Ever since the original iteration of Super Smash Bros. was introduced for the N64 back in 1999, it’s been a big deal in the world of fighting games. It had somewhat humble beginnings, with that first title only featuring 8 characters at the start and 4 more unlockable characters across a total of 9 stages in Versus mode. As time went on and more titles were added to the series, more characters, features and stages were added, and even on consoles that weren’t as wildly popular as the GameCube or the original Wii, Smash Bros. was a hit.
2014 saw the biggest Smash Bros. to date, with the announcement of Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, which featured 58 characters, including 19 never before seen fighters, and a full set of the now ubiquitous Amiibo figurines adding new features to the game. For a while it seemed quiet, even as the new Nintendo Switch was announced, but then in a Nintendo Direct in March of this year, a new Super Smash Bros. title was announced and the hype was born anew.
Since then, almost every Nintendo Direct touched on Super Smash Bros. at least a little bit, introducing more and more playable characters and details, but today’s Nintendo Direct, led by series creator Masahiro Sakurai, was 40 minutes entirely dedicated to the latest Smash Bros. title. Here’s what we learned:
Nintendo wasted no time in today’s Direct addressing questions about the remaining fighters. The roster was already huge, with new characters like Splatoon’s inklings, Ridley, King K. Rool, and Isabelle from Animal Crossing announced, but today’s announcements added a few more—Ken, Ryu’s echo fighter, as well as Pokemon Incineroar. Later on in the presentation, a special pre-order only fighter was revealed, too—the Piranha Plant, which will be available a few months after launch and which will of course, have an accompanying Amiibo. In total, this brings the Super Smash Bros Ultimate fighter count to 74 fighters, with the potential for even more down the road.
As for Amiibo, the piranha plant isn’t the only one coming. Along with new Amiibo for some of the new characters, Nintendo will be returning some Smash Bros favorites to stores, and introducing a few more in February 2018, to include King K. Rool, a Smash Bros Isabelle, and the Ice Climbers, among others.
Something else new announced in today’s Direct was the addition of Spirits. This further adds to the roster of characters in the new Smash Bros, and introduces the element of Spirit fighters, which do a few things. Spirit fighters must be fed and cared for, so they can level up and join you in battle. Each Spirit can have one of three types of abilities—attack, grab and shield. Some of them have special forms, and some can be used to charge up Amiibo or fill your gauges faster. Spirits can also search for treasure for you, either while you’re doing traditional battles or even while you’re offline. In addition, some spirits are masters, and will unlock facilities for you. Spirit Teams can be assembled to do battle against other teams or to assist you in your own battles.
In addition to the Spirits, new assist fighters will be available. These include Fatal Frame’s Maiden of Blackwater, Isaac, the Black Knight, Wily Capsule from Megaman, Flies and Hand, Thwomp, Vince from Art Academy, Guile, Akira, Callie and Marie from Splatoon and more.
From there, Mr. Sakurai went into some of the game’s menus and options, to show off different modes, guides, collectibles and capabilities. Though Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will do away with assist trophies, there are colorful collectibles to assemble in a comic-book style showcase as well as other fun things to spend gold on, like music tracks, spirits and other items. Players will also have and be able to collect other players’ smash tags and trade those in for items. There’s also a glut of new outfits for your Mii fighters—from a Breath of the Wild Yiga Clan set and Splatoon 2 set to a Chibi Robo and ToyCon set.
Finally—Nintendo confirmed that the roster of fighters will continue to grow beyond Super Smash Bros Ultimate’s December 7 release date, with two different types of DLC packages available—Single Fighters in a pack with music tracks and items as well as the Ultimate Fighter Pass, which gives you 5 additional stages, five fighters and 5 sets of music for $24.99, as opposed to the single DLC’s $5.99 price tag. There aren’t confirmed dates and confirmed characters for these yet, but, as Sakurai puts it, if you’re confident in Super Smash Bros Ultimate so far you can feel confident purchasing these ahead of time.
Nintendo capped off their Smash Bros Direct with a lore video that attempted to show “what happened on that fateful day” that caused the characters to lose their souls and become trapped inside the Smash Bros universe battling for the light. It’s a video that has to be believed to be seen, and we’ve linked it below for you to enjoy. Overall, it’s clear that Super Smash Bros Ultimate is bursting at the seams with content, with 74 characters and at least 5 more on the way, 100 stages, Spirits and Assists representing countless other characters, items, collectibles and more in 11 languages. This is a labor of love for a wildly popular title in Nintendo’s lineup and looks to be another reason that the Switch era has turned out to be one of Nintendo’s best ever, and we can’t wait to get our hands on the game.
If you’re itching to get into the action, you can pre-order now and get the Piranha plant fighter free, and you can shop the countless Smash Bros items available as well, including special edition Switches with digital codes for the games, special Pro Controllers and JoyCons and all the new Amiibo. We’re pretty certain this will be a hot item for the holiday season and one we’re certainly looking forward to bringing you a first look at as soon as it releases. In the meantime, you can check out the full Nintendo Direct presentation with a bonus Treehouse Direct linked below.