Now is the Time, Sakurai: Announce Sora for Super Smash Bros.
Anything can happen when it comes to who will join Super Smash Bros., but I feel now is the prime time to (finally) bring Sora into the fight.
We are less than a week away from The Game Awards (which is happening on December 12), and the announcement that a lot of people are expecting to see is who the next DLC fighter will be for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Last year at the show, we found out that Joker from Persona 5 would be making an appearance as the first character in the Fighters Pass, which came completely out of left field for fans. One year later, with four characters down, there is just one more fighter coming in the first wave of DLC, and I believe that it is finally time for Sora to jump into the ring.
To help clear the air: yes, Kingdom Hearts is my favorite game series of all time, and even though Kingdom Hearts III was not the package that everyone might have wanted, having literally anyone from the series in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is one of my biggest dreams in gaming. That being said, that isn’t the only reason as to why I think Sora will hopefully be announced.
While Kingdom Hearts is most often looked at as a PlayStation franchise with both Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II releasing exclusively on the PlayStation 2 back in the early 2000s, that really isn’t the case. The fact of the matter is that the series had several titles release exclusively on Nintendo platforms. It wasn’t until Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX and 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue on PS4 where there was a place to experience the entire series on one singular platform. Even though it took years to do so, the collections were recently announced for Xbox One and are releasing sometime next year.
While Kingdom Hearts III coming to Nintendo Switch would be a fever pitch to say the least, due to the device’s technical capabilities, it isn’t ridiculous to think that all the other titles could eventually wind up there. Sora coming to Smash would be a great marketing tool for the series to sell on Switch with having the original games on a Nintendo platform for the first time ever. Nintendo added Joker and Hero to help promote Persona 5 Scramble (before the game’s official reveal) and Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age, so it does make sense. This is just speculation, though: however, there is more hard evidence that Sora could be making his way to the iconic mascot fighting game, or at least I hope so.
Last week we learned that the next trailer for the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III DLC Re:MIND will be released sometime in December, and yesterday it leaked online. The Game Awards is known for releasing trailers for new and anticipated games. It is perfectly plausible that the trailer will show up during PlayStation’s State of Play on December 10, but my money is on the trailer showing up at The Game Awards. Even if it is shown during State of Play, that doesn’t necessarily mean Sora is out. Everyone is expecting the next Smash Bros. character announcement to happen at some point during the show, and every character added in the Fighters Pass so far has been third-party. It just all makes sense to me.
When it comes to the Smash community, whether it be casual or competitive, Sora is arguably one of the most wanted characters to come to Smash. The hashtag “#Sora4Smash” has been an ongoing trend on Twitter throughout this year alone. As early as Super Smash Bros. Brawl over a decade ago, Sora in Smash became a dream for many once the addition of Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid was revealed. “If someone so iconic and unexpected for a game like Smash as Snake could make it in, who else could,” was a lot of fans’ mentality, but it wasn’t until the entry of Cloud from Final Fantasy VII in Smash 4 (Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS) when fans truly thought that anything was possible.
The major discussion that Smash players have regarding Sora (or Kingdom Hearts as a whole) is what the specifics are when it comes to the ownership of the franchise. Being a collaboration between Disney and Square Enix, many believe that they are the sole reason why the franchise protagonist has yet to make the Smash Bros. roster.
The closest detailed information regarding the agreement that I found was a 2017 interview with Disney Interactive’s Vice President of Production (at the time), John Vignocchi, saying “A lot of people are confused about who exactly owns Kingdom Hearts, but it’s Disney – it’s developed in partnership with Square Enix.” So let’s put that discussion to rest: Disney owns the IP of Kingdom Hearts. However, there are also rumors that any use of the franchise outside of the series must be approved by series director Tetsuya Nomura, even if it’s Disney who wants to do it. Whether that is the case or not, either way it’s likely that Smash Bros.’ Masahiro Sakurai would have to not only get approval from Square Enix, but also from Disney to potentially get Sora into Smash, which is exactly what fans are worried about.
At the end of the day, Sora coming to Smash seems to be a complicated issue. With the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III DLC trailer releasing and The Game Awards having a history of announcing new fighters for the game, it looks like all the pieces are falling into place. I’ve waited for so long for this announcement to happen to the point that my light of optimism is starting to wear thin. Yes, there is a new wave of fighters coming once the current one is complete, but it has gotten to the point where it seems more possible than ever that Sora can be the next new challenger approaching.