Ever since the reveal of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at E3, fans of the series have been speculating as to who may or may not be joining the fight. Yesterday, we were treated to a Nintendo Direct presentation from Masahiro Sakurai – the director of the Super Smash Bros. series – in which he gave more details on the game, including new stages, new mechanics, and of course, new fighters.
Despite an unfortunate leak the day before the Direct, where the official Super Smash Bros. YouTube channel uploaded a music video of the ‘Galaga Medley’ with the incorrect title of ‘Bloody Tears / Monster Dance’ – a.k.a. two famous and popular tracks from the Castlevania series – much of the Direct remained a complete surprise. Here are all of the details.
After a cinematic introduction, fans of Castlevania – having had their suspicions about characters from the series being introduced to Smash Bros. after the YouTube mix-up the day before – were treated to the announcement of Simon Belmont as a new playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Unexpectedly, Simon’s descendant, Richter Belmont, was also announced as Simon’s Echo Fighter, meaning that players can enjoy taking on the competition as either of the renowned vampire hunters.
In addition to Simon and Richter as playable characters, the Castlevania series is also lending it’s spooky setting of Dracula’s Castle as a new stage, with many enemies – including the Creature and the Flea Man, werewolves, mummies, and of course, Dracula himself – acting as dangerous stage hazards which will throw players off-course in their bid to eliminate the opposition.
Shortly after the Castlevania crossover news, Sakurai announced two more Echo Fighters. Fire Emblem‘s Chrom is joining the battle as Roy’s Echo Fighter, while Metroid‘s Dark Samus will be the Echo Fighter for Samus. Chrom is a peculiar Echo Fighter in that, whilst the majority of his moves do match Roy’s (albeit with different properties) his ‘Up’ special is actually closer to Ike’s.
Sakurai then moved on to discuss the stages that will be appearing in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Many old favourites from previous Smash Bros. games are returning with beautifully remastered visuals (minus the N64 stages, which have kept their original aesthetic for nostalgic purposes), and there some new stage features, such as Stage Morph, which allows you to play on two stages in the same fight while the surroundings alternate around you.
In terms of the total number of playable stages that will appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the game will boast a staggering 103 stages, all of which will be playable straight from release. There does seem to be room for additions, possibly via DLC, and perhaps ones that they are not showing yet due to character reveal spoilers, so 103 may only be where the stage count is at this current time.
Perhaps one of the fan favourite features in the Smash series is the soundtrack. The use of original and recomposed tracks is always wonderful, and this time, players are in for a treat. Including things like fanfares, there are approximately 900 tracks in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and this time, they are arranged differently.
In previous titles, stages had set lists which allowed you to toggle the rarity of the tracks. This time, whilst the toggle remains, all stages of a particular franchise will have all tracks from that franchise available. For example, all Zelda stages will have every Zelda track there is. Castlevania alone brings 34 tracks, whereas, and rather disappointingly so, FINAL FANTASY VII still only has two, from what we can see from the brief glimpse of its song count in the Sound Test menu. You can also arrange the tracks into personal playlists, and whilst the screen is off, you can use the Switch as, essentially, a giant MP3 player, listening to the game’s soundtrack on the go.
Sakurai continued by showing us some of the new and returning game modes. There are new features in place to help streamline setting up custom rules, which many competitive players are going to appreciate. Stamina battles can now be done as stock matches as well, meaning instead of one life, you can have multiple. A new Final Smash Meter can be turned on and off, allowing players, even when items are not on, to charge up a Final Smash, albeit a weaker version. There have been concerns among fans about balancing, as Marth’s appears to still be an instant KO. Much to the joy of many fans, tournaments are back, and are not online only, like their Wii U counterpart.
We are also getting a new battle mode in the form of Squad Strike. It works similarly to other 3v3/5v5 battles modes in other games, where you choose multiple characters and as they get KOed, they rotate in the match. Last man with some characters left standing is the winner.
As well as this, Sakurai announced Smashdown, another new game mode. Previously selected fighters are eliminated from the selection screen, so being good with multiple characters will pay off, and you can tactically choose your opponent’s main before they do.
Finally, on the topic of modes, we have a revamped training mode, with a new stage that draws trajectory when launching the CPU. Players should find this useful for practicing combos and such. Classic mode is also set to return to its older state, rather than the board from the 3DS and Wii U versions. Each character will have set stages and opponents.
What is a new Smash game without new items, Pokémon and Assist Trophies? Whilst most of the items weren’t anything to write home about (the Rage Blaster and Death’s Scythe look pretty cool), the new Pokémon and Assist Trophies are pretty interesting. Alolan Exeggutor is just one of many who were shown in the Direct, acting as nothing more than a wall, much to the amusement of many viewers. Other appearances you may spot when playing include Abra, both Vulpix and Alolan Vulpix, Mimikyu and Marshadow. And then came the Assist Trophies, and a million broken hearts.
Zero is joining the Assist Trophies and will not be playable. Other trophies include Krystal, Klaptrap, Kapp’n, the Moon from Majora’s Mask, and Shovel Knight joins the ranks of the heart breakers, with Knuckles, Bomberman, and of course, Waluigi.
In an unexpected twist, the Rathalos from Monster Hunter makes an appearance as a stage boss and an Assist Trophy at the same time. Oddly enough, the stage shown for the Rathalos boss is not on the stage list shown in the Direct, which has 103 stages visible on it. Could that indicate a potential story mode on the way?
Before signing off, Sakurai showed us the new menu interface.
The new menu is slick, and looks amazing. Sakurai did point out the bottom left option, but said he could not discuss it just yet, although many are guessing it is a story mode of sorts. You also have a dashboard to the right, with notifications and settings.
And for the big finale, Donkey Kong Country finally got some more representation in the form of its main villain, King K. Rool.
Hugely popular, and highly requested, King K. Rool is finally coming to Super Smash Bros. With his comical trailer being praised by a vast majority of fans, K. Rool has been highly anticipated for many years, and many were let down when he was relegated to a Mii outfit in the previous game.
So what got you guys the most excited? Any theories on what that blurred out option is? Who else do you think will make the roster? Only time will tell. If you’d like to check out the full video of the Direct, you can watch it below: