Vampire hunters, reptile kings and VERY BIG NUMBERS are coming to Nintendo’s ultra-popular crossover brawler.
Nintendo treated us to another Direct solely dedicated to the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and it dished out a buffet of information that rivaled the feast that was this year’s E3 announcement.
While everyone expected new fighters and stages to be announced, game director Masahiro Sakurai seemed to revel in just how much would be included in the game, happily listing new items, assist trophies, Pokemon, setting, game modes, and more. Here are the biggest highlights from the tightly packed morning announced.
The Direct begins with Luigi stalking the halls of a crumbling castle, equipped with his Poltergust 3000. Monsters of all stripes send him scurrying down the halls until he bumps into the Master of Death, himself: the Grim Reaper, who promptly separates the plumber-turned-ghost hunter’s soul from his body with a swipe of his scythe.
That’s right. He killed Luigi.
Luckily, Castlevania’s Simon Belmont appears to pull his spectral bacon from the frying pan. Equipped with his signature holy whip, cross and vials of holy water (among other tools) Simon looks to be a brawny brawler augmented with a touch of ranged offense. His final smash, the Grand Cross, locks foes within a coffin before dishing out divine retribution.
Also announced was Richter Belmont, who will be an Echo fighter of Simon. He will rock unique voice acting, animation and visual styles from his counterpart.
But Richter isn’t the only Echo fighter announced today. Dark Samus from Metroid and Chrom from Fire Emblem Awakening will appears as Echoes of Samus and Lucina, respective. They will also have unique animations and visual styles.
One final character reveal was held until the end of the Direct. King K. Rool, tyrant monarch of the Kremlings and sworn enemy of all Kongs, will throw down in Ultimate, bringing his imposing stature and more than a few dirty tricks to bear on the battlefield.
New Stages and Stage Options
Accompanying the pair of Belmont Fighters is a new stage: Dracula’s Castle. This special stage is plagued by monstrous foes, who will intermittently swoop in to disrupt the fighters. Certain special conditions can even bring the the castle’s master, Dracula, into the fray.
Sakurai said the music team is such a fan of the Castlevania series that they had to include 34 signature tracks from the series, which are all available for Dracula’s Castle.
A number of new stages, like Magicant (Earthbound), the Unova League (Pokemon), and New Donk City Hall (Super Mario Odyssey) were shown together with returning stages, like Brinstar Depths (Metroid) and Summit (Ice Climbers). Altogether, Sakurai claimed Ultimate will boast 103 stages, and each will have Battlefield and Omega Modes. That’s more than double what was available on the WiiU version of Smash 4, including DLC!
New Settings and Rules
It wouldn’t be a Smash Bros. game without tons of options for customizing how you and your friends play the game. Along with Battlefield and Omega stages, you now have the option to simply turn off stage hazards, leaving the original geography of the field intact. Additionally, Stage Morph seamlessly shifts between two stages picked before each battle to add variety and intrigue.
Sakurai also outlined a few new battle modes available to players. Squad Strike pits two teams against each other in 3v3 or 5v5 elimination style matches, while Tournament mode (seen in previous titles) returns with support for up to 32 players. Classic also returns, offering unique selections of fights and challenges for each characters. One more new mode is Smashdown, where selected fighters are locked out of the next match, forcing that one friend to finally pick someone other than Fox or Falco.
Fans of past games will fondly remember the music selection and music player options, and both have received some love in Ultimate. Players will be able to select from a much wider range of music titles for each stage, accessing anything from that stage’s game series. The music player will contain around 900 tracks, another number Sakurai dropped with a grin. Players will be able to create playlists of their favorite songs and play them from their Switch while the screen is off, effectively turning the console into a portable Nintendo-themed mp3 player.
Items, Assist Trophies, and Pokemon
Finally, the Direct showed off several new additions to the arsenal players can throw at their foes. Of note are the Ramblin’ Evil Mushroom (EarthBound), which inverts the controls of players it hits, and Death’s Scythe, which can instantly K.O. anyone with enough damage or low enough health.
Notable assist trophies shown during the Direct include Knuckles the Echidna, Zero from the Megaman Series and the ever looming Moon of Termina, which crashes into the stage with overwhelming force and characteristic ultra-creepiness.
The pokeball item now has access to a host of new creatures from the Alolan region, including the trademark legendaries Solgaleo and Lunara, and Alolan versions of Exeggutor and Vulpix. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see other Alolan versions popping from the item balls, as well.
In all, this Direct continued the trend of dumping more information than those watching know what to do with. It is no exaggeration to say Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be the biggest, most all-encompassing addition to the franchise when it releases December 7 of this year.