The buzz around which fighter is going to be added to Smash is the most exciting thing about Super Smash Bros. in general. But being a regular reader of TheGamer, you likely already know that - after all, I wrote about it just a little while ago. Tonight, that buzz will almost certainly, definitely maybe end. The upcoming Nintendo Direct will likely feature a reveal for the final fighter joining the Smash roster, and regardless of who it is, it will likely mean the magic is finally over. Masahiro Sakurai definitely deserves a rest, but with so many viable candidates still in the running, it seems like a shame that their dream is about to die.
Who it is doesn’t really concern me. Lara Croft would be my number one pick - in a game that crosses the console divide to collect some of the most iconic heroes and villains of all time, Tomb Raider feels conspicuous by her absence. That doesn’t really matter though. There are other characters I’d root for - Rayman, Travis Touchdown, Sub-Zero - as well as a few that would be relative disappointments and a few quirky ones who could make for interesting additions.
The Witcher, I wouldn’t get excited for it. Ring Fit Trainer meanwhile seems like the sort of silly character Sakurai would have a lot of fun with. Then there’s Sora, the most requested character by far and the most objectively obvious choice to end the long running Super Smash Bros. Ultimate reveals.Master Chief, for example, or Geralt, have earned the right to be there, but as someone who isn’t big into Halo or
Goku is never happening - Sakurai has said many times the characters must originate in and be known primarily for video games. Also, while Geno fits the bill, I don’t think the last slot will be filled by a meme. To that end, I wouldn’t expect Waluigi to be there either - and if I’m honest, I’m not sure I’d want him to.
I love Waluigi, and I think it’s a shame he hasn’t been added before now. There would be a kind of simple joy in tying Smash’s bow with Waluigi, in forgoing the promotional appeal of the Smash Fighters Pass to reunite all the Mario stars together, but it would also feel like a waste of what makes these reveals so special. They introduce players to new games, and bring fantastic titles to new audiences. I suppose how cynical you believe the cross-promotion in Smash is - I’d argue it’s far less cynical than Fortnite’s tie-ins and Aloy in Genshin Impact - is a sizable factor in whether you think Waluigi or a character like Lara Croft or Sora is the best fit for the final slot.
I don’t really want to talk about who it could or couldn’t be, though. I just want to look back and celebrate how the Fighters Pass and the cinematic, event-adjacent reveals have kept Smash interesting for so long. There have been ups and downs in there; Joker was a phenomenal choice to open the gates, signifying that anything was possible, while Sephiroth is gaming royalty. Minecraft x Smash and Banjo-Kazooie x Smash also still feel like one of those fake Photoshops you see before the event rather than the real deal.
On the other hand, we were told to expect Arms for ages and strung along guessing which character it would be, even though only about seven people cared. Also, Byleth’s arrival was derailed by the complaints about anime sword fighters and the fact we all thought it was the end of the road. I like Byleth, but with so many Fire Emblem characters already aboard, I will admit that they were a poor choice for what seemed at the time to be the final new character.
Regardless of a few bumps in the road, the Fighters Pass has been a huge part of gaming culture for the past few years, with the run-up to every award show, Direct, and showcase abuzz with speculation over whether or not there would be a Smash reveal, and who that Smash reveal might be. I suspect tonight that will come to an end - but what a ride it’s been.
There's still the question of what comes next. As I said at the start of this article, Sakurai deserves a well-earned rest, but it's likely that there will be another Smash game in the future. It's too popular to fade away, and contains too many characters that no longer get releases of their own. Does the game revert to a more minimalist approach, choosing a core group of fighters and going back to basics? It can't really be rebooted, since Mario, Pikachu, and Link are still Nintendo's biggest guns. Does it just keep building from Ultimate? Licensing already seems like a nightmare, and Ultimate 2 would likely be even bigger.
Whatever happens, all we know - or at least, all we think we know - is that tonight will draw the final curtain on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The final character will be just that, a single character. Not the 17 different ones we want it to be. Some very deserving heroes will miss out. Let's raise our glass to them. Cheers, everyone! Here's to not being a dick on Twitter when it's not Goku.
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