The announcer (ナレーション, Narration), called Narration in-game until Super Smash Bros. Brawl, is an unseen character that has appeared in all the games of the series, existing to (often but not always) exclaim what is happening in the game or what has happened. Though they have no direct effect on gameplay, the voice does act as an auditory signal for multiple events in the games, both within matches and the various menus (such as saying "Ready? Go!" upon the activation of Konga Beat, Donkey Kong's former Final Smash in Brawl and Smash 4, which is the only attack in all of the series to involve the Announcer in any way). All of the announcer's voice clips can be heard in the sound test.
The identity of the announcer (real or plot-based alias) has never been revealed within any of the games, and his specific role in the series beyond mechanical has never been clarified, if there is one. The voice actor for the announcer has also always voiced Master Hand and Crazy Hand, but the relationship between the three has never been elaborated on.
The announcer has been voiced by 14 actors to varying degrees, for each game in the series as well as for different regions and languages. The English voice actor is considered to be the "primary" one in each game and is used by default in NTSC versions, which means he is also used in Japan, albeit with some minor differences in his lines, including character names.
Jeff Manning was the first announcer in the series, starting many of the trends that would later be followed by the future announcers; in addition to his booming style and various exclamations during gameplay, such as characters being selected, Jeff Manning started a trend where both the Announcer and Master Hand are voiced by the same person. Manning's voice has a significant filter applied to it, causing his voice to echo, as well as increasing the intensity of his voice; his actual delivery, however, is relatively calm, and he does not generally hold out words for long periods of time.
Outside of Manning's voice, two other actors provide the announcer's voice in different regions; Frank Wölfen provides his voice in the German PAL version, and Jean-Marc Delhausse provides his voice in the French PAL version. The Chinese version of the game, released for the iQue Player, reuses Manning's voice.
Dean Harrington is the second announcer in the series. He takes on a different inflection than Manning; Harrington yells more similarly to an emcee at a boxing match, with his phrasing often lasting for long periods of time, as well as a generally more intense voice than Manning's. Like Manning, Harrington's voice has an echo filter applied to it; other filters applied to his voice, however, cause Harrington's voice to have a more muffled tone compared to the other announcers. With the introduction of Crazy Hand in the series, Harrington also began a trend where the announcer also voices Crazy Hand.
In the PAL version, when choosing Jigglypuff, a different announcer will say the character's name when the game is set to German or French (the names being "Pummeluff" and "Rondoudou", respectively). The French version is a repurposed voice clip from Pokémon Stadium 2, thus using the voice of Jean-Claude Donda, the French announcer of said game. The identity of the German announcer is, however, unknown. Unlike the English and Japanese versions, the French and German narration voice clips are very low in quality.
Pat Cashman is the third announcer in the series. He ended Harrington's emcee style, and in general, his voice is considerably calmer in sound, more akin to Manning. Cashman's voice is not modified to the extent of Manning's or Harrington's, leading to cleaner sound quality from him; Cashman also has a deeper voice than either of his two predecessors. Cashman's voice also features more personality from the announcer, such as his quizzical inflection when the player selects Luigi as a playable character.
Outside of Cashman's voice, five other individuals voice the announcer in Brawl, for the game's PAL and Korean releases. Achim Barrestein provides the German announcer, Carlos Lobo the Spanish announcer, Jean-Louis Faure provides the French announcer, Luigi Fantino provides the Italian announcer, and Choi Han provides the Korean announcer.
Cashman was the oldest announcer, being 58 when he recorded his lines for the game.
Xander Mobus is the fourth announcer in the series. He acts and sounds similarly to Pat Cashman in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, with his voice being deeper than those of Manning and Harrington, as well as having few filters applied to his voice. Compared to Cashman, however, Mobus's announcer is less relaxed and reserved, though he still does not act as intense as Harrington. Some of Mobus's portrayals also bear similarities with Cashman's, such as a sinister tone when selecting Bowser and Ganondorf.
Mobus also provided his voice in the 50-Fact Extravaganza presentation for Nintendo Direct, explicitly introducing himself as "the announcer" and proceeding to narrate the video; he also voices the announcer in a few commercials for the games.
Outside of Mobus's voice, four other announcers voice the announcer in the PAL release of Smash 4, all of whom were retained from Brawl: Achim Barrenstein (German), Carlos Lobo (Spanish), Jean-Louis Faure (French), and Luigi Fantino (Italian). However, they act slightly different than in Brawl: Faure and Lobo's voices are more audible and energetic, Barrenstein plays more powerfully, and Fantino plays more playfully. The Dutch, Portuguese, Korean, and Russian localizations use the English announcer.
The Spanish and French announcers also provide voices for the Latin American and Canadian localizations respectively, with subtle differences similar to the ones seen in the English and Japanese versions; for example, Rosalina is called "Estela" and "Harmonie" in the respective PAL versions but retains her English name in the NTSC versions. The French announcer also tends to pronounce several character names such as Bowser and Toon Link in a closer way to English, while others such as Jigglypuff and Corrin retain the pronunciation in Parisian French. Meanwhile, the Spanish announcer also differs pronunciations in some way; examples include the differences of intonation for King Dedede, and merged pronunciation of the C's and Z's with S's, such as Zelda pronounced as "Selda".
Mobus was by far the youngest of the Smash Bros. announcers, recording his lines for SSB4 at the age of 21, and recording his lines for Ultimate at 25; the previous three announcers were in their 50s at the time of their respective games' release.
In a series first, Mobus reprises his role as the English and Japanese announcer in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (as well as the voice for both Master Hand and Crazy Hand); he also provides voice clips specific to the Korean language option, while the Chinese options reuse his Japanese voice clips.
Some lines are also re-recorded between SSB4 and Ultimate: for example, "Computer player" has more emphasis on "-puter play-" in Ultimate than in SSB4, and both "Victory" and "Tourney" are spoken in a drastically energetic tone in Ultimate, compared to the SSB4 versions being spoken in a reserved tone (similar to the latter's Brawl counterpart). Other lines however were reused, such as the names of the playable characters from the previous game.
Mobus would portray the Announcer in an overview trailer for Ultimate in a similar manner to his performance in the 50-Fact Extravaganza. In this particular video, his voice is deeper than usual and has more of a "growl" when stressing key phrases.
Additionally, the previous foreign language announcers retain their roles from Brawl and SSB4 along with two new, unknown announcers for the Dutch and Russian language options. The Dutch announcer's portrayal somewhat resembles Pat Cashman's voice in Brawl, with more relaxed voice clips similar to the French version. Meanwhile, the Russian announcer's voice is deeper and plays slower than those of the rest of the announcers.
Unlike the previous two announcers, Crazy Hand uses a radically different voice from Master Hand and the announcer, somewhat akin to Iggy Koopa's voice clips from the same games.
In another series first, Ultimate is the first game in the series to feature an alternate voice for the announcer during a character's win screen, with Kazuya having the Tekken 7 announcer announce his victory instead, voiced by Josh Keller.