Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s final fighter has been revealed. Sora from Kingdom Hearts will be the last fighter in the game’s roster, putting years of speculation to bed. It’s a real “end of an era moment,” as it’s unclear when — or if — we’ll get another Super Smash Bros. game. It could be another five to 10 years before we see a new character announcement trailer.
Before the ennui sets in, let’s take a step back and look at the the final roster. Ultimate‘s 12 DLC characters were a mixed bag, to say the least. While dream characters like Sora did make their way to the game, some of the additions underwhelmed fans. Characters like Byleth spawned a meme about Smash having too many “anime swordfighters.” Meanwhile, heavily requested fan favorites like Waluigi were robbed of a roster spot in the end. It was an unpredictable batch of fighters that defied all expectations.
With the dust settled, only one question remains: Which DLC character reveal was the best? I don’t mean which fighters play the best, but rather, which announcements got fans most excited. Here’s our ranking of all 12 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC character reveals.
Even before Byleth came to Super Smash Bros., fans were complaining that the game had too many Fire Emblem characters. Ultimate had six representatives, including bizarre deep cuts like Corrin. So when Fire Emblem: Three Houses‘ Byleth joined the roster, players were immediately up in arms. It was frustrating to see Nintendo neglect forgotten franchises like Golden Sun in favor of more Fire Emblem heroes. It felt like a transparent marketing move to sell copies of Three Houses, which made this an oddly clinical reveal.
On a personal level, I love Piranha Plant. He’s one of Smash Ultimate‘s most interesting fighters, bringing unusual verticality to the game. But, his initial announcement was nothing short of bizarre. The sentient plant was the first DLC fighter announced for the game (he was initially available as an early purchase incentive), giving players low expectations for what was to come. Virtually no one had been asking for Piranha Plant to join the fight, so it seemed like Nintendo was going to kick fan service out the window and carve its own path with DLC characters. Fortunately, that was only half true in the end.
For a certain crowd, the Pyra and Mythra reveal was an exciting one. Xenoblade fans were ecstatic to see the underappreciated RPG series get some additional representation aside from Shulk. That was admittedly a niche audience, though. At this point in Smash Ultimate’s life, fans had grown fatigued by “anime swordfighters,” which had become a prevalent part of the roster. For outsiders, Pyra and Mythra didn’t look all that different from Fire Emblem fighters, mechanically speaking. The fact that they took the third-to-last DLC spot only rubbed salt in that wound.
On paper, Min-Min was a perfect roster addition. Arms was a brand new Nintendo fighting game IP developed for the Switch, so a Smash spot seemed appropriate. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t much of a hit for Nintendo as it failed to connect with audiences long-term. By the time Min-Min joined the fight, Arms had long exited the public consciousness, making a once shoo-in character feel incredibly niche. Still, it was nice to see Nintendo stay true to Super Smash Bros. roots by bringing one of its own characters to the game instead of another third-party one.
Hero’s reveal was about as middle of the road as they come. On one hand, it was great to see a series like Dragon Quest represented in Smash. It may not be as big in the West as it is in Japan, but it’s undoubtedly an important RPG franchise that deserved a spot. Hero’s unique spell mechanic also felt like a particularly fun way to represent turn-based RPG systems in a fighting game. But there was something ever so slightly underwhelming about the reveal, which made it land a little soft. Perhaps it was just that his reveal trailer wasn’t particularly memorable, or the fact that his name was simply “Hero,” making him feel a touch generic.
Terry Bogard is one of the deepest cuts in Ultimate‘s roster. Pulled from SNK’s King of Fighters and Fatal Fury series, Terry is something of a legend for fighting genre die-hards. But for those who weren’t in the know, this was an initially puzzling reveal that left many googling his name in confusion. Even if Terry wasn’t a household name at the time, it was almost sweet to see Nintendo pay its respects to other fighting game greats. Being able to pit Terry against Ryu and, eventually, Kazuya felt like a dream come true.
Persona 5‘s Joker was an absolute system shock at the time. Super Smash Bros. included its fair share of third-party characters, but they all felt particularly iconic. No one short of Sonic or Mega Man was getting an invitation to the battle. With Joker, Nintendo opened the doors for just about anyone to make their way to the game. Persona 5 wasn’t even available on Switch (and still isn’t), dismantling the idea that a Smash fighter had to have some sort of direct connection to Nintendo. Joker would open up our imaginations and pave the way for better “dream come true” moments with characters like Sora.
Kazuya’s reveal trailer was so fun that it was hard not to get excited, even if you didn’t know who he was. We got to see the Tekken fighter dropping Nintendo characters into a volcano (his signature move) one by one, which was hilariously absurd. That was punctuated by a great visual gag with Kirby quietly floating back up to safety after being dropped. Considering that Super Smash Bros. is a fighting game first and foremost, it’s always exciting to see the series pay tribute to its contemporaries. Tekken deserved some representation and Kazuya was the right fighter for the job.
Final Fantasy VII‘s Cloud was a truly surprising roster addition back in the Wii U installment of the game, but Sephiroth felt like a true fever dream. That was largely due to his bonkers reveal trailer, which featured the villain impaling Mario with a sword. Was Sephiroth another “anime swordfighter?” Yes, sure. But he’s also one of gaming’s best antagonists, and it was exciting to think that we could see him go toe-to-toe with baddies like Bowser and Ridley. Super Smash Bros. is all about making dream gaming moments come true, and Sephiroth certainly brought a world of possibilities to the game late in its life span.
Nintendo had an impossible task ahead of it when it came time to reveal the final Super Smash Bros. character. It seemed like fans would be disappointed no matter who it was. There were just too many characters fans wanted to see make the cut. So imagine the internet’s surprise when it actually got what it wanted. Sora from Kingdom Hearts was one of Super Smash Bros.’ most request fighters — the day before the reveal, the hero’s name was even trending on Twitter. Sora’s reveal was the special sendoff Ultimate needed, leaving most fans with a happy ending that seemed impossible. The collective joy was simply infectious, even for those who aren’t Kingdom Hears fans.
The news that Minecraft‘s Steve and Alex were coming to Smash quite literally broke the internet. It was a genuinely jaw-dropping reveal that became an internet watercooler moment as social media lit up with conversation. Some cynics were outraged by the idea of Minecraft coming to Smash, but other people were thrilled. Why shouldn’t one of the biggest gaming franchises of all time get a spot in the game? Seeing the blocky Steve fight Mario with his pickaxe was a genuinely surreal moment that you just couldn’t help but enjoy. And if you need any more proof that this was a landmark announcement, look at the Mr. Sakurai Presents stream breaking down Steve and Alex, which currently has over 4.5 million views on YouTube.
Banjo Kazooie’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate reveal was an emotional moment for Nintendo fans. While the mascots were once a key part of the company’s history, Nintendo and Rare’s shocking split sent the bear-bird duo packing to Xbox. Banjo and Kazooie always felt like proper Nintendo heroes, right alongside Mario and Link, so there was something especially sad about watching them leave. The pair returning to a Nintendo platform in the form of Smash fighters was a significant moment — not for Smash, but for gaming as a whole. It showed Microsoft and Nintendo putting “console wars” to bed and working together to give players something they truly wanted. Everybody won here.
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