Like the true heel Pokémon that it prides itself as, Incineroar took a spot in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that was almost given to the arrow-shooting owl Pokémon Decidueye, game showrunner Masahiro Sakurai has stated.
Feeling the need to have a Pokémon series representative in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Sakurai and his team narrowed their selection down to these two characters. Ultimately, Sakurai wanted a wrestling-themed fighter, so the muscle-bound grappler Incineroar won out.
This information was found in an interview with Sakurai by Japanese magazine Nintendo Dream, as shared by Eurogamer. The interview goes on to mention other fun facts about fighter selection, including that the reasoning behind the unexpected Piranha Plant was to show that any character could appear.
Incineroar’s own inclusion came as a surprise to some in the Smash community, as its addition to the roster was contrary to alleged leaks that came to surface before the final list of fighters was officially revealed.
Decidueye fans may still have hope, though – five downloadable-content fighters are planned to be released throughout the coming year. The first DLC character has been revealed to be Joker from Persona 5, with the remaining four fighters yet to announced.