Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズ SPECIAL, Great Fray Smash Brothers Special) is an upcoming fighting game for the Nintendo Switch. It was first announced on March 8th, 2018 at the end of the Nintendo Direct released the same day. It will be the fifth installment in the Super Smash Bros. series (sixth if both versions of Super Smash Bros. 4 are counted as two games). The game is scheduled to release on December 7, 2018.
Reveal and promotion
A first teaser trailer at the end of a Nintendo Direct presentation on March 8th, 2018 revealed that a new Super Smash Bros. title was in development for the Nintendo Switch, planned for release before the end of 2018. Without explicitly confirming the playable status of any characters, the teaser trailer hinted the Inklings would be debuting in the game as newcomers, while also suggesting that Mario, Link, and several other series veterans would be returning.
The first extended look at the game came at Nintendo's E3 2018 presentation. Series creator and game director Masahiro Sakurai introduced the coverage, which kicked off with an extended video showing new incarnations for veteran characters. After confirming the return of previously cut characters such as Ice Climbers and Snake, the tagline "Everyone Is Here" was introduced, and the video revealed that all playable characters from previous Smash Bros. titles would be returning to the new game, including the formerly cut Ice Climbers, Pichu, and Young Link from Melee, as well as Pokémon Trainer, Wolf, and Snake from Brawl. The trailer also confirmed the Inklings as the game's first newcomers, while concluding with a reveal of the game's final title: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Later in the E3 presentation, new information on the Ultimate incarnations of characters was revealed, including the presence of Cappy in Mario's taunts and other moves, that Zelda would be based on her Link to the Past design, all the DLC fighters from Smash 4 would return as part of the launch roster, Ike would have his Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn designs from the two previous games and much more. The presentation introduced "Echo Fighters", which Lucina and Dark Pit are now marked as, while Daisy was revealed as a new Echo Fighter. The presentation also confirmed returning elements, items, and stages, which would receive revamped Ω forms and Battlefield forms. The presentation concluded with a final trailer in which Ridley from Metroid - long requested by fans for inclusion in the series but rebuffed by Sakurai due to his large size - finally "hits the big time" as he joined the roster of playable characters as a newcomer.
At the EVO 2018 fighting game tournament, Nintendo revealed that a new Ultimate-focused Nintendo Direct presentation would be released on August 8, 2018. The presentation opened with a trailer confirming the inclusion of content from Konami's Castlevania franchise for the first time in the series. The trailer revealed the presence of new fighters, Simon Belmont and his Echo Fighter, Richter Belmont; a new Assist Trophy, Alucard; a new stage called Dracula's Castle, and more. The Direct also covered two new Echo Fighters, Chrom and Dark Samus, as well as new music, modes, stages, and items. The presentation concluded with a trailer introducing a new playable character: King K. Rool, leader of the Kremlings and nemesis of the Kong family from the Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Country series.
In a Nintendo Direct presentation shown on September 13th, 2018, a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Nintendo Switch console bundle was unveiled, featuring a specially designed dock and Joy-Con controllers. Isabelle, from the Animal Crossing series was also revealed as a newcomer.
The final pre-release Ultimate-focused Nintendo Direct presentation aired on November 1, 2018. This revealed Ken and Incineroar as new playable characters, as well as the inclusion of DLC fighters - Piranha Plant appearing shortly after launch, followed by five other unannounced characters, which have been selected in advance by Nintendo as future additions, and have yet to be developed. It also took a deeper look at the game's modes and online infrastructure, and revealed Spirits mode and Adventure Mode: World of Light, before finishing with the mode's opening cutscene and the reveal of the game's vocal theme, Lifelight.
After the game's reveal, an official site and information blog was launched as an official platform to provide information on the game. Available in a variety of languages, the site is continually updated to provide details on new and returning fighters, stages, items, music, and other Ultimate-related information.
All 63 characters (65 if counting the Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon) from all previous Smash Bros. games return as playable characters. As well as the returning cast, 11 newcomers have been confirmed as of November 1st, 2018, with at least six characters (one known and five unknown) planned as downloadable content. In total, this ensures that at least 74 characters (76 if counting the Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon) are playable in the game at launch and 80 (82) characters are playable overall, the most for any Smash Bros. game. Each character is numbered in the order from when they first joined the series.
Inkling, with various Girl and Boy designs from the original Splatoon, was the first character confirmed to appear in the game as a playable character. Ridley, a central villain from the Metroid series, is also confirmed to be playable, with Meta Ridley as an alternate costume. King K. Rool, arch-rival of Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong from the Donkey Kong series, is confirmed to be a playable newcomer as well, with his move-set drawing on his appearances as a boss in the Donkey Kong Country games onward. Isabelle from the Animal Crossing series, who previously appeared in Smash 4 as an Assist Trophy, makes her playable debut as the second Animal Crossing representative. Finally, in the November Direct, Incineroar from Pokémon Sun & Moon was announced as the title's last base roster newcomer.
Simon of the Castlevania series has been announced as the game's first third-party newcomer, while Piranha Plant from the Mario series has been announced as the game's first DLC character. It has been confirmed that five more unique newcomers will be added as DLC by February of 2020.
Playable clone characters are now described as "Echo Fighters" and are marked with an epsilon symbol (ε). Returning characters Dark Pit and Lucina have been retroactively given this title, while new characters Daisy, Richter, Dark Samus, Chrom, and Ken are confirmed to be Echo Fighters of Peach, Simon, Samus, Roy, and Ryu, respectively. The character select screen in Ultimate will give players the option to display Echo Fighters in their own character slots, or to stack Echo Fighters with the character they are based on together in a single slot.
Only the starting characters from the first game are available from the start, however, the Mii Fighters' availability is still not known. The rest of the roster needs to be unlocked, however the unlocking process is going to be faster and easier compared to previous games.
With the exception of the Super Smash Bros.-original stages, all stages are ordered in chronological appearance and for the first time ever, all stages are available immediately from boot-up. It was also stated that all stages can be played with up to 8 players. All stages have both a Battlefield form and Ω form. Ultimate will feature 103 stages at launch. An additional 5 planned stages will be added to the game via downloadable content, which will bring the amount of stages up to 108.
Towards the end of Super Smash Bros. 4's post-launch development, Masahiro Sakurai announced that his next project had been decided and that he would be taking a small vacation following the end of development. Unlike previous Smash titles, which had their development studios built from the ground up, Bandai Namco returned to help game development. Prior to starting development, the team had a choice between completely overhauling the game's system and feel or working off of what was established in the last game. The team ultimately went with the latter. Had the team gone with the former, the game would have likely only had a third of its characters. Despite deciding to base the game off of the previous installment, Sakurai still increased the overall speed of the game, but only by an amount that wouldn't be too alienating to people unfamiliar with the series. Sakurai notes that he had wanted to make these changes in previous titles, but was unable to because it was easy for one to lose track of their character's position on screen, especially on the Nintendo 3DS. When Sakurai had revealed to his development team that he intended to bring back every previously playable character, he was met with silence. The project plan was later finished by December 2015.  Prior to leaving Bandai Namco, presumably sometime in 2016, Tiago Sonobe, then a software engineer and graphics programmer for the company, started development on the game's rendering engine. On November 12th, 2017, Nintendo filed a number of trademarks, notably including a Japanese Super Smash Bros. logo.
A Super Smash Bros. title for the Switch was later officially revealed on March 8th, 2018 via a Nintendo Direct. Shortly after, Sakurai confirmed in a tweet that he had been working on the game "in silence, day after day". On March 22nd, 2018, Nintendo announced the Super Smash Bros. Invitational 2018, a tournament taking place on June 12th where invited professional players will play the upcoming game. Later, in volume 542 of his Famitsu article, Sakurai revealed that his work schedule had been cut down significantly, citing strict regulations regarding work hours. On April 18th, 2018, Nintendo again filed a number of trademarks for several game logos, including the Super Smash Bros. logo. Most of these game logos originate from games with some relationship to the Smash series, including Pikmin, Star Fox, and F-Zero. These trademarks were approved on May 14th, 2018.
The game was finally unveiled at E3 2018 via a Nintendo Direct. The 25-minute trailer featured in the Nintendo Direct confirmed the title of the game as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, revealed that every previously playable character would return, with Daisy and Ridley as new playable characters, and showcased new and returning gameplay features. Following the end of the presentation, a Nintendo Treehouse event went live. During the Treehouse event, several matches were streamed and some new features were revealed and discussed. In addition to the Treehouse livestream, a playable demo of the game was opened to the public at E3 2018 and at the Nintendo Store in New York. Following the end of the Splatoon 2 World Championships, the Super Smash Bros. Invitational 2018 began. During the match pitting MkLeo as Bayonetta against Plup as Ridley, Masahiro Sakurai reportedly shook his head after MkLeo had performed a successful ladder combo on Plup. At the end of the invitational, the Nintendo Treehouse livestream resumed, further showcasing more gameplay elements and matches. In addition to this, the official Super Smash Bros. Ultimate website was published. This would serve as the primary source for new details about the game.
A demo of the game would later be playable at certain tournaments and events in Japan and the United States, including Rage 2018 Summer, Next Generation World Hobby Fair ’18 Summer, CEO 2018, Jump Victory Carnival 2018, and EVO 2018, along with events in other countries such as FestiGame Chile 2018, and Insomnia 64 in the United Kingdom.
Changes from SSB4
As Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is still in development, the information listed below has been taken from the E3 Demo version and gameplay trailers and may be subject to change after the official release of the game.
Menu and UI changes
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