The reveal of Smash Bros. Ultimate at E3 came with a lot of surprises like every character returning, directional air dodges, and Ridley as a playable fighter. But something fans might have overlooked is the inclusion of Sukapon. Despite only appearing in one game, Joy Mecha Fight, Sukapon was going to be featured in Melee as a rideable item. But due to money and licensing problems, didn’t make it in.
This got me thinking, “What other ideas were cut and will they make it to Ultimate?” I’ve seen a few other ideas confirmed since then, but I wanted to comb through the entire series to get a better perspective.
Some ideas have been confirmed, so we’ll start there. As I mentioned we have Sukapon, although it doesn’t look rideable and instead just attacks. But it isn’t the only sentient item to make a return. Ditto was also planned to appear in Melee (as a pokéball pokemon). But unlike Sukapon, got far enough into development that it’s accessible in the debug menu, and was listed in Melee’s official strategy guide. It stays true to the original concept by transforming into the player’s character and fights on their behalf.
Lastly is something that partially appeared in Smash for Wii U, battle damage. During Brawl, Sakurai wanted to include a system where equipment such as swords and masks could break. If your equipment broke you would be at a disadvantage until it was repaired, by losing a stock. This should sound familiar as Robin works very similarly. After so many uses, Robin’s Levin sword and tomes become inaccessible. This puts the player at a disadvantage for a limited time. Ultimate even added a new bar to make it more clear to players.
The visual aspect did make it into Smash for Wii U in some small form. Little Mac would get bruises and a bandaid to reflect Punch-Out!! for the Wii when he exceeds 100% or gets a Star KO. But cracked equipment like originally planned wouldn’t make it until Ultimate. In Brawl’s files there are images of Meta Knight and Captain Falcon’s masks being cracked. So far it hasn’t been shown that their masks will crack in Ultimate, but it has for Olimar’s helmet. It won’t be permanent for your stock, but it’s a nice touch. And just recently, it’s been confirmed through Nintendo’s Treehouse demo for Ultimate that King K. Rool’s belly will both crack and break for an extended time. So it looks like the feature has been fully implemented both as a visual cracks (rather than disappearing into the ether) and as a mechanic to weaken the player.
With those out of the way, let’s look at some of the potential returning features. Cut characters are a different topic, but there is one character worth mentioning, Alph. He could have been a clone of Olimar with rock pikmin for more damage. But the idea was scrapped and he became an alternate costume instead. With the introduction of Echo Fighters in Ultimate, it’s odd that the one character left that would be a good candidate, isn’t. My suggestion was to give Olimar the Brawl moveset whereas Alph would have the Smash for Wii U moveset. However, after looking into it there’s only a difference of four moves so it doesn’t seem worth the effort (jab, up air, forward tilt, and recovery). Also character related, the Pokemon Trainer had a jumping animation in Brawl. Ultimate is focusing on visual touches like more facial expressions, and even added the female Pokémon Trainer, but I haven’t noticed this animation returning. It’s possible it was cut because it wasn’t worth the effort to have the trainer jump onto other platforms, it wasn’t needed or because it was too distracting.
Other cut features from Sakurai’s Smash For proposal also includes: co-op Smash Run with co-op powerups, 3 new custom specials instead of 2, and unique rules for 4v4 team battles akin to Kid Icarus: Uprising’s Light vs. Dark mode. In that mode, being killed reduces your team’s overall health bar. When the team’s health bar is depleted, the last player to be killed (you play as a soldier) will turn into Pit or Dark Pit with more health and damage as a “last hurrah”. Perhaps a Smash version could have players choose their own team leader (to replace the angels) and instead of health would use stocks or stamina.
There are many facets to Smash outside of the main modes, one of those being Masterpieces. They were short playable sections of a game to showcase a character’s history and starring role. However, in Smash for Wii U the series itself was almost represented by including a Masterpiece of the original Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64. Not only would it have been meta to play Smash in Smash, but it also would’ve been the only N64 Masterpiece. It would be a nice inclusion to Ultimate as the series’ 20th anniversary in Japan is only a few months away from release.
Moving onto a different section, we have stages. Melee did have some cut stages, but it looks like they were repurposed in later games, so there’s no sense in addressing them here. However, there was an effect cut from one of Melee’s stages, Pokémon Stadium. They were trying to include pokemon as hazards on the stage, in the same way Saffron City did. But because of programming problems, they added them as pokeball pokemon instead.
The other cut stages are Dr. Mario with a virus boss, Plankton, Brain Age, and Diary. While there’s no explanation for why they haven’t appeared, we can speculate some reasons. Dr. Mario’s stage seems to have been cut for typical reasons (lack of time, not up to standards, etc) as there isn’t anything to suggest otherwise. “Plankton” was likely referring to Hannenbow returning for Smash for Wii U. It only appears in the emblem section and suggests it was leftover data carried over from Brawl. For Brain Age, there was only an empty folder, no substantial work was made on it. This is speculation on my part, but whatever idea they had was likely repurposed into (or cut in favour of) the Dr. Kawashima assist trophy instead. I think it’s the most reasonable explanation based on what little information we have. Lastly, there’s “Diary” which is the Japanese name for Swapnote. Along with “Plankton” it too is only referenced in the emblem section. It might have suffered the same fate I hypothesized with Brain Age, where they distilled the ideas into an assist trophy. In this case, Nikki’s assist trophy.
One final feature that was cut was a specific boss, Petey Piranha. Several years after Smash for Wii U released, a user by the name of crashandcortex found new, unused boss animations with Petey Piranha’s Japanese name attached. There was no boss mode in the game, and it wouldn’t make sense to retroactively add him to an old stage. So there was no place for him to go. With the latest Direct he was shown off as Piranha Plant’s Final Smash. Since he is being summoned by the plant, and not playable, it’s possible he could still be a proper boss in the adventure mode. Maybe he could use those cut moves or at least reference his original attacks in Super Mario Sunshine, rather than trap characters in hanging cages as if they’re go-go dancers.
That’s everything I could find on cut features throughout the series. Let us know which feature you’d like to see return or if there’s anything I missed outside of characters.