A new Nintendo Direct is scheduled as of tomorrow, February 13th. Many upcoming games, both announced and unannounced, have the potential to be covered and revealed, including Animal Crossing, the mainline Pokemon game for the Switch, and the recently released hit Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The first of Ultimate‘s DLC characters, Joker from Persona 5, has been announced already. Due to be included in the game this month, he will likely be featured in this month’s Direct. But a new, yet unannounced character may emerge as well. It’s always exciting to see who will be drafted next into the Smash roster, and with four more DLC characters coming after Joker, it could be a motley crew indeed.
Although Smash Bros. characters are often incredibly difficult to predict beforehand due to their unpredictability, some make more sense than others. And while who knows which character will be revealed next, there are some that could be very close down the (warp) pipeline. Unlike the previous newcomers, which were chosen by game director Masahiro Sakurai, Nintendo themselves are dictating who will be included as DLC fighters, we can expect there to be a strong emphasis on third-party characters, and stars from the latest and upcoming Nintendo titles. Naturally, the more iconic, the better…
SORA (Kingdom Hearts)
Hailing from the house of mouse as the main protagonist of the Disney/Square-Enix collaborative Kingdom Hearts series, Sora is the first of our potential picks. The KH franchise has had an extensive history of being on Nintendo systems, starting with the 2004 Game Boy Advance game Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Since then, there have been multiple games of the franchise appear under the Nintendo flag, establishing Kingdom Hearts as a friend of Nintendo.
Secondly, Square-Enix has already contributed to the Super Smash Bros. series with the inclusion of Cloud, the main protagonist of the pivotal PlayStation RPG, Final Fantasy VII. This character’s addition to the roster of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS arguably turned the most heads of any new character and changed the perception of which kind of characters could be considered as a possible Smash fighter, as Cloud was often the stuff of playground legends as to which absurd character is secretly in the latest Smash (which was always confirmed by the most reputable source of all, that one kid whose dad worked at Nintendo)
Additionally, while Nintendo has made exceptions for allowing more mature characters into the Super Smash Bros. series, such as Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid, and Bayonetta, from… Bayonetta, the overall theme is one of lighthearted, generally wholesome “comic mischief,” as the Nintendo brand is known for. Sora, whose blood is half-Disney, has that whimsical charm reminiscent of Nintendo characters and franchises. Naturally, he’d fit right into the biggest crossover featuring them. Plus, you know, the development team behind Smash Ultimate includes Masahiro Sakurai’s group, which is called Sora Ltd. So, you know, just saiyan.
The final reason that Sora may become Square-Enix’s representative in Smash Ultimate is something that may be very ‘key’ to his inclusion: the timing of it all. Kingdom Hearts 3 was just released this year, and although it’s yet to be confirmed as a Switch title, this would be a very popular get for Nintendo and would be the perfect opportunity for Square-Enix to further promote their long-awaited — and we mean LONG-awaited — third entry into the series… a wait this long, might as well make it count.
Sora in Super Smash Bros.? Don us with a dunce cap all you want, but we don’t think it’s too goofy of a thought.
GOKU (Dragon Ball)
The ultimate Super Smash Bros. playground rumor of all. And you know what?
While easily, easily, the most farfetched of the characters we have considered, Goku — hero of the Dragon Ball franchise, savior of Earth — may just make it into Smash as a DLC fighter. It may sound ridiculous, but we have our reasoning to at least consider the possibility, so lend us your energy and hear us out.
As the best-selling manga franchise of all time, Dragon Ball has an incredible pull on audiences. People eat it up with an insatiable Saiyan-like appetite. Dragon Ball FighterZ, has become the fastest-selling title of the franchise, shipping 3.5 million copies worldwide by October 2018. The franchise has not only come into a renaissance as of late with the Dragon Ball Super series, but FighterZ numbers show that the Dragon Ball franchise it’s more popular than ever.
So why on Namek would Nintendo not capitalize on that in one of their best-selling games?
Well, there is the precedent that a Smash inclusion of Goku would break — all of the fighters in the franchise thus far have originated in media from video games. Goku, though appearing in media across all forms and a legion of Dragon Ball games, was originally a manga character. So wouldn’t that be breaking boundaries of what Super Smash Bros. has been this whole time?
The truth is that this is a brand that breaks boundaries quite often. It may have originally been a battle exclusively of Nintendo all-stars, but the game has changed. There are now several third-party characters on the roster, when in the past, adding a third-party character to Super Smash Bros. was argued as sacrilegious. The times change, and with them, so do the definitions of things. The fact is, with over twenty years worth of Dragon Ball games, Goku has appeared in more games on Nintendo systems than any other third-party character. To deny the possibility that he could become a playable fighter is denying Nintendo history, as well as Smash‘s tendency to be an unpredictable, wily tanuki of a franchise that breaks its own traditions. So many of the legendary playground rumors have been realized in the roster over the years, and now it’s time for another.
After Solid Snake, after Sonic the Hedgehog, and after Cloud, Super Smash Bros. has continuously proven that what’s unrealistic is only so until someone makes it not. We still have four DLC characters left to be unveiled, all of which have already been decided, without a hint as to which franchises are being tapped. All we have is speculation, and no one can know who will appear next in the series, but the possibilities are greater than ever before. Super Smash Bros. a lineage of games that keeps on giving. Whether its future involves an iconic keyblade or a familiar ki energy, we can’t wait to see what surprises are in store.