shovel Knight both fail something I called the “multi-lingual Japanese versions of their main Wikipedia article. Even if you don’t accept my preliminary data on Japanese requests, you cannot deny that both of these characters lack Japanese sources. Both games have yet to be localized, and their fans are limited in Japan.

Of course, I’d say the same thing about Magolor or Arle Nadja. However, because it’s a game made in Japan shovel_knight_smashified__transparent__by_hextupleyoodot-d8l6k0kby a Japanese company, I expect the ‘barrier’ for characters that are wanted in Japan to be less of a barrier, and more of an obstacle than it is for characters requested exclusively in the West. Spazzy_D has also written a “Case for Shantae” which does discuss this issue.

(King K. Rool, Shantae and Shovel Knight renders were created by the Smashified Team!)

Daisy/ Waluigi:

Please note: I originally wrote the following on the Daisy support thread, when asked about my opinions. However, a lot of it can be applied to Waluigi so I’m adding his name:

Sakurai hasn’t included that many references to spinoff games. Mario Party has no representation at all…and Mario Tennis has Waluigi. Wario might have a move from Mario Strikers. Mario Kart has the best representation out of the Mario spinoffs, anBrawl_Sticker_Peach_&_Daisy_(Mario_Party_7)d it’s probably because it’s made by Nintendo themselves and not outsourced. Of course there’s trophies here and there but nothing like a stage, or even an item.

When Sakurai was asked about Daisy in Smash 64 he noted that she hadn’t been in any games lately. Of course, that’s Smash 64, and since then she’s made a comeback through the spinoff games and Sakurai did include a Daisy inspired palette for her fans. I think Daisy is recognizable among general Nintendo fans –which is a plus. However, her lack of canon appearances severely hurts her. I think she might be in the same situation as Waluigi to be honest. Recognizable, relevant but lacks proper source material. But Sakurai has surprised us before, so we never know.

As for the “Brawl_Sticker_Waluigi_(Super_Mario_Strikers)Too many Mario characters” I don’t think that’s an issue. If Mario is a popular series, it deserves more representation. Plain and simple. Smash has never been a tit-for-tat series, it’s about appeasing the most amount of fans. Of course you need other series here and there, but the majority of the cast are SUPER popular characters.


Ice Climbers:

Sorry, not in this game. I don’t think Sakurai is going to compromise his vision iceclimbersof how they fight, and they simply can’t work on the 3DS (and possibly 8 player Smash). Both games requiring the same roster is the final nail in the Ice Climber coffin (for Smash for 3DS/Wii U). I do think they will be back in the next game.




Snake’s original grab was a little too realistic…

I think he had a design clash with one of the other characters, the game in general, or possibly something else. Since he wasn’t in the base game, I don’t see him coming in as DLC. It’s known that Sakurai supposedly didn’t ask Kojima if Snake could come back (as Kojima stated, “if Mr. Sakurai is watching this, please use Snake”). That makes little sense as Sakurai knows that Snake is well beloved by fans, and still talks about his reveal in high regard. It could be because the game took a step away from realism and Snake would be harder to “incorporate”. Or perhaps one of the newcomer character creators did not want their character to be choked by Snake. The following quote from Snake joining Brawl Famitsu Column is highly relevant.  

Since this also affected the other characters, even though I decided on Snake myself, I needed to receive permission from their original creators.

(emphasis mine).


…so it was toned down during development.

We already know that his choke animation and land
mines were changed in Brawl’s development (Shout out to 
GoldenYuiitusin for pointing that out to me!). It does seem that getting a lower rating was a big priority for this Smash (toy guns, removing Tharja’s trophy), and Snake might not have been able to fit in an E 10+ rating. 

Of course, I could be wrong and these characters could come in. I just see these reasons as possible barriers to entries, and we need to keep in mind. Let me know if I missed something.

If you would like me to weigh a different characters chances, leave a comment below. Or let me know through the magical service that is Twitter.

PushDustIn has a very very busy week ahead of him. Sorry if there’s a delay in posting. He’ll probably be at the mall or something. Yes, he’s still working on the Japanese ballot DLC.

  1. I’m in total agreement (and used to crush people’s dreams on Miiverse with the same information.) I think some characters could work in the next game, but not this one.

    Ice Climbers are definitely not getting in this time around. Having them be Wii U exclusive would alienate the 3DS users (like myself), and having a solo IC is too much of a deviation from the original. That said, I’m really hoping they at least have a Mii Fighter costume based on them.

    I don’t really see Daisy getting in at all, TBH. If Sakurai decided to represent the countless Mario spin-offs in one character, I think Waluigi would be a perfect choice for the next Smash: he was a character MADE for the spin-offs, and his less-than-serious nature makes him a much better choice for a moveset full of randomness than Daisy. Being an Assist Trophy kind of puts a damper on that for Smash 4.

    I always thought Snake was an odd choice for Smash… not a bad one, just odd. If anybody would represent Konami, I thought it would’ve been Goemon, but lack of exposure outside of Japan might have been an issue (Goemon HAS had international releases, but probably not enough for most fans to remember him.)

    And K. Rool being OP? Where the heck did THAT come from? (o_o)

    Winturwulf (@winturwulf) on August 25 |
    • Snake is the poster child of Konami and gaming in Japan in general. Snake is in the top 10 most iconic video game characters in Japan .(Here’s some translated polls from famitsu, etc. during the time Brawl was released.)

      Most of those characters have been in Smash. Didn’t Sakurai mention smash was a celebration of Japanese gaming before? I’m suprised Square Enix hasn’t joined the ranks of companies with properties in Smash since they have several recognizable “mascot” characters that would fit well as fighters or assists and who fit the legacy of the other third party characters- Chocobo, Slime, Black Mage, Moogles, etc, but maybe it is because they are like Toad, Yoshi, Pikachu, etc. and represent species more so than a ‘character.’

      DonkaFjord on October 16 |
  2. We know that titles obscure to places outside of Japan have been used and/or referenced in the series. Fire Emblem is the most obvious one, and we’ve seen developer stories that show more details with each game.

    Is it too much of a stretch to invert that thought? What is actually stopping the devs from introducing someone or something obscure to the Japanese for more exposure?

    I know its mostly 3rd Party/Indie focused, but I’m curious of the responses.

    chaseralias on August 25 |
    • I’ll try to answer this, at least as well as I can.

      Here’s the central problem. Sakurai can add Marth and Roy to Melee, because they’ll be a fun surprise to the westerners who purchased the game. The onus of them purchasing Melee wasn’t on them, just as the development of Brawl was not built around Lucas. It’s not like there would ever have been a $45 version of Brawl without all the MOTHER 3 content. But Sakurai is effectively asking fans to buy more things from him, and it’s not necessarily fair that he focus on content they don’t know. This isn’t just about region; any character who only appeals to a small percentage of purchasers isn’t going to be as useful, not just commercially but also because it wouldn’t be as interesting for players.

      Now, none of this says that obscure or region-specific characters are impossible by any means. Certainly, the trailers have been very popular, even amongst players unfamiliar with their characters. And you could make some sort of bundle with a more popular fighter as well. As Push has argued elseqhere, just winning the ballot is not enough; at least some of the most popular choices are likely ineligible. And, of course, Sakurai has never been interested in a purely popularity-based roster.

      But the purpose of this specific interface has been, openly, about what the greatest number of fans are interested in across the widest demographics are interested in, and it’s harder to ask players to purchase characters about whom they have less familiarity or interest. Characters exclusive from or less popular in Japan are inherently part of that; it’s hard to think of many games of Nintendo’s that hit that mark. And beyond the economics, which fighters end up chosen will speak at least somewhat about Nintendo and its interests; if it’s all older or less well known characters, they aren’t really “fan favorites” or “all stars.”

      Additionally, a lot of the argument – and this is specific to the indie third party characters – seems to come from the idea that it’s advertisement, that they’ll become popular once they get over that just like Fire Emblem did. It’s not really fair for the onus to be on Nintendo for doing the marketing for those companies, but they also shouldn’t add characters (especially guests) just on the grounds that they may become popular. Smash obviously has incredible marketing potential, but it can’t be used primarily for that (this one came the closest, and even it consists of sensible choices). There’s a risk that its eventual rosters will be too obscure, too lacking in recency for audiences

      I don’t think anyone here at SG would argue that having characters who are specifically appealing to or more popular amongst western audiences would be a bad thing; certainly I’m a big fan of Duck Hunt and Little Mac. And we do like Rayman, who would absolutely be a western-oriented character. But it’s unrealistic to expect that Sakurai and the developers actively emphasize characters who may only play in one region or across a small percentage of demographics. He’s an artist, but he can’t ignore economics, not just for his own work but for the companies whose characters have been entrusted in him.

      Wolfman_J on August 25 |
  3. I mostly agree with this list, but I still think that Snake and King K. Rool have solid chance.

    The first because I don’t think that he was “too violent”. Brawl’s rating always listed “cartoon violence” which can be applied to everyone. Also I really can’t see Sakurai cutting a so well received character just because someone didn’t wanted his character to get chucked by him, especially considering that could have changed his grabs with PW/MGSV CQC (which are more similar to wrestling-like moves like Ryu’s grabs); and also counting how Sakurai hates to cut characters.
    I think that the main reason he wasn’t added in the core roster may have been the problems to get the right for the character. Konami have used his license a lot for promoting MGSV, so it wouldn’t surprise me that the license was very expensive. Hoping that after MGSV release next week his license may be more reachable for Smash DLC.

    I still think that King K. Rool has a chance due to his fan-request. Relegating him only as a Mii costume would be a chappy move toward Smash fans (and we all know how much Sakurai cares about fan reaction ).
    I think the costume was a marketing move, first selling the costume then the character.

    While I think the 2 above still have a good chance to return, there are two other characters that people thinks are likeable but I strongly doubt about their presence. Those are Isaac and the Inklings.

    Isaac have several prolemns. Golden Sun is like Mother: a death series, but without being such a cult classic (actually the Golden Sun games are pretty forgiveable), sales wise the series have done terribly, and also he is another swordfighter. I don’t really see Sakurai working on another anime-looking swordfighter with some magical moves like Robin. He was also cut from his Assist Trophy role, alongside some other MINOR characters, probably meaning that he isn’t even anymore interesting for it.

    Inkling are just to recent. Also their Mii costume adds an Inkling Trophy into Smash U. Now why would bother to add a completely original model as a trophy if they were at least considering adding them? I would say that that trophy clearly states that they will not be in Smash 4, but I full expect them in Smash 5.

    P.S. Sorry for the wall-text…

    Nonno Umby on August 25 |
    • My god, I’ve never seen such a big pile of bullshit about Golden Sun. You obviously know nothing about the game and Isaac, let me rectify all of this:

      Golden Sun isn’t dead. The last game was out in 2010, that means one year after the latest Punch-Out!! game. And Little Mac is in the game. There was also statements from Camelot than a fourth game is a very possible thing.

      “actually the Golden Sun game are pretty forgetable” (I assume you meant that). That’s a 200% subjective point of view, here. The games are considered excellent JRPGs and the reviews for the games are very good.

      The sales were also always good: The first game sold 1.8M copies, the second 1.2M, and the last one should be around 700.000, which stays a perfectly respectable score. Saying they sold terribly is absolute misinformation.

      Isaac’s potential as a fighter is INCREDIBLY bigger than “just a swordsman”. I will tell you: Isaac’s potential is so huge that you could perfectly make 50 different Isaacs, all of them with moves coming directly from on Golden Sun. You would have 50 different movesets.

      Isaac’s an earthbender, he manipulates and creates rocks, plants, and the ground to attack. He also uses utility Psynergy (the Giant hands) in different ways that would work perfectly for grabs.

      He has creatures called Djinn to help him, they all have different properties, from making Isaac stronger, faster, more resistant… They also have their own various attacks: Poison, Slowing down ennemies… The possibilities are enormous, I just can’t list them all.

      And then, there’s the Summons! Once Djinn were used, their powers can combine to call incredibly powerful Summons. Go watch Judgment’s animation, it would make a perfect Final Smash. And it’s only one among two or three dozens!

      Even his weapons are not just regular ones: He can use a sword, but they could use Unleashes: Special properties. Again, there’s too much to describe, there’s hundreds of them. Go look at some of them.

      And you know what? It’s not just swords, it’s also axes and maces!

      Isaac’s potential is nearly infinite. Don’t call him “just another swordsman”, because he trumps 95% of the current roster in terms of originality and sheer possibilities. You would just keep being plain wrong.

      Falgor on August 25 |
    • Oh, I forgot to correct some of your crap: My god, two magical users in the same roster? It’s impossible. Just like we would never have, what, 4 or 5 regular swords users, half of them being clones? /sarcasm

      There’s more than just one type of magic. Isaac’s and Robin’s would have nothing in common.

      And do you happen to read Sakurai’s thoughts? There can only be one reason for the cut of an Assist Trophy? For all we know, they all had different reasons to be cut.

      You wanted to make theories? I can play that too: Isaac could easily have been cut as an AT because he was planned, but in the end they ran out of time.

      The ones that were cut include Ray MK III and Isaac (not “minor characters”), they were two of the most popular ATs in Brawl with Little Mac. There’s a reason Isaac is in the top 5 of almost every fanmade poll.

      Isaac’s interesting and relevant.

      Falgor on August 25 |
  4. Also, Saki Amimiya was maintained on the AT roster even though his series has been dormant since a post-Brawl sequel (that, by all indications, wasn’t terribly successful).

    And yes, calling him “another RPG swordfighter” is a gross oversimplification. It’s like if someone had claimed Mega Man would play like Samus; it completely ignores the variety of moves present in the source material.

    Igiulaw on August 25 |
  5. An excellent article. I agree with your sentiments on each potential character, and I appreciate that you treated each one respectibly. Do you have any thoughts on Splatoon’s Inkling or Golden Sun’s Isaac?

    Also, do you think it’s plausible for Daisy to be included as an alt. for Peach in a future installment of Smash (on par with the Koopalings or Alph)?

    Bobby McCabe on August 25 |
    • It probably would be feasible as Peach and Daisy have too many differences (such as Peach carrying Toads and putting people to sleep). There is a reason why Lucina has her own slot….

      …why was Lucina picked over Daisy anyways?

  6. Totally agree, Wolfman. I wanted to add that even though Roy and Lucas did not have their games released in the West, they were still viable as DLC because of their inclusion of Melee and Brawl, respectively.

    Notice how the only non-veteran DLC character is Ryu, who is known worldwide and has been in dozens of games across most major systems (not just Street Fighter, but pretty much every crossover Capcom game as well, including the Versus series, Project X Zone, among others.) So lack of recognition is not an issue there.

    Whoever is chosen for upcoming Smash DLC either needs: 1) absolute worldwide recognition or 2) to be a Smash veteran, otherwise it simply won’t sell as well as someone who fits that criteria.

    Winturwulf (@winturwulf) on August 26 |
  7. (This was supposed to be up at Wolfman_J’s reply… I guess my work’s computer FUBAR’d its positioning. (>_<))

    Winturwulf (@winturwulf) on August 26 |
  8. (Sorry for the triple post, but since the positioning is messed up anyway.)

    @Nonno: The argument you made about the Inklings can be made for K. Rool as well: they both have trophies and Mii Fighter costumes in Smash already. The only difference is, Inklings ARE very new, but what of K. Rool’s lack of relevence? I’m not saying I expect either to get in, mind you, but Nintendo could easily capitalize on the success of Splatoon. The Mii Fighter costume and trophy seemed like a “promoting new series” kind of thing (considering it came bundled with the pre-order), but now that Splatoon has been proven successful, Nintendo could easily rake in a pretty good profit including Inkling as a DLC character.

    Brawl was rated T, Smash 4 is E+10. Not sure if it was because of Snake or for other reasons, but that’s something to consider for Snake’s return (or lack of.)

    I’m going to throw out there that Little Mac probably qualifies as a retro character if anybody wants to put his relevence into question. Punch-Out!! was in arcades before it was on NES, so that’s putting it pretty close to the Donkey Kong / Mario Bros. era of things.

    Isaac is in one of those weird positions. He could work as a character, his music is in Smash for Wii U, his last game was from 2010, which isn’t terribly old. However, he was cut as an Assist Trophy, so that raises a question mark. If Nintendo feels he has enough appeal as DLC, I think he has a pretty good shot, but if no Golden Sun game is released by the time the next Smash comes out, I think he’s screwed. He’s not quite old enough to be considered retro yet (if such a rule exists.)

    Meanwhile, it makes sense Ray got cut… the last Custom Robo game was on the original DS in 2006/7. I don’t have much hope for more representation (even as ATs) unless the series gets a revival. I can’t remember who else was cut as an AT besides Jill, which makes sense because Drill Dozer was obviously a one-shot deal that didn’t make enough impact to be represented in Smash any further.

    @Bobby: I can’t speak for PushDustIn, but my personal opinion is that Inkling and Isaac both have a small possibility of making it in as DLC, but I think they might be beat out. Inklings will definitely be on the next Smash game.

    Daisy as an alt for Peach is probably unlikely. It probably would’ve happened by now. Personality-wise, Daisy is probably more opposite of Peach (unless something has changed since I played a game with Daisy.) Despite being a princess, Daisy is a tomboy, making Peach’s “girly” moveset a bit odd for her personality.

    Winturwulf (@winturwulf) on August 26 |
    • The main difference between KKR and the Inkling is that the latter got a trophy trough DLC, while the fist have it on he core game. Now why would you bother to create a brand-new model (it isn’the from Splatoon) for creating a trophy if you would consider them a playable in the future? It wouldn’t make any sense. Also the character will take months, or even a year before being released, when probadly the Splatoon success will probably slow down (the developers have confirmed that the periodically updates will end this autumn). Plus Nintendo needs to save big names for future Smash games, and the Inklings are perfect for being the next new big franchise in Smash, like the Villagar/AC-DC in Smash 4.

      About Snake, the rating have changed from Brawl to Smash 4 only in the USA. In both Europe and Japan Smash 4 have the same rating as Brawl (Cero D and Pegi 12). Plus Brawl rating was a little higher in the USA mostly for its more realistic look, and also the presence of blood on Master Hand during the Subspace Emissary. Also they could always change his most violent moves (actually only some of his grabs can be considered too much in respect of what we already have in Smash 4).

      But I have to thank you for exposing your thoughts about Isaac, because that was what I wanted to say, alongside the lack of a great potential moveset ( I have exaggerated in the previous post, but even after reading about him from his fans I just can’take see the potential of him). Also the 2010 game didn’t have Isaac as the main character. He actually plays only a small role in it. And the quote about the potential 4th game is very old, but since then Camelot had still only made Mario Sport games, meaning that it isn’t actually a reality.

      Nonno Umby on August 26 |
    • I don’t exactly agree that Daisy’s personality doesn’t makes her viable for a Peach alt character. Peach in Smash doesn’t exactly has the personality she has in the Mario games, she more or less actually has Daisy’s personality in Smash if you think about it. And I also don’t think that Daisy, despite being a tomboy, is the opposite of Peach, they actually don’t feel very different in personality despite having different traits.

      Ar on August 26 |
      • Thanks for clearing that up. I honestly have barely played the Mario spin-offs, so I didn’t know Daisy’s personality wasn’t really distinct. Of course, a character can only develop so much personality when she’s in ONE Mario platformer (and a very old one, and a bit of a side-game at that) and nothing but spin-offs afterward.

        I almost wonder if her not being created by Miyamoto is why she gets no love in the main Mario games. Heck, Rosalina has pretty much taken the spot Daisy used to inhabit as the #2 Mario princess after Peach.

        Winturwulf (@winturwulf) on August 27 |
  9. Nice article! I agree with you on the Mario series thing. Saying Mario is over-represented is like going to Disneyland and saying Mickey is over-represented.

    Ar on August 26 |
  10. Since Shovel Knight was mentioned in this article, thought I’d bring this up:

    It’s just a rumor for now, but Liam Robertson from Unseen64 got tipped off from several anonymous manufacturing sources that the SK Amiibo is in the works, pointing to his inclusion in Smash.

    Apparently PAX (tomorrow) has Smash for Wii U kiosks set up, and SK’s developer is expected to show off the expansion. Some Nintendo-exclusive content and a huge announcement were also mentioned.

    These are just unverified rumors ATM, but I guess we’ll find out this weekend.

    Winturwulf (@winturwulf) on August 27 |