Nintendo had their E3 press conference today – and obviously the most important part was who’s being added to the new Super Smash Bros. game. Sam Brooks takes a look at the new characters.
If you grew up as a nineties kid – or even more egregiously, an aughties kid – then you’ll recognise Super Smash Bros. as the definitive party-game experience. You plug four controllers into your Nintendo 64/GameCube/Wii and go to town with your favourite character from a Nintendo-owned or Nintendo-friendly franchise on a battlefield from the same.
The series, now in its 19th year and onto its fifth game, has grown to over 70 characters. It’s probably the only series where you can pit hair-witch Bayonetta against world’s-greatest-spy Solid Snake, Buster Sword-wielding Cloud Strife or it’s-a-me-Mario. It’s not quite on the level of Kingdom Hearts, least of all because it doesn’t try to incorporate any kind of plot, but if you’re looking for some crossover fanfiction in your fighting games, you could do worse.
One of the most anticipated parts of every new Super Smash Bros. game is the release of the roster. Usually this is accompanied by months of speculation and hype, with fans debating whether their favourite obscure Nintendo character is going to make it in, or if Nintendo will manage to get another popular third-party character to join the game.
But with the latest announcement, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, that’s not the case. All the characters from the previous four games are returning and they’ve been dumped on us all at once, including the four (really three, kind of) new characters they’re adding to the roster. But who the hell are they?
Ridley is, if you can’t tell, an extraterrestrial dragon who serves as the primary antagonist for Samus Aran in the Metroid series. He is also known by the names Geoform 187, which I assume is a biblical name, and The Cunning God of Death, which I assume is not. He’s appeared in various forms through the long-running series, but always as some kind of space dragon.
This isn’t his first appearance in the Smash series – he had a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo in the first game, was a trophy in the second, and was a fightable boss in both the third and fourth games. He’s been one of the most requested characters in these games for some time, so it’s good news for people who have always wanted to play as an alien dinosaur or who have a grudge against space pirates.
Inkling Girl/Boy (Splatoon)
One of the great things about the Smash series is that they’re committed to putting in characters who look like they’re very fun to play. Most of the time they try to do right by committed fans of Nintendo properties – Kirby’s been a character since the first game and so has Pikachu – but other times you can tell they just go, “I think people want to play as the girl who squirts ink all over the place, and sometimes turns into a squid.”
This is what they’ve done with Inkling Girl, who I’m sure has no canon name, but is just a girl who exists to squirt her ink everywhere. Nintendo has done right here, Nintendo has done good here. (You can also play as Inkling Boy, if you wish).
If you were a homosexual adolescent in the aughts, and obviously I’m not speaking from experience, you’ll be familiar with Daisy as a palette swap of queer icon and pageant queen Princess Peach, the oft-captured love interest of Mario. Super Smash Bros. has thankfully relieved Peach from this regressive narrative by giving her a tennis racket/frying pan/gold club to hit people with.
This time, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate makes Daisy a character in her own right. If you’re familiar with the lore of the Marioverse, and good god why would you be who hurt you, you will recognise Princess Daisy as the ruler of Sarasaland, Princess Peach’s best friend and Luigi’s love interest. (Real talk: If you had to choose between Mario and Luigi, you choose Luigi. Luigi would treat you right.)
She’ll be an ‘echo’ character of Peach – meaning that she’ll have largely the same design and moveset, with little differences – but it’s still a huge step forward for a character who has existed either as a palette swap or literal up until this point.
Fun fact: She’s also the only Mario character who was not designed by series creator Shigeru Miyamoto. If this means anything to you, congrats, you’re a nerd!
Link (Breath of the Wild version)
Never heard of him or the game he comes from.
(This is also strictly a re-design and not a new character, but who is keeping score? Me, I guess).
Happy E3, everyone!
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