Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: A Eulogy for the Characters That Didn't Make It as Playable Fighters
While Super Smash Bros. Ultimate features an enormous roster of over 70 characters, let's take a moment to reflect on those that won't be playable.
With just over a month to go until its release, yesterday’s Nintendo Direct for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate gave us one of our biggest (and last) looks heading into the game’s launch with a deep dive into the confirmed Spirits Mode, many of the game’s new features, and of course, several new character reveals with Street Fighter‘s Ken and Pokemon‘s Incineroar (especially as the last confirmed characters to be joining the roster).
Heading into this Direct though, anticipation among the Smash Bros. community was at an even higher level than normal given that just a week before, speculation and a rumors (such as the infamous “Grinch leak”) online pointed to what many fans hoped would be the inclusion of several long-running fan requested characters joining the game, such as Golden Sun‘s Isaac, Banjo-Kazooie, Super Mario RPG‘s Geno, and more.
Ultimately (no pun intended), those expectations set by the rumors delivered mixed results: while Ken did end up getting confirmed as a playable character, the majority of the rumored characters from the recent leaks didn’t pan out to being confirmed for the game’s final roster this coming December. While the leaks had fans’ hopes and dreams up to a fever pitch, let’s all take a moment to remember those that didn’t make it to the playable roster of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Before we get into our moment of silence for Those Who Won’t Smash: a big caveat to this list, naturally, is the fact that Nintendo also announced that five additional fighters will be coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate through February 2020 as DLC characters. That obviously leaves some room for a few of these characters to hopefully make a surprise appearance in the game down the line but, for now, let us take a moment for the characters that won’t be there at launch, and hope they find peace in the great Final Destination in the sky.
The bear and bird duo from the classic Rare platformer are, at this point, probably the characters that fans have requested for the Smash Bros. series the longest. As one of the Nintendo 64’s most iconic platforming games alongside titles like Super Mario 64, the thought of Banjo-Kazooie entering the battlefield has long been a dream for Smash Bros. fans, and though the series is now technically under Microsoft’s control, Xbox head Phil Spencer has even shown his support for seeing the characters fight alongside Mario, Donkey Kong, Kirby, and other platforming icons.
As the “Grinch leak” showed the possible inclusion of Banjo-Kazooie in the full roster key art, naturally this got fans’ hopes up that the duo would finally make their way into Smash Bros. next month, but sadly, we’ll have to wait and see whether the duo may end up in the game through the Fighters Pass.
Another long-time fan-favorite, Geno from the cult classic Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars has continuously been request ed by fans to make his fighting game debut as one of the most iconic faces from this lesser-known Mario title.
Given that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has felt like the ultimate wish fulfillment for fans of the series with the inclusion of other long-requested characters like Metroid‘s Ridley and Donkey Kong Country‘s King K. Rool, it only made sense that Geno could have had a chance to jump in as one of the deepest fan-requested character picks, though hopefully we’ll at least see Geno in some form or another in Ultimate, such as the Mii Fighter costume that was available in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS based on the character.
This one hits a bit personally, as Isaac, the Psynergy-wielding protagonist of the GBA classic RPG Golden Sun, has long been requested as a playable character in the Smash Bros. series for quite some time. As a fan of the series myself, I’ve longed to see Isaac join the roster and to give this underrated RPG series a chance at gaining some well-deserved attention as a part of the Smash Bros. series, much like we saw the Fire Emblem series skyrocket in popularity in the past decade.
However, given that the RPG series is a bit of a lesser-known series among Nintendo’s franchises, with the last major installment being 2010’s Golden Sun: Dark Dawn on Nintendo DS, the likelihood of Isaac getting such a spotlight seemed unlikely. Thankfully, he will appear in the game as an Assist Trophy so there is at least some consolation, despite the fervent hopes that he might be playable this time around.
Shadow the Hedgehog
With the introduction of Sonic in 2008’s Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the chances for other characters to join the roster have been high in the past few installments of the series, with Shadow the Hedgehog being one of the characters that fans have hoped for for some time.
Sadly, Shadow has once again been shafted as a playable character for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and but will at least get the chance to battle as an Assist Trophy. Thankfully, it seems like we’ll have been spared the edgelord-y, gun-toting Sonic alter-ego that we saw from 2005’s Shadow the Hedgehog.
As if collecting your homeowner’s debt (and your soul, in the process) wasn’t enough, Tom Nook would’ve probably made for a downright lethal competitor in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
With the series’ having gained steam with the introduction of The Village in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS and the debut of Isabelle — the fan-favorite character from Animal Crossing: New Leaf — in Ultimate, the hopes of Tom Nook collecting victories (and debts) in Smash Bros. seem to have come to a close, though we at least get the consolation of a brand new Animal Crossing game coming to Switch sometime next year.
In the buildup to Kingdom Hearts III releasing early next year, the anticipation for including the series’ key protagonist (again, no pun intended) has also built up over the last few years to see the Kingdom Hearts series make an appearance in Super Smash Bros. And given that Final Fantasy VII‘s Cloud made his surprising debut in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS, it didn’t seem too outside the realm of possibility that Sora could enter the fray with his Keyblade, and that Square Enix might be willing to lend one of its other iconic characters to the mix.
However, no signs of Sora (or the Kingdom Hearts series as a whole) made their way into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, though hopefully with the promise of five more characters coming after the game’s launch, there still might be a fighting chance for Sora to make it in.
Though she is the object of the Internet’s fascination at the moment, sadly, the desire of playing as meme-gone-wild Bowsette will have to remain in fans’ imaginations, Soulcalibur 6 fan recreations, and your search history.
While the mightiest Saiyan of them all has been a running joke for inclusion in the Smash Bros. community for quite some time, I honestly wouldn’t have been shocked if he did make it into the game, given that Dragon Ball FighterZ arrived just over a month ago for Nintendo Switch, along with several other Dragon Ball titles having made their way to the Switch recently.
As much as there would have been a thrill to see the Dragon Ball Z‘s series iconic protagonist go toe-to-toe with equally-legendary Nintendo characters, sadly those fights will have to play out in our imaginations.
Finally, the big one that many fans were hoping to happen was that Nintendo would pull a bait-and-switch and add Waluigi to the playable roster in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. While he has been confirmed previously to appear as one of the game’s Assist Trophies, sadly, Waluigi will have to continue to sit out on the sidelines of the battlefield and not join Wario in causing havoc.
Let us all shout a collective “WAHHHHH” in remembrance of Waluigi, especially as Nintendo saw that it was more important to include a plant than Luigi’s lanky doppelganger.
Naturally, the character inclusions and reveals have been one of the most appealing parts of the lead-up to a new Super Smash Bros. games. Even since the days of Melee and Brawl, Smash Bros. fans have eagerly waited to see their favorite characters enter the fray alongside Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, and so many more of the most iconic characters in games.
While some characters are naturally going to be left out for a variety of reasons — even the ones that have been requested for jokingly — that shouldn’t take away from the fact that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate truly feels like the culmination of everything this series has provided over the past 20 years.
As a life-long fan of the series since playing the original game back in the N64 days, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate already feels like an impressive way of cataloguing not only the series’ history, but Nintendo’s extensive history and roster of characters. Sure; not every character or bit of history may make it in, but that doesn’t take away that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate really feels like everything I could have asked for. Sorry, Waluigi fans.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will release exclusively for Nintendo Switch on December 7th, 2018. If you have yet to pick up a copy of the game, you can head over to Amazon and pre-order it right now.