October 1, 2013

Building the Ultimate Smash Roster: Trimming the Fat

I literally finished writing this in June before any characters were announced, and never posted it. Well, here's what I thought would happen then. I'll update it shortly, and every time a character is announced. No, I'm not going to format it.

Brace yourselves, Smash Bros is coming. And with it come roster changes. But this new set of games may have the biggest shakeup yet. Previous installments built upon the old roster while cutting few characters and replacing those cut with new ones. This time around, Sakurai has confirmed that some old characters just won't make it. A while back, he stated something to the effect of the new roster having the same (or roughly so) amount of characters. With that in mind, I aim to build the ultimate roster. In the first part of this ongoing feature, to be updated until the final roster is confirmed, I will try and assess who of the current cast will stay and who will go.
First, lets take a look at who we had last time from each franchise:

Mario Series: Mario, Peach, Luigi, Bowser
Donkey Kong Country: DK, Diddy
StarFox: Fox, Wolf, Falco
Kirby Series: Kirby, Dedede, Meta Knight
Ice Climbers
Fire Emblem: Marth, Ike
Legend of Zelda: Link, Zelda, Ganondorf, Toon Link
Pikmin: Olimar
Kid Icarus: Pit
Metroid: Samus
F-Zero: Captain Falcon
Mr. Game & Watch
Pokemon: Pikachu, Lucario, Jigglypuff, Pokemon Trainer
Earthbound: Ness, Lucas

The final total of the Brawl roster is 35 characters, up 10 from Melee. Assuming that that the new Smash games keep the size at 35, we're either going to see quite a few of these guys go, or we're not going to see too many new fighters (which I doubt). I personally don't think the final number will be exactly the same, though. I think it may increase to 40 fighters, but no more than that. Anyway, let's see who's already in:

Mario, DK, Link, Samus, Kirby, Fox, Pikachu, Bowser, Pit

That's already the entire cast of the original game, minus Yoshi, plus one from Melee and one from Brawl. I don't think Yoshi's going anywhere, though, especially with two games coming out next year. We also have three new fighters: Wii Fit Trainer, Villager, and Mega Man. That's already twelve guys, leaving 28 spaces at most and 23 at least. So, who's out? Sakurai has described this process as very difficult. My guess? Since he's never made a point of eliminating characters before, he'll finally go after the clones. I'm hoping that, this time, he at least makes some character's movesets more unique.

Luigi: Although I honestly don't think he's is differentiated enough from Mario, I highly doubt he'll be cut from the game. 2013, after all, is the Year of Luigi. They wouldn't make such a deal about the guy only to cut him out of one of their biggest franchises. He Stays.

Peach: Peach isn't going either. Smash doesn't have many women, and she's definitely not a clone. She stays. 

Yoshi: See above. He stays.

Wario: Wario was one of the more unique characters in Brawl, but I'd actually like to see him tweaked. The guy actually had a lot of fighting moves that they threw out the window for stuff like "fart" and "bite". Where's the shoulder bash? Where's the piledriver? Why not utilize anything from Wario Land or Wario World? Regardless, he stays.

Diddy Kong: Considering there's a new DK Country coming this year, and there's only two DK Country characters in Smash Bros, he stays.

Wolf: Wolf is a tough one. He came in to add more fighters from StarFox, but he turned out to be pretty clone-y. I still think he's a bit more varied than Falco, though. Although he doesn't have the tenure of Falco, I think the fact that he's a little more unique means that he stays. If not, they risk losing too many StarFox characters.

Falco: This will be an unpopular call, but I say cut Falco. He was a clone in Melee and slightly less of one in Brawl, but unless they give him an entirely new movest, he goes.

Dedede: Smash needed more Kirby characters and I don't think Dedede is going anywhere. He stays. 

Meta Knight: Again, with the three Kirby chacters they have, they've pretty much covered all viable fighters from the franchise. He stays.

Ice Climbers: They're unique, I'll give them that, but does anyone actually play as the Ice Climbers? Apparently some pros do, who have figured out how to spam one of their grab moves into an endless chain of death. At the very least, the Ice Climbers need to be nerfed, but I say, they go.

Marth: Fan favorite Marth will probably live to fight another day. He stays, but his Fire Emblem Partner on the other hand...

Ike: Ike is out of here. He'll be replaced by a new Fire Emblem character, probably Crom. He goes. 

Zelda: I don't think Zelda is going to be cut. It'd be really cool to see her in Skyward Sword style with a brand new Sheik design. Curiously, Link isn't sporting his Skyward Sword design which makes me curious about what direction they'll go with Zelda. In any case, she stays.

Ganondorf: Ganon is in some serious trouble. They nerfed him so much in Brawl that he actually ended up dead last on the tier list. More importantly, he wasn't in the last Zelda game at all. Of course, they could always give him an SS-style makeover (like the TP one they gave Sheik) and stick him in there anyway. Or they could revamp him with new moves, something he's needed since Melee since he's a Captain Falcon clone for some reason. Unfortunately, he is a clone. Unless they go through the effort of redesigning him, I think he might be replaced with a certain new Zelda villain. Unfortunately, I think he goes.

Toon Link: We only need one Link. Despite the remake of The Wind Waker, he goes. 

Olimar: Pikmin 3 does not feature Olimar as a playable character. I don't think he'll be cut, but he may be replaced with a different little guy with the same moves. He stays.

Captain Falcon: Being the only character from F-Zero, in the roster since the beginning, and having no game in 10 years, they better not cut Captain Falcon! He stays.

Mr. Game and Watch: I love this guy. He's one of my all-time favorite Smash fighters. About a year ago, Sakurai tweeted out a white board doodle of several Smash fighters and G&W was among them. Some say, though this isn't an official confirmation, that the character featured were at least being acknowledged by the developers. I got worried when I saw Villager, though. He's got a pretty similar play style to G&W. Even his pocket move is like G&W's oil bucket. Does this mean that G&W is out? Not necessarily. If it were up to me, he stays.

Lucario: Lucario is a goner. He'll be replaced with a newer Pokemon, perhaps the new incarnation of everyone's favorite Pokemon fighter, Mewtwo. He goes.

Jigglypuff: JP, your time has come. It's been fun, but we need more room for a character who's not made of glass. Jigglypuff literally gets thrown around like a beach ball. I'm not sure why she was in Smash Bros to begin with, but she goes.

Pokemon Trainer: Pokemon Trainer was a stupid idea. He goes.

Lucas: Sorry, man, but you're a clone. Although I kind of prefer Lucas to Ness (he's easier to use), Ness was first. He goes. 

Sonic: Sakurai said he's not going to add many 3rd party characters and that Mega Man was the exception. People took this to mean that by adding Mega Man, he'd be taking away Sonic and/or Snake. I don't think so. I think that Mega Man may just be the only new 3rd party character. He stays.

Snake: Snake is one of the highest tiered characters in Brawl. Although there aren't any Metal Gear games coming to Nintendo Platforms, it'd be the perfect contrast to Raiden in Sony Smash Bros. Plus, he's popular and he was supposed to be in Melee. I think he stays. 

ROB: Get out of here, ROB, nobody likes you. More importantly, your role of wacky, left field character is already filled by Wii Fit Trainer. He goes.

So, I've actually managed to cut ten characters, leaving room for at least seven more new fighters if the roster stays at the current size and they cut who I think they'll cut. But who should fill those spots? Come back next time to find out.

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