The atmosphere surrounding the launch of a new Super Smash Bros. game is palpable. The franchise only rears its head once every console generation, so gamers with all preferences appreciate the phenomena surrounding each installment. With the Wii U on the horizon, the wait for the next Super Smash Bros. (while still a long one) is slowly growing shorter by the day, and the finished product should be nothing less than stellar.
It was recently announced that due to the combined scale of the 3DS and Wii U iterations, Nintendo had called in reinforcements to aid with the projects. Namco Bandai is co-developing the new Super Smash Bros. games alongside series creator Masahiro Sakurai and his team at Project Sora. Now that development is official underway, speculation will begin to grow, and there’s nothing more speculated upon than the playable roster of characters.
We’ve already given you our wish list of top 10 Nintendo-owned newcomers for Super Smash Bros. 4, and now we’ve compiled another top 10 comprised solely on potential third-party character additions. Assuming that Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake will be returning, which are pretty safe assumptions, they’ve been left off of this list. I’ve also left off the names of characters that, while potentially great additions, just aren’t likely to appear – because they’re owned by the direct competition (i.e. Banjo and Kazooie).
Now, let’s begin.
Bomberman is one of the oldest franchises still around today, and the infamous White Bomber has become an especially iconic character in the video game history. Despite a recent lack of software (the series hasn’t had a new installment since 2010), Bomberman is way overdue for a comeback, and what better way to show the world that you’re still relevant than appearing in the next Super Smash Bros..
The character has tangled with Nintendo’s Wario in the past, and Hudson Soft (the company that created the franchise) was responsible for Mario Party 1-8. The company has since been dissolved into Konami, but many of the staff behind the series jumped ship to Nintendo – most recently finishing work on Mario Party 9. Konami has already demonstrated their eagerness to have their characters in Smash (Solid Snake), and the internal pressure from former Hudson Soft devs may push Bomberman into the spotlight once more.
Ninja Gaiden‘s Ryu Hayabusa is responsible for an insane amount of blood and gore, but there’s a strong possibility that he could slice and dice combatants in the next Smash. Team Ninja, and more importantly Tecmo Koei, have a strong relationship with Nintendo. We’ve seen various team-ups between the two companies; the two most recent being Pokemon Conquest and Metroid: Other M. The house that Mario built is even publishing Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge for the Wii U, so the ninja’s chances are looking good.
Game industry politics aside, Ryu knows his way around in hand-to-hand combat situations as well; becoming a prominent character in the Dead or Alive series. His latest appearance in the fighting franchise, Dead or Alive: Dimensions, featured a cameo from Metroid‘s Ridley, and after being thrown around by the massive space pirate we’d imagine he’d be out for revenge.
The first ever protagonist in the Castelvania series has quite a fabled history with Nintendo, and it’s one that the company shouldn’t be quick to ignore. Simon Belmont made his first appearance in North America on the NES, and his game instantly became a hit amongst players at the time. The character was so popular in fact that he became a main character in the Captain Nintendo cartoon show, alongside the likes of Kid Icarus (Pit).
Konami has always been a large supporter of Nintendo, and the company just recently announced two new Castlevania games for the 3DS and Wii U. Another Konami-owned character, Solid Snake, has already laid claim to a spot on the roster, so Simon Belmont is more than capable of doing the same. With his classic whip in tow, this is one vampire slayer that we’d love to see punch Mario in the face… repeatedly.
If given the option to include another character from the Sonic franchise, many will immediately request Knuckles. This punch-drunk brawler knows how to serve up a buffet of knuckle sandwiches, and there’s no question that he’s one of the most fitting characters to occupy a spot on the roster.
Knuckles has actually already made an appearance in Super Smash Bros. - he just wasn’t playable. The crimson echidna can be seen running in the background of Brawl‘s Green Hill Zone, and his trophy can be earned and put prominently on display after unlocking Sonic. What baffled fans however, was the fact that Nintendo went through the trouble of getting the license to use Sega‘s most recognizable characters in their game but failed to make more than one of them playable. It’s about time to rectify that.
Ubisoft‘s original limb-less powerhouse has saved the world on several occasions, and his next game – a launch title for the Wii U – is at the very least a timed-exclusive for the platform. Given the immense support that the French developer has for Nintendo (there are a total of eight confirmed titles from Ubisoft arriving within the launch window), it’s a given that they’re looked at internally as one of the console’s key developers. As such, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rayman in the next Smash Bros. roster.
Ubisoft is more than willing to lend characters their esteemed properties, that much was made apparent when Ezio Auditore from Assassin’s Creed showed up in Soul Calibur 5. Since Rayman has a handful of Nintendo exclusive games to his name, developer ties aside, he makes a much more logical inclusion than Konami’s Snake. His mastery of side-scrolling combat is unrivalled, and it could easily be transitioned into Smash 4 with very little difficulty.
The mascot for Dragon Quest would make for a truly bizarre addition to Smash, but Slime should still be considered a frontrunner for inclusion. Despite having a limbless body made entirely out of a gelatinous slime, the beast has held its own against Mario in the past on a mental and physical level. Slime makes a playable appearance alongside the pudgy plumber and friends in Mario Sports Mix and Fortune Street, so yet another appearance doesn’t seem like much of a leap.
Dragon Quest has remained a Nintendo platform-exclusive for several years now, and there’s no question that Square Enix would love to have their series represented in one of the most prestigious fighting games ever conceived. Slime was one of the few characters “leaked” by alleged documents for Super Smash Bros. Universe, and if those turn out to be true then he’s already secured a spot.
Surprise! Another member from the cast of Sonic the Hedgehog has made our list, and gamers will be hard pressed to argue why he shouldn’t land a playable role. What makes Dr. Eggman a necessary combatant for the fourth Smash is that he’s the butter to Sonic’s bread, the yin to Sonic’s yang. Without Ivo Robotnik there wouldn’t be much point to the blue blur, and the fact that Brawl‘s roster was noticeably light on antagonists is reason enough to suggest that Nintendo may be looking to even the playing field.
Eggman also stars in Disney’s upcoming Wreck-It Ralph alongside the likes of Super Mario‘s own Bowser. It’s not an accurate representation of his chances by any means, but the scene in which those two characters sat in a room together made us hungry for even more interaction between the two. Since Sonic is already a playable member of the Smash roster, it’s not too much to expect to be romping around as this egg-shaped baddy.
After years of being M.I.A., the cult popularity of this Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars co-star has refused to fade. Geno is a doll possessed by a being from Star Road to help defeat the evil Smithy Gang and collect all of the missing Star Pieces. The background on this character isn’t even the most interesting part however, as the rights to Geno are split between Nintendo and Square Enix.
Aside from Super Mario RPG, Geno has only made a cameo appearance in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and that was back in 2003. After a decade since the character was last spotted, fans still want to see the possessed puppet return one last time. Sadly, given the circumstances in which the rights to Geno have fallen, it’s unlikely that the character may ever return. The Super Smash Bros. series has a history of resurrecting long forgotten characters – and with demand for this particular character’s return at an all-time high – it’s entirely possible that we’ll see Geno once more.
The blue bomber is one of the most prestigious icons in gaming, but for some reason he’s been getting shafted by Capcom as of late. Mega Man was nowhere to be found in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and two games set to star the character were cancelled within a very small time frame. Worst yet, the one thing to keep diehard fans going was the inclusion of a “fat Mega Man” in Street Fighter X Tekken. It’s sad to see how far the beloved protagonist has fallen, but if Capcom isn’t up to bringing the character back then maybe the team at Project Sora is.
Mega Man has been one of, if not the, most requested third-party characters ever, and there’s no better time to add him to the character selection screen than in Super Smash Bros. 4. Connoisseurs of the hero would be overly delighted, and there are few guest characters that would fit into the roster as well as Japan’s own Rockman. Given the ties the blue bomber has to Nintendo, and Capcom stating that they’d allow one of their characters in Smash Bros., there’s a very solid chance that Mega Man may be crashing the party.
A month ago Pac-Man would not have ended up on our list, but that immediately changed the second Nintendo announced that Namco Bandai would be co-developing the next Super Smash Bros. titles. That little tidbit of news almost guarantees that at least one Namco Bandai-owned character will be gracing the games’ rosters, and who better to represent the entirety of the company than Pac-Man?
The pizza-shaped protagonist may not look like much of a fighter, but anyone who owns Street Fighter X Tekken for PS3 knows first-hand how devastating this spherical underdog can be… at least in his person-sized robot. Pac-Man’s ties to Nintendo aren’t as deep as many of the other potential combatants we’ve listed, but now that NB is directly involved with the projects you can be sure that they’ll leave more than their logo in the credits. Maybe the company will pick another one of their many mascots, but gamers would be making a safe bet by sticking with the yellow wonder.
There’s no telling which other third-party characters will make it into the next game, and that’s assuming that there will be any at all. Sakurai has just recently informed gamers that he’s focusing less on roster size and more on quality, so there won’t be much room for newcomers. Of course there will be new fighters (it’s the largest appeal of a new instalment after all), and we can’t wait to see if any of the famed third-party mascots we made mention of will appear.
Honorable mentions go out to the following:
- Sora from Kingdom Hearts
- Nobunaga from Nobunaga’s Ambition
- Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog
- Raiden from Metal Gear Solid
- Nightmare from Soul Calibur
- Ryu from Street Fighter
- Crono from Chrono Trigger
As the set of Smash Bros. games progresses further and further in their respective development cycles, we can’t help but be excited for the final products.
What did you think of our list? Who would you have liked to seen added to it?
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