Smash fans everywhere have been itching for a new character announcement since Byleth’s disappointing inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate this January. In a leak by the Japanese Smash website, Fighter Pass Vol. 2’s release date was listed as March 23rd, meaning a new challenger is on their way very soon, sending the community into a frenzy in theorizing who it could be.
Instead of focusing on who it could, here are five characters that will NOT be joining Smash Ultimate.
Scorpion—Mortal Kombat series
He’s the face of the Mortal Kombat and Netherrealm Studios. Scorpion, the undead ninja wraith, is an icon within the fighting game community. With his signature spear-chain and catchphrase, few characters are as recognized as the fire-spewing, yellow-clad ninja. With his badass arsenal of weaponry, bone-crushing moves, and pyrotechnics, he seems like a prime crossover candidate for fighting games.
As proof, he was featured in Netherrealm Studios’ other fighting franchise, Injustice, where he dukes it out with DC Comics’ finest, going on to become a popular addition to the super hero/villain cast. Although he was later replaced in Injustice 2 with the cryomancer Sub-Zero and thunder god Raiden, it was Scorpion’s popularity that led to these guests being added.
Scorpion is also series co-creator Ed Boon’s favorite character, who also served as the mantle for the ninja’s voice since 1992, including his famous catchphrase.
In an interview with Boon by Shacknews, Boon states his thoughts on Scorpion and Sub-Zero’s potential inclusion into Smash Ultimate. He states:
“For me personally (I can’t speak for all of Warner Bros or anything), that would be kind of like a stamp of approval. It’d be like being part of the gang and all that stuff. I would love to see that.”
After Mortal Kombat 11’s inclusion on the Switch, it seemed like prime time for one of its characters to guest in a Nintendo game. With Scorpion’s repertoire, he seems like the easiest pick among Mortal Kombat’s cast, ahead of Sub-Zero and Noob Saibot.
However, it is what makes him so great that earns him that big fat letter of denial.
The Mortal Kombat franchise is renowned for its fighting mechanics, but it is most notorious for the bloodbath it is for its sheer brutality. Blood rains down as fighters tear each other apart with a wide variety of cinematic, and ultra-violent moves, with the grand culmination of the gore fest being each character’s Fatality. Scorpion is no exception.
It was thanks to games like Mortal Kombat that the gaming industry has the ESRB ratings board in the first place. Thanks MK!
Ironically enough, while Mortal Kombat 11 was featured on the Japanese console, the game itself was banned in Japan for its portrayal of excessive violence and gore. Mortal Kombat is not the only game to fall victim to these rulings, with many other “violent” games banned or altered completely to be fit for sale in Japan. Titles like Fallout 3 and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance are but a few.
With the series’ Japanese ban and his proclivity for butchering foes into fine red paste, Scorpion is an unlikely addition to the E+10 rated Smash roster.
The dual-sword wielding and flimsy clothes-donning android badass, 2B, from Nier: Automata, is another name that’s been swirling around the internet as of late. Ranging from leaked information to screenshots, many Twitter and 4chan users believe 2B is the next candidate for Fighter Pass Vol. 2. and she isn’t without her merits either.
From gauntlets to spears to swords, 2B would make any swordie worth their salt run for their money. Along with Nier: Automata’s unique and stylish dodge-dashing gameplay and her robot companion POD’s long-range fire, 2B would be an interesting spin on the ever-present swordie archetype prevalent in Ultimate, and looking good while doing so.
Some of her abilities were put on display when she was featured in Soul Calibur 6, utilizing her acrobatic swordsmanship and techniques to slice up her opponents in the 3D fighting ring. Players also got a good dosage of fanservice when pitting two 2B’s against each other.
However, Smash Bros. isn’t too keen on such levels of fanservice, especially one on 2B’s level of subtlety—or lack thereof.
In an interview translated by AllSourceGaming, a lot of censorship goes into the development of Smash Bros. According to game director Masahiro Sakurai, he and his team were responsible for censoring potentially sexually provocative shots and designs for characters like Peach, Palutena, and Zero Suit Samus to retain the game’s rating. Sakurai also said that Smash 4 almost didn’t make its scheduled release because of this headache-inducing, back-and-forth bickering with CERO, Japan’s version of the ESRB.
It was for this reason that SNK’s Mai Shiranui of King of Fighters notoriety was excluded among the guest characters featured in Terry Bogard’s stage. In Terry’s fighter showcase video, Sakurai sarcastically stated that “Smash Bros. is a game meant for good boys and girls,” and as a result, Mai was excluded—for two BIG reasons.
Although Mai’s scant outfit is on a level above 2B’s own, it is a damning enough reason for her ineligibility. If characters like Peach and Palutena, whose outfits contain more than double the amount of fabric than 2B’s sorry excuse of a skirt are censored, 2B and her assets won’t see the light of day in Ultimate.
Sora—Kingdom Hearts series
Sora’s inclusion in Smash was once considered a pipe-dream. His close ties with Square Enix and the Final Fantasy franchise were the nail in the coffin for any chance at being featured in Nintendo’s all-star brawl.
However, when Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud Strife was added in Smash 4 to the surprise of everyone, a flicker of hope emerged. Sora actually had a chance in Smash after so many had speculated for years that there was no way. Kingdom Hearts’ keyblade warrior could one day bask in Smash’s limelight.
Fast-forwarding to Smash Ultimate, Sora’s chances get even higher. Smash’s development team show that they are no stranger to adding guest characters beyond familiar Nintendo IP’s. Dragon Quest’s Hero and Rare’s Banjo and Kazooie were proof of that. Besides, Sora would fit right in with his acrobatic fighting abilities and keyblade prowess.
These hopes were dashed when a claim by Game Informer senior editor Imran Kahn came to light. Kahn stated that Nintendo actually tried to push for Sora’s inclusion in Smash Bros. by reaching out to Square Enix. However, according to Kahn, a third party stepped in and squashed any chances of that happening.
Disney Japan works in collaboration with Square Enix on the production of Kingdom Hearts but has more—if not full—ownership of the franchise. Any future works or collaborations to be done with any of the Kingdom Hearts intellectual property must receive approval from Disney first, and in this case, Disney put their foot down.
The path for Sora’s inclusion may have gotten wider, but that day isn’t any time soon.
The kingpin of first-person shooters made his return in the award-winning Doom back in 2016. After a decade of silence, it was a return to fine form in the best way possible. Doom’s exhilarating combat and Doomguy’s all-round badassery reminded everyone why this series has a special place in gamers’ hearts around the world. With Doom Eternal on its way, what better way to celebrate the king’s triumphant return than including him in what is widely regarded as a “celebration of gaming.”
It seems only right that Doomguy, the man behind one of the most revolutionary games, is included in Ultimate’s celebrated roster, and the Smash community is in full agreement.
Countless fans of both Smash and Doom communities have voiced their positive opinions on Doomguy’s inclusion, with many remarking that he deserves it. The more creative members of the fandoms have come up with character splash art, movesets, and wonderful animations displaying the raw power of the man who makes Hell quiver in fear at his name.
Hype for his inclusion skyrocketed when Doom Eternal was announced to release on a Nintendo console, as well as bringing Doom 64 and Doom 2016 on board. It showed that Nintendo was willing to accept Doomguy, and his gore-tastic achievements on their console.
Funnily enough, Doom 2016 was NOT banned in Japan despite being blood-filled gore fest like Mortal Kombat was. Allegedly, the CERO rating board in Japan is more lenient on violence when it is subjected towards non-human enemies, like the countless imps, mancubi, and other minions of Hell Doomguy tears apart. Sorry, Mortal Kombat!
Along with the communities’ response, Id Software executive producer and DoomEternal director Marty Stratton revealed in an interview that he and his team talked with Nintendo about Doomguy’s inclusion in Ultimate, talking about how “cool it’d be”
However, these conversations, according to Stratton, have not gone anywhere seriously. It’s unknown if Doomguy is at all included in the upcoming fighter lineup.
Sakurai stated during Byleth’s announcement video that the six DLC fighters were set in stone, meaning any game coming out in the near future will not be considered. Although Doomguy’s game was released in 2016, his latest game isn’t out yet, jeopardizing his portrayal and chances in Smash. It was also said that there are no further plans with DLC once Fighter Pass Vol. 2 wraps up in late 2021, leaving Doomguy’s fate ultimately unknown.
On top of this, Doomguy’s moveset is a problem.
His entire arsenal is built around shooting things and being as uber-violent as possible–something that would be incredibly out of place in Smash. While even Scorpion’s attacks can be scaled back, Doomguy’s, well, they can’t.
A big issue with Smash’s ratings system is the portrayal of violence and weaponry on screen. Unlike with ratings boards in Japan that deal with sexually provocative elements, overseas ratings reviews all say “no guns.”
This was the main reason why Metal Gear Solid’s Snake had a severely altered moveset revolving around minimal CQC and laying traps and explosives instead of the firearms that are readily present in his games. The only real “firearm” he pulls out is an RPG-7, which he comically fires at his own feet to blow up any opponent foolish enough to come within breathing distance.
The firearms present in Smash Ultimate are displayed cartoonishly to fit the game’s aesthetic. Fox, Falco, and Wolf and Zero-Suit Samus have stereotypical, sci-fi laser blasters that shoot out colorful laser beams. Megaman, Samus, and Mii gunner have arm cannons that look nothing like guns. Diddy Kong fires peanuts with an overly sized popgun. Persona 5’s Joker technically uses an air-soft gun. Captain Falcon also has a gun, which he keeps firmly holstered at his hip.
The only real outlier is Bayonetta, who wields two sets of fours guns on each of her limbs. However, they shoot purple-trailed bullets and the guns themselves are mainly used for Bayonetta’s melee combo-chains rather than regular fire.
Doomguy on the other hand shoots nothing but flesh-tearing bullets. His other attacks also involve ripping and tearing, which doesn’t really fit the jive of Smash. The only way for him to fit is toning down the very essence of his character, neutering him from his roots.
Toned down Doomguy would not be Doomguy. It would just be Some Guy with a ridiculously oversized laser gun that would be a bastardization of what makes Doomguy great.
Anything less than shotgun-toting Doomguy is heresy and Sakurai and his development team are probably aware of this. The painstaking detail the team puts into crafting all the fighters shows the level of care and accuracy they want to aim for. Dragon Quest’s Hero and SNK’s Terry Bogard’s novel movesets are a testament to this level of dedication.
For that reason, Doomguy will probably not make the cut.
Waluigi—Super Mario series
What are you talking about? Waluigi is already in Smash!