List of rumors
Like many other games, the Super Smash Bros. series has had various rumors spread about it, usually through the Internet, and sometimes magazines. A majority of rumors spread around the time of April Fools' Day, a day the gaming community is not unfamiliar with. 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 can be proven true or false on arrival via fact-checking or by waiting for relevant information from official sources, though a majority are proven false; some rumors, however, can contain true information, or even fabricated information that coincidentally becomes true in a later reveal or game.
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.
Cut 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. 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 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.
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".
Rare characters rumor
Based on responses from fan questions confirming that Banjo from the Banjo-Kazooie games and James Bond from GoldenEye 007 would not be appearing in Melee, a popular rumor manifested, claiming that these characters were actually planned for inclusion but ultimately cut because Sakurai could not secure the rights from Rare (and, in the latter case, Eon Productions, the holders of Bond's film rights, which Rare secured to produce GoldenEye 007). However, Sakurai only said that the characters would be difficult to include, not that he had planned to include them. It is worth noting that there were going to be trophies of characters from Rare games, but because the possibility of playable characters was not mentioned in this statement, the chances of this rumor being true are slim.
Rumors about Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Lucas replacing Ness in Brawl rumor
Relating to the rumor in Melee, after Lucas was confirmed to be a newcomer in Brawl while Ness' confirmation had yet to be made, it was commonly speculated that Ness would not return, being replaced by Lucas, as was originally planned in Melee. A quote on the DOJO!! seemed to suggest this as well, claiming that "There’s a character named Ness who has appeared in the Smash Bros. series up until now, and Lucas is very similar". Such speculation ended up untrue however, as Ness returned again as a playable character in Brawl. Lucas himself would later be cut in Super Smash Bros. 4 (albeit only initially, before reappearing as a downloadable character) while Ness returned as an unlockable character in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and a starter character in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
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 SSB4, 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 from 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 Super Smash Bros. 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.
Third-party character rumors
Sakurai said that, after Sonic and Snake, there might be a third third-party character; prior to Sonic's announcement, he also claimed that "one or two" other third-party characters would appear. This led many players speculating that another third party character was guaranteed to be included. Popular options included Mega Man (who later appeared in Super Smash Bros. 4), Geno (who was a Mii Fighter costume in Smash 4), Leon S. Kennedy from the Resident Evil series, or a second Sonic character. However, none of these characters were included in Brawl, and until SSB4 there were only two third-party fighters in Smash.
After Pac-Man was revealed for Super Smash Bros. 4, Sakurai stated that, during the development of Brawl, Shigeru Miyamoto asked him if Pac-Man could be playable in the game. Thinking of Pac-Man's pizza shape, Sakurai rejected the idea, thinking at the time putting in Pac-Man with said shape was "a little too farfetched." Furthermore, after the release of Brawl, Sakurai stated in an interview that he had considered including Geno as a playable character in the game, though the plans ultimately fell through for unknown reasons.
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.
Brawl is the last game rumor
During the development of Brawl, Sakurai reportedly said statements along the lines that he was making Brawl as the last installment in the Super Smash Bros. series. Additionally, some advertisements had the tagline of "One brawl to end them all!". This led several to believe that Brawl was the last installment. The rumor, however, is taken out of context; Sakurai stated he was making Brawl like it was the last one, not that it was going to be the last. Additionally, Sakurai said that Melee would have been the last installment on Smabura-Ken, and that did not hold true. This rumor was ultimately proven false at E3 2011, where a new Super Smash Bros. title was announced for both the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U consoles; development started in February 2012 and ended up being Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U respectively.
Artificial intelligence rumors
While still suffering flaws like its predecessor, CPUs within Brawl came under scrutiny by members of the Brawl community after analyzing the behavior of them within fights. Two primary theories surrounding the AI eventually became commonplace:
The former rumor was especially controversial, as many smashers thought that allowing the AI to "cheat" was an unfair tactic, and such a programming decision was considered lazy. The American crew SLAPAHO attempted to see whether or not CPUs had perfect reaction times, but their results were eventually declared inconclusive, and more tests were intended to be carried out; inactivity by the group, however, caused these further tests to never occur. In 2013, Canadian smasher Toomai analyzed various animated GIFs of CPUs responding to aerial attacks; it was ultimately demonstrated that CPUs had a reaction time of one frame, and thus, did not read button inputs to form decisions.
The second rumor was primarily spread by a Nintendo Dojo blog post by American smasher Churro; entitled "The Wonders of Brawl's CPU Experience System", Churro claimed that CPUs in Brawl could learn from human players, with such changes being unique from different save files for Brawl. Churro provided video examples of these supposed changes, such as how a CPU Captain Falcon began to more frequently use Falcon Punch following an all-Captain Falcon match featuring overuse of the move. Other videos by other smashers also appeared to show CPUs using tactics such as dash dancing and DACUSes.
Initially widely believed, advances in the hacking scene for Brawl have since disproven the existence of a learning system for CPUs:
A learning system similar to the above would eventually be used by amiibo in Super Smash Bros. 4, though no such learning system exists outside of this.
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.
Namco worker rumor
On 12 December 2012, a thread on GameFAQs was started by a user named Halibuton; the user claimed that he worked for Namco and had some information told to him by his co-workers concerning the development of Super Smash Bros. 4.
Halibuton claimed that there would be a Nintendo Direct on the fifth anniversary of Brawl's Japanese release (31 January 2013) and said it would be centered around Smash 4, though likely more of a series retrospective with minor new info than a full-blown reveal trailer. He also said that he knew a bit about the early roster and claimed to know a few newcomers: Takamaru from The Mysterious Murasame Castle and Little Mac (chosen as recent-popularity classics and an "East vs. West" concept supposedly due to previous games featuring too many Japan-exclusive characters) as well as King K. Rool and Ridley (chosen due to popular demand and having movesets based on more recent games). Other claimed, less-finalized newcomers are Shulk from Xenoblade Chronicles, Dillon from Dillon's Rolling Western, Ghirahim from the Legend of Zelda series, a "Debu" from the at the time rumor-only Yoshi's Woolly World (supposedly a partner of Yoshi, with "Debu" possibly being just a nickname or placeholder), and a PlatinumGames character possibly from The Wonderful 101. Aside from characters, multiple stages were listed: Starship Mario (Super Mario Galaxy 2, later confirmed as background scenery in Mario Galaxy), Giant Chasm (Pokémon Black 2/White 2), Pushmo Park (Pushmo), and Cookie Country (Kirby's Return to Dream Land).
Halibuton's claimed date for the reveal of 31 January 2013, however, ultimately passed without a Nintendo Direct presentation, significant news about Smash 4, or mentions of any of the aforementioned characters, thus ultimately disproving the rumor after two months of speculation. Little Mac, Shulk, and a PlatinumGames character, Bayonetta would eventually be confirmed as newcomers, while Takamaru, Dillon, and Ghirahim would later be confirmed as Assist Trophies. Ridley would later be confirmed as a stage boss on Pyrosphere and would only later appear as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Main article: Gematsu leaks
Before E3 2013, the owner of the gaming site Gematsu, Sal Romano, claimed to have received an email from an anonymous source claiming to know which newcomers would be introduced at E3 2013. Initially doubting the veracity of the letter, Romano jokingly posted the list to NeoGAF as a "unlikely prediction". Among the predicted newcomers were an Animal Crossing Villager; Capcom's Mega Man; the female trainer from Wii Fit; Little Mac from Punch-Out!!; Nintendo's Mii; and Namco's Pac-Man.
To the surprise of many observers, including Romano himself, the leak successfully predicted the reveal of the Villager, Mega Man, and female Wii Fit Trainer. This successful prediction, especially of the Wii Fit Trainer, would lead to a following of the leak and the subsequent leaks reported by Romano. With the leaks getting every newcomer right except for Rosalina, and failing to get any character completely wrong for over a year, the majority of observers treated the leaker as fully legitimate, with many seeing the characters implicated by the leaker as inevitable. The leaker's credibility was ultimately shattered when one of their implicated playable characters, Chrom, was disconfirmed in the 14 July reveal trailer, while two revealed playable characters, Robin and Lucina, were never implicated by the leaker.
In June 2015, Sakurai revealed in the Famitsu column that he did originally consider adding Chrom as a playable character, and even planned a moveset for him, but ultimately decided he would not be unique enough from Marth and Ike to justify an inclusion.  Coincidentally, Chrom became a playable character in Ultimate, albeit as an Echo Fighter for Roy, reinforcing Sakurai's hypothesis.
An AllIsBrawl post made on 25 June 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 hacks available for Brawl. The stage seen in the image is a Fairy Isle hacked stage, and the Mario in the image uses a texture hack to make his model more closely resemble his newer model in Super Smash Bros. 4; Lucina herself is identical to a Project Smash Attacks hack seen in "The Lucina PSA". While not particularly widespread outside All is Brawl, the hoax was the first to showcase the level of elaboration that Brawl hacks bring to rumor producers; later hoaxed images were made with similar techniques, and other hoaxes were often compared to existing Brawl hacks to check for their credibility.
Lucina was confirmed to be a playable character on 14 July 2014, over one year after the faked image was first posted.
Ness and Jigglypuff hoax
In November 2013, two supposedly leaked images of Ness and Jigglypuff in Super Smash Bros. 4 began to circulate on Smash-related message boards and other resources. One of these images depicted the "official" artwork of Ness for Smash 4, while the other picture featured both Ness and Jigglypuff standing on the Battlefield stage in the 3DS version. The gameplay image, however, was proven fake after cross-checking it with an actual image of Link and Toon Link standing on the same stage; numerous graphical differences could be seen between the two images, primarily in regards to the rendering of the outlines and shadows in the faked image.
Both characters were later unofficially confirmed after the game's Japanese release. Ness's actual artwork in the game, however, differs from the false artwork. Furthermore, Jigglypuff's model in the final game is different from the hoaxed images, particularly in regards to the size and spacing of its eyes.
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.
In early April 2014, Reuben Langdon, a voice actor known for voicing Ken Masters in the Street Fighter series and Dante in the Devil May Cry series, claimed in an interview that he had voiced Raiden from the Metal Gear series in Super Smash Bros.. As Raiden's only appearance in Brawl was as a sticker (also mentioned in Iroquois Pliskin's trophy description), this seemed to leak Raiden having some sort of major role in SSB4, as well as indirectly confirming the return of Snake and their respective universe. When the news was first announced, some observers believed he was mistaking Super Smash Bros. for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, a Sony equivalent to Super Smash Bros. that featured Raiden as a playable character. This potential confusion, however, initially was eliminated when it was demonstrated that Raiden's voice actor in the game was Quinton Flynn, not Reuben Langdon. Langdon, however, would later reignite this confusion himself:
Langdon, who also does motion capture work for video games, additionally claimed he was referring to motion capture work. However, no official source credits Langdon as having done any such work in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and the credits of that game do not list individual actors that performed motion capture work. As such, it was speculated by some that Langdon may have been trying to cover up an inadvertent leak by falsely confirming the mix-up.
Ultimately, the rumor was proven false when the Japanese version of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS was released. Snake did not return for SSB4, Raiden did not make any appearances, and the Metal Gear universe does not have any representation in the game, suggesting that Langdon was in fact referencing PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. However, he eventually would appear in the Smash series, though not as Raiden, as he reprised his role as Ken in Ultimate.
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 North 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.
On 1 August 2014, Nintendo of Canada held a session for Super Smash Bros. 4, where Matt Ryan, a manager of communications, marketing, and alliances of the Canadian division of the company, said the following statement during the session that suggested Rayman was in the game as a playable character:
This led to new speculation that Rayman was in Smash 4 as a playable character, rather than just the trophy depicting him. However, it is also speculated it may have been an honest slip-up, with confusion stemming from the common suffix of "Man". Shortly after the sentence, Nintendo of Canada would later clarify that Matt Ryan was referring to the previously seen Rayman trophy. However, like with the Reuben Langdon slipup above, some observers believed it to be a false confirmation as to cover up an inadvertent leak; the release of the game in Japan, however, proved that the supposed confirmation of Rayman as playable was a mental blunder on Ryan's part.
Tower of Smash hoax
Roughly a month prior to the release of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, a notable rumor began to circulate forums and Smashboards, concerning the ability to connect the 3DS version to the Wii U version, as well as extra information about the Wii U version.
The Tower of Smash rumor claimed that the Wii U version of the game would feature 40 new stages, alongside 15 "past" stages and a few stages shared with the 3DS version, such as Magicant; in addition to these stages, the Stage Builder was claimed to have returned from Brawl after being left out of the 3DS version, and the mode would feature improvements, such as no longer restricting players to one "theme". Arguably the most notable claimed addition was that of a "Tower of Smash" mode. A replacement for the Event Matches that were absent in the 3DS version, the Tower of Smash involved a 100-floor tower which tasked the player, with four characters of their choice, continuously taking part in one-on-one stock battles, with some matches having random modifiers. Various boss battles were also implicated, which would feature characters from outside series, such as Dyna Blade from the Kirby series. These bosses would also make up a new "Boss Rush" mode as somewhat of a successor to the Boss Battles from Brawl.
In addition, leakers claimed that five new characters could be unlocked when the 3DS and Wii U versions were connected. The five implicated characters were Ridley, the Chorus Kids, Dixie Kong, Mewtwo, and Impa from The Legend of Zelda. Notably, the first four characters were previously implicated by leakers in the ESRB leak, though the list was intentionally fabricated by the ESRB leaker in order to identify copycat leaks. As a final note to readers, the leaker also claimed that stages and characters would not be unlockable in the game, with all of them being available from the start. However, there were some notable oddities in these leaks, such as the fact that Ridley has no wings on the ground but can sprout them in the air, something that never happens in the Metroid series, and it was also said that Mewtwo would make "generic grunts".
The leak was proven false by an an official screenshot demonstrating amiibo. The screenshot showed the roster with characters such as Mr. Game & Watch completely absent, still needing to be unlocked by the player; also worth noting, however, was that Masahiro Sakurai had originally planned for all the characters in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U to be available from the start. The Nintendo Direct presentation on 23 October 2014 further refuted the rumor; while an improved Stage Builder was confirmed in the presentation, the Tower of Smash and Boss Rush modes went without mention, no information was given on Magicant or Mute City being shared stages, and all other implicated characters were absent. Furthermore, Ridley was confirmed to be a stage boss on Pyrosphere, and the Event Matches were confirmed to be returning for the game. While Mewtwo was revealed as a playable character, it was revealed to be a downloadable character, not an on-disc transferable character. Additionally, only 32 new stages and 21 past stages appear in the Wii U version, six of which need to be unlocked and nine of which are obtained via DLC.
Rayman DLC hoax
On February 14, 2015, multiple pictures taken of Ubisoft's Rayman supposedly in SSB4 were posted onto 4chan by an anonymous user. 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 deconfirmed 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 requires the use of 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.
Rigged Ballot rumor
On July 2, 2018, decompiler Ruben found that Bayonetta may have been chosen for DLC as early as patch 1.0.6, which was published only two weeks after the Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot opened and several months before Bayonetta was announced as the winner of the ballot. Decompilers Marioking64DS and Ehm later confirmed that files for Bayonetta existed in the patch. This caused a backlash in the community with many people accusing Sakurai of lying about the winner of the ballot. However, it is possible that she received a large number of votes during the first two weeks the ballot was open. It should also be noted that Sakurai and Iwata have always talked about the ballot as though it was a suggestion box, not a poll. Sakurai would later state that he referred to the ballot when deciding on newcomers for Ultimate and, as a result, added Ridley, Simon, Richter, and King K. Rool.
Rumors about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Main article: Vergeben leaks
The Vergeben leaks are a series of insider info from the user Vergeben, a well known leaker coming from a history of predicting fighting games, like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Starting before E3 2018, Vergeben's leaks were undoubtedly infamous on which characters would make the cut for this new alleged game. While most people have argued over the legitimacy of these leaks, almost all of what Vergeben told was predicted right, with his only fault being that a Square Enix character would be the first one revealed as downloadable content.
Base Game Rumors
Super Smash Bros. 4 port
On 28 January 2016, Dr. Serkan Toto, CEO for Japan-based consultant firm Kantan Games, Inc. and lead writer for a blog on the Japanese mobile game industry, tweeted that Bandai Namco had been working on several titles for Nintendo's then-unofficially announced console, the Switch, codenamed NX at the time. One of these titles was reportedly intended to be Super Smash Bros. game as a launch title. A few minutes later, he added that his source was unclear on whether or not it would be a completely new game in the series or simply a port of Super Smash Bros. 4, though he still defended the veracity of the source.
About eleven months later, a tweet was posted on December 6th by Liam Robertson of Unseen64 and "Did You Know Gaming?". He claimed new characters would appear in the next entry, though the number would be a small amount, with a separate source from "Source Gaming" reporting there are at least 2 new characters in development . "Source Gaming" later followed up on the rumor, claiming that the game is a "director's cut" of Super Smash Bros. 4; that is, the game contains content from both versions (e.g., a combinations of stages, game modes, etc.), which includes the game's DLC announced back in April of 2016. The rumor quickly spread after this annoucement, with multiple gaming sites, including IGN, reporting on it.
In February 2018, game developer and industry insider Emily Rogers also claimed that Super Smash Bros. was coming to the Nintendo Switch in some capacity, and that it would have brand new content, as well as some reworked content from the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS versions. However, it is unclear to her if the game will be marketed as a "director's cut" of sorts or a full sequel. Later in March, a Nintendo Direct showed that there is a new game for the Switch with the Inklings looking at the Smash roster and the Smash symbol. The announcement caused the rumors of the title being a port to lose credibility, as it showed Link in his design from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In addition to that, the trailer shown did not show gameplay for the game and did not show the original release date in its copyright, which would be unusual for a port’s announcement trailer, and the game's title was listed as a tentative title on the game’s website. Other fans have pointed out the presence of a unique background music (which later revealed to be Lifelight), as teaser trailers of Smash games since Melee have a tradition of playing a variant of the menu theme, which acting as the main theme of each game; by that logic, it would be a new game. Despite these, the debate still continued until Nintendo of America denied the rumor on June 14, 2018, two days after the game's reveal at E3 2018, where Nintendo Treehouse localisation manager Nate Bihldorff stated as follows:
The Codenames "leak" refers to a popular leak stemming from a thread on 4chan’s /v/ board on July 1, 2018 over eleven new characters rumored to be in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which gained an unusual amount of notability on other websites, mainly due to the post's use of codenames when referring to the characters. The user used codenames instead of the characters' actual names in their post. According to the post:
The post was immediately subject to debate, due to its cryptic nature. Users on the original thread shared ideas on who the various characters could be until it was deleted.
After the thread was closed, the thread quickly gathered attention among the media, with Inverse first posting about the leak on July 6th, 2018. This caused it to be picked up by various Smash Bros. discussion boards and community sites, inspiring credulity due to the legitimacy of the previous the 4chan E3 2018 leak. It was further spread to news websites such as Kotaku before it started trending on YouTube, with many users posting discussion videos which would gain tens of thousands of views in a matter of days.
A few days later, an anonymous Twitter user reportedly claimed that the rumor, while not entirely inaccurate, contained some misinformation. According to this user, Ponytail would not be revealed until after launch and would be available via a free update, while Doll would instead be announced alongside King at a "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate event happening in just a few days" (speculated to be the Shonen Jump Victory Festival or San Diego ComicCon, both of which passed without any character announcements) along with a character not implicated in the original rumor codenamed "Soul". Warrior, Folklore, and another new character codenamed "Fake" were promised to be revealed in a Nintendo Direct in September. The user then claimed that they were unaware of the other characters' reveal dates. Similarly to the other codenames, there was much discussion on who Soul and Fake might have been.
Ultimately, the information provided in these leaks was proven false, and while some characters that were implicated by the leak were confirmed (such as King K. Rool, presumably "King", and Isabelle, presumably "Secretary"), none were revealed in the indicated month or pattern.
About a week before the August Direct, he made some more posts mentioning a cutscene with a heroes vs. villains theme, but not part of a story mode.
Despite the leaker's credibility, some of the information regarding the Direct was wrong. While several menu screens, three new modes, Tournament Mode, and the heroes vs. villain cutscene (at the start of King K. Rool's reveal trailer) were indeed revealed, the title screen, All-Star Mode, and the mode to unlock characters were nowhere to be found.
Loz18 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.
On July 3rd, 2018, NeoGAF user WhisslBlank made a post in a thread. He stated the following:
Another post was later made by a newly created account of the same name with a unknown relationship with the one above, the 1st post states:
The last post also gave out hints, which are:
A third account of the same name has posted hints stating:
Later, the second account made a post denying that the third account was his, and also posted screenshots seemingly proving that he owned the first account, although the screenshots could be fake. Considering the conflicting information regarding The Legend of Zelda fighters, the presence of a Galacta Knight-inspired costume for Meta Knight in Ultimate, and the three confirmed newcomers already being previously popular guesses, this leak was thought to be false.
The leak was fully proven false in multiple ways in the 1.11.18 Smash Bros. Direct. While the "new mastermind" Galeem, and the language option (albeit also applying to in-game texts, not just character voices), were confirmed, the final newcomers for the base game were revealed to be Ken and Incineroar, and the 5 post-launch DLC characters were stated to be completely new characters, instead of Echo Fighters. Additionally, several of the rumored playable characters were revealed as Assist Trophies instead, namely Isaac, Sablé Prince, Skull Kid, and Shadow. Furthermore, the conception of the World of Light is revealed to be fundamentally different from previous Adventure Modes upon the game's release.
amiibo Unlock rumor
On Best Buy of Canada's website, the Ridley amiibo has the following text in its description: "Simply tap the amiibo accessory to the NFC touchpoint on your game system to unlock this draconic Space Pirate." Wolf's has the same, but without the "draconic" part, and Inkling's has "trouble-making resident of the city of Inkopolis" in place of "draconic Space Pirate". All of these imply the amiibo can be tapped to instantly unlock the character.
It should be noted that the respective descriptions now all say "Simply tap the amiibo accessory on the NFC touchpoint on your compatible system or accessory and enjoy fun in-game extras in compatible games." except for the Inkling page, where it says "Simply tap the amiibo accessory to the NFC touchpoint" instead.
This was proven false upon the release of Ultimate, as tapping an amiibo only adds a Figure Player, not the actual fighter.
Shortly after the reveal of Devil May Cry 5 at E3 2018, an anonymous 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.
4chan Render hoax
On August 30th, 2018, an anonymous user on 4chan posted photos of what appeared to be the faces of 7 characters not yet announced for the game. The reported list of characters identified on the site includes:
About an hour later, another image was posted, a VS screen showing Wario and the aforementioned Shadow, Chorus Kids and Agnès. A picture of Isaac on the character select screen was posted as well. Both of these would show the new renders in higher detail.
The origin of the renders was unclear, though their authenticity as official renders was doubted, given some inconsistencies both between each other and with Ultimate's artstyle, such as Skull Kid resembling his Super Smash Bros. for Wii U model. Other details were pointed out, such as the VS screen misspelling Agnès' name (naming her Agnés) and the emblem for Rhythm Heaven being a "RH", alluding to the series' American name (The series has a different name in Japan, Europe and Korea).
On September 1st, 2018, the leaker revealed himself over Twitter and confirmed the leak was fake, apologizing for anyone angered over the fake leaks that circulated, while also revealing the renders in full.
Before the leak was debunked by the creator, many images were created under the guise of being by the original poster. The most popular of these fakes would be the image primarily shared throughout Twitter, in which the question mark was swapped with a fake render of Lloyd Irving from Tales of Symphonia. This edit was mentioned by the creator of the original fake renders on Twitter following the confession, noting that it was not created by them.
Japanese Fighter Playlist leak
On September 30th, 2018, the Japanese playlist of fighter exhibition video trailers was updated once, then updated again later that day, suggesting that one or more videos exhibiting possible new fighters were added to the playlist and then later removed. Similar events had happened in the past: the playlist was updated on July 29th, 2018 (prior to the Ultimate-centered Direct) and again on August 27th, 2018 (prior to the Nintendo Direct that was planned for September 6th and later delayed to September 13th due to an earthquake in Hokkaido, Japan). Seeing as both the Ultimate-centered direct and the September 13th direct were announced 9 days after the playlist was updated, the updates on the 30th suggested that another direct was to be announced on October 9th, 2018. However, nothing was announced that day.
Similar rumors spread on multiple other occasions throughout Ultimate and its DLC's development, as the official Super Smash Bros. YouTube would be marked as updated with no new videos available, spreading across the internet in a frenzy as fans speculated on whether this meant an announcement would be soon. While the new announcements would eventually come, no consistent timing of the updates to the channel and the announcements has been identified, meaning the speculation is more-or-less pointless.
“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] lol" ("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 have not been found elsewhere on the internet.
The leak has been dubbed the "Grinch leak", as a thought-to-be 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 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.
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.
Fighters Pass Vol. 1 Rumors
On October 11th, 2018, Twitter user Milk-BOSATU (later named Team NepDon, and then later deleted and returned as @TeamNepDon_Lead) posted a few leaks for the then-upcoming Ultimate, such as the upcoming release of some form of VR, as well as the inclusion of Dragon Quest's Hero characters without any female costumes. This was followed up on December 14th, 2018, with a claim that a female character would be appearing as a playable DLC fighter in the Fighters Pass.
Sometime later in 2019, Milk-BOSATU made another tweet claiming that the 5th fighters pass fighter would be from a franchise that is already represented in the Super Smash Bros. series.
In April of 2019, Nintendo announced that the fourth Nintendo Labo kit would include VR. This kit was eventually made compatible with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in an update released on May 30th. As part of Nintendo's E3 presentation for 2019 on June 11th, the Hero was announced, consisting of four different hero characters from the Dragon Quest series, but without any female versions, despite other popular rumors at the time claiming otherwise.
Later, on June 15th, 2019, he made another tweet claiming his sources came from his friend named Mr. H who visited Nintendo and saw the female character in development, claiming that she looks like she comes from a game of the fighting genre. A day later, Milk-BOSATU claimed that Mr. H said that the character wasn't Reimu from Touhou Project.
The next day, he made another tweet stating that she holds a throwing weapon like a hammer or a boomerang. Two days after that tweet, he followed it up with another tweet about the female character's model that Mr. H saw but she doesn't have color at all and he didn't see her face, however speculation goes on that the model may had come from a 3D software.
On September 1st, 2019, Source Gaming staff member, NOKOLO talked to Milk-BOSATU on Twitter via chat and he claimed that she wears Japanese clothes and she is possibly not Nakoruru from Samurai Spirits due to her lack of relevancy outside of Japan. Two days later, he made a tweet claiming that Mr. H doesn't know if the female character is Nakoruru or not and later claimed that they both share features that are common with each other. A day later, in the September Nintendo Direct 2019, it was revealed that Nakoruru made a cameo appearance in Terry's trailer, confirming Milk-BOSATU's claim that the female character is not Nakoruru. She later appears as a spirit.
While no concrete info has arrived regarding the leaker's claims, two character would confirm some part of what they transcribed. On January 16, 2020, the final fighter of the Fighters Pass was revealed to be Byleth, confirming the leaker's information regarding the 5th fighter coming from an already represented franchise, Fire Emblem. On June 22, 2020, Min Min was announced as the first fighter of Fighters Pass Vol. 2, confirming the description of the female character being from a game in the fighting genre, ARMS. However, it should be noted that Mr. H's description of Min Min wearing Japanese clothing is inaccurate, and Min Min does not have a proper throwing weapon of her own, although the Ramram could be interpreted as such.
Adeleine Fighters Pass Rumor
The user claimed the roster would consist of:
This leak is notable in that it not only correctly claimed both Hero and Banjo & Kazooie as playable fighters, but also correctly claimed the character title Hero, with the exact alternate skins. However, the original poster eventually clarified that it was a fake; they had simply taken guesses that coincidentally turned out to be true. 
RaySquad DLC Leak
On December 31st, 2018, a user by the name of RaySquad posted a thread on GameFAQs, claiming he had a reliable source with information on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC.
The claims by RaySquad included:
RaySquad also noted that while Crash Bandicoot seemed likely as the 5th DLC character in the Fighters Pass, there was some uncertainty. However the user still claimed that Nintendo wanted to pull through with the character. The user would also claim that they were confident that the other characters would be included.
While Piranha Plant and Joker had already been confirmed at this stage, Erdrick (who would later be revealed as a skin for Hero) and Banjo & Kazooie would later be revealed at E3 2019. However, Terry was revealed in a September Nintendo Direct instead of Lloyd Irving or Crash Bandicoot, making this rumor seem like lucky guesses.
5channel DLC leak
On January 4, 2019, a separate leak was uncovered that was also posted on 5channel. This leak stated everything the 12/15 leak claimed along with the rest of the DLC fighters, but what also interested people was that it was posted on December 9, before the other leak. According to the newly discovered "leak", the rest of the DLC characters are:
Other allegations related to the DLC include:
It also included the claim that Persona 5 Royal will be released in 2019. On December 30, 2018, Atlus ended up announcing this title, leading many people to believe these leaks are real. It should be noted, however, that P5R was already rumored before this leak due to Atlus registering a domain for it in 2017.
Unlike the leak that surfaced on December 15, this one stated that its source is Reddit, edited in the rumor momentarily, noting Erdrick's English name along with his Japanese name, Roto, and also doesn't mention Granblue Fantasy: Versus. It also claimed that Persona 5 Royal will be releasing in the first half of 2019, opposed to the later 5channel rumor, which is still not confirmed at the moment. It's unlikely that they were posted by the same person.
The claim that Persona 5 R (later revealed to be Persona 5 Royal) would release in the first half 2019 was proven false on April 24 2019, where Atlus announced that the game would release in Japan on October 31 2019, which is in the latter half of the year. While this did not necessarily hurt the credibility of this leak's claims, the leak was ultimately debunked when Banjo & Kazooie was announced as the third DLC fighter instead of any of the fighters listed from the leak. Even so, the claimed Steve and Alex prediction coincidentally came true with Fighters Pass Vol. 2, though without Master Chief.
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 has lead to speculation that there will 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 any of them, suggesting that two more fighters were added later in development of DLC, the exact number of additional DLC characters, and thus, the amount of slots they'd use up, is currently 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, although whether or not the character would appear as a DLC fighter has yet to be seen.
On October 15th, 2019 IAmShifty reiterated by claiming that Ryu Hayabusa would be the fifth character in the Fighters Pass. Lining up with a leaker called Brew Elfen, who also claimed that Ryu would be the fifth character. That claim was also invalided by the January 16, 2020 presentation when Byleth was revealed instead.
Brew Elfen had previously leaked Piranha Plant on November 1st, 2018.
PapaGenos/Sabi Crash Bandicoot Rumor
On October 18, 2019, Smash Bros YouTuber PapaGenos revealed that a source on his Discord had claimed that Crash Bandicoot from the Crash Bandicoot series would be the fifth fighter in the Fighters Pass. PapaGenos noted with a screenshot, that on July 19, 2019, this source had correctly leaked Mii Costumes for Goemon, Zero, Protoman and the Team Rocket Grunts. The Mii Costume leak also mentioned Mii costumes for Chocobo from the Final Fantasy series and Mallow or Smithy from Super Mario RPG, and it was also supposedly verified by three other people. PapaGenos also claimed that the source had correctly leaked both Banjo & Kazooie and the Luminary (later revealed to be the default for Hero).
A day later, Smashboards member Icedragonadam made a post stating that a supposed NOA source claimed that Crash Bandicoot and Tracer from Overwatch are not in the game, at least for the 5th Fighters Pass spot. They would later post a screenshot from PapaGenos two days later, laiming that the character in the 5th Fighters Pass spot is not a "front runner" like Crash Bandicoot, a Resident Evil character, and Ryu Hayabusa. Smashboards member Hinata also posted a screenshot from leaker Sabi, who claimed that the 5th character in the Fighters Pass would not be Ryu Hayabusa or Crash Bandicoot.
By the time of the January 16, 2020 presentation, the counterarguments were confirmed to be legitimate, as Byleth was confirmed as the fifth fighter in the Fighters Pass. It is unknown if the leaker had valid information or had some very lucky guesses.
Doom/Super Mario RPG Mii Costume leak
On November 4th, 2019, an anonymous user on 4chan posted a thread which included a picture of Ken, and a Mii Brawler and Mii Gunner wearing headgear based on Mallow from Super Mario RPG, 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 picture shows similarities 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 had also generated speculation over the addition of Geno and the Doom Slayer as downloadable characters. Reversely, some have considered the headgear to be Mii costume mods, particularly citing the possibility of a Smash 4 mod being ported to Ultimate. The creator of the mod alleged to be ported has also uploaded a Cacodemon hat mod as well, further implying correlation. Early on some members of the Ultimate modding community noted the difficulty in modifying Mii costumes for the game, adding further credibility to the supposed leak. Evidence to the contrary proved otherwise however, giving weight to this explanation for the rumor. It is worth noting, however, that all attempts from modders to recreate the Mallow and Cacodemon Mii Hats have yet to be of the high quality shown in the leaked picture and videos.
In a January 2020 interview, Doom Eternal director Marty Stratton revealed that the Doom team hadn't been approached by Nintendo about Doomguy appearing in Super Smash Bros. calling into question the validity of this leak.
Vault Boy, another character from a Bethesda-owned IP, was added as a Mii Costume in the Version 8.0.0 update, which could point towards future Bethesda content in Smash such as the Cacodemon Mii hat. However, the leak came to light in November 2019, so it would be odd if the costumes in it were finalized nearly a year before their addition.
Mr. Sakurai Presents Fighter 5 Theory
When the Mr. Sakurai Presents for the fifth Fighters Pass fighter was revealed, the thumbnail showed Masahiro Sakurai gesturing three fingers. A lot of people in the fanbase theorized that the fifth DLC character from the Fighters Pass Vol. 1 would be Dante, from Devil May Cry, a character from a saga created by Capcom, because Sakurai's three fingers up could make reference to Devil May Cry: Triple Pack, a compilation of DMC's first three games, which arrived to Nintendo Switch on February 2020, and Dante's inclusion would promote this game increasing the sales. Others theorized that his gesture was a hint at Crash Bandicoot being included, due to the relatively recent release of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, which features the first three mainline installments of the Crash Bandicoot series.
Both Dante and Crash's theories were proven wrong when it was revealed the fifth fighter in the Fighters Pass was Byleth from Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Sakurai's "3-gesture" was actually the number 17 in binary, referencing Three Houses being the 17th mainline entry in the franchise.
Fighters Pass Vol. 2 Rumors
On October 22nd, 2019, Twitter user @MandyCanNot posted that Byleth would be Fighter 5 in the Fighters Pass, and that Crash Bandicoot would be released or revealed directly after the first Fighters Pass.
The user is notable in having leaked that Fighter 5 wouldn't be revealed at The Game Awards and having leaked the January 16, 2020 Direct well in advance of an official Nintendo announcement.
On March 26, 2020, the Nintendo Direct Mini confirmed that the sixth fighter would be a character from the game ARMS. MandyCan confessed to having an unreliable source, but affirmed a personal belief that Crash Bandicoot would be released as one of the future characters within the pass.
The user has since deactivated their Twitter account.
League of Legends fighter rumor
On January 30, 2020, an anonymous user on 4chan posted a thread claiming:
Later in April 21, 2020, Nintendo officially revealed a Trials of Mana spirit event, confirming one of the claims the anonymous user that the spirits from this game being planned, with Vergeben stating on a deleted GameFaqs thread that he would be checking on the fighter from League of Legends and the Mii Swordfighter costume. However, it is unknown if these are guesses or not.
Ubisoft Club Sam Rayman fighter rumor
On April 22, 2020, people noticed that when they chat with the Ubisoft Club app's chatbot, Sam, about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and/or its DLC, it would no longer display a message related to wanting Rayman from the Rayman franchise in the game and instead display a generic message. This has lead to speculation of Nintendo removing the message as to not prematurely leak a supposed Rayman reveal. Other speculation has suggested Ubisoft may not want to get fans' hopes up if there is no reveal, or that Nintendo requested the removal of the original message due to it mocking Byleth's playable status.
GameStop Geno rumor
On July 13, 2020, American games retailer GameStop released a video previewing Paper Mario: The Origami King. During a section of the video going over the history of Mario RPG spin-offs, the host Pamela Horton states that "people were freaking out when Geno was announced for Smash", something that had not happened at the time, though the video used footage of Geno's Spirit Battle during that particular scene. The video was later marked private, and when it was made public again GameStop posted a comment explaining that it was referring to the speculation surrounding the Spirit and that GameStop does not have any inside knowledge of which fighters will or won't appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
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 is 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.