If you thought the Nintendo Switch didn’t have any huge games on the way in 2018, Nintendo sure proved you wrong with its latest Direct. Yes, Super Smash Bros., the company’s megapopular series of crossover fighting games, is coming to the Switch this year.
There are still many questions left to answer surrounding Smash Bros.’s Switch debut, including whether it will be a brand new entry in the series or some sort of expanded port of the Wii U and 3DS versions. While answers are probably a ways off, the mere fact of the game’s existence is enough for us to start getting our hopes up. And what better way to hop on the hype train than to run down the challengers we’d most like to see on the roster?
First, though a quick note. The teaser trailer appeared to confirm a handful of fighters outright—Inklings from the Splatoon series, Mario, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s version of Link. It also showed silhouettes that seemed reminiscent of other returning fighters, like Kirby, Samus, Pikachu, Zelda, and Donkey Kong. For the purposes of this article, though, we’re going to focus on newcomers. Each iteration of the brawler has introduced new fighters from long-running Nintendo franchises, as well as the occasional outsiders (looking at you, Snake). Our list includes fighters from both inside Nintendo’s stable and out.
Always a bridesmaid, never a bride
Perhaps the greatest part of the current Super Smash Bros. games is seeing beloved Nintendo characters crossover and face off. Channeling the spirit of kids building an imaginary storyline with action figures, Smash Bros. is the perfect fuel for dreaming up never-before-seen alliances and explore new angles on age-old rivalries. The opening cinematic of the original Nintendo 64 title even showed the characters as toys thrown together into an imaginary battlefield for us to manipulate. In turn, it’s appropriate to start our dream roster by looking at some Nintendo icons who are overdue for an appearance in the series.
While the Smash Bros. games have already featured a hefty number of Super Mario characters, there’s a notable mushroom-shaped hole that should be filled. That’s right. Toad needs his time to shine. While small in stature, Toad could pack a serious punch with his most prominent asset: his head. Toad could come with charge attacks that launch him head first across the field at opponents, much like Pikachu’s Skull Bash attack. (For those of you worried the mushroom top is just a hat, Super Mario Odyssey producer Yoshiaki Koizumi has confirmed the white and red cap is part of Toad’s head.) And we already know he can take a hit, as Peach’s “Toad” move already seen in the series is a defensive maneuver for the princess. Once she throws out Toad in front of her, different types of spores come out of the mushroom. These could translate into powerful attacks that impart status effects, should Toad branch out as his own character.
Stepping away from Mario, the next of my frontrunners is from the Donkey Kong crew. Dixie Kong, originally seen in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! would be a perfect addition. Not only would she come fitted with a glide skill to help in recovery, but her speed in battle could rival Little Mac and Zero Suit Samus, bringing a balance to the current Donkey Kong offerings. DK himself is powerful but slow, while Diddy isn’t as speedy as he should be for his size, making Dixie a different enough sort of ape.
A new Pokémon
Now, here comes the curveball. It wouldn’t be a Smash Bros. game without a new Pokémon on the list, and while sifting through the over 800 possibilities currently available is tricky, let me make it simple. GameFreak and The Pokémon Company have been nostalgic for Generation IV lately, with the latest trading card game set featuring several Pokémon and trainers from the Sinnoh region. In the mainline video games, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon brought back the beloved and tough as hell trainer, Cynthia, so Smash Bros. could continue the trend and feature a Sinnoh creature. I suggest the Psychic/Fighting-type Gallade, as his bipedal stature and focus on karate-style attacks makes him fit in with the previous Smash Bros. Pokémon fighters Mewtwo, Greninja, and Lucario. A ranged Psycho Cut attack or close quarters Leaf Blade could make him just as versatile as Mega Man, bringing more creativity to fights than the current Pokémon offerings.
You weren’t born Nintendo, but you could have been
While Nintendo has only more recently expanded its third-party offerings, there have been several series featured on past Nintendo consoles, from the NES through to the Wii U. They all featured characters that weren’t made by the Big N, but their cartoon-like appearances meshed well with the likes of Mario and Link. For example, Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS introduced Mega Man to the fold, as his jump and shoot antics have been available on Nintendo platforms since the NES.
Another dose of Mega Man
It’s time another Mega Man character joined the mix, and while the Mega Man X series might be better suited for Marvel vs. Capcom, there are two possibilities from the original Mega Man games that could work. Both Proto Man and Bass have acted as allies and enemies of Mega Man at different times in the series, making their inclusion in Smash Bros. an interesting, meta choice. More importantly, when it comes to how they’d battle, the robots are unique in their own rights. Bass comes with his trusted dog Treble that can attach to him to create a flying suit, which would be a great special move against fast-moving fighters in Smash Bros. Proto Man, on the other hand, could use his iconic shield to not only block attacks, but bounce damage back at his enemies, similarly to Fox and Falco’s shields.
When SEGA’s mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog, was added as a fighter in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, it seemed like all of the rules of who could be in a Smash Bros. game went out the window. Sure, Sonic looked similar to the other characters, with his bright blue fur and cartoonish face, but being the mascot of Nintendo’s former rival made him a game-changing choice. Why don’t we push that concept even farther and add in another famous face from another platform? Naughty Dog and PlayStation’s wacky Crash Bandicoot would be a fantastic fighter, not only because of his spinning attacks and fruit bazooka, but also for his place in the history of games. Sure, Crash didn’t reach the same heights in sales as Sonic and Mario, but his popularity has stood the test of time. Just look at last year’s Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, which sold like hotcakes on PlayStation 4. The collection is even coming to the Switch later this year, making him fit right in with the Nintendo brawlers.
A bomber, lawyer, and a ninja
I think we also need three wildcards from this category, so here’s who I propose: Bomberman, Phoenix Wright, and Ryu Hayabusa. Bomberman’s aesthetic is in line with many of the past Smash Bros. fighters, from his overall appearance to having a signature attack (bombs). The Ace Attorney protagonist would be the oddest of the three, but still, he could work. Despite his series mainly featuring verbal battles in the courtroom, Phoenix’s loud and commanding voice could be translated into a ranged attack that will throw enemies off of their game. He could literally “throw the book” at you. And lastly, having Ryu from the Ninja Gaiden series available would just be downright cool. Ninjas are perfect for this type of multiplayer game, and Ryu’s speed and unique skills could rival past characters in the archetype, like Sheik and Greninja.
Pushing the envelope
Let’s go all-in by looking to the more out-of-the-box third-party options, in the vein of the aforementioned Solid Snake. While Metal Gear Solid‘s protagonist was an undeniably fun fighter to control, from his diverse arsenal of weapons to his Cypher escape device, it would be intriguing to see someone similarly out-there but brand new. The Smash Bros. team has already proven it has what it takes to make a more serious, grounded character work in its colorful free-for-all brawls.
Take the Evil from Resident Evil
Capcom’s Resident Evil series, for example, houses several options that could fit into this category. Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine, for instance, could work out. However, since Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite recently showcased Redfield, any Capcom crossover in Smash should offer something different. I suggest we get Albert Wesker or Ada Wong. The more villainous fighters introduced in this new entry, the better, and it would be a blast to see Ada stealth kick Luigi across the battlefield.
For a step in a more gothic direction, I’d love to see a cameo from the Castlevania series. While there are dozens of vampire-hunting Belmonts to choose from, it would be best to bring in the most intriguing character from the series: Alucard. Dracula’s son not only has the power to wield a whip like the Belmont clan, but he has the forces of darkness at his side, which could make for some impressive special moves. Bat, wolf, or smoke form Alucard could make him a stealth-style fighter that moves quickly across the field to deliver fast blows and status effects.
Another Square Enix crossover?
I’m going to end this fantasy quest for a new roster by courting controversy. You can go right ahead and scream at me, but I’m throwing it out there: We need more Final Fantasy characters in Smash. At the tail-end of the Wii U/3DS Smash Bros. entry, we were given a few DLC characters that ended up being amazing, including Cloud from Final Fantasy VII. Now that the JRPG floodgates have opened, why stop there? A tank-style version of Final Fantasy X‘s Kimari Ronso, Final Fantasy VIII‘s Squall Leonhart as a balanced swordsman, or even Final Fantasy IX‘s Vivi as a ranged magic wielder could offer a new flavor of combat. Of course, my personal greatest hope would be the inclusion of a Kingdom Hearts character, but that seems too far out of reach. Still, using Sora and his Keyblade to slash away at Ganondorf would be a dream come true.
While these are my personal picks, several of them seem fitting for how Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai and his team have picked new fighters in the past. Needless to say, we’ll probably be happy with any roster, just as long as we get the same engaging and addicting gameplay of previous Super Smash Bros. entries.