With a new Super Smash Bros. comes a whole new era of “Most Wanted Challengers”.
During the Wii U and 3DS Era, with Nintendo arguably in a weakened market position, a lot of requests were admittedly complete flights of fancy, optimistic to a fault and very difficult if not impossible to negotiate (though Ryu and Cloud Strife were still a surprise!). It’s all change now though; the Switch has sold gangbusters, is likely to sell at least another 20 million units in the next year and with Smash Bros. and a few other games (maybe even Pokémon early 2019?) it’s probably not hard to think it will, like the 10 million estimate for the first year, utterly ‘Smash’ those predictions.
Nintendo could, very easily, have it’s choice of characters – summoned to the Realm of Smash, the fiery Logo of Doom calling them to battle. Actually working out what will be in the new Smash is, frankly, a ludicrous notion at this point. Who knows? Nintendo has a wealth of new characters to play with – and a wealth of third party support on which to cultivate new challengers from. It’d be crazy to even begin trying to predict what Sakurai-san has in store for us.
That said, I have my personal “wants” as much as anyone. This is not a predictions list – if any of these characters actually do pop up in Smash, I’ll be thrilled to bits. These are, very simply, six challengers I’d like to join the fray in Smash 5 or whatever they end up calling it.
So let’s begin with…
SOLAIRE OF ASTORA (Dark Souls / Remastered)
Let’s start with the MOST LIKELY addition; Solaire of Astora is an iconic Dark Souls character with catchphrases (“If only I could be so grossly incandescent…” and “Jolly Co-Operation!”) and the now legendary “Praise the Sun” pose. He’s a critical pillar of Dark Souls. And further to Dark Souls Remastered coming to the Switch in May, Solaire is even getting his very own Amiibo! How grossly incandescent is he now?
Solaire would, of course, be another Sword Fighter and I know people have issues with those. But he’s an absolute show-stealer; with a handful of Dark Souls spells, Solaire could be a formidable foe in the game. Plus, Nintendo don’t even need to make another Amiibo for him – he’s already accounted for there!
I don’t think many would begrudge Solaire of Astora being summoned for both jolly co-operation and rather aggressive beat-downs. Heck, the trailer had a big, round Smash Logo in the sky ON FIRE! It’s a sun! Do you really think Solaire wouldn’t take that as a sign?
It makes so much sense. So this is easily the most likely addition.
LARA CROFT (Tomb Raider series)
This isn’t nearly as crazy as it sounds; Crystal Dynamics have for months made it very clear they’re quite happy (if not likely already working) to bring Tomb Raider to the Switch – and Tomb Raider has indeed graced Nintendo platforms before, mostly in handheld form. With a third entry in the “current” Lara incarnation (which I’m not a fan of but that’s another story for another day), and the Lara Croft isometric spin-offs doing extremely well critically and sales wise, Lara Croft goes where the money is and right now, there’s money to be had on the Switch.
I’d see Lara Croft as an acrobatic fighter; zip-lines, close-quarters brawling and a smattering of guns. Lara Croft is, of course, not a mega-powerful superhero but she’s always got the job done, so that grit and determination is certainly a fairly interesting fit for the Smash series. Plus, Lara Croft is a gaming ICON. Few people would argue that; there are few game characters whose names alone can be recited by absolute non-gamers, but Lara Croft fits into that and aside a roster of other gaming icons, she’d fit in absolutely brilliantly.
Again, the “Summoned By Flames” mantra would be awesome here, an intro where Lara descends into a tomb to find a relic… suspiciously shaped like the Smash Logo. The world goes dark, she turns around, and there it is – the flames, beckoning her to the fray, with other icons of gaming calling to her – come, be part of this, it’ll be fun!
It probably won’t be long before a proper Tomb Raider drops on Switch anyway; so why not get Lara a little bit of a following first?
VIVI (Final Fantasy 9)
I adore Vivi – he’s easily one of my favourite Final Fantasy characters ever. As mad as it sounds – Final Fantasy 9 probably wouldn’t be hard to port to the Switch, especially considering the HD Remaster of it dropped on PC not too long ago. And seriously, do we really need more Sword Fighters? Come on people. Let’s mix it up a little and try bringing in something that’s a tad less obvious!
Vivi, of course, is a Black Mage. So big, beefy elemental spells and craziness is his forte whilst looking so goddamned adorable it makes me want to squee. His staff could be a mix of close and mid-range attack alongside the traditional Firaga, Water, Thundaga, Demi, Sleep and so forth. And then for a final smash – his big spell, Doomsday. Cue chanting choirs of the apocalypse as a massive flaming planet descends from the sky to OBLITERATE YOUR FOES WHERE THEY STAND! Yeah, Vivi would be kinda strong – but his spells would need range, accuracy and a little charge/casting time, which would very easily balance out the potential for being a little too on the O.P. side.
Summoning him might be a little more contrived, but hey, Cloud just dropped into Smash on 3DS and Wii U. Vivi walking around, looking at stuff, picks up a talisman (you see where this is going), then suddenly the world grows dark, empty, and he is left alone and he turns around and there it is – he looks down at the pendant. It’s the Smash Logo. He’s been called to join battle, and he’s just so damned adorable it will work.
If anything, Cloud is more likely to return – hell, Geno is more likely. But I’m kinda over them. I need a curveball or two in my Smash diet, and Vivi would be amazing.
I love Plok! There, I said it. More than twenty years after playing this SNES-Exclusive 2D Platform-adventure thingy, the impact this weird fabric-man had on me remains evident on my being today. He’s a fighter, a soldier, a boxer, a motorbike and wait yes all of that was possible in the original game.
Which frankly makes Plok! a versatile fighter – but his limb-less fighting style would of course need to be evident, that his attacks use his limbs which leave his body and when they’re all off – he bounces around on his bottom. He could morph into other forms temporarily – a boxer, a blunderbuss-hunter, a sort-of-robot and more. His bigger moves could have him scream across a stage as a bike, trying to knock people off, or a big flamethrower, and just for that Final Smash flair – how about a big tank, taking aim and firing a massive projectile of explosive power at his enemies?
Plok! actually still remains a thing today – though sadly more in Webcomic form, though it absolutely does have a great sense of humour and riffs on modern games. Why not finally, after decades away from the headlines and the bright lights, finally and triumphantly return to Nintendo, in full 3D, as a Smash Challenger?
Heck, the fire summon could even be a bit of a joke – he is called, and Plok! looks at the screen and goes; “Good thing I’m made from flame-retardant fabric… or am I?” and waddles off to join his old SNES companions of Link and Mario and Yoshi.
I’m still absolutely championing Plok! for Smash. For many of us, he is an integral part of our SNES memories, and it’s time Nintendo – and The Pickford Bros. – let him reignite those nostalgic memories.
I’ll also take Plok! HD as well.
SOMA CRUZ (Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow/Dawn of Sorrow)
I know. “WHY NOT ALUCARD?” – Well, barring the fact Symphony of the Night was on the PlayStation and that Alucard’s appearance in the GBA games was mostly in disguise… I don’t think Alucard would fit in. I’m sure loads of people would be happy with Alucard – or even the legendary Sonja Belmont – but I’m sticking with Soma Cruz because he was the main protagonist in both the Game Boy Advance title Aria of Sorrow, and the Nintendo DS sequel Dawn of Sorrow.
Plus his combat style was always quite unique – stealing the “souls” of fallen enemies and temporarily gaining their powers. A little of that could go a long way in a Smash title, and it would give Kirby a run for its money that’s for sure. Soma was quite athletic and yes, he could and mostly did wield swords because yes swords are mostly a thing in Castlevania games alongside the whips but weirdly, I’d see Soma Cruz more as a hand-to-hand fighter in a Smash game, able to temporarily call weapons and demons to perform actions and imbue him with abilities in the heat of battle.
With Konami talking with Nintendo about support (Aria of Sorrow remake or just a proper new 2D Castlevania in general?), Soma Cruz is just as likely as Solid Snake at this point. But at least Soma had the grace to be in two fairly well-received games on Nintendo platforms. That’s got to count for something, right?
Summoning Soma could be as easy as he walks into the Chaos Realm, but for some reason finds himself in a dark place with the Smash Logo looming in the sky. A small, wry smile on his lips as he looks at the silhouettes of the roster and is called to battle.
He’d be a really interesting addition, and much more fitting than Alucard – though I’m sure Alucard would end up a Trophy or something.
RABBID PEACH (Mario x Rabbids: Kingdom Battle)
And let’s end with the “It’s so obvious if Nintendo doesn’t do it there’s something very, VERY wrong with them!” entry.
Rabbid Peach is… well. The success story of 2017, really. How Rabbid Peach came to be, how she came to be so brilliant and sassy and amazing is crazy to me, but here she is. She’s a Nintendo Babe now. The selfie-obsessed queen of the sassy put-down gesture has become a genuine little gaming icon/celebrity of her own, with her own Instagram account and everything. Rabbid Peach is popular – really popular. And for many was the stand-out star of Kingdom Battle.
UbiSoft would likely not even blink to include Rabbid Peach in Smash – not only because, well, it’s good for UbiSoft to be seen supporting Smash, but because it would in a crazy way even further legitimise the Rabbids as their own thing. Remember the Rabbids have been around for over a decade at this point and their biggest success was… a bunch of cheesy YouTube skits. It’s amazing to think this bunch of sorry whackjobs not only finally got a great game, but got to share the stage with Mario and Peach and Luigi and even more insane that Rabbid Peach absolutely outplayed everyone else in the game!
Rabbid Peach would likely need absolutely no reason or invitation – oh look, there’s Mario. Off we go to the big fiery logo in the distance! And we wouldn’t even want a good reason for Rabbid Peach to be there – just being there, sassing the place up and using her blaster when she feels like it, is more than enough for me.
Surely this is a dead-cert. I mean, I know this is a wishlist and all but come on Nintendo… this has gotta be one of the new ones, right?