Over the course of the next couple of years, Nintendo fighting game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is due to get six new fighters added to its roster as DLC. We know the first of those is going to be a character from the Arms series, but beyond that it’s literally anybody’s guess who those fighters could be. Previous Smash fighter announcements have included Joker from Persona 5, the N64 mascot characters Banjo and Kazooie, Solid Snake and his explosives, Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac-Man, and even Cloud from Final Fantasy 7; with that kind of all star roster it feels like basically any video game character ever might be on the cards.
However, when it comes to discussions of characters that could come to Smash Ultimate as DLC, one group of characters is perhaps debated more than any other, the Assist Trophies who toooootally should have been main series fighters.
For the uninitiated, Assist Trophies in Smash Ultimate are collectable items which, if activated mid fight, will summon in a computer controlled character to assist the player, fighting their enemies or causing chaos for enemy fighters. These characters are often secondary characters from well known series, or protagonists from lesser known franchises, but a decent handful of them are also characters players had spent years begging to see as main series fighters.
Krystal from Star Fox: Adventures, Guille from Street Fighter, Bomberman, Isaac from Golden Sun, Shovel Knight, Ashley from Warioware, Ghirahim from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Zero from the Mega Man series, and everyone’s favorite Waluigi have all appeared as assist trophies in Smash Ultimate, and while Nintendo has never explicitly said that would preclude a character from becoming a main series fighter, I think it would just be a bad idea to have any of these fan favorites make it into Ultimate as a DLC fighter.
Here’s an example of the problem, as I see it. We know the next DLC character added to Smash is going to be one of the characters from Arms. The obvious guess would have been Spring Man, as he has somewhat acted as the mascot character for the game, featuring heavily in box art, advertising, and promotional material. Spring Man however is already an Assist Trophy in Smash Ultimate, and while the competitive scene may not have a problem with a character being both a fighter and assist trophy, it would undoubtedly cause unnecessary confusion in casual play.
What happens when someone fighting as spring man summons the spring man assist trophy? Well, now if the two stay close together it’ll be harder to tell at a glance which is the player, and which is the NPC fighter. What if someone tries to dodge a hit thinking it’s the human player, but it fails because the movesets differ? The inevitability that two identical characters would be on screen at once but with differing abilities would complicate a fighting game known for its simplicity.
Now, I’m not saying I don’t hope to some day see these characters as main series fighters in the Smash Bros. series, but I’m not holding my breath any of them will make the roster until at the earliest next console generation. If a new Smash game comes to the Switch 2, and Waluigi’s Assist Trophy is mysteriously absent from the game code then maybe expect him to be added as a fighter, but until then I personally hope we don’t see any of these fan favorite characters announced as DLC.