After the advent of Final Fantasy VII’s Sephiroth, Smash fans and gamers were in a tizzy. One of the unspoken rules/restrictions of the Smash series had been broken with the One-Winged Angel’s inclusion, surging waves of hype over the game’s future character roster. If Sephiroth made it into Smash, in the face of how protective Square Enix is with its intellectual properties, then the doors are open to so many potential candidates that previously didn’t have a chance.
Rumors and speculation are running rampant on who the next challenger could be. Gamers everywhere are clamoring for gaming icons like Master Chief and Doomguy to join the fray, while others still cling onto hope for Dante or Sora.
Compared to Smash 4, Nintendo has been doing a magnificent job remaining tight-lipped and secretive about any information regarding DLC fighters. It only amplifies the hype and rising speculation within the community—and a particular rumor has been gaining a lot of traction lately.
The Leaks and Deets
Please take the validity of the following rumors with a grain of salt.
An anonymous leaker on the Japanese forum board 5ch revealed that Nintendo and Bandai Namco were in the planning stages of adding a fight from the Tales of series, namely the protagonists of Symphonia and Vesperia, Lloyd Irving and Yuri Lowell. However, it’s unclear at the moment if the two are in the works, if at all.
At first glance on the Japanese site, the information given is rather tame. It presents two popular, and highly requested, characters as DLC candidates.
What sets this leaker apart is the other information they included with their post.
They stated that Dragon Quest’s Hero and Minecraft’s Steve were coming to Ultimate as DLC characters—in 2018.
The post on 5ch was made on December 19, 2018, twelve days after Ultimate’s release.
Of course, the leaker could have gotten lucky with their guess. Guessing which characters can make it into Smash usually boils down to hard luck and speculative deduction. Cloud’s inclusion into Smash 4 changed the guessing game landscape, paving the road for many new characters once thought impossible. However, Cloud’s limited representation and prior difficulty in obtaining rights to retain him for Smash’s roster led many Smash fans to be skeptical in who could make it.
However, that was all before Ultimate’s DLC lineup, both Fighter Pass 1 and 2, blew everyone’s socks off, changing the guessing game frame yet once again.
The fact the leaker guessed Steve and Hero before this perspective shift happened gives them a bit of credence and is probably why Smash fans have become attentive of a post made over two years ago.
On top of this, the leaker touched base briefly on Street Fighter’s Chun-Li and Kingdom Hearts’ Sora’s relevance in Smash, mentioning the two were once potential candidates but both were scrapped somewhere in development. Chun-Li was probably due to Ken’s inclusion and Sora’s was most likely a result of Kingdom Hearts being affiliated with Disney, and how insanely protective Disney is with its IPs.
Sorry, Sora fans.
What Works Against the Rumor
Though there is some merit in being able to guess Smash characters correctly, what leads some to be skeptical about the leaker’s information is the lack of details regarding other characters.
Hero and Steve are both DLC fighters but are split across two different seasons. The announcement of Fighter Pass 2 was made in September 2019 during Fatal Fury’s Terry Bogard announcement, surprising everyone that Smash DLC would be adding more fighters on top of the already established five new guests.
If the leaker claims to know as much Smash insider information as they are letting on, it’s surprising they didn’t include such crucial details that would have changed the Smash DLC landscape once unveiled.
Also, the lack of information regarding other potential fighters, when five were originally planned, and what order they would be released in makes the post’s validity further dubious. Surely the leaker would have mentioned something about fighting game icon Terry Bogard if they truly were an insider source.
Also, Hero and Steve are pretty easy guesses in the grand scheme of things. Dragon Quest has a massive fanbase and following inside Japan, with fans crying for representation in Smash for years. Though Steve has weaker reasoning than Hero, he does come from one of most popular and sold video games in history. With Smash including indie game reps as cameos, even Western characters like Shovel Knight, Steve’s chance of making it into Smash was never zero.
The Uncertain Future
As is the case with all rumors and “leaks”, it’s best to approach it with a skeptical heart to avoid heartbreak and disappointment. Nintendo will always maintain its strict “no comment” policy toward all rumors, so fans shouldn’t expect to hear anything any time soon.
With Fighter Pass 2 halfway through its life cycle, gamers eagerly await the next surprise guest, as that appears to be the current theme. Lloyd and Yuri would be welcome additions but feel a bit too safe when taking the momentum of Fighter Pass 2 into the conversation.
The development and inclusion cycle of new fighters takes anywhere from two to four months until the next fighter is added to the roster. The earliest fans could hear news about the next fighter would be March. Taking how many guest slots are left, Fighter Pass 2 will wrap up right around the end of 2021.
Sakurai has expressed in past interviews that he would like to continue adding as many characters as he can to Ultimate’s roster, even perhaps beyond Fighter Pass 2, though, the possibility of a Fighter Pass 3 is probably slim, just like the chance of having this many characters again. It would be a nice surprise, however, to know there are even more chances for guest characters to make it to Smash. One can dream.
Until more information comes to light, fans can resume what they do best: