One of the things that makes Super Smash Bros. a special series is how a new iteration in the franchise only appears once every console cycle. That's a large reason why the roster is of such importance to fans, and one of the reasons why so many forums are filled with dream rosters long before new installments are even announced.
While many gamers are eager to see what new characters make their debut in the recently unveiled Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, just as many are concerned about the fate of returning characters. The transition from Melee to Brawl saw a total of five characters get dropped, so it's not hard to imagine that the forthcoming Wii U and 3DS games could very well do the same.
It's for this very reason that we compiled a list of the five characters that may not be returning in the next Super Smash Bros. games.
When it comes down to the first characters on the chopping block, clone characters are the first to come to mind. Wolf O'Donnell, while a cool rival for Fox McCloud, added nothing to the roster in terms of depth. Following suit with the same move set as Fox and Falco (albeit slightly modified), Wolf ended up being more of a disappointment than an exciting new combatant.
Effectively replacing Young Link from Melee, Toon Link offered a new look and feel for an iconic Nintendo character. Sadly, this particular version of Link was featured in the latest trailer for Super Smash Bros. on the 3DS... as a background character. He can be spotted driving the train in a Spirit Tracks level, and while that appearance may mean nothing, it's not a good sign for fans of the cel-shaded protagonist.
Charizard, Ivysaur, & Squirtle (Pokemon Trainer)
Pokemon Trainer was one of the most unique characters on Brawl's roster, and we have full confidence that the character will be returning in the pair of upcoming sequels — his Pokemon, however, may not. Having Charizard, Ivysaur and Squirtle as playable characters made for a dream come true for fans of the original Pokemon Red and Blue games, but with Pokemon X and Y on the horizon, it's entirely possible that some new starter Pokes will fill Pokemon Trainer's roster within the roster.
Metal Gear Solid's main protagonist felt out of place in the last Smash game, but Solid Snake ended up being a fun and surprising addition. That said, the game's creator, Masahiro Sakurai, recently elaborated on how challenging it is to work with third-parties to include their characters.
We hope that Nintendo and Konami are still ready and willing to work together to get Snake in the new Smash titles, but (other than Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D) the character hasn't really been relevant on Nintendo platforms as of late.
After more or less replacing Mewtwo in Brawl, Lucario made for an interesting character. This particular Pokemon's time in the limelight has ended, though, so chances are he'll be replaced by another monster in the next Super Smash Bros.. Just what creature could take up the mantle is unknown, but since Mewtwo has received a new form for Pokemon X and Y, it's entirely possible that the original Legendary could be making a comeback.
Whether or not that means there will be room for Lucario remains to be seen.
Thus ends Game Rant's feature on the five characters that we feel may not return in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U or Super Smash Bros. for 3DS. We'd like to hope we're wrong about every character on this list, but we shouldn't expect all of Brawl's combatants to make their return. That said, it's exciting to see what Masahiro Sakurai and his team have planned for the future pair of franchise installments.
Which characters are you hoping to see return in the new Super Smash Bros. games? Which fighters are you concerned may not make their return to the acclaimed beat-'em up?
Follow Riley on Twitter @TheRileyLittle.