List of rumors
A rumor is a statement or story that gains traction within popular discourse but lacks sufficient verifiable evidence to be confirmed or denied. Like many other games, the Super Smash Bros. series has had various rumors spread about it, usually through the internet, and sometimes magazines. Most of the time, rumors claimed to contain information concerning playable characters, though rumors concerning other aspects of gameplay, such as development scheduling, can also appear.
Rumors typically have no more than hearsay as evidence, though some can contain true information, or even fabricated information that coincidentally becomes true with later developments. Rumors can be proven true or false on arrival via fact-checking or by waiting for relevant information from official sources, though the vast majority are proven false. That being said, rumors that are later proven true tend to receive concrete evidence later on, shifting it into the realm of leaks. Some false rumors are intentionally created to give the creator attention or just cause commotion, with some going as far as to fabricate evidence, with instances of this nature being defined as a hoax.
While rumors about the Smash series are innumerable, this article documents only especially notable rumors, whether for being well known and widely spread, for being from a notable source, or for other noteworthy reasons worth mentioning.
As with any game, the Smash Bros. series has had various works of fan art being passed off as supposedly leaked screenshots. Box art and character selection screens for Brawl were particularly common, though images of characters in the game also appeared. Shortly before and after the release of the game in Japan, these images had become more and more common, though the use of video streaming sites such as YouTube quickly disproved most of these rumors as more gameplay footage of the game became public.
Many character selection screens for Melee also made the rounds, though these screens were less credible due to the ability to quickly distribute images on the internet being unfeasible during Melee's release; by then, all the unlockables had been well-known. Some of these fake rosters, however, were merely made as jokes, including a particularly famous image featuring over 108 characters and eight player slots. The inability to easily customize the character roster for the original game has prevented fake rosters from appearing, as there are no empty spaces, and the game was released before the internet was widespread.
While extremely common, fake character rosters are relatively easy to debunk. Particularly low-quality rosters will often use art from various other sources, violating the trend in the series where all art is original to the games. For example, in the image to the right, Luigi's image is a mirrored version of his official artwork from Super Mario 64 DS; adding to this, the hoaxed image features both three-dimensional models (such as for the aforementioned Luigi and the F-Zero character Black Shadow) and two-dimensional illustrations (such as for Marth and Fire Emblem character Micaiah). Furthermore, hoaxers have sometimes made various oversights while producing such images. A minor hoax, for instance, claimed to feature the character Agnès from Bravely Default as a playable character, but the faked images improperly spelt her name as "Agnés", and her character portrait was different between the two images given.
Rumors about Super Smash Bros.
Non-playable characters hoaxes
Being able to play as characters such as Metal Mario, Giant Donkey Kong, Master Hand, or a Fighting Polygon was the main source of rumors during the game's era. As with other rumors of the time, the supposed criteria ranged from unusual (spinning the control stick 30 times) to ludicrous (completing the 1P Game as every character in a specific order on Very Hard with a stock of one). Many videos on YouTube continue to claim these rumors, but all of these which supposedly work merely use cheat devices to allow playability of these characters.
Scrapped characters rumor
A popular rumor about Smash 64 that came around long after its release was that several characters were planned to be playable in the game, but cut due to time and/or memory constraints. The characters most often rumored to have been planned but cut are Peach, Wario, Pit, and Meowth. A page on the official Smash 64 website claims that Bowser, King Dedede, and Mewtwo were indeed planned to be playable in Smash 64, but the reason for their exclusion is not specifically stated. Additionally, Marth was planned but cut due to time constraints, according to an interview from a book titled Making of Fire Emblem: 25 Years of Development Secrets. No sources, however, have been proven to support Pit, Meowth, Peach, Wario, or any other characters as having ever been planned to be playable in the game.
Rumors about Super Smash Bros. Melee
Sonic and Tails hoax
The Sonic and Tails rumor in Melee remains one of the most infamous rumors not just in the Super Smash Bros. series, but also in the world of video games. An April Fools' joke pulled by the gaming-themed magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly said that Sonic and Tails could be unlocked after defeating 20 enemies in Cruel Melee, then defeating the two in a two-against-one battle. The blurb also claimed that upon completing Classic Mode with either of the two characters, the player would get a "special surprise". While EGM was famous for its previous April Fools' Day pranks, such as the infamous "Sheng Long cheat" in Street Fighter II (which would later be referenced by Ryu's reveal trailer in Smash 4), many readers still fell for the rumor.
The rumor can be debunked through multiple pieces of evidence:
- The given unlock message does not follow the grammatical patterns of other unlock messages, specifically in its overuse of capitalized words. This can be seen by comparing the above image's notice with that of Pichu's.
- After unlocking all 25 characters, the player receives a Notice that they have unlocked all characters, so unlocking more characters would contradict the Notice.
- After obtaining all trophies, the player receives a Notice that they have unlocked all trophies, but clearing any of the one-player modes with Sonic or Tails should yield more trophies, thus contradicting the Notice.
- The pair's positions on opposite sides of the character selection screen defies the general rule that characters of a series are grouped together once everyone is unlocked. Additionally, their presence blocks the random character functionality with no apparent replacement, an unlikely occurrence in terms of game design.
- In the screenshot claiming to show Sonic as a selectable character, Sonic's art is identical to one of his official renders from Sonic Adventure on the Sega Dreamcast. In contrast, all other characters in the game have completely original art for their character select portraits.
- At the time of the production of Melee, Sega and Nintendo were rivals both in the software and hardware businesses, making it unlikely that the two would work together to develop a game.
- A later interview conducted by EDGE with former head of Sonic Team Yuji Naka, claimed that, on the topic of Sonic and Tails appearing in Melee, "it was very close, but time constraints did not allow us to continue with the idea."
- There is no data on the game's disc relating to the duo, and they cannot be selected with the debug menu.
- The method for unlocking the two simply does not work. Numerous videos have demonstrated getting more than 20 KOs in Cruel Melee, whether naturally or via exploits such as the Master Hand glitch, does not unlock the duo, and in the early years of the rumor, an infamous video featuring Pikachu getting 565 KOs in Cruel Melee effectively disproved the hoax.
- Although subtle, EGM attempted to hint readers that the cheat was actually an April Fools' joke; previous jokes would feature a "1" and "4" in some way as to reference April Fools' Day, as the shorthand date for the day is 4/1 in America or 1/4 in Europe. Owing to this, the Notice commemorating Sonic and Tails being unlocked had the date as "4.1.2002".
The rumor rapidly spread following its publication, with rival publication Nintendo Power publishing an article about how the rumor was a hoax, and the page on Melee in Nintendo's website also writing about how the rumor was false. EGM would eventually confess in its next issue that the cheat was an April Fools' joke, and, like its previous April Fools' Day jokes, mock those who took it seriously. EGM later offered a contest where players who submitted video proof of getting 20 or more KOs in Cruel Melee could receive a free copy of Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, Sonic's first game on a Nintendo system.
This rumor would later go on to be referenced in the "Super Smash Bros. Series" column of the Sonic the Hedgehog Encyclo-speed-ia, where it is jokingly stated within the unlock requirements for Sonic that "defeating ten enemies in Cruel Melee in Super Smash Bros. Melee is not one of them," though erroneously stating ten enemies needed to be defeated rather than 20.
The Toad rumor, initially posted on a small Geocities site in November of 2002, stated that Toad could be unlocked as a playable character in Melee after obtaining a perfect score during the credits mini-game, which is played after completing any one-player mode; after hitting all the credits, the player would then have to clear Adventure Mode (with a requirement of "easily defeating" the Yoshis in the Mushroom Kingdom stage), after which they would be able to unlock him. The site also gave several fake screenshots depicting Toad in various in-game scenarios, propagating the rumor; it came to the point where the images had become more well-known than the site and the supposed method to unlock him, with explanations sometimes varying strongly from the original.
The method was disproved by the same evidence as the Sonic and Tails rumor, because in addition to Toad's place on the character select screen defying the rule that all characters in a series should be grouped together, the screenshots of Toad were made by taking images from Toad when he was running around the Mushroom Kingdom of the Adventure Mode of the game. Inconsistencies with the actual gameplay surrounding Toad also debunked the rumor; the site says that Toad has no accommodations in All-Star Mode, has no trophies, and has no videos for his Ending Sequence after finishing a 1-Player game, unlikely occurrences in terms of game design. The site itself also contributed to the debunking of the rumor; it was hosted on GeoCities, a former web hosting site that allowed anyone to create their own pages, causing the rumor to be considerably less credible than the Sonic and Tails rumor (which was featured in a widely-read magazine). The site also featured some incorrect information; for instance, when speaking about the game's Adventure Mode, the site claims that the ordeal is similar to unlocking Falco - Falco, however, is unlockable in Multi-Man Melee, not in Adventure Mode. Numerous spelling and grammatical errors were also present on the page, such as the misspelling of "taunt" as "taught". Tool-assisted runs of a perfect score of the credits and a perfect score by Porkyz on February 2, 2021 proved nothing is unlocked with a perfect score.
NeoGAF scrapped characters rumor
Long after Melee's release in May of 2012, a NeoGAF user named cednym would post information about planned content for Melee that was scrapped, which he supposedly found in old Famitsu issues from 2002. Among the claims were several characters being planned for inclusion, which were: King Dedede being the character next inline for inclusion if Masahiro Sakurai could not receive permission from Intelligent Systems to use Marth, as well as being considered for inclusion in the place of the six clones; that Sakurai considered a Pokémon Trainer character using the second generation starter Pokémon, but there wasn't enought time and resources for such a labor intensive character; Wario was briefly considered as the Mario clone, with low speed and high attack power, but Sakurai felt that Wario deserved better; Wolf was initially slotted as Fox's clone, but Sakurai felt he would be perceived as "a grey-colored Fox", so he went with Falco for his more distinct appearance; and Leif from Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 was initially slotted as Marth's clone, but after Intelligent Systems shown Sakurai a preview of the upcoming Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, he thought Roy would be a better fit, with his fire properties making him stand out. While cednym provided no evidence to legitimize his post, these claims would proliferate within the Smash community as accepted information about Melee's development for several years after. In 2016, Source Gaming would attempt to find these old Famitsu translations or any other information to support these claims, in their endeavor to chronicle all characters that were ever planned or seriously considered for inclusion in any Smash game for their "The Definitive List of Unused Fighters in Smash" article. However, they could not find anything that corroborated any of cednym's claims, in fact they would only find information that contradicted it, such as Sakurai confirming that Wario was the character next inline for inclusion, not King Dedede, as well as Sakurai confirming that he wouldn't have been able to add a single unique newcomer in the place of the six clones, contradicting the claim that Dedede could have been included in their place. Eventually, PushDustin, the admin of Source Gaming at the time, would contact cednym directly for verification of his claims, where he would then admit that his post was entirely falsified.
Rumors about Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Radio interview rumor
Shortly after Brawl's announcement, a rumor claimed that in a radio interview, Masahiro Sakurai confirmed that Ridley, a cel-shaded Link, and Bowser Jr. would be playable characters. Coinciding with this was the rumor of Young Link, the Ice Climbers, and Mr. Game & Watch being dropped. This was proven to be false; while Toon Link does replace Young Link in Brawl as the second Link, Ridley appears as a boss instead of a playable character, Bowser Jr. only appears as a sticker and trophy, and Mr. Game & Watch and the Ice Climbers returned as playable characters in Brawl.
Coincidentally, Bowser Jr. was later playable in Smash 4, with technical limitations of the Nintendo 3DS also causing the Ice Climbers to be cut from the game; despite this, Ridley did not become a playable character until Ultimate, and Mr. Game & Watch still returned in every game after Brawl.
Animal Crossing characters rumors
During the development of Brawl, multiple rumors suggested that a character from Animal Crossing, such as the generic playable character (termed an "Animal Crosser") or Tom Nook, would be playable in Brawl. A statement was reportedly made by Sakurai on the matter, which claimed that "On one hand, they have an innocent charm to them that could be ruined if they were in a fighting game"; the veracity of this statement, however, is disputed. Despite the lack of a playable character, Animal Crossing is strongly represented in Brawl by some music tracks, trophies, stickers, an Assist Trophy, a stage, and numerous cameos on said stage.
An Animal Crossing Villager eventually became a playable character in Smash 4; an interview with Sakurai also states that the Villager was considered for inclusion in Brawl, but the idea was rejected because "he wasn't suited for battle".
Assist trophy rumors
Towards the end of 2007, the Whobby Game Festival occurred in Japan; among its primary points of interests was that a playable demo of Super Smash Bros. Brawl would be available for play by attendants. Due to the event taking place only in Japan, a region with relatively little representation in most English-speaking websites, such as Smashboards, updates on the game were sparse and difficult to confirm. The most well-known claim, however, stated that Assist Trophies of Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy, Duster from Mother 3, and Muddy Mole from Mole Mania would be featured in the game.
Amid an increase in English-speakers that played demos at events, as well as the release of the game, the rumor was proven false, and further hacking of the game proved that no such evidence of the trio were even planned to be included. It is unknown if the trophies were mistaken for other support characters (such as Gardevoir being confused for Rosalina or Mr. Resetti being confused for Muddy) or if these claims were deliberately hoaxed to fool players. Incidentally, Rosalina would become playable starting with Smash 4.
Downloadable content rumor
Shortly after Brawl was released in America, a newspost appeared on the internet, claiming that Brawl would feature four downloadable characters and two downloadable stages, as well as a new Wii Channel of "Wii Want More". The discovery of multiple unused character files present in the game also added credence to the rumor, under the assumption that the empty files rendered it easier to create add-on content.
The rumor was quickly proven as false; Masahiro Sakurai himself stated that downloadable content would never be coming for Brawl, as the Wii's flash-based internal hardware is incapable of patching or otherwise modifying a game based on a downloaded file. The supposed release date of 13 May 2008 also passed without a "Wii Want More" channel being released or announced. Additionally, in a vein similar to the Toad rumor, the site was hosted on 110MB, a hosting site where anyone on the internet can publish content. However, downloadable content would become a prominent part of subsequent games, starting with Super Smash Bros. 4.
Rumors about Super Smash Bros. 4
Super Smash Bros. Universe rumor
Shortly after the official announcement of the fourth Super Smash Bros., an image circulated around the internet detailing what appeared to be an advertisement or design document that was said to be from the official Nintendo headquarters in Japan for "Super Smash Bros. Universe"; multiple imageboards worked to translate the document, leading to some supposed preliminary idea for the games. Sakurai, however, stated that he had not begun working on the new Smash Bros. at the time and was focusing on Kid Icarus Uprising; the documents were later finally disproven when it was demonstrated that the game's title would not be Super Smash Bros. Universe.
An All is Brawl blog post made on the 25th of June in 2013 claimed that an image had been leaked on the Smash 4 website, presumably from the "image of the day". The image shows Mario and Lucina (from Fire Emblem Awakening) on a Fairy Isle in the Great Sea. There was no evidence on the site, however; the image of the day instead featured Link doing an aerial Spin Attack in Skyloft.
This image, while initially appearing to be legitimate, was actually compiled using a variety of elaborate mods available for Brawl. The stage seen in the image is a Fairy Isle modded stage, and the Mario in the image uses a texture hack to make his model more closely resemble his newer model in Smash 4; Lucina herself is identical to a Project Smash Attacks mod seen in "The Lucina PSA". While this rumor did not become particularly widespread outside All is Brawl and was debunked fairly quickly, the hoax was the first to showcase the level of elaboration that Brawl mods bring to rumor producers; many later hoaxed images would similarly use mods to try making their faked leaks look more realistic, and purported leaks consisting of game screenshots or videos were often compared to already existing Brawl mods to check for their credibility.
While this rumor was false, Lucina would later be confirmed to be a playable character on July 14th, 2014, alongside Robin, over one year after the faked image was first posted. Expectedly, she did not at all resemble her appearance in the hoaxed image, further establishing that the image was a hoax.
On 22 January 2014, two supposedly leaked images of Palutena in the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. 4 began to circulate on the internet. The veracity of the images were immediately questioned, though some observers noted that the model and poses used by Palutena were not seen in any previous photo, and unlike the Lucina rumor, no hacks available for Brawl could replicate the image seen. Of particular note is that after the two images were released, a series of Kid Icarus-related images were released on Miiverse, leading some observers to speculate that Sakurai was aware of the Palutena images.
During the 2014 E3 event, Nintendo confirmed Palutena's inclusion in the game, and gameplay footage of her was also shown; despite this, several differences between the models used in the rumored photos and the actual game were observed, which led to debate over whether or not the images were legitimate in the first place. The images were finally revealed hoaxes in a thread on 4chan concerning the ESRB leak; Mario and Palutena were created in an external program and these models were later digitally manipulated to resemble those from Super Smash Bros. 4.
Chunky Kong hoax
During the E3 2014 demo and ensuing Smash-Fest, people reported seeing many previously unrevealed Assist Trophies, such as Shadow, Tingle, and Magnus. While these reports ended up being later confirmed by video evidence, one particular character implicated in these reports, Chunky Kong from Donkey Kong 64, completely eluded any sort of video or photographic evidence. Despite the lack of evidence, people initially generally believed this report, as it came from multiple independent sources, that even fully described his effect as "slamming the ground to make bananas fall from the sky". However, Smash-Fest passed without any sort of video or photographic evidence of Chunky Kong, and with the lack of direct or indirect confirmation from Sakurai, it became doubted if these reports were entirely telling the truth. Chunky Kong later became a minor in-joke within the Smash community; with the lack of any sort of concrete evidence to prove the character's existence despite multiple claims to the contrary, the character was jokingly compared to Bigfoot, a famous North American cryptid.
After E3 2014 passed, with there still being no visual evidence of Chunky Kong despite the tens of hours of new gameplay footage being seen, the Chunky Kong Assist Trophy was generally regarded as a false report, though it was not known if it was intentionally falsified information, or inadvertently mistaken with another gameplay element. The rumor was ultimately proven completely false after both the Japanese release of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and the American release of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, where Chunky Kong was still absent. About a month after Smash 4's release on Wii U, the poster who first reported the Chunky Kong Assist Trophy confessed to fabricating the claim; he initially intended to use the false piece of information to help himself catch fake leaks, as well as see how many people would repeat his seemingly outlandish claim.
Rayman DLC hoax
On February 14, 2015, multiple pictures taken of Ubisoft's Rayman supposedly in Smash 4 were posted onto 4chan. The images were of Rayman's character select screen icon, his render, his character unlock splash art, and the main menu of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U with a new sub menu for a shop. Several hours later, video footage of Rayman's icon in the character select screen being highlighted was posted onto YouTube, but it was later taken down by the uploader. Mewtwo could also be seen above Rayman in the video. A similarly-updated character select screen from the 3DS version also surfaced. Many observers initially believed the hoax, since the images and the video were seemingly error-free, were of reasonably high quality, had renders not seen in any official material, and featured video footage, which was considered near-impossible to fake. This rumor also lined up with a previous rumor with similar information.
Ultimately, the Rayman rumor was disconfirmed the next day in a YouTube video showing how the images and video were faked by the user Artsy Omni, who revealed that he did it as a promotional stunt for his new web series, Smashified. Artsy Omni was also the artist and author of another previous high-quality fake of Klonoa becoming a playable character, which was quickly debunked because of errors in the Japanese text. Artsy Omni would later apologize for disappointing numerous Smash players with his hoax, though work on Smashified has continued.
Notably, the image of Rayman and Mewtwo's portraits in the 3DS version was not shown by Artsy Omni, instead being submitted by an unknown third party.
While a DLC shop for the game was added in a future update, it is only present in the 3DS version, as the Wii U version used the Nintendo eShop to purchase downloadable content; furthermore, the placement of the DLC Shop is in a completely different area than shown in the images.
Shovel Knight rumor
In late August 2015, Tamaki, an employee from Unseen64, reported that a "reputable source" had informed him of a forthcoming announcement of a Shovel Knight amiibo, and, by extension, an appearance of the character himself in Smash 4, which would be compatible with said amiibo, and retailers would be giving out download codes of said character. Yacht Club Games, the developers of Shovel Knight, did indeed reveal a Shovel Knight amiibo at PAX Prime 2015, but said amiibo was announced only as having compatibility with the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U versions of Shovel Knight. Shovel Knight's amiibo was also shown to have a different base and packaging from the Smash series of amiibo.
Despite these statements, Tamaki stated that Shovel Knight was still on the way according to his source, and was expected to come around the end of October or the beginning of November. The rumor was ultimately debunked following the final DLC announcements on December 15, 2015, where Shovel Knight failed to make an appearance of any kind. In 2018, the source came out and explained that he had the Shovel Knight amiibo leaked to him, wrongly "made the leap", as there were only Smash Bros amiibo available at the time, and gave Tamaki the info.
Eventually, Shovel Knight made it in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but as an Assist Trophy.
Rumors about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Skull Kid/Dixie Kong/Isaac rumors
Loz18, who had correctly predicted several pieces of content in the E3 2018 and August 2018 Nintendo Directs (with the content that was not announced in August appearing in the game anyways), has made several posts (such as here) stating that Skull Kid is probably playable. A few days after the Direct, he closed his GameFAQs account, but not before stating on Twitter that Dixie Kong has a high chance of being playable, and possibly Isaac (these tweets have since been deleted), though he would retract his statements on Isaac on a Discord server. However, none of his new predictions came true, aside from his final statement on Isaac.
Shortly after the reveal of Devil May Cry 5 at E3 2018, a 4chan user posted a thread claiming to have information related to the game and several other projects related to the franchise. Namely, that Dante, the protagonist of the series, would be a playable character in Ultimate. Throughout the year, several of the poster's claims would be verified, such as several story details, the existence of a training mode and the way that the character Nero purchases upgrades. Perhaps adding to the leak's credibility, a Netflix series based on the franchise was announced later that year, just as the poster had claimed. Users would go on to discover that a poll run by Hideki Kamiya, the original creator of the Devil May Cry and Bayonetta franchises, asked fans which version of Dante they'd prefer to see collaborate with Bayonetta. Users pointed out that the date of the poll, early 2016, aligns with the period of time which Sakurai had stated early development on Ultimate had begun, and that the version of Dante that won the poll was the same version that the 4chan poster had claimed would be in the game. In early August, Matt Walker, the producer of Devil May Cry 5, posted a suspicious tweet that seemed to allude to something related to the Nintendo Direct that would air during that week. Later in the year, Kamiya would meet up with Hideaki Itsuno, the current director of the Devil May Cry series at TGS 2018, adding fuel to the rumors. Eventually, the rumor had circulated enough that Walker took to Twitter to debunk Dante's presence in Smash.
As both Ultimate and Devil May Cry 5 released, with Dante absent from the former and the latter being inconsistent with much of the original 4chan post, it's very likely that the original poster simply made several very lucky guesses that were bolstered by a series of coincidences. Additionally, Itsuno told the press that he'd prefer to see the Devil May Cry series debut on Nintendo consoles before considering Dante as a playable fighter in Smash. On May 6th, 2019 a port of the original Devil May Cry was announced to be coming to Nintendo Switch, leading to further speculation following the comments made by Hideaki Itsuno.
On June 28, 2021, Dante was announced as a Mii Swordfighter costume, which was released alongside Challenger Pack 10 the following day.
"The Grinch leak"
On October 24th, 2018, an image quickly circulated around the internet of the apparent final version of Ultimate's character banner; in it, Isaac, Banjo & Kazooie, Shadow the Hedgehog, Ken Masters, the Chorus Kids from Rhythm Heaven, Geno, and the Mach Rider can be seen. Images of the banner were apparently posted from an unknown artist's Snapchat, and quickly spread across the internet, before getting deleted by the original poster. It seems that the post was intended to be a leak, as a caption in the image reads "nique ninteno[sic] mdrrr", which translates from French as "fuck ninteno[sic] lolll" ("mdr" in French is short for "mort de rire", or "dying of laughter", an equivalent to the English "laughing out loud" or "lol"). The validity of the pictures of the banner was difficult to disprove, as, much like the ESRB leak, renders of the new characters could not be found elsewhere on the internet.
The leak has been dubbed "the Grinch leak", as a previously unseen render of the Grinch can be seen in the bottom right corner in one of the pictures, and another render of the Grinch with his dog, Max, can be seen at the top of another picture. The particular renders are promotional material for the then-upcoming 2018 film The Grinch, which seemingly supported the leak's validity, as few believed that a constructor of a fake banner would also put in the time and effort to associate it with an unrelated film. A cropping error on the banner and some stray green pixels also existed where Isaac's location was in the Grinch leak, seemingly further supporting its validity.
Hours after the leak's emergence and popularity, several fans noted that there were inconsistencies with an official picture of the background seen in the banner, as well as the fact that one could easily photoshop characters out of the picture entirely, and started to doubt its legitimacy. It was also revealed by French graphics company Marina PLV that the leaker used to work for them, and left the company in 2016; this, while true, was countered by the fact that the company the leak came from is ACP-PLV, where the leaker currently works.
In the Nintendo Direct on November 1, 2018, Ken and Incineroar were revealed as the final fighters in the base roster, contradicting the banner's rumored characters. Shadow and Isaac were shown in the direct, but as Assist Trophies, while Mach Rider, Geno, and the Chorus Kids were later revealed as Spirits. Additionally, Ken's artwork is slightly different than the leaked banner's and in a completely different location. Banjo and Kazooie are the only characters in the leak that didn't make an appearance in the base game in any shape or form, although they were revealed as the third DLC fighter in the Fighters Pass Vol. 1 on June 11th, 2019.
Extra character slots datamine
On March 12, 2019, it was discovered that there were 16 character slots found for Adventure Mode, one of which was currently being used for Piranha Plant. While the next five are known to be part of the Fighters Pass (including Joker), the other ten are unknown. This led to speculation that there would be future DLC characters beyond the Fighters Pass. While a Nintendo Direct on September 4th, 2019 would confirm that there would be more DLC characters, later in September 24th, 2019, Source Gaming released a video with help from decompiler jam1garner which they discovered that Joker took a placeholder slot just like Piranha Plant, but Banjo and Kazooie and the Hero did not take a slot, suggesting that two more fighters were added later in development of DLC. A total of 12 DLC fighters were released for the game, leaving 6 slots unaccounted for. The purpose of these extra slots remain unknown.
IAmShifty/Brew Elfen Ryu Hayabusa Rumor
On August 30th, 2019, a YouTube user by the name of IAmShifty posted a video claiming that Ryu Hayabusa from the Ninja Gaiden series would be joining the Fighters Pass for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. According to the user, Ryu would be the fourth character to be announced for the Fighters Pass. Previously, he had supposedly correctly leaked Isabelle, Ken, Incineroar and Piranha Plant as playable characters, in addition to Marx appearing as a boss character in the game.
IAmShifty's claim was proven false on the September 4th, 2019 Nintendo Direct when Terry was revealed to be the fourth fighter in the Fighters Pass instead of Ryu Hayabusa. On October 15th, 2019 IAmShifty reiterated by claiming that Ryu Hayabusa would be the fifth character in the Fighters Pass. This lined up with a leaker called Brew Elfen, who also claimed that Ryu would be the fifth character and who had previously leaked Piranha Plant on November 1st, 2018. These claims were proven false by the January 16, 2020 presentation when Byleth was revealed instead, and as of the conclusion of Fighters Pass 2 with Sora's announcement, Ryu Hayabusa nor any Ninja Gaiden content appeared in Ultimate.
Doom/Super Mario RPG Mii Costume rumor
On November 4th, 2019, a 4chan user posted a thread which included a picture of Ken alongside a Mii Brawler and Mii Gunner wearing headgear based on Mallow from Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and a Cacodemon from the Doom series, respectively, on Yggdrasil's Altar. Later, the same user would post two videos demonstrating said characters during gameplay. The image was compared with the image shown in a previous leak from 4chan that revealed Ken as a playable fighter: it features every character within the scene taunting—including Ken using his up taunt—and takes place in a Time match with the match timer frozen at 2:30, further demonstrated in the videos.
The latter point suggested that a developer build similar to that in the Ken leak was used for the media (and later, memes with Ken's taunt, dubbed "Thumbs Up Ken", being photoshopped onto future leaks and other unrelated media), and, along with the remaining similarities, raised speculation over the leaker being the author of both threads. Furthermore, it generated speculation about the additions of Geno and the Doom Slayer as downloadable fighters. Conversely, many argued the headgear to be Mii costume mods, in particular citing the possibility of a Smash 4 Mallow hat mod being ported to Ultimate. The creator of the mod alleged to be ported has also uploaded a Cacodemon hat mod, further implying correlation. Soon following Ultimate's release, the modding community noted the difficulty in modifying Mii costumes for the game, initially adding further credibility to the supposed leak; however, evidence to the contrary arose due to the spread of the rumor, and although publicized attempts by modders to recreate the Mallow and Cacodemon Mii Hats have yet to be of the high quality shown in the leaked picture and videos, the response to the "leaked" content has been largely doubtful.
In a January 2020 interview, Doom Eternal director Marty Stratton revealed that the Doom team hadn't been approached by Nintendo about content from the franchise appearing in Super Smash Bros., calling into question the validity of the rumor. Vault Boy, another character from a Bethesda-owned IP, was added as a Mii costume in June 2020; some believed this could point towards future Bethesda content in Smash such as the Cacodemon Mii hat, but most were skeptical that the Mii Fighter costumes would have remained unrevealed for upwards of seven months after their completion.
While returning Geno and new Doom Slayer Mii Fighter costumes would eventually be released in December 2020 and October 2021 respectively, neither of the rumored costumes ever appeared in Ultimate, and development of the game's DLC officially concluded alongside the addition of the Slayer costume.
Activision 5 Year Crash Bandicoot Plan rumor
On October 5, 2020, Twitter user @TheNintendata posted about a supposed leaked document from Activision that contained a five-year plan for the Crash Bandicoot franchise. Following plans to see the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy on other platforms; Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled; its Grand Prix service; Crash Bandicoot: On The Run!; and Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time released, this document was rumored to include the addition of Crash Bandicoot to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in 2021 as downloadable content.
The five-year Crash Bandicoot plan had first been mentioned on January 19, 2018, by the European publication Licensing Source Book, which "covers the entire licensing industry." Although specific details were not revealed at the time, on page 97 the publication revealed a statement from Max Arguile, Licensing Manager of GB Eye saying, "Looking ahead to 2018 Max picks out Crash Bandicoot as one to watch: "The new game has had a huge success at retail with no marketing spend. Next, it will be going broader (Switch and PC), and there will be another game in 2019. Activision have a five-year plan for this and GB Eye is delighted to be fully on board for all products." Destructoid corroborated the story from Licensing Source Book on February 5, 2018.
This rumor was eventually disconfirmed after the confirmation of Sora as the last fighter for Ultimate.
- Source Gaming: "Sakurai Interview: Fire Emblem 25th Anniversary"