The arrival of Super Smash Bros. Brawl in 2008 brought many new things to the amply adored series, and one of the biggest was the inclusion of guest characters like Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog. The creator of Super Smash Bros., Masahiro Sakurai, has emphasized how challenging it is to include third-party characters, and so far only relevant characters tied to each series (i.e. Shadow the Hedgehog, Gray Fox, Elec Man, etc.) have made cameo appearances in the fighting game franchise.
As fans have now learned, however, that's all about to change, because Ubisoft's Rayman will be appearing in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U in a non-playable role — or at least it's been made to appear that way.
Sakurai took to MiiVerse prior to the unveiling of Robin, Lucina, and Captain Falcon to showcase a trophy of Ubi's limb-less hero. According to the famed game developer, he contacted Ubisoft in order to obtain reference material to begin making Rayman's character model and was apparently delighted when he received full-fledged 3D assets that the developer had created just for use in Super Smash Bros..
"Pic of the day. In order to make Rayman's trophy, we asked Ubisoft to share their references. We were expecting to receive 2D drawing references for Rayman, but to our surprise, they sent us data of a brand new 3D model that they rendered for this game!! And that was how this trophy was created. It takes a lot of work creating each model, so it's wonderful that the creators contributed their own efforts!!"
Representation from third-party franchises that don't feature a playable combatant is a move that no one saw coming, but it could also be remnants from a deal gone sour as well. As many early adopters of the Wii U can attest, the once exclusive Rayman Legends was a major reason to pick up the console when it first released, but the game was eventually delayed and brought to other platforms after the initial sales of the Wii U weren't up to snuff in the eyes of Ubisoft.
Perhaps Rayman was part of the initial exclusivity deal (where he was then a planned participant in the new Super Smash Bros.), which would make sense since Sakurai confirmed that the roster was finalized two years ago. This is just speculation and it's entirely possible that Nintendo simply wanted to celebrate third-parties in a new way, although it's still very possible that Michel Ancel's arm-less protagonist could make a playable appearance in the crossover-centric fighting franchise.
What do you think of Rayman appearing as a trophy within the next Super Smash Bros.? Do you think he would have been a better fit as a playable character?
Super Smash Bros. will be arriving on the 3DS on October 3, 2014, while the Wii U version will launch in Holiday 2014.
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Source: Masahiro Sakurai — MiiVerse