“Super Smash Bros.: Ultimate” character count imperative to franchise future

Luka Turanjanin, Sectional Editor

“Super Smash Bros.: Ultimate” (Smash Ultimate for short), has been a phenomenal success as a video game. It’s sold around 14 million copies worldwide. It is one of the most iconic games currently on the Nintendo Switch, as people are buying Nintendo Switch consoles just to get the game.

It’s no question that is the most successful Super Smash Bros. game to date. 

While it currently stands on a high level of popularity, what are the franchise’s chances of falling off where it stands currently? As the most popular Smash Bros. game out of them all, what puts it in this position, and what can likely cause the game to lose a portion of its recognition?

“Super Smash Bros.: Ultimate” has the highest playable character count of any of the “Super Smash Bros. games, tallying more than 65 playable characters. This is because Nintendo decided to return every other playable character from previous “Super Smash Bros.” games, plus adding some new ones as well. This is a crucial part of what got the game its popularity. The game also has been releasing new DLC characters over the span of this year as a part of its First Fighters pack. 

The Fighters pack has a set of five characters that are released as DLC in the game, one by one. Nintendo has already released their first three characters so far. The first was Joker from a game called “Persona 5.” Then came the Hero from the Dragonquest franchise, and finally, Banjo & Kazooie, from the Banjo-Kazooie franchise. Nintendo plans to release their 4th DLC character, Terry Brogard, from the from a fighting game franchise known as Fatal Fury.

At this point you’re likely asking yourself, “How will all of the stuff you mentioned in the game leed to the game franchise falling off?” Think about it like this: the first DLC character Nintendo released for Smash Ultimate was Joker. Joker comes from the Persona Series, more specifically Persona 5, whose main games are on PlayStation. The only reason the character was added was because the game’s main director, Masahiro Sakurai, loved playing the Persona series in his younger years, so he went to Atlus Studios (a sub-division of SEGA), and got the studio’s permission. 

Persona 5 is only available on the PlayStation 4, the closest thing they have related to Nintendo are the spin-off games they released on the Nintendo 3DS systems. Joker is not really relevant as he is, since he’s only from one specific game and not the whole Persona series. That could be said the same for Terry Brogard as well, since he comes from a really old fighting franchise that was on a console a good portion of Super Smash Bros. players can’t even identify. 

Only Banjo & Kazooie, plus the Hero, have recognizable game franchises, and they are the main characters of it as well.

Sakurai said when during a demonstration video of Banjo & Kazooie that after “Super Smash Bros.: Ultimate,” Nintendo won’t be pulling of having as many characters from many different video games in the next Super Smash Bros. games. In that position, Nintendo has a lot less characters, and they will need a good portion of them to be from known video games. 

Plus, having far less playable characters in the next game removes the sense of what got “Smash Ultimate” to be popular. Currently as it stands, when it comes to the future of the Super Smash Bros. franchise, it’s likely going to be a bit downhill from where it is now, mainly because of the games characters and how many are playable.