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".
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 (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
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 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, 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 representative, 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 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 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, dataminer 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. Dataminers 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
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 and tons of new features, making the rumor false.
On May 16th, 2018, a user known as Vergeben posted a thread on GameFAQs, claiming he had a reliable source with information on the character roster of the then teased but still unrevealed Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Specifically, he said that Ridley and Simon Belmont would be newcomers and that the entire roster from Super Smash Bros. 4 would return with no cuts, with the Ice Climbers and Snake also returning after being cut from SSB4. Vergeben also claimed that the popular Microsoft-owned indie game Minecraft would be represented in some form.
On June 12, 2018, The lack of cuts from SSB4's roster, the return of Snake and the Ice Climbers, and the addition of Ridley were all confirmed during Nintendo’s E3 2018 Direct. This left Simon Belmont and Minecraft representation Vergeben's only unconfirmed claims. In response to a GameFAQs post asking about Simon, Vergeben replied “Just be patient. There’s still things to be revealed before release”, suggesting that Simon would be revealed at a later date. He later claimed on Reddit that there were at least “half a dozen newcomers” left to be revealed, but he didn’t know who any of them were aside from Simon.
On July 28, 2018, Vergeben made a post on GameFAQs titled Disregard ALL people claiming leaks that don't have these two characters, which restated his earlier claim that Simon would appear and also added Isabelle to his list of claims.
On August 3, 2018, Vergeben posted on a GameFAQs thread where he claimed that a Pokémon from Generation VII would appear as a playable fighter, and that it would not be Decidueye, Lycanroc, or Mimikyu.
On August 8, 2018, Simon Belmont was officially revealed as a newcomer in that day's Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct, confirming Vergeben's earlier claims that he would appear.  Also in this Direct, Mimikyu was revealed to appear as a Poké Ball summon, corroborating his claim that Mimikyu will not be playable.
On August 22, 2018, Vergeben made another post on a thread, this time stating that a new third-party fighter owned by Square Enix would appear in the game. This lead some to believe that Vergeben was simply taking info from the NeoGAF Leak, but the next day he claimed in a thread that he did not know anything about the NeoGAF leak. He also states that the NeoGAF leak contradicts his own information, since it claims there will be no new Pokémon rep. In the time since his original claim of a Square Enix newcomer, Vergeben has stated that he has actually heard seven different names for the newcomer, as Square Enix is intentionally sending out multiple names to try to prevent the real one from being leaked.
On September 13, 2018, Isabelle was revealed as a newcomer at the end of that day's Nintendo Direct, confirming Vergeben's claim that she would appear as a playable character.
On September 16, 2018, Vergeben made a new thread claiming that his reliable sources have finally confirmed to him that Incineroar is the Generation VII Pokémon that will appear as a newcomer. He also addresses the popular "Box Theory", which states that there will only be two more fighters in the base game as the box art for the Special Edition of the game only has room for two more fighters. He states that he knows for certain that Incineroar and Ken will be in the game, and that the source for the Square Enix newcomer had never been wrong in the past. He also claims the game will have post-launch content, which could possibly include the Square Enix newcomer if the Box Theory turns out to be true.
On November 1, 2018, the final Nintendo Direct for Ultimate revealed Ken and Incineroar as the last fighters to be announced for the base game, as well as revealing Isaac to be an Assist Trophy, confirming Vergeben's earlier claims about them. It was also announced in this direct that there would be additional fighters as paid DLC, which could possibly include the Square Enix newcomer and the Minecraft content.
On November 2, 2018, Vergeben made a post reiterating that he was confident one of the 5 post-launch DLC characters will be a Square Enix rep, and that it would be the first of the DLC characters to launch. He also reiterated that Minecraft content will be coming in some form. Additionally, he stated that Senjougahara__Hitagi, another leaker he considers reliable, has heard that the Minecraft content will include Steve as a playable character. He also shared that Hitagi's sources claim that there have been talks of a Granblue Fantasy newcomer as DLC, most likely Katalina. Hitagi initially verified the Steve and Katalina claims, but she later retracted the Katalina claim, saying that the "deal" was not related to Smash Bros. On November 21, Hitagi again stated that Steve is definitely coming, but also announced that she has given up trying to find out about the rest of the characters, as the ones she heard about were starting to look like red herrings, including any Square Enix fighters, thus bringing Vergeben's claim into doubt, as well.
On November 24, 2018, another insider by the name of Ryce stated that Vergeben was likely misled about Steve being a DLC character, since this claim came out long before the DLC choices were set in stone. Vergeben made a post agreeing with Ryce and stating that he still heard that Minecraft was still being represented with a boss, despite acknowledging the fact that nobody had yet found any references to Minecraft in the datamine of the full game. It should be noted that this does not dismiss Hitagi's claim of Steve being DLC.
On December 6, 2018, Joker was revealed to be the first DLC fighter at The Game Awards 2018. This directly contradicted Vergeben's claim that the first DLC character to be revealed would be a Square Enix character. This is notably the first of Vergeben's claims that has been proven wrong. Vergeben later justified this discrepancy by claiming that Joker was moved up on the schedule last-minute.
This correlates with a separate alleged leak originating from 5channel, claiming that Erdrick was the Square Enix rep, and would feature the Luminary as an alternate costume, while the Slime would appear on a Dragon Quest stage.
On April 25th, 2019, Vergeben provided an update claiming that Erdrick was definitely in the Fighters Pass. He also stated that content of some kind was being added but that it did not necessarily mean that Steve would be playable.
On June 6th, 2019, Vergeben claimed that Banjo & Kazooie had a 99% chance of being part of the Fighters Pass. He also reaffirmed his statement that Minecraft would be represented through DLC, though he also stated that he was unsure if Steve would be playable. Banjo & Kazooie were confirmed at E3 2019 along with Erdrick, albeit as a skin for Hero, something Vergeben stated he took great joy in as he was not informed of multiple Dragon Quest skins, and that it also explained why he kept hearing Luminary along with Erdrick.
At present, the following are the claims made by Vergeben that have been confirmed:
At present, the following are the claims made by Vergeben that have not yet been confirmed:
At present, the following are the claims made by Vergeben that have been proven wrong:
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. The user used codenames instead of the characters actual name 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, 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, inspiring credulity due to the legitimacy of the previous the 4chan E3 2018 leak. Due to a large volume of discussion on various forums, 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 would not be revealed until after launch and will 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, 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).
Most of the information provided in these leaks has proven false, and while some characters that were supposedly in the leak have been confirmed, none were confirmed in the indicated month.
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. 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.
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.
It should be noted, however, that while Kingdom Hearts is developed by Square Enix, the series itself, including the characters, are owned by Disney. The November 1st Nintendo Direct revealed the full base roster, of which Sora is not a part of.
It would later appear to be a mistake response, as Twitter user Forest_ier visited Hashimoto himself and asked about Sora in Smash, where Hashimoto answered that Sora is not planned for Ultimate.
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.
On October 11th, 2018, Twitter user Milk-BOSATU (currently named Team NepDon) 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.
On December 14th, 2018, this was followed up with a claim that a female character would be appearing as a playable DLC fighter in the Fighters Pass.
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.
Two days later, he made a tweet about the female character's model what 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.
Speculation regarding who it is includes Nakoruru from Samurai Spirits, Mai Shiranui from Fatal Fury, Morrigan from Darkstalkers, and Colette Brunel and Lloyd Irving from Tales of Symphonia as a tag team fighter like the Ice Climbers or Rosalina & Luma.
“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 don't make an appearance in Ultimate in any shape or form (at least prior to DLC).
On June 11, 2019, Banjo & Kazooie were revealed as DLC, meaning that they and Ken are the only characters from this leak that ended up playable.
4chan DLC leak
On November 24th, 2018, an alleged leak was posted on 4chan, the leaker claims a source from the DLC fighters which are:
The leaker's source also sent a video of a few "uncompleted" fighter models. The leaker stated he would post them, however, he never did.
At The Game Awards 2018, it was revealed that Joker would appear as the first Fighters Pass character, who would soon be followed during the Nintendo Direct E3 2019 event by a Square Enix rep Hero and Microsoft rep Banjo & Kazooie. As the leaker only definitively stated the third-party companies being represented with the characters themselves being worded as seeming speculation, it's currently unknown whether or not this leak has actual inside info or simply had several lucky guesses. Notably, Vergeben, another leaker who also predicted the inclusion of Banjo & Kazooie and the Hero among other content from the base game, has indicated that Square Enix sent out multiple names for their DLC fighter during development in order to prevent leaks, which may explain this leaker's guesses.
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. 
5channel Dragon Quest leak
On December 15, 2018, an alleged leak was posted on 5channel, claiming that Erdrick from the Dragon Quest series would be appearing as a DLC fighter, acting as the new Square Enix rep for Super Smash Bros Ultimate.
It was noted that the Dragon Quest collaboration was achieved through active collaboration on Square Enix's side, to benefit overseas marketing for the Dragon Quest series.
In the same leak, it was also claimed that Joker's stage from Persona 5 would be Mementos, and that Jack Frost would appear on screen with a skill.
This leak is notable in it accurately leaking Granblue Fantasy: Versus before its official announcement.
On April 16, 2019, a special Smash video was released on YouTube, and while the leak got Joker's stage correct, the Jack Frost appearance on the stage was false. The rest of the leak itself was mostly false upon the Hero's reveal; while Erdrick is in Smash Ultimate, he's an alternate costume for Hero instead of an individual character slot, thus there is no female variant of him at all.
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.
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 R 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 P5R 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: The 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.
On February 4th, 2019, the general director of the Kirby series, Shinya Kumazaki, made a post on Instagram showcasing a number of photos of Kirby next to Erdrick's shield from the Dragon Quest series. The post reads: "The brave's shield. そして伝説がはじまった！ (And thus, the legend started!)" This led many fans to speculate that Kumazaki was referring to the DLC character datamine that revealed "brave". Though Hero was later confirmed to be a downloadable fighter, the image is more than likely a coincidence; the post has since been edited to state that "This picture has no meaning," and Kumazaki's profile was updated to read "Photo are unrelated to work." Kumazaki is not directly involved in the Super Smash Bros. series, only being listed as an "Original Game Supervisor" for Ultimate.
Extra game modes datamine
On March 8, 2019, Ultimate's files were datamined, revealing two files named "howtoplay_stage_builder.html" and "howtoplay_homerun.html". The intended purpose of these files is unknown, but it has led fans to speculate that Stage Builder and Home-Run Contest are returning to Ultimate in a future update, with "howtoplay" signifying that the files are for a menu that pops up when the player first selects the modes.
A leak in an advert by Nintendo would later reveal that a Stage Builder was in fact being developed, and it was officially revealed on April 16, set to be released the following day. However, Home-Run Contest has not been confirmed to return as of yet.
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.
Pete Hines Nintendo Power Interview
On June 14, 2019, VP of PR at Bethesda, Pete Hines, teased in an interview with Nintendo Power that a major Doom related-announcement was planned for Nintendo fans at the 2019 QuakeCon (July 25 - July 28), separate from the already announced Doom Eternal port for Nintendo Switch. "Who knows, maybe some more surprises for Nintendo fans, " teased Pete Hines. This led to speculation that the previously rumored Doom Slayer might be announced as a part of the Fighters Pass for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It should be noted that the tease also led to speculation of Nintendo-exclusive content coming to Doom Eternal or re-releases of older Doom titles coming to the Nintendo Switch.
Doom, Doom 2 and Doom 3 were announced for the Nintendo Switch at QuakeCon; however, they were also announced for the PS4, Xbox One, Android, and iOS, so it still remains unclear if more "surprises for Nintendo fans" are coming.
Hero 7-11 poster leak
On July 24th, former Source Gaming member PushDustIn posted an image on Twitter showing off a poster from a 7-11 in Japan. The poster included information on both Fire Emblem: Three Houses and the Hero in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. While it only states that the Hero is coming out in the summer, the poster also says that it will be taken down on August 4th, leading many to believe that the Hero would be launching on August 4th. This line of thought, however, was proven inaccurate, when Hero released on July 30th and not when the poster was set to be taken down.