‘Super Smash Bros’: Warning! A New Challenger is Approaching!

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Super Smash Bros
Sora Ltd/Namco Bandai
Nintendo
Wii U, 3DS

Masahiro Sakurai, best known as the creator of Super Smash Bros, took to Miiverse today to announce the reveal of the next new fighter in the Smash Bros roster.  Scheduled for Monday, July 14, at 7 AM, the unveiling will be live-streamed on the game’s official website rather than in a Nintendo Direct video or by any other means.  Who could this approaching challenger be?  According to Sakurai, the development team is “nearing the bottom of the stash of new challenger videos that we’ve made…” so who else do we have to look forward to?  In proper fanboy fashion, here are some of my best guesses, desired improbable possibilities, and wild wishes for the next Smash challenger.

10. Chrom and or Lucina (Fire Emblem: Awakening)

Since Melee, Fire Emblem characters have been a regular and expected part of the Smash Bros lineup. Due to the popularity of Fire Emblem: Awakening, both Stateside and in Japan, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the protagonists of the game made their way in to our beloved fighter.  If the confirmed inclusion of Ike and Marth eliminates this possibility, one can’t be sure, but in my opinion, the more the merrier *cough, bring back Roy, cough*.

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9. Ghirahim (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)

The Zelda franchise is due for another character, and I don’t think another variation of Link will cut it (unless it is an extreme variation, but more on that later on the list.)  Ghirahim, the villain in Skyward Sword, seems the perfect candidate for a fighting game.  He fights with a sword, has magic attacks, and he even has multiple forms.  He seems perfectly suited for a Smash Bros game, and honestly, I will be shocked if he doesn’t make the roster.

8. Tails, Knuckles, or Shadow (Sonic the Hedgehog Series)

Sonic is here to stay, but what about the rest of his team?  As the Sonic series shifts into a Nintendo exclusive, it seems only logical to include some of Sonic’s memorable and beloved friends, like Tails and Knuckles, or maybe even his dark clone Shadow.  This choice seems pretty obvious, considering the variety of gameplay both Knuckles and Tails could provide.  Not so sure about Shadow, but maybe if you gave him a gun?  That worked in the past, right?

7. The Wonderful 100 (The Wonderful 101)

This one is high on my wish list.  As one of Nintendo’s latest and greatest exclusives, The Wonderful 101, a silly, funny, and incredibly enjoyable experience that seems perfect for SSB.  Maybe not all 100 characters that make up the Wonderful Ones should be included, but perhaps the seven or eight most central characters (Wonder Red, Blue, Green, Pink, Yellow, White, Black…and so on).  That would add great combat variety while still remaining true to the game.  Plus, with the ability to fight with a giant fist, sword, gun, whip, hammer, claws, or bombs these guys just seem like they would be a wonderful addition.

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6. Paper Mario (Paper Mario Series)

Paper Mario now has four games to his paper name and has yet to make an appearance in SSB.  And I don’t think that has anything to do with too much in common with Mario.  Paper Mario has weapons and tools at his disposal (while Mario has his suits), including his primary hammer weapon, projectiles, badges that enhance your previous abilities, and now stickers.  If there were an ideal time for Paper Mario to join the fight, the time is now when his arsenal is at an all time high.  Plus, he’s practically got his dodge and defend already decided, and ain’t nobody gettin’ past that hat tuck!

5. Yarn Kirby and Prince Fluff (Kirby’s Epic Yarn)

Kirby’s Epic Yarn marked Kirby’s unprecedented return to home console that in many ways deconstructed what a Kirby game is and reconstructed it, well, out of yarn.  The yarn gameplay was a brilliant variation on the classic suck ’em up formula that is Kirby which resulted not only in gorgeous new visuals, but added challenge and versatility to the beloved platformer while handily outshining the few Kirby games to come out in recent times.  As a result of the yarn mechanic, Yarn Kirby, with his whip, ability to transform (into a car, flying saucer, firetruck, rocket, submarine, dolphin, penguin and who knows what else?) could be a character that plays entirely differently than his namesake.

4. Travis Touchdown (No More HeroesNo More Heroes 2)

Just when people were writing the Wii off as a kiddie console, No More Heroes made its debut, one of the earliest M-rated Wii exclusives that really opened the eyes of many as to what the Wii could be.  With its fun mix of traditional and motion controls, later perfected by the sequel, colorful cel-shaded graphics, and hard edge, No More Heroes truly made a name for itself and quickly became a must-have for Wii owners.  Consequently, it only seems appropriate to insert the series protagonist into Nintendo’s beloved fighter, with a little censorship I suppose (Travis is a bit violent and uses a lot of adult language).  But his wrestling moves and beam katana show that he could really spice up a fighting game, and with his already existing dessert themed specials, his super smash is ready made.  Travis is probably just a dream, but you never know…more heroes.

Link-Majoras-Mask

3. Young Link with Masks (The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask)

The thing about Zelda is that there are a lot of Links.  Whether they are between worlds, times, or lands, each Link brings to the table something different and new.  In the case of the young Link in Majora’s Mask, there were actually more fresh and distinct aspects than there were familiar.  It is no surprise then that this title in particular has perhaps the strongest cult following.  SSB Melee introduced Young Link, but this Link was merely a smaller, faster clone of the pre-existing fighter and under-utilized what made Young Link so great in the first place, his masks.  Wouldn’t it be fun to start a battle as Link only to transform in to Zora or Goron Link in the heat of battle complete with their own attacks and combos?  The character Pokemon Trainer in Brawl so well demonstrates how a character like this could and should work, and what it might be like to play as a versatile character like this.  Further, a Link that uses masks to battle would allow for the fan favorite Fierce Deity Link to make an appearance as a super smash.  And while it might only make the cry for a remake of Majora’s Mask louder, it is undeniable that fans of the entry would love the developers forever as a result.

2. Matthew and Isaac (Golden Sun Series)

One of my favorite turn-based RPGs of all time is Golden Sun.  The original two titles demonstrated brilliancy which befitted the series’ name.  Golden Sun‘s true genius was in its combining of physical attacks common in RPGs with elemental magic that came from cute and curious creatures known as Djinn.  Select Djinn could be found hidden in the map and then equipped to particular characters to enhance stats, generate attacks, and develop the characters synergy.  Various Djinn found throughout the game promoted replay and experimentation with different combinations to boost different aspects of each character, whether to help them heal or to give them the ability to hit with heavy elemental attacks.  Golden Sun first appeared in the days of the Gameboy Advance and received critical acclaim, earned a sequel, but soon disappeared only to reappear in the form of a third game on DS.  The combination of melee attacks and the elemental Djinn make the protagonists of the series seem like ideal candidates for SSB.  Not only would it be fun to see these characters rendered in 3D, but if it is anything like Kid Icarus, it might revitalize a great series that most of the world probably doesn’t remember.

1. Kalas (Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean)

Before the Wii’s lesser known gems such as Xenoblade, The Last Story, etc. there was Baten Kaitos on the GameCube.  Baten Kaitos was a scarcely known cult classic recognizable for its beautiful art, creative design, engrossing story and world, and a phenomenal soundtrack to boot.  Also notable was its unique gameplay which featured a card system (think Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories), called Magnus in the game, as well as the player taking on the role of a guardian spirit rather than actually playing as Kalas, which worked in conjunction to improve combat.  Though the game did receive a prequel, it soon faded to oblivion, a fate that it certainly didn’t deserve.  Featuring a character from such an obscure title seems unlikely, but with its epic design, gorgeous graphics, and visually stimulating fighting scenes, Kalas and his world could easily fit into Super Smash Bros.  And who knows, with some awareness, it might even raise the series from the grave (the Wii U could use always more exclusives).  But if nothing else, seeing this lost game in some way engaged would be a thrill parallel to seeing Pit make his comback.

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Special Mention: Mewtwo (Pokemon)

In many polls, Mewtwo is commonly voted the second most popular Pokemon, just behind Charizard.  So it was mildly disappointing to find that Lucario replaced him for the SSB Wii entry.  I know, I know, this wouldn’t really be a new character, but since Mewtwo has undergone some mega changes, perhaps this beloved Pokemon would feel fresh in the latest entry.  Granted, Lucario now has a Mega Evolution as well, but Mewtwo has a whopping two Mega forms, which seems like it could be plenty fun for a super smash attack.  Or perhaps, like with Samus, the player could start the battle with a quicker Mewtwo Y or a melee oriented Mewtwo X depending on what they press at the start of the battle.  There is a lot of potential for this character, and I sure hope that Mewtwo makes it back in two the fight.

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