The Pokémon universe (ポケットモンスター, Pocket Monsters) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties that originate from Nintendo's immensely successful Pokémon media franchise. Pokémon is Nintendo's second most lucrative franchise, reaching only behind Nintendo's Mario franchise in global sales and cementing its success outside of gaming via animated series, manga and merchandise. Thus, a rather large proportion of each Smash Bros. game's primary content is themed after the Pokémon series, and many of the other eponymous Pokémon creatures have made smaller cameos appearances elsewhere. Counting Pokémon that were featured as part of a prior Smash Bros. game's roster but not as part of a later game's, more Pokémon have been playable characters than most other represented franchises: Pikachu, Jigglypuff, Pichu, Mewtwo, Lucario, Squirtle, Ivysaur, Charizard, and Greninja. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard were featured as a set of freely interchangeable combatants collectively represented by the character choice Pokémon Trainer.
Pokémon was introduced in Japan in February 1996 by Nintendo and the second-party game developer, Game Freak, as "Pocket Monsters", a Game Boy JRPG that came in slightly modified Red and Green editions that both made then-original use of the Game Boy's connection cable between separate systems in that, rather than being strictly used for competition, it was additionally used for cooperative data transfer between players. Nintendo did not expect these games to be a large success, even less so in the West than domestically, but the games - branded Pokémon outside of Japan - took both sides of the Pacific and Atlantic by storm and quickly established the series as a blockbuster, multi-billion dollar franchise. The main JRPG series paved the way for a merchandising empire, including an extensive anime continuity, several series of manga, a bestselling trading card game, and video games touching upon many other genres. Pokémon has become the second biggest-selling game-based media franchise of all time, only behind Nintendo's Mario franchise; as of March 2013, cumulative sold units (including home console versions) have reached 245 million copies. As a direct result, Pokémon has been a mainstay in the Nintendo-centric crossover fighting games Super Smash Bros. since the series started in 1999.
In the various incarnations of the Pokémon universe, the world of Pokémon is an Earth-like world inhabited by many species of the eponymous Pokémon creatures which coexist with humans. The Pokémon are colorful, sentient, sometimes sapient creatures possessing the abilities to perform amazing talents of seemingly every conceivable sort, examples of which are breathing fire, expulsing poisonous smog, summoning rainfall, performing martial arts, using illusion to split up into multiple copies of itself, employing psychokinesis, unleashing paralysis-inducing electricity, etc. Many Pokémon live as wild animals both as predators and prey, while other individual Pokémon are immensely powerful beings that the world's human denizens superstitiously attach a variety of creation myths to, and others still are man-made. Unlike the main RPG series itself, where all Pokémon make animal-like grunts and vocalizations (except for Pikachu in Yellow and the sixth generation), most Pokémon in the anime freely communicate with each other in an exclusive language that consists entirely of them reciting their own species names, but some can communicate in human tongue through telepathy (e.g. Mewtwo), and in extremely rare cases a Pokémon can master the ability to speak the physical human tongue (e.g. a particular Meowth). As of the present "seventh generation", there are 802 recognized species of Pokémon, a fair portion of which are known to have multiple, distinctive forms.
The concepts of the Pokémon setting, in whatever incarnation it takes or what kind of media it is depicted in, stem from the hobby of insect collecting, which was a popular pastime which Pokémon executive director Satoshi Tajiri had enjoyed as a child. In most depictions of Pokémon, humans of varying interests seek out and capture various and multiple species of Pokémon using specially designed mass-producible tools called Poké Balls. In most cases, a Pokémon caught from the wild by a human willingly joins up with the human and obeys his or her spoken commands. Some catch and own Pokémon as friendly pets and lifelong companions and do not participate in any competitive activities with them. Others of a less savory nature, such as members of Pokémon crime syndicates such as Team Rocket, capture Pokémon and use them as living tools to advance their evil agendas. Most humans, however, including players of the Pokémon RPGs, take on the occupation of Pokémon training; they catch and collect Pokémon to train them and battle the Pokémon of other trainers in officially sponsored competitive Pokémon matches. There are never any lasting, bloody wounds or deaths incurred by the creatures involved, and seemingly never any hard feelings between winners and losers.
The two-stage object of most Pokémon RPGs is to collect all of the available Pokémon species in the region where that RPG takes place in, and from them train a winning team of powerful combat Pokémon to defeat the professionally trained Pokémon teams of that region's strongest trainers. The player's quest always takes him or her across the region to battle eight specialists in Pokémon training, that region's "gym leaders", and once eight commemorative badges have been gathered, the player may then go to the region's Pokémon League and battle an elite group of trainers - that region's Elite Four - and then battle the regional Champion to take the title. These five trainers, which must be battled one-after-the-other with no rest in between, are almost always the game's equivalent to any other RPG's "final boss" challenge. Pokémon captured from the wild with Poké Balls accumulate experience and learn new combat moves by battling many wild Pokémon and challenging other trainer's Pokémon to Pokémon matches, and whenever a Pokémon falls in battle ("knocked out"), it is easy to quickly and completely restore it to health, free of charge, by visiting one of many Pokémon Centers located throughout a region. Many species of Pokémon, when they gain enough experience and regardless of whether they are in the wild or under a trainer's ownership, undergo a metamorphosis and "evolve" into a similar, but larger and more powerful, species of Pokémon. Many of the 802 species belong to such lineages, and therefore many of the species of Pokémon are effectively different stages of what can be said to be several hundred "families" of Pokémon.
The Pokémon franchise's chronology is divided into "generations", each of which is defined by the newest Pokémon that are introduced within the newest pair of handheld Pokémon RPGs. Some generations may have more than one pair of interlinking RPGs, with the second set being released later than the first as a sort of "semi-sequel" to the base set that began that generation, but a new generation and associated set of new Pokémon are released every several years in a new pair of RPGs centered on a new fictional region. There have been five generations that ran their courses and a sixth that is currently underway, and each have introduced many, many dozens of new Pokémon, moves, and characters as well as new and changed mechanics and gameplay concepts:
In addition to the main series games, there also exists a multitude of spin-off games. The gameplay of these games can be similar or drastically different compared to the main series games, and can also have different goals of the game. These games are:
The Pokémon series' initial incarnation and set of releases were in effect when Super Smash Bros. was released in 1999, so only Pokémon from what is now referred to as the franchise's "First Generation" are featured in the game.
With two of the twelve playable characters in the game being Pokémon species themselves, the Pokémon franchise ties with the Mario series in having the most amount of characters available on the roster (and becomes the second most-represented series if one counts Donkey Kong and Yoshi as extensions of the Mario series). Mewtwo was originally planned to be a playable character, but was removed for unknown reasons.
Super Smash Bros. features one Pokémon-themed stage:
Super Smash Bros. introduces what has since been the only Pokémon-related item featured throughout the Smash Bros. series until SSB4:
Following the release of the first Smash Bros., the Pokémon series entered its Second Generation in 2000, so Pokémon from the two existing generations at the time are featured in 2001's Super Smash Bros. Melee.
While four of the 26 playable characters are Pokémon, the Pokémon series is now the third most-represented in the game, falling behind the five characters of The Legend of Zelda.
Additionally, Ditto makes an appearance as the graphic for a random character and color choice when setting up a Winner Out or Loser Out style tournament in the Tournament Mode.
Super Smash Bros. Melee features two stages representing Pokémon, one starter and one unlockable. While the second generation of Pokémon games introduced the Johto region in which they initially take place, it may be noted that both of the following stages nonetheless take place in Kanto, the region that was the setting of the first generation.
Full Trophy List
Main article: List of SSBM trophies (Pokémon series)
During the extended hiatus between Melee and Brawl, Pokémon proceeded with and completed its Third Generation, and had already begun its Fourth Generation in 2006-2007 when Brawl was released in 2008. Therefore, all four of the Pokémon generations at the time are represented in the Brawl package.
While Pokémon-related characters occupy four slots on the 35-slot character roster of the game, the franchise effectively contributes six unique playable characters, the largest of any represented franchise if not compared to a combination of Mario, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, and Wario as one "overall" franchise; this is reflected in the Pokémon segment of the game's All-Star mode having the most opponents to fight. This is especially noteworthy because Pokémon is the only series to have more than one of its characters from Melee retired from Brawl, with the absence of both Pichu and Mewtwo in the roster.
On the final character select screen (after all characters are unlocked), the Pokémon characters take up the seventh column.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl features three stages representing Pokémon, one starter and two unlockable, and one of them is a carry-over from the previous game, Melee:
Main article: List of SSBB trophies (Pokémon series)
Main article: List of stickers (Pokémon series)
In the interim between the releases of Brawl and the Wii U and 3DS Smash Bros. games, the Pokémon franchise once again proceeded with and completed a full generation, Generation V, and had started Generation VI, which allows for content from all six Pokémon generations to be featured in the most recent Smash Bros. game. Among the introductions in Generation VI are new, temporary "Mega Evolutions" for certain Pokémon species such as Lucario and Charizard. Mewtwo also returns, as the first downloadable character.
Main article: List of SSB4 Music (Pokémon series)
Main article: List of SSB4 trophies (Pokémon series)
Super Smash Bros. 4 (both versions)
Games with elements from or in the Super Smash Bros. series
Pokémon Red, Green, Blue and Yellow (Generation I)
The majority of playable characters from the Pokémon series as well as many Poké Ball Pokémon originated from the first generation. Pikachu and Jigglypuff are playable in all four Smash Bros. games, Mewtwo is playable in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. 4, Squirtle and Ivysaur are playable in Super Smash Bros Brawl, and Charizard is playable in Brawl and Super Smash Bros. 4. The main character of the games, Red, also makes his first appearance in this generation. One of the largest cities in Kanto, Saffron City appears as a stage in Super Smash Bros.
Being the first generation, it also introduced the Poké Ball itself and has appeared in every Smash Bros. game since. The rarest Poké Ball variation, the Master Ball, which allows players to catch a Pokémon without fail regardless of Health and status, appears as an item in Super Smash Bros. 4. Like the regular Poké Ball, the Master Ball releases a random Pokémon when thrown, but it will only release rare or legendary Pokémon from it, which might be a reference that in the Pokémon games, players will likely use their one and only Master Ball on a rare and difficult to catch Pokémon such as a legendary Pokémon.
Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal (Generation II)
Many Pokémon that debuted from Pokémon Gold and Silver appear out of Poké Balls in Melee and Brawl, from the second generation mascots Ho-Oh, Lugia and Suicune that has a rare frequency of coming out of a Poké Ball to more common ones such as Chikorita and Wobbuffet.
Pichu, a playable fighter in Melee, also made its debut in this game.
Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald (Generation III)
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire mascots Kyogre and Groudon can appear out of Poké Balls in Brawl', Kyogre using Hydro Pump and Groudon using Overheat. Other third generation Pokémon such as Gardevoir and Metagross can also appear, many filling the roles of old Pokémon (for example, Torchic fills the role previously held by Cyndaquil). Other Pokémon, such as Snorunt, appear as background stage elements in Pokémon Stadium 2. Examples of Legendary Pokémon that can appear from a Poké Ball in Brawl include Latios and Latias, Deoxys, and Jirachi. According to scrapped data, there is a theory that Plusle and Minun were originally planned to be playable characters.
Also, the track Victory Road that plays on Spear Pillar is from this game.
Some Pokémon who debut in these games have appearances as Trophies:
Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen (Generation III)
As a remake of Pokémon Red, Green and Blue, many characters introduced in Generation I return to make an appearance in this game as well as some Generation II Pokémon. The design for Red, the male Pokémon Trainer from FireRed and LeafGreen, is the design for the Pokémon Trainer in Brawl. He controls Charizard, Ivysaur, and Squirtle, evolutionary stages of the three starter Pokémon from those two games.
Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum (Generation IV)
In terms of playable characters, the fourth generation also has a representation, with Lucario as a playable character in Brawl and SSB4. Spear Pillar is also a stage in Brawl, complete with the Diamond and Pearl mascots Dialga and Palkia, along with Cresselia as major stage hazards. Uxie, Mesprit and Azelf appear in the background, while Electivire, Magnezone, Snover, and Drifloon appear on Pokémon Stadium 2.
New selections of Sinnoh Pokémon appear as Poké Ball Pokémon in Brawl, these being Piplup, Bonsly, Munchlax, Manaphy, and Weavile. Each of the Poké Ball Pokémon plus numerous others appear as trophies and stickers. There are also a few collectible songs originating from Diamond & Pearl:
Other Sinnoh Pokémon such as Palkia, Darkrai, and Arceus are later available as Poké Ball Pokémon in Super Smash Bros. 4, and Shaymin appears as a background Pokémon in the Unova Pokémon League stage.
Pokémon Black, White, Black 2 and White 2 (Generation V)
A small selection of fifth generation Pokémon appear in Super Smash Bros. 4 as Poké Ball Pokémon, including Victini, Kyurem, Keldeo, and Meloetta. Chandelure, Petilil, and Cryogonal also appear as enemies in Smash Run. The Unova Pokémon League appears as a stage in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, with Reshiram, Zekrom, and Whimsicott appearing as background characters. There are also collectible songs that appear in SSB4 originating from Black and White and Black 2 and White 2:
Pokémon X and Y (Generation VI)
Greninja is a playable character in SSB4. Xerneas, the mascot of Pokémon X, is a Poké Ball Pokémon in SSB4. Dedenne, Inkay, Chespin, Fennekin, Gogoat, Swirlix, Spewpa, and Fletchling also make an appearance in the game as a Poké Ball Pokémon. Prism Tower appears as a stage in the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. 4, with Helioptile and Yveltal appearing as background characters, while a stage based on the Kalos Pokémon League building is in the Wii U version, with Pyroar, Honedge, and Clawitzer appearing as background characters. The Mega Evolution forms of Lucario, Charizard, and Mewtwo, Mega Lucario, X version exclusive Mega Charizard X, and Y exclusive Mega Mewtwo Y respectively, also debuted in these games, and they are activated by a Final Smash. Various Mega Evolved Pokémon are also represented through trophies, including Venusaur, Blastoise, Blaziken, Kangaskhan, and Mega Mewtwo X. Additionally, there are collectible songs that appear in SSB4 that originated from X and Y: