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Filed under: Editorial, Guest Article, Super Smash Bros. Series, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Return to Speculation

Note: The following is an opinion article, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Source Gaming‘s staff.

Hey everyone, I’m Zebei, a moderator over on a forum called Smashboards. Recently, the site opened up a new sub-forum designed specifically for speculating for Smash for Switch. There, people speculate about whether or not it is a port, what characters might be in or out, modes, stages, and all of the good stuff. But one thing I quickly realized was that the community almost instantaneously returned to its roots, and not in a good way. People were using illogical fan rules, being rude over trivial matters, and shutting down any opinions that did not fit with their own. Things have generally gotten better since then as speculation has calmed down a bit, but I imagine these problems will flare up again when Smash for Switch is officially announced. Therefore, this article is designed to give some basic guidelines to remember in order to form a greater community for all smash fans, and maybe reduce the inevitable salt storm just a little. I don’t mean to police opinions, but these are just things to remember to make things better for you and other speculators.

This guest article was written by Source Gaming fan Zebei. If you wish to contact Zebei for more information about his work then contact him over on Smashboards.

Be respectful:

I know this sounds super cliché, but the Smash community is notoriously toxic. Just one or two people being a bit more understanding has the potential to drastically change the mood of a discussion. Take the following image taken from a thread in support of King K. Rool’s addition as an example.

This image was posted right in the support thread for King K. Rool. What could be accomplished by saying this in a thread devoted to enjoying aspects of a character? Other than hurting the poster’s reputation and annoying a few people: not much as it isn’t insightful at all. It’s absolutely okay to not care for characters. I don’t particularly care for Impa or Elma for instance (sorry fans!), but that doesn’t mean there is any need for me to be rude to supporters of those characters. Be courteous to others and remember that this is random speculation in the internet. Being disrespectful to people, no matter the reason, is not cool. It should be common sense but unfortunately it isn’t.

Keep an open mind:

This one seems like it should be obvious after Smash For 3DS and Wii U but I guess not. It’s one of the most important things I could recommend to veteran speculators and newcomers alike.

No one could have ever guessed that THIS would be our group of DLC characters

Many are quick to lock-in their beliefs and stay with them forever, no matter what new information comes about. This causes problems when they turn out to be wrong and immediately become angry that their belief was wrong. I’m sure many of us can remember when the final roster for Smash for 3DS was shown and how angry some became because their favorite character did not make the cut. In many cases this rage came because people knew that their character was a shoo-in. They were sure of the outcome and could not understand a reality where it did not come true. Unfortunately it seems history is repeating itself. A few select characters have quickly come to light as “shoo-ins” for the next entry: Inklings, Decidueye, Ice Climbers, Wolf, and others. Imagine the fanbase’s reaction if some of these characters are excluded. For now I will use the example of Decidueye.

Even my custom title happened to be
A message to speculators!

Hey wait a minute, this one is from me! I’m not immune to this phenomenon either, and this certainly isn’t the only example. For a while now since at the very least since Rowlet’s reveal its final evolution, Decidueye,  was a pretty strong contender for Smash by the fanbase. This was even before we knew what the final design was, mind you. But once we knew that the leaked Decidueye design was real, it was immediately considered one of the most likely newcomer for Smash by the fanbase, only rivaled by the Inklings from Splatoon. The basic idea is fine but the problem is that there are many other options. Incineroar, Tapu Koko, Mimikyu, Nihilego, and more are options that are completely being ignored. There is also of course the possibility that we won’t get a Pokemon newcomer at all. I worry that some people would be furious if Decidueye does not get in. This is why I advocate for an open mind for all situations and ask that people realize choices exist outside of their own beliefs. That way no matter what happens you can still enjoy how things turn out despite your own predictions and desires. Imagine how much less negativity the community could have gone through after Bayonetta and Corrin if they were expected or at least not immediately dismissed. What is the point of being a part of an internet community if everyone is just mad all the time?

Even the ESRB leak, which gave us the final roster for Smash For 3DS was called factually
wrong. You even need to keep an open mind for things you deem as a “fact.”

Beware of fan rules:

We speculators often try to rationalize the character selection process based on patterns. Some are logical and even supported by Sakurai’s design philosophy but others are simply made up from patterns.

Only six Pokemon should be in smash? That’s a fan rule. Be able to identify them!

For instance, many assumed that 3rd parties could only have one character per company until Ryu’s reveal Shoryuken’d everyone away with a second Capcom representative along with Mega Man. Ryu also broke another fan rule based on something Sakurai sort of said; it was believed that Smash would never include fighting game characters, but it turns out that wasn’t true. Some fans have currently jumped to support Decidueye based on the idea that Smash needs to complete a “type trio” of fire, grass, and water. For them Decidueye checks off the grass requirement, with Charizard and Greninja fulfilling fire and water respectively. The issue is that there is no basis for this trio other than Brawl’s pokemon trainer, but the fact that Charizard came back alone and we have no grass type whatsoever in Smash For pretty much proves that this trio fans care for isn’t particularly relevant when it comes to Smash.  So when thinking of reasons for a character’s inclusion or exclusion, think deeply about whether or not it is based on Sakurai’s actual way of choosing characters, or on something made up without any official statement. Even then be wary because Sakurai is human and can change his mind and some of his statements may not have been properly reported on in the first place.

“Representation” is a fickle mistress:

Everyone wants their favorite series to show up in the gaming Valhalla that is Super Smash Bros., but this does lead to a few issues. Many have been infuriated by this “reps” ideology that they hold. The fact that Kid Icarus and Fire Emblem received so much content was seen as a direct insult by some, while the lack of additional Donkey Kong characters (Even though Tropical Freeze as far too late to be considered for Smash) made others swear off Smash Bros forever. Clearly the amount of content a series has is very important to some people. You may wonder why I feel the need to bring this up, after all Sakurai did say that series representation matters. The first problem is that some react far too aggressively from one single factor of Smash,  ignoring many other aspects. To some all that matters is the series a character comes from, overlooking anything else like their popularity in or outside of Smash, their uniqueness, or anything else. Focusing on just one criteria when there are many more to consider is tunnel vision.

Let’s say that you’re the kind of person who takes series representation very seriously. That’s fine as long as you are courteous but there is one thing I want to bring up involving tunnel vision; characters are not the beginning and end of representation.

It’s a good thing the character select screen
isn’t the only thing players can enjoy.


In Smash there are plenty of other things to enjoy. Trophies, music, stages, and items are also an important part of Smash that the series could not live without. Yet they are largely ignored when regarding representation arguments. Many were angry about the lack of any new Legend of Zelda characters in Smash For, despite it receiving new music tracks, 5 new items, 3 new assist trophies, 3 brand spanking new stages,and one stage as DLC. There was of course more music and regular trophies as well, Sheik and Zelda were also separated each getting updates (3 new specials between both of them), but none of that seemingly mattered to anyone. All of that extra content adds up as much as people try to pretend it doesn’t exist.

Be careful of “echo chambers”:

Some seem to guage a character’s popularity on just a single site (especially obvious during the ballot period) leading them to assume their character is extremely popular. And yet when your entire database is from one source, it’s pretty obvious it’s going to be flawed. Twitter, Tumblr, Smashboards, Reddit,and previously Miiverse (RIP) for Smash 4, and more are home to Smash speculation, yet many believe that only one is an accurate representation of the community’s opinions. It’s best to get a variety of opinions so to get a broader view of opinions. Branch out to other threads and websites to see more! Almost as important, remember that these groups only really show the hardcore community, which is giant echo chamber by itself. Try to keep in mind that the enormous ‘casual’ fanbase exists as well which is much larger and harder to track than the hardcore communities.

Not only is this a really small group to make a conclusion on,
it isn’t even a relevant criterion, like unique users!

Opinions are just opinions:

On the internet having an opinion is enough to anger people. I have personally been told to kill myself multiple times for wanting Ridley in Smash. It goes without saying that this is unacceptable. Let other people have their own views even if they don’t coincide with yours. If someone’s “opinion” is based on factually wrong information. Correct their misconceptions, but don’t be rude to them or pester them just because they disagree with you. This will only make them more adamant and make you look bad. But that doesn’t mean you need to keep your opinions stagnant. New information or just the passage of time should cause you to change your opinions on some occasions. Changing your mind is nothing to worry about and people aren’t likely to call you a hypocrite simply for changing your stance. Being adamant about opinions and never wavering can lead to disappointment, so try new things once in awhile!

Have fun with it:

This one is pretty important; enjoy speculation. Don’t get too serious about it. In the end, we don’t have much (if any) effect on the game. So have some fun when speculating and enjoy it while you can. Make some friends, be friendly to others, and get involved instead of just lurking all the time even if it’s awkward at the start. Being chill about things and trying your best to enjoy what comes to you is probably your best bet. If you get mad about everything that comes your way you will probably just wind up hating what you play. But if you keep an open mind and try to enjoy what you get you will probably have more fun (which is arguably the point of video games).

There’s plenty more I could talk about (like how clones like Dark Pit are positives for everyone or how slots don’t really exist in the way people think they do) but I don’t want to go on more of a tangent than I already have. I hope even a little bit of this advice is taken to heart. As speculators you might be able to enjoy things more if you don’t try to nitpick every little detail or at the very least use more logical criteria. Plus other speculators will certainly be able to enjoy the experience more when they aren’t surrounded by as much negativity.Enjoy things, let other people enjoy things, and be extremely careful of your own beliefs on how Smash is developed. Thank you for reading and let’s hope for some Smash news soon!

  1. Great Article!
    I agree with you in all of this. As it’s really easy to get carry over by your own biases and echochambers, then get defensive at the first showing of diverse oppinions.

    When I made my own “speculation article” I used a really basic instrument of extrapolation, but I tried to use it as it was, just the “theorerical framework” of my thesis. Then jumping at the numbers as they where, offering some options of representativity and all that fun stuff that everyone agrees on ( 😛 )… In all seriusness, when I offered my own take, I presented some “divisive choices” (like cutting Fire Emblem and Pokémon characters) just to keep the debates moving, as it never was the idea to present my analysis as the “analys that will end wars”, but one that “opens the can” for respectful debate and to show a huge arrange of options to be considered to be interesting characters to have in the game, despite some not being that much likely.

    I can’t wait to be active on the debates of the next game on the series, as, in the end, at least for me, it’s the best part of waiting any crossover game.

    Voyager on October 4 |
  2. “I have personally been told to kill myself multiple times for wanting Ridley in Smash”

    Holy fuck! Now that’s a new low for the Smash fanbase.

    As for the article itself it was pretty good. Some things I agreed with and others I didn’t. Solid overall.

    SMX on October 5 |
  3. (Even though Tropical Freeze as far too late to be considered for Smash)

    That didn’t really stop Mario Kart 8 from getting a stage. Just sayin.

    Arcadenblog on October 6 |
  4. Exactly; speculation is fun. As long you’re not too serious about, even it’ll be happy if that character did join afterwards, it’s not bad to be creative and imaginative regarding on how that character would work in Smash. But I do agree that the fanbase is nothing but like a bad organization who take things extremely seriously, preferring that their opinion is official and referring themselves as a law. They don’t care about having fun about sharing opinions, as they instead become judgmental that they’re perfectly right while you’re ultimately wrong. Even if your speculation becomes right as that character joins the game, which feels happy to be honest, the fanbase becomes more angry that their desired character didn’t join and starts insulting and threatening those who supported that character. It is insulting that you might wanna hate the game later on, which is also a wrong decision either. That can be said to myself too, since I’ve quit Smashboards because of a same insult I’ve received from the people there.

    Looking back in the past, I do remember judging upon certain characters that might not join in, but at least been respectful to it. K.Rool may had possibilities, but I couldn’t think of what his movesets would be, and its odd nobody even brought up a Dream Smasher article of it since then. I was also judging Shovel Knight that he couldn’t join because his game wasn’t released in Japan yet back then, but became more acceptable after his game was released there and became popular. Reasoning their exclusion is still okay as it’s in a respectful way, but some don’t buy it because they believe they hate that character, which isn’t a perfect reason either. Fanbase doesn’t care about reasoning it, because they simply want them there no matter what, which is childish.

    But the bad part about is…this is the internet. People will reveal their evil and childish side to this digital fantasy zone, freely insulting and hurting others as being heartless, as long they stay anonymous. I do remember many people started to organize that they all wanted to kill me so badly in Twitter, which is the reason why I don’t join Twitter and Facebook (even those sites are easy to steal personal information too). So far, no matter how patient and respectful you can be, you will become a victim when you deal with fanbases.

    Even then, I wouldn’t stop making many speculations, because it’s fun! This is why we have “Case of” and “Dream Smasher” articles in this site; because we can express our opinions of why that character would join in and how that character would work if joined. Of course they’ll give you negative comments as saying it will not work because of technical issues, license issues, lack of popularity, and even “Sakurai Bias”. But even then, it’s just an opinion, as long you’re not taking too serious about it, dreaming wouldn’t be that bad. If that character didn’t end up joining, you can just simply say, “oh well, maybe in the next Smash!”. There will always be possibilities when it comes with Smash, as long you’re reasonable of why they deserve the entry and ideas how it’ll work.

    It’s too bad we haven’t got any information about the new Smash for Switch this year, which was rumored through many infos from the REAL informant. But it’s possible it will be released on the Switch, whether to be a ported Wii U game or simply a new one from scratch. Further on, we’ll keep speculating as long its fun, which I’m planning to bring more Dream articles in the near future.

    zoniken on October 7 |
  5. To be honest, I’m probably not going to be participating much in character speculation this time around. If Smash 4 taught me anything it’s too expect a much more disappointing roster where a lot of huge fan-favourites will get ignored in favour of promoting recent and upcoming games. While a few characters like the Inklings and Spring Man are most likely shoe-ins, anyone else other than that is up in the air. It’ll probably be the likes of a new Pokemon, Celica and/or FE Switch protagonist. The dream for the likes of K. Rool and Isacc is dead.

    Stages I’ll happily speculate on. It’s easier to predict what games will be represented compared to characters. Hopefully Smash for Switch won’t be shared with the New 3DS so this time they’ll be plenty of new stages to enjoy in a single version.

    MagcargoMan on October 30 |