The new installment of the crossover brawler took up over half of Nintendo’s E3 presentation, and packed it full of almost everything you could possibly want to know.
Nintendo’s E3 presser drew, shall we say, a lot of feelings – some greatly positive, and most of those stemming from the incredibly in-depth look at Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, announced for a 7th December release (we know lots of you were about to CTRL+F that bit. We see you and you are valid). Cynics might say that this deep dive – a staggering 25 minutes of a 43-minute presentation – was a cover for a slightly thin line-up missing some much-hoped-for big hitters, but SSB fans got an absolute treat, with Director Masahiro Sakurai introducing a preview crammed full of characters, stages and mechanical details.
Yup, they’re not kidding – everyone is here. SSBU will feature EVERY SINGLE SMASH BROS CHARACTER from the franchise’s history. This means the return of, among others, the Ice Climbers, Pichu, Wolf, and Solid Snake. There are also debuts for Splatoon’s Inkling, in both girl and boy form, and the Metroid franchise’s Ridley, one of the most requested characters among long-time SSB fans.
There’s also the interesting addition of so-called “echo fighters”. Based on other fighters’ movesets but with their own unique twists, this category provides new roles for Dark Pit and Lucina, along with another big-name return, Daisy. As yet there’s no word on whether this concept will apply to Dr. Mario or the three playable Links (if you were wondering: young, toon, and a Breath of the Wild version with two tunic options).
A lot of mainstays have some nice touches, too – Mario’s hat from Super Mario Odyssey makes its Smash debut, and characters like Marth and Ike are getting a boost to their voice acting. Zelda is based on her A Link Between Worlds version, and Cloud has both FFVI and Advent Children attire.
Nintendo’s implication seemed to be that everyone would be unlockable, even if they’d previously only been DLC – the idea being that you’d start with a roster comparable of that to the N64 incarnation, and build your available fighters vastly as you progress. With a roster this size, we guess you’ll be unlocking characters by successfully pausing a game, but it’s shaping up to be a very rewarding experience! Like, constantly rewarding!
Lots of characters means lots of stages, natch! Snake’s return means Shadow Moses Island is back, along with Lylat Cruise, Big Blue, and the good old Green Hill Zone. New additions include Splatoon’s Moray Towers and Breath of the Wild’s Great Plateau Tower, the latter with a grumpy-looking King Rhoam sulking in the background as a bunch of brawling hoodlums from alternate universes interrupt his exposition.
And if you like changing things up for maximum Smashability, every stage has both Battlefield and Ω versions. We’re told Mega Man’s levels will have “all hazards”, too.
Sakurai broke down a lot of intriguing details about how SSBU will actually play. A bunch of characters have had mechanical tweaks and additions, including jacked-up Final Smashes for Sonic and Bowser, slow-mo action shots for Captain Falcon and others, and a more playable Pokémon Trainer with no penalty for maining one ‘mon. Samus has mid-air move charging with a cancelling ability. Kirby now has a copy ability for every other fighter. Shulk’s Arts are more accessible and intuitive. Folks, these characters are ready to throw down in style.
There are also some new universal changes – a directional air dodge, the ability to short-hop attack whenever you like, a timing mechanic on the old Perfect Shield move, and increased damage in 1-on-1 battles for improved pacing. In a timed battle, the leader will flash, so everybody knows who to gang up on next. There are also a bunch of Assist Trophies promised – over 50 different characters, including the Squid Sisters, who come with a neat screen-shrinking gimmick – and this time, you can knock them out too.
But two of the biggest bits of buzz about the game are hardware related. Firstly, there’s the huge reveal that Nintendo are releasing a Gamecube controller clone for the Switch for players who miss the classic Melee gameplay. And secondly, all those characters they’re jamming in? Every single one of their Amiibos is compatible. Every. Single. One.
So there you go! December 7th will see a plethora of fighters new and old Smash their way onto the Switch. What matchups are you excited about? Where and how are you gonna fight? Let us know in the comments!