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Filed under: SG Choice, Super Smash Bros. Series

SourceGaming Choice #5 – 3rd Party Characters.

SG Choice Alt

*The following article is opinion-based and should be treated as

We are here today to present yet another Source Gaming Choice! Last time we looked at New Music Tracks . This time we will be looking at our most wanted 3rd Party characters. We’ve organized the choices by the most amount of staff votes, and included a small cheat sheet. For each character, we’ve included rationale behind the choice. Please note, in consideration for length, we had each staff member pick a maximum three.

RaymanNantendo, DMurr, TheAnvil, Wolfman_J
When considering the most plausible 3rd Party contenders. Rayman’s name is consistently brought up, and for good reason. He has everything it takes to genuinely make it into Smash Bros. Since his debut appearance in 1995, his games have sold a combined 26 million, with an additional 14 million for his Spinoff series, Rayman’s Raving Rabbids.

Rayman’s long lasting legacy in general is significant, he is a genuine video game icon. His first game was the best selling 2D game on the original Playstation,and one of the best selling games on the system overall. It was heralded for its atmosphere, soundtrack and 2D graphics. His second game was so critically acclaimed that upon its release it was referred to as the most impressive feat of game design and execution the platforming genre has ever seen”.

More recently, Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends brought Rayman back to his former glory on a 2D plane. With Rayman Legends being published by Nintendo in Japan. Unprecedentedly, and uniquely, the Rayman series has a total of three trophies in Super Smash Bros. For Wii U.

I, along with other members of the SG team previously picked him for our SG Choice 2 article, focusing on “ballot winners”. -TheAnvil

BombermanPushDustIn, nocturnal YL, Spazzy_D
Bomberman is one of the most iconic 3rd parties left to add into the Smash Brothers series. While he is not highly requested, I do believe his inclusion would be the most “natural” out of the 3rd parties. Bomberman is extremely well known, and has seen games across a ton of systems. His character art direction is defined, and proven. Spazzy_D has actually written a great article on Bomberman, “The Case for Bomberman

Of course there are some issues with Bomberman, as noted by Spazzy_D. First: Bomberman is now owned by Konami. This means that Nintendo would have to deal with Konami in order to gain the rights to use him. Konami hasn’t had the best…image lately. However, it has been revealed that Nintendo has recently worked with Konami over some IPs licensing, mainly Momotaro Densetsu. The other main issue is that while Bomberman is very well known, his game sales are less than the other five 3rd party characters that have made it into Smash (Snake, Sonic, Megaman, Pac-Man and Ryu).  -PushDustIn

While there are concerns with Konami-Nintendo relations (in particular, there is not a single Wii U game published by Konami outside of Virtual Console), Bomberman is indeed the most iconic 3rd party character among Nintendo players. He has got games on all Nintendo systems from the NES to Wii, and his games wouldn’t feel out of place at all with the other Nintendo series like Mario Kart and Smash Bros. itself. Therefore, I do want to see Bomberman making it in — even though I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t. -nocturnal YL

Professor Layton – Nantendo, PushDustIn
As far as third party characters go, Layton seems like an obvious choice. Created by Level-5, Professor Layton has seen tremendous success on Nintendo’s handhelds. He is very closely associated with Nintendo’s handhelds. A couple years back, a full length anime film was made just demonstrating how popular he has become. While not being as popular as other gaming legends like Pac-Man, Sonic, Snake, Ryu or Megaman; Professor Layton seems like he would fit in thematically with Smash Bros. Furthermore, he could easily represent a genre of series that, in my opinion, does not have good representation — puzzle games.  -PushDustIn

Banjo-Kazooie – TheAnvil
I’m not sure anyone would doubt the inclusion of Banjo-Kazooie on this list. They are after all, among the most popular 3rd Party choices in both Japan and the West, of course.

While initially lacking a good amount of support from fans due to a perceived problem between Nintendo and Microsoft regarding the bear and bird duo, which personally I feel was in partly due to their absence in the Diddy Kong Racing remake for the Nintendo DS. A tweet sent out by Phil Spencer, revealing to the public that Microsoft is willing to cooperate with Nintendo caused a massive surge in fan support, because now he was a seen as a real possibility.

The Banjo-Kazooie series has seen a total 5 games released, 4 of which were exclusive to Nintendo systems at the time of their release. Initially, Banjo made his debut appearance in the widely successful Diddy Kong Racing. 2 of those games were released after the Microsoft buyout. They have also had a prominent guest appearance alongside Sonic in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing with Banjo-Kazooie, being a major selling point of the game on the Xbox 360 version of the game.

Not only are Banjo-Kazooie characters with a huge legacy and significance to the gaming world, but they are as close to being Nintendo characters as humanly possible–without being owned by Nintendo themselves, as they populate the same canon universe as Mario and Donkey Kong. Banjo has endeared so many people that the spiritual sequel kickstarter of Yooka-Laylee is the most backed video game kickstarter in UK history, and it was able to meet all of its initial stretch goals within the first 24 hours.

Banjo-Kazooie are unquestionably characters that would be in Smash Bros. by now if Rare and Nintendo had not parted ways, with Sakurai even considering them as characters as far back as Melee.  -TheAnvil

Simon Belmont – Wolfman_J, Spazzy_D
Look, I’m not naïve. We are all more than familiar with the litany of problems facing Castlevania’s probably most iconic hero – or Snake, for that matter – due to the what’s been happening within Konami. And despite its renown, his is a series that’s never really been on the level of its rival Mega Man, more of a B-list franchise for most of its running that appears to be on its last legs. But I can’t ignore the history Castlevania has with Nintendo; outside of its most respected game, Symphony of the Night, almost all its greatest and most important works have been on Nintendo systems. Its visuals and audio and atmosphere indelibly iconic, it would provide a classic game-y and artistic ethos, yet one that isn’t bound by its 8-bit origins and could shake up Smash’s own sensibilities a bit. As a fighter, Simon would be fun and neat with his Vampire Killer whip and assortment of goofy subweapons, and he’d continue the tradition of third party characters getting a dramatic spin on how they’ve fared in prior fighting games.

Plus, we’d get “Bloody Tears.” That alone has to be of at least some value.

Snake – DMurr, PushDustIn
Snake is one of the most requested characters to come back. After his inclusion in Brawl, fans quickly fell in love with his unique playstyle. There isn’t anyone from Nintendo games that can do everything that Snake can, and in order to satisfy the demands of fans, I think he must come back. Snake is the whole reason we have 3rd party characters in Smash in the first place. Without Snake breaking that glass ceiling, non-Nintendo characters could still be a distant dream for many gamers. The Metal Gear Solid series is a very influential series, and the newest one is selling like hotcakes. While they do not have a strong association with Nintendo products, the Metal Gear Solid franchise is an integral part of the video game medium, and cannot be simply ignored or brushed away. While there are other characters that might be more “Smash-friendly” for inclusion, Snake’s veteran status causes me to strongly believe that he should come back.   -PushDustIn

Chocobo – Nantendo
When it came to picking a Square Enix rep I was left in a bit of a conundrum. Square Enix is a company who is important enough to gaming that they deserve representation in Smash. However, arguably, their biggest series suffers from a lack of main recurring characters and a lack of Nintendo representation. Back in the pre-N64 days, the Final Fantasy series was exclusively on Nintendo from Final Fantasy 1-6, however from 7 onwards the series moved to playstation and only came back to Nintendo for remakes of 1-6 and spin-off titles on the DS/3DS like Theatrhythm. To add to this issue, undoubtedly the most well-known Final Fantasy protagonist is Cloud from Final Fantasy VII, followed by either Tidus from X or Lightning from XIII. Neither of these three characters have had main series games for Nintendo.

I believed the most iconic characters from the Nintendo days had to be Terra from VI, Cecil from IV and the hero of light from I. The Black Mage also has a very iconic look, as do Moogles so they also could be candidates. I really did not know who ‘deserved’ the spot more and I was struggling for a while, thinking that maybe a Dragon Quest Hero would be better since every main series Dragon Quest title has appeared on a Nintendo system at some point. But then, I took a look at the “If there was a Smash 2” polls from 1999 that we have translated her on source gaming. I was shocked. The most requested non-Nintendo character was the Chocobo from Final Fantasy. I decided to look into this a bit more and was very surprised at what I found. Not only do Chocobo originate from Final Fantasy II for the Famicom and have been in every Final Fantasy game since, they also have there own spin-off series based on the Mystery Dungeon franchise known in the West as Final Fantasy Fables for Nintendo DS and Wii but Nintendo is the home for the Chocobo series now, ignoring mobile phones.

Arguably, the Chocobo series is a spin-off series that has not had a main game since 2008 so it seems weird to be the main Square representation and I agree. But I feel the design used in these games would fit in the Super Smash Brothers series and the Chocobo itself is a main icon for the Final Fantasy series. Along with Moogles, they are the mascot characters for the Final Fantasy series and due to their appearance in the main games, any of the main titles could be used as a stage or be referenced from the Chocobo. In design he references the spin-offs but in everything else, he represents the Final Fantasy series as a whole and that is what Super Smash Brothers is all about, representing video games as a medium (specifically Nintendo and their associates).

Cloud Strife –  Spazzy_D
Now, I want to lead off by saying that I know why Cloud shouldn’t be in the game. He is a character that is EXTREMELY associated with Sony.  Much more so than even Snake, and Snake’s Sony ties are often used to justify his absence from Smash 4.  That being said, Cloud is about as iconic as you can get, and Final Fantasy is a series that could use some representation.  The only series currently in Smash that have better sales than Final Fantasy are Mario, Pokemon, Sonic, and “Wii.”  That’s fairly elite company.

Cloud himself has become the quintessential JRPG protagonist. If you ask a casual gamer to describe what a JRPG main character looks like, you’d probably get something close to what Cloud looks like. Do you know how the NBA logo is a silhouette of a man playing basketball? A JRPG logo would have a silhouette of Cloud, that’s how closely he is associated with the genre.

Also, despite debuting and mostly appearing on Sony platforms, Cloud has done his time on Nintendo hardware with games such as Threatrhythm. His move set should be extremely easy to create as well, as the materia system and his limit breaks give him plenty to work with. We’ve already seen it in action in the Dissidia series of fighting games, after all. Now, I understand that this choice will ruffle some feathers. If someone see’s Smash merely as a celebration of Nintendo, than Cloud might not make the most sense. If we see him as a representative of everything Square-Enix has done for the industry, though, he is a perfect fit. -Spazzy_D

Ryu Hayabusa – nocturnal YL
You can easily count the major third party publishers that are in close relationship with Nintendo. Smash has already covered Sega, Capcom and Bandai Namco, leaving Koei Tecmo, Square Enix and Level-5. Square Enix is most famous for Final Fantasy, but that is closely associated with PlayStation, while Level-5’s natural choices – either the Professor Layton or the Inazuma Eleven series – may not fit Smash’s fighting imagery well enough.

That leaves Koei Tecmo, and Ryu Hayabusa comes to mind. He has got weaponry that distincts himself from the other ninjas in Smash, and perhaps giving him awkward agility — a  reference to the sheer difficulty of his NES game — would help furthering the differentiation. Relevancy may not be a big problem, as he has had presence on the Wii U with Razor’s Edge. -nocturnal YL

Spyro The Dragon – TheAnvil
Spyro The Dragon is in many ways, comparable to Sonic The Hedgehog. They both served as mascots of their respective systems at a point in gaming history when Mario had direct competition.

Spyro was devised as one of Sony’s successful answers to Mario. Who, over the course of his tenure, has starred in 16 of his own games. His original trilogy alone massed more than 11 million total sales. Furthermore, all three titles from the original trilogy are amongst the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful games released on the original Playstation.

Since his departure from Sony, like Sonic, Spyro has seen an increased presence on Nintendo systems; with a total of 10 of his games being released on Nintendo systems– particular on handheld devices.

Spyro has seen what you could perhaps call a resurgence in relevance thanks to the juggernaut that is Skylanders, of which Spyro acts as the posterboy. Skylanders boasts many impressive records. These include lifetime profits exceeding $3 billion and as of 2014, over 175 million toys sold. This makes it one of the most successful videogame franchises of all time. All of this is in addition to Spyro’s impressive solo figures.

Most interestingly, Nintendo and Activision are teaming up with the newest installment of Skylanders, by lending them two of their most treasured and protected characters, Bowser and Donkey Kong. This shows a close relationship between Nintendo and Activision and enough faith in the Skylanders series for this to have become a reality. Could a Spyro to Smash reciprocation be around the corner? -TheAnvil

Rayman – Nantendo, DMurr, TheAnvil, Wolfman_J
Bomberman – PushDustIn, nocturnal YL, Spazzy_D
Professor Layton – Nantendo, PushDustIn
Banjo-Kazooie – TheAnvil
Simon Belmont – Wolfman_J, Spazzy_D
Snake – DMurr, PushDustIn
Chocobo – Nantendo
Cloud Strife – Spazzy_D
Ryu Hayabusa – nocturnal YL
Spyro The Dragon – TheAnvil

Do you agree with our choices? Which 3rd Party characters would you like to see in Smash Bros. in the future? Let us know in the comments below!

  1. Yesss #LaytonForSmash

    Bala on September 20 |
  2. Out of all of these Bomberman makes the most sense to me, but my heart will always say Banjo-Kazooie.

    Cragley.K on September 20 |
  3. We’re so close to the end of the ballots, but personally I’ll be fine with any video game character, joke or not and if there is a workable moveset. From the 3rd parties, Rayman and Banjo & Kazooie were my first two choices. I also voted for K. Rool, Inkling, Wonder Red, and Shantae, but of course they’re not 3rd party. Other choices would have been Dillon, Frogger(modern), Bandana Waddle Dee and Crash Bandicoot but it’s a long shot. Once again, I’m cautiously optimistic about the results, but I predict at least two veterans and two newcomers will be chosen.

    Chris.W on September 20 |
  4. I personally would’ve chosen Black Mage as the Square-Enix rep… it’s arguably Final Fantasy’s most famous class and its various magic attacks will prevent it from becoming another “Chrom incident” than someone like Fighter / Knight / Warrior of Light or Cecil.

    I’m also a bit surprised nobody mentioned Nobunaga for Tecmo-Koei… Nobunaga’s Ambition appeared on many Nintendo systems, and we’ve also got Samurai Warriors 3 and Pokemon Conquest.

    Besides that, I would’ve picked Layton or a generic player character (ala Villager) from Fantasy Life.

    Though, I wouldn’t mind seeing Snake return, or Belmont, Banjo-Kazooie, or Spyro.

    Winturwulf (@winturwulf) on September 20 |
  5. i personally think the only third parties left to add are Snake, Rayman, and Bomberman. Just like other third parties these three do have their problems, but I think they can pull something in the end. I would love if these three got in, they would or had very unique play styles that we’ve never seen in a first party character. I think that these guys are their best bet to go for we’re talking third party. The point of DLC is to sell and there is no doubt in my mind that all of these guys would do well with people buying them.

    PrettyIvyPearls22 on September 20 |
  6. As well respected as Spyro the Dragon and Rayman are, I don’t necessarily believe they exist on the same level as Sonic, Pac-Man, Solid Snake, and Mega Man, or at least in relation to Nintendo. They sold well on PlayStation and are recognizable today, but they weren’t created to combat Nintendo the way Sonic was. There never was any close association established with Nintendo in their conception and that continues to this day. Spyro may be in Skylanders, a huge success for Activision, but it’s on nearly every platform. Ubisoft saw the sale failures for the Wii U on the horizon, and delayed Rayman Legends to make it multiplatform as opposed to a Nintendo exclusive. Now I actually think Ubisoft made a justifiable decision, and the company still has a healthy relationship with Nintendo, but it certainly hinders any sort of inherent association with the Japanese-based company. In my mind’s eye, Spyro and Rayman are as appropriate for Smash Bros. as Crash Bandicoot.

    And I agree with @Winturwulf. I personally feel that the best potential Final Fantasy representative woulf be Black Mage, and I’ll always be welcoming to Bomberman’s inclusion as well.

    the101 on September 20 |
    • I said this on a previous post, but I honestly don’t feel like Snake is on the same level as Mega Man, Ryu, Sonic, or Pac-Man in relation to Nintendo… I agree about Rayman and Spyro. Pretty much the only things they have going for them are:

      1) They’re owned by Ubisoft and Activision, respectively, two of the biggest U.S. developers / publishers.
      2) Minor exclusivity things like Rayman’s Smash trophies and DK and Bowser recently announced for Skylanders.
      3) They’re a way to “dream match” in Sony to bring together the three main contenders of the 90’s console wars in one game.

      Probably not enough to warrant an inclusion in Smash, but I would still rather see Spyro in than some of the popular choices… even some of the popular first-party ones. 😛

      Winturwulf (@winturwulf) on September 21 |
    • To put an argument into Rayman’s case, his game was originally being made for the SNES and not Playstation, every game of his has appeared on Nintendo in some form: all 3 original games, the two reboot games and all the rabbid games. The Rabbid games sold amazingly well for the Wii and so a lot of modern audiences likely associate Rayman more with Nintendo than Sony and finally, in Japan Legends is still a Wii U exclusive because the Game is published by Nintendo out there and not Ubisoft which is why Rayman and friends have smash trophies.

      As for the black mage he was a close second for a Final Fantasy character for me. I was originally not going to do any FF character and instead go for a Dragon Quest character seeing as with the new remake of 8, every Dragon Quest title has been on Nintendo at some point. However, when looking through old data, specifically the ‘Smash 2 poll’ that we have translated on this site i noticed that Chocobo was the most requested Square character for representaion in Smash and it just all fell into place.

      Nantendo on September 22 |
  7. Hi, is it okay I can leave my opinion?

    Your opinions are great, and I do respect that. However, there are some parts that I must disagree among few characters…if I’m correct, Smash is a game that’s been sold globally, however many people seem to forget that point as they believe Smash is an exclusive game of their country. Regarding to Ray-man, yes he is popular in the West as his games are also sold in Japan as well, but to many Japanese players, which will be Nintendo fans regarding to Smash, nobody knows him. As I tried talking about him in the Japanese Miiverse site, many responded out with an answer of “who is he?”. Although he’s in Smash as a trophy, users still confused on his existence. I’m not even a fan of Playstation games either, so I don’t even know him as much too. This also includes Shantae and Shovel Knight not being mentioned by Japanese gamers due to their games never been sold in Japan, despite Shantae’s gonna be released in Japan soon. Eventually this also affected on the Fire Emblem characters back in Melee and Lucas back in Brawl due to them being characters from a game only sold in Japan, which Western gamers confused and complained on their unfamiliar existence. Since I do see Smash 4’s bring characters that’s been recognizable globally, I wouldn’t think Sakurai would make another chance bringing in certain country exclusive characters to create more confusions toward unfamiliar players.

    Ryu Hayabusa may be a good choice since he has been part of Nintendo’s history, and Chocobo can be another good one as being a mascot character of Final Fantasy as they can add Slime as Dragon Quest’s iconic character, but I wouldn’t even think there are any possibilities they’ll bring anybody only appeared on Playstation nor XBox. Cloud may have been in Theatrhythm and Kingdom Hearts, but we know those won’t count as any reasons. Plus Kingdom Heart’s Sora is impossible because he’s also owned by Disney, which is another impossible company to deal with. Snake is pretty much recognizable as being a Playstation franchise rather than Nintendo, as Raiden’s appearance in Playstation’s Smash-ripoff pretty much proved it. Even Banjo had ties with Nintendo in the past, I wouldn’t think Microsoft would ever had a chance to lend their character to their enemy company, which they’re both still in the console wars alongside with Sony.

    Level-5 have a problem with their popular games which they didn’t last long. Professor Layton isn’t even a face of Level-5 anymore, neither do Inazuma Eleven, but Youkai Watch. And if anybody in Japan choose someone from Level-5, then that’ll be Jibanyan as being a face of the company and his game, much more being a huge rival against Pokemon. But we know Jibanyan cannot be chosen due to not being mentioned by the West as the game haven’t been released yet, so I wouldn’t put a hope on him anyways. But at any point, I think Level-5 won’t bring anything in Smash.

    And this is my last opinion…since Capcom has 2 characters in their roster, which is Mega Man and Ryu, then Sega and Bandai Namco should bring one more character to their roster too, if possible. For Sega, Arle Najya may be a good choice because her games were sold both for Sega and Nintendo in the past, as she was also born alongside with Sonic. Her magic can be useful in Smash while her assistant Carbuncle could assist her like Roselina and Luma. But I know that may not be possible because she’s not mentioned much in the West, so I wouldn’t expect anything from her at this moment. For Bandai Namco, I guess Klonoa can be a good choice since he’s popular in both Japan and the West, as his appearance and movesets may fit to Smash. But his popularity really matters at this point as he’s not much mentioned. But we’ll see what’ll happen in the end.

    Sorry for the long post, but thank you.

    zoniken on September 21 |
    • The speculation game goes both ways… the West requests characters like Rayman, Shantae, and Shovel Knight, while Japan requests Arle Najya and Jibanyan. There are regional favorites that many fans will request without thinking about the global picture. Neither side is wrong, but both are more unlikely than globally-recognized characters.

      However, in the case of Smash, Japan does seem to have the edge… we had Marth, Roy, and Lucas, as you mentioned, plus lots of other Japan only trophies. Generally, it seems like the only Western-exclusive trophies are localized variations of Japanese ones… IE Elite Beat Agents and Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball. I mean, between every Smash game, we got a mention of nearly ever NES game aside from StarTropics if that says anything.

      I also thought of the second character for Sega and Namco idea, but I’m not sure who could realistically fill those roles and still keep the global idea in mind.

      By the way, two things I wanted to point out:

      Isn’t Sora technically owned by Square-Enix? I may be wrong, but I thought the characters Square invented belonged to them.

      Also, Phil Spencer already said that they’d allow Banjo-Kazooie to appear in Smash if asked, so it’s more up to Nintendo (unless what Phil said was just some stupid buzz-generating PR thing that he wasn’t serious about.)

      Winturwulf (@winturwulf) on September 21 |
      • Yeah, it’s really hard think of a character that’s been favorited globally, which results fans requesting without thinking globally too. But to think of it, Marth and Roy’s appearance back in Melee was actually a success for bringing Fire Emblem series to the West, so certain advertisement of those characters may become globally if successful, but some may be uneffective like Lucas’s appearance didn’t support to localize Mother 3. Shantae in other hand is heading to Japan this year, so maybe her appearance may effect as advertisement if she appeared in Smash.

        I may agree Arle may not be a character to be chosen due to being not noticable by western audience, so it’s really hard to choose who else is possible other than her. NiGHTS is more popular but really can’t think of anything other than flying and tackling, and Billy Hatcher definitely won’t have a chance due to his game being too unpopular, and anybody from Virtua Fighters may not have any chance either since they had no ties with Nintendo in the past. Bandai Namco is also difficult to think of too, since we know Tekken characters like Heihachi won’t be participated since that game’s more prefered as being a Playstation franchise than Nintendo, and we can’t think of any Tales of Series characters other than Lloyd since Symphonia was released for Gamecube, and Digimon is most prefered to be an anime rather than the game now these days. I don’t know if Sakurai will bring up a second character for both Sega and Bandai Namco either, so it really depends.

        “Is Sora technically owned by Square-Enix?” I’ve wondered about that too before, but something has proven me that Sora was also owned by Disney. I found it at some Japanese toy store and was selling figure toys of Disney (and Pixar) characters made by Tomy called “Disney Magical Collection”, and I found out that Sora was in there along with the other Kingdom Hearts mains, which might have meant to me that Kingdom Hearts belong to Disney too. That’s how I thought, which I’m still not quite sure though.

        zoniken on September 21 |
        • For Sega, the best candidate series I could think of that you didn’t mention are Golden Axe, Alex Kidd, Shining, and Phantasy Star, since all of them either appeared on Nintendo consoles in some way (or generally just on Sega’s.)

          Namco has… I dunno, Soul Calibur, Valkyrie, and Dig Dug? *Shrugs*

          And yeah, as far as I can tell, Sora hasn’t been in anything other than Kingdom Hearts games, so perhaps he’s co-owned by Square-Enix and Disney.

          Winturwulf (@winturwulf) on September 22 |