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 Bowser, King Dedede, Mewtwo, 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 hoaxMelee 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".
Lucas replacing Ness rumor
A widespread rumor that came around years after Melee's release was that Masahiro Sakurai planned to replace Ness with the new protagonist of Mother 3, Lucas. This rumor was confirmed by Sakurai himself, where he stated that he was going to replace Ness with Lucas, but the delay of Mother 3 (which ended up getting delayed to 2006, five years after the release of Melee) caused him to renege on the idea and keep Ness in.
Relating to this rumor, 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.
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. However, Sakurai only said that the characters would be difficult to include, not that he had planned to include them.
Rumors about Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Radio interview rumor
Shortly after Brawl's announcement, a rumor claimed that in a radio interview, Masahiro Sakurai confirmed that Ridley, a cel-shaded Link, and Bowser Jr. would be playable characters. Coinciding with this was the rumor of Young Link, the Ice Climbers, and Mr. Game & Watch being dropped. This was proven to be false; while Toon Link does replace Young Link in Brawl as the second Link, Ridley appears as a boss instead of a playable character, Bowser Jr. only appears as a sticker and trophy, and Mr. Game & Watch and the Ice Climbers returned as playable characters in Brawl.
Coincidentally, Bowser Jr. was later playable in 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 gameplay elements (such as Gardevoir being confused for Rosalina) or if these claims were deliberately hoaxed to fool players.
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 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 game; additionally, some advertisements had the tagline of "One brawl to end them all!". This led several to believe that Brawl was the last game in the series. The rumor, however, is taken out of context; Sakurai stated he was making Brawl like it was the last game, not that it was the last game. Additionally, Sakurai said that Melee would have been the last game 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, 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 Platinum Games 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 and Shulk 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 considered 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.
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.
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 Comic-Con 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 Men, 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 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.
Rumors about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
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. Furthermore, on March 22, an invitational tournament for the game was announced alongside the Splatoon 2 World Championship, and even later it got an original title: Ultimate. It brings back every playable character in the series while introducing newcomers like the Inkling, Daisy, and Ridley.
On May 16th, 2018, a user known as Vergeben posted a thread on GameFAQs claiming he had a reliable source telling him part of the roster of the new Super Smash Bros.; specifically, that Ridley and Simon Belmont from Castlevania would be newcomers, with Ridley being announced at E3, while the Ice Climbers, who were in Melee and Brawl but not in SSB4 would be returning to the series. Additionally, he claimed that, while the new game would be a full-fledged sequel with some reused elements, the entire roster from SSB4 would return with no cuts. Later, in a comment on a Reddit post, Vergeben claimed that Snake would be returning from Brawl. He also claimed that some form of representation from the Microsoft-owned indie game franchise, Minecraft, would appear in the new entry.
At the time that this rumor started, Vergeben had already made for himself a reputation for having a roughly equal amount of leaks proven correct as leaks proven incorrect, leading to a debate on the thread which group this rumor would fall into. Some argued that the majority of Vergeben's "true" leaks were not hard to predict, such as popular characters being added to DBFZ and Bandai Namco developing Metroid Prime 4, which had been rumored by other parties prior to Vergeben stepping in, and that many of his flawed leaks such as the roster selection of Season 3 of Street Fighter V makes him overall untrustworthy and too gullible as a source of info. Others argued that there were enough of these "true" leaks to make it hard to doubt whether Vergeben has some reliable sources, even if not all of his rumors originate from them.
On June 1, 2018, Vergeben had come out and claimed that Simon's inclusion in the next game was down to a specific set of circumstances regarding Konami preparing to announce a new Castlevania game at E3 2018, alongside a compilation title. The information regarding the Castlevania titles was seen as more likely after E3 floor plans revealed that Konami were planning to showcase a new Action/Adventure title and a compilation title for the Switch. However, another user, Stealth, had already made this claim a week prior to Vergeben's statement, suggesting that the main reason the Simon Belmont rumor gained traction was based off of Konami's current titles in development and Sakurai having been in contact with several third-party reps including Konami to renegotiate and negotiate third-party representatives.
Furthermore, in regards to Ridley's inclusion, one of ResetEra staff members had already predated Vergeben's leak suggesting Ridley would be playable as far back since before the game's announcement, which has led to some people speculating that Vergeben most likely received information from a similar source, but that Simon Belmont's inclusion is only personal speculation, when it's possible that Sakurai could've instead been in touch with Konami to renegotiate the inclusion of Solid Snake, or perhaps another Konami representative like Bomberman.
The lack of cuts, the return of Snake and the Ice Climbers were confirmed at Nintendo’s E3 2018 Direct, leaving only Simon Belmont and the Minecraft representation yet to be confirmed. In response to a GameFAQs post asking about Simon Belmont, Vergeben replied “Just be patient. There’s still things to be revealed before release” suggesting that Simon Belmont would be revealed at a later time. He later claimed on Reddit that there were at least “half a dozen newcomers” left to be revealed but didn’t know who any of them were outside of Simon Belmont.
On June 15, 2018, a user by the name DasVergeben appeared on Smash boards, claiming Simon Belmont, Lip, Captain Rainbow, and Excite Biker were all to appear.  The appearance of another Vergeben account then appeared claiming all stages were to return and that there would be no subspace . After the appearance of a third account, all three were banned, and the moderators proved the illegitimacy of those users . However, DasVergeben would later state on Reddit that he was not involved with making any of the posts on SmashBoards.
On July 28, 2018, Vergeben made a post on GameFAQs titled Disregard ALL people claiming leaks that don't have these two characters, who were Simon Belmont and Isabelle.
On August 8, 2018, Simon Belmont was officially revealed as a newcomer in a Super Smash Bros. Direct, confirming Vergeben's earlier claims.  Additionally, Mimikyu was revealed as a Poké Ball Pokémon, corroborating with his claim that a Generation VII Pokémon that is not Mimikyu will be playable.
The Codenames "leak" refers to a popular leak stemming from 4chan’s /v/ board 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.
On July 1st, 2018, a user on 4chan posted a thread claiming to know what characters would be in the new Smash Bros. game, and when they would be revealed. Oddly, this leaker used codenames instead of the characters actual name in their post. The reason for this is unknown, although many have speculated the reason is so the leak wouldn't immediately get shot down due to it featuring an unlikely character.
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, it was covered by many articles on Inverse, with the first one being posted on July 6th, 2018. This caused it to be picked up by users of Reddit and various Smash Bros. discussion boards, gaining credibility due to a previous 4chan leak, the 4chan E3 2018 leak, turning out to be legitimate. Due to the immense amount of discussion on Reddit, Twin Galaxies, Smash Boards, and other sites, it was further spread to news websites such as Kotaku.
The popularity of the rumor peaked when it started trending on YouTube, with many users posting discussion videos which would gain tens of thousands of views in a matter of days. The most popular video was posted by Aaronitmar, which accumulated nearly 500,000 views in nine days.
Much of the discussion on this rumor was on what characters represented which codename. Some of the most popular ideas included:
However, 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 will not be revealed until after launch and will be available via a free update, while Doll will 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" will be revealed in a Nintendo Direct in September. The user then stated that they were unaware of the other characters' reveal dates, indicating that the ones listed above may be inaccurate. Similarly to the other codenames, there was much discussion on who Soul and Fake may be, with some of the leading theories being Sans or another character from Undertale (a game where the player's "SOUL" is a major part of the plot), Shadow the Hedgehog (after numerous scenes in Sonic Adventure 2 where Sonic calls him "Faker" and "Fake Hedgehog"), Mimikyu (a Pokémon known for disguising itself), or characters from the plethora of games with "soul" in their title, including Dark Souls or Soulcalibur (such as Solaire from the former).
This leak has been mostly proven false, with the entirety of July and EVO 2018 passing without a character announcement, the seemingly incorrect prediction of when King K. Rool, Simon Belmont, and Dark Samus will be revealed, Sakurai's statement that all characters will be revealed before launch (potentially excluding DLC) and the claim that only one character will be revealed in August as opposed to five.
On July 23rd, 2018, a post was made to 4chan in regards to a supposed character leak, regarding the "mascot" character, a Geolyte, from Meteos. While only one image was provided in the thread, several other images have since popped up throughout the internet. The leak held some credibility: Meteos is a Sakurai-designed series, and it tied in with the codenames "leak", as Prime Ribs would have referred to the ox-like look of the Geolyte. However, several inconsistencies were noticed in the screenshots, particularly with the damage percents, as they did not match up with what was shown at the E3 demo. Additionally, the portrait used for the Geolyte was noted to be a flipped version of an image from Meteos of the Geolyte.
GameFAQs August Direct leak
Despite the leaker's credibility and the fact that a Nintendo Direct was, indeed, held in August, none of the information was featured except for the return of Tournament mode.
4chan August Direct leak
On August 7th, 2018, another leak appeared on 4chan regarding the contents of the August Direct. The key points were:
While this leak manifested a mere hours before the Castlevania music leak, it is possible that the timing was a coincidence. In the music leak, one of the songs is "Monster Dance" instead of "Dracula's Castle", but it is possible that the 4chan leaker got the name wrong or that both music tracks are in the game.
In the end, the vast majority of this information was proven wrong. The only information the supposed leaker got correct was the announcement of Simon and the returns of Kongo Jungle 64, Brinstar Depths, Pirate Ship, Hanenbow, and Golden Plains.
New mode leak
Shortly after the August 2018 Smash Direct, Twitter user NoctuleScent made a twitter thread documenting his attempt at deciphering the name of an unannounced mode, shown in the Direct as part of Ultimate's menu, hidden behind a pixelated blur filter and to be revealed at a later date. The tweet claims that the mode's name is "Spirits", discovered thanks to a "mistake from the editing team", in which parts of the name can be seen for 2 frames as the menu zooms away from deselecting Smash mode. Another tweet shows the name with both frames juxtaposed with image editing software for better clarity. This was corroborated by another Twitter user, Joe Pines.
Shortly after the original tweet, another one from the original user explains that the same method can be used for the japanese version of the Direct, revealing a direct translation of "Spirits" in katakana (スピリッツ, Spirits). Another tweet claims that the logo above the name resembles a magatama, an item often associated with spirits, further drawing a connection to the name.
In the post of the leak in NeoGAF posted by a user named WhisslBlank, the details left unannounced in the post are:
Another post was later made by 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 they 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.
On July 1st, 2018, an alleged leak was posted on 4chan, claiming to be from someone working at CEO who got a hold of the code for the demo. The leaker claims that the following character's names were present:
Additionally, Simon's name was stated not to be present.
The August Direct revealed that Richter, King K. Rool and Dark Samus are all playable fighters, but it is unknown if this is simply a successful guess. Simon was also revealed, disproving the claim that only Richter would be playable.
Supposedly, on January 1st, 2018, 2 months before the announcement of the game, a anonymous post in 2ch stated:
It was, however, proven fake, when someone looked up the domain name on Whois.com, and found that said domain was created the day prior to when the leak first popped up, August 13th.
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