Do we now know everything about Super Smash Bros Ultimate? A new Nintendo Direct aired on YouTube and Twitch at around 7 AM Pacific this morning. What’s different this time, and what’s familiar?
In the week leading up to this livestream, a big rumor took hold of the Smash fan community that promised Street Fighter Ken, Banjo-Kazooie, Geno from Super Mario RPG, Shadow the Hedgehog and Isaac from Golden Sun. The “proof” was a blurry shot of assembly instructions for a store display, allegedly taken behind the scenes at a design company.
When the first new Smash fighter was revealed to actually be Ken, fans went insane…only to have their dreams Incineroared by the reality of a brutal coincidence. The second reveal was a Pokemon from Sun and Moon, not any of the expected characters. This was followed by Sakurai saying in person, “Well, that’s all the fighters.” To add salt in the wound, Shadow and Isaac really did appear in the Direct, only as unplayable assist trophies.
The rumored “Spirits” feature was confirmed this morning. However, contrary to rumor, “Spirits” was not the name of a new Story Mode. Rather, it’s a new and very different gameplay mechanic involving collectible characters from across the Nintendo universe (and beyond) that can be assigned to your fighter to raise their attack or defense. Spirits add RPG elements to the game, like leveling up, combining them for different effects, etc…it’s more complicated than we have room to explain in this paragraph.
“Spirits” is unlike anything that’s appeared in Smash before and we have no idea if fans will embrace it or despise it. The fact that it’s such a huge and crucial part of the new game is a big gamble. The collecting of Spirits actually replaces the collecting of trophies, which is a negative in my book — I loved finding trophies and reading the descriptions on each one.
The good news is that while “Spirits” didn’t turn out to be a Story Mode, we are actually getting one. Previously left out of the last Smash, the much-missed narrative mode is back, and explains where the spirits came from. “World of Light” is its name, you play the entire thing as Kirby (YES!) and startlingly, characters talk in the cutscenes. We mean full sentences, not just gasps or burps.
Also, for a half-second, this happened:
So….it IS possible for Shantae to be in Smash? But…she can’t be a fighter, she has to be a little sticker thing? OK.
There will be a DLC campaign for Smash Bros Ultimate, and Sakurai revealed the first downloadable fighter at the end of the Direct, which early players will get for free. Are you ready for this?
Watching a potted plant hop around the stages and stretch its neck to bite people was truly insane. Honestly, I think I like it. It’s such a weird idea that it totally works.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be out December 7 for Nintendo Switch. There will be a bundle for the Switchless, but it will come with a download code instead of a game card.