Cutting Characters: Smash Files #8
So I’ve been catching up on the news surrounding Smash Bros. from over the summer, since there was little point in reading about it when I had internet for a grand total of two weeks – both weeks away from my home computer, and thus unsuitable for writing. Vista is terrible and I hate everything about it. Moving on – in short, there was some news when I got back, and some of it was interesting.
Olimar has clearly forgotten what Captain Falcon did last time he came to town.
While I was going over the news, one thing in particular that caught my attention was an announcement from Masahiro Sakurai (the creator of the series) regarding the characters that might or might not make it into the new game. The announcement in question was one in which Sakurai cited time constraints and the processing power of the 3DS compared to the Wii U as reasons as to why we might not be seeing as many fighters as we expect in the newest installment. Now, considering the fact that the Wii Fit Trainer is one of our newest fighters, I’m not quite ready to take this announcement at face value – however, since the topic of cutting characters has now been brought up, I have decided to give my thoughts on the matter and discuss which characters I can see definitely not returning, and then others that I believe might be heading towards the chopping block.
I'm starting to wonder who exactly decides which characters get to be in Smash Bros.
Let’s start with the Ice Climbers. Whenever the topic of the processing power that the 3DS lacks for the series, the Ice Climbers are always brought up as an example of something the 3DS might not be able to do – manage two characters as one single unit. Considering that Olimar and his Pikmin have made it back in, this is another little bit of information that I question. However, at the same time, the Ice Climbers would be easy to cut. They are in no way, shape or form one of Nintendo’s A-List franchise characters and to most casual gamers today are a completely unknown face. While they do add a bit of retro flavour into the series, they now get that from Mega Man and Pit (a little bit) as well. Along with the need to include a few more new characters to keep the roster fresh, and other veteran fighters such as Marth with more recent releases to keep them fresh in the minds of gamers worldwide, it might be time for the Ice Climbers to go.
The 3DS can't handle two Ice Climbers, but it can handle multiple Pikmin.
Possibly the most obvious character to be cut is R.O.B. The Robotic Operating Buddy was probably the most unusual addition to Brawl (much like Mr. Game & Watch was for Melee), and wasn’t even a video game character to begin with. With the announcement of the Wii Fit Trainer, I feel like we might have the “unusual” bit solved for the new games. Combined with the knowledge that characters will be cut, and that R.O.B. hasn’t been seen since Brawl in any true fashion, and the robot feels more and more like a one-off character.
R.O.B. doesn't have much of a chance, and I don't really care.
Ever since the games were announced, I had considered that both Lucario and the Pokemon Trainer would be left behind – Lucario would, like Mewtwo, be replaced by some Pokemon from Generation V or VI that can easily be matched up with similar attacks. Zoroark was the most prominent in my mind. Meanwhile, the Pokemon Trainer would either just cease to exist, leaving an empty slot, be replaced by a separate Pokemon, or just be updated to become the trainer from Generation V or VI. While I still believe that my thoughts regarding the Pokemon Trainer remain mostly accurate, with the new mega evolutions announced for Generation VI, it has become quite possible that Lucario might get to return. Keeping Lucario in the game would make things easier on the development time-wise, and Lucario’s new mega evolution could be used either as a new final smash or even to base Lucario’s look off of for the game. Whichever option, Lucario might not be saying goodbye to the series just yet.
Imagine this guy in his mega evolution for the new game. Yeah, I like it too.
Moving onto characters that will almost certainly be cut, and we’ll start with Ike from Fire Emblem. While Marth, heading into possibly his third game in the franchise has a good chance of staying, Ike is just as replaceable as Roy was after Melee. Ike has not starred in any major games since Brawl’s release, and his attacks already bear many resemblances to both Marth and Link. Together with the limited roster the new games face, and Ike should receive the cut. There is, of course, a fair chance that Marth might be removed too, in favour of a character from Fire Emblem: Awakening. If this occurs (or even if Ike is just replaced), I could see Chrom taking over as Fire Emblem’s representation in the series.
Marth and Chrom alone are reason enough for Ike to be gone, unfortunately.
There is one character that we can all count on not returning – and that is none other than Toon Link. With Toon Link appearing as a background character in the Spirit Tracks-based stage on the 3DS, he has already been written off. Even before then, Toon Link returning was a tough sell, but now the bucket has been kicked. Considering the limited roster and Ocarina of Time’s re-release already having occurred several years ago, I’m not expecting a reappearance from Young Link either. Link will have to be on his own this time around.
It's not Smash Bros. if one of my favourite characters isn't cut from the next game.
What about the rest of the roster? Could it be possible that we might lose a member of the original twelve? Captain Falcon hasn’t had a game to his name in nearly ten years, and Jigglypuff was only in Brawl because of being a member of the original twelve. Mr. Game & Watch is questionable too – he has represented Nintendo’s most ancient video game history for two games, but there may no longer be room for him to continue. While I find it hard to believe that they would cut anyone out of the original twelve, Captain Falcon and Jigglypuff are certainly the most likely, and Mr. Game & Watch would be an easy character to sacrifice in order to make room for another newcomer or returning veteran.
Part of me really wants Jigglypuff gone, because Jigglypuff sucks. The other part thinks about original twelve.
Finally, I’ll close off with some musings on Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake, the two third party characters from Brawl. Out of the two, anyone could tell you that Sonic has the best chance of returning for the new games. However, from the way the developers have spoken regarding third party characters, it sounds as if they might be one-offs; joining in as special guests for one installment and then vanishing for the next. Which would kinda suck, because I’d love to have an all-out brawl between Mario, Sonic and Mega Man. We’re only missing Pac-Man in that mashup. If Nintendo goes the guest route, Sonic and Snake are history; considering the limited space and the games in recent years, if only one can make it into the new Smash it’ll be Sonic. I think the best chance these two characters have is making it into any Smash DLC (which I will discuss at a later date).
Play the right card, Nintendo - bring Sonic back for another round.
So those are the veteran fighters that I feel are the most likely to be cut – feel free to debate, agree, and disagree with me in the comments. Who do you feel is most likely to get the cut, and why?