Everyone’s here — but what else is new for the latest Smash title?
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be the latest game in the Super Smash Bros. franchise. The series has captivated fans since its first release for Nintendo 64 in 1999. Back then, the roster was made up of only 12 characters. This latest edition, the first on Nintendo Switch, will have five times as many fighters.
In addition to the robust roster, there’s a host of new features coming to Ultimate and a bunch of old ones coming back. But what exactly is new? And what’s returning from games of Smash past?
Here’s what we know so far about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
WHAT IS SUPER SMASH BROS.ULTIMATE?
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the newest title in the Super Smash Bros. series — crossover fighting games featuring various Nintendo and third-party characters. It will be the fifth installment in the franchise.
WHEN’S THE RELEASE DATE?
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be out on Dec. 7, 2018, for Nintendo Switch.
WHO’S ON THE SMASH ROSTER?
Everyone! Well, all the characters that have ever been previously featured in a Smash title. This includes
clones “echo fighters” — a new term for characters with similar move sets, but different appearances — like Lucina and Dark Pit, characters that were previously only available in DLC like Ryu and Cloud, and characters that weren’t present in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and WiiU, such as Solid Snake and Ice Climbers. All the moves have been retooled and the characters rescaled for Switch.
Additionally, lots of new costumes are available for the characters, including Breath of the Wild Link and A Link Between Worlds Zelda. Pikachu comes with a female version (and lady Pikachu Libre). Mario will have his wedding outfit and builder’s outfit. Pokémon Trainer can freely switch between Pokémon without being penalized and comes in a female version. Fox and Wolf will have their Star Fox Zero designs and Cloud comes with both his Final Fantasy 7 outfit and his Advent Children one. Some characters, such as Ike and Bayonetta, will have subtle differences in their sound effects and voice-overs between certain costumes.
WHAT NEW CHARACTERS WILL BE JOINING?
Update (Aug. 8): Castlevania’s Simon Belmont will also be playable, and Richter Belmont will be one of his echo fighters. King K. Rool, the notorious Donkey Kong villain, is also joining the cast. Fire Emblem’s Chrom will be one of Roy’s echo fighters and Dark Samus will be one of Samus’.
HOW ABOUT WALUIGI?
No. (Though he will be an assist trophy).
WILL ALL CHARACTERS BE AVAILABLE RIGHT AWAY? ARE ANY OF THEM DLC?
While the full roster will be available with the game, not all characters will be available at the start. Instead, players will have to unlock them as they progress. Nintendo has said that unlocking these characters will be quicker and easier than in previous games.
No DLC has been announced yet.
WHAT ABOUT STAGES?
There will be 103 stages in total, arranged in the order they were introduced in the series. A lot of favorite stages will be returning, including Peach’s Castle, Spirit Tracks, Green Hill Zone, New Pork City, Frigate Orphan, Shadow Moses, Mortimer Island, Wrecking Crew and the infamous Big Blue. New stages include Moray Towers from Splatoon and Great Plateau Tower from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, as well as Dracula’s Castle from Castlevania and New Donk City Hall, inspired by Super Mario Odyssey. All stages will have Battlefield and Omega forms. Older stages have been redesigned, but nostalgia is prioritized for those originating in the Nintendo ‘64 style.
Additionally, the stage selection screen comes before character selection. This means players can pick their characters based on the stage. There are options to let the losing player pick the next stage, to chose in a certain order, to have stage selection be a free-for-all, or to randomize it.
Update (8/8): There will be a new feature called “stage morph,” which lets a single battle span over multiple stages. Players begin on one stage and after a shimmering effect occurs, the stage will change to a totally new one.
Unlike previous titles, where each stage had an associated musical track, any track from the stage’s franchise can be picked to play on the specific stage in Ultimate.
HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN PLAY AT ONCE?
Just like in Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U, up to eight players can join a battle.
WILL IT SUPPORT GAMECUBE CONTROLLERS?
In addition to Nintendo Switch Pro Controllers and Joy-Con Controllers, Ultimatewill support GameCube Controllers, much to the joy of Smash fans everywhere.
WHAT ABOUT AMIIBO?
All existing amiibo will be supported and their data can be transferred to the new game.
ANY NEW FIGHTING MECHANICS?
Ultimate will introduce some new technical moves, tailored toward the fighting mechanisms Super Smash Bros. Melee made popular. While some of these return directly from Melee, others are streamlined as more direct button presses.
Directional air dodges are back from Melee and will allow players to quickly avoid attacks, though using too many in a row will eventually reduce their effectiveness. In general, using dodges repeatedly will slow them down.
Short hops are smaller than the typical Smash jump and come in handy when using an aerial attack on an opponent on the ground. This move can now be executed by hitting the A button while jumping.
Charge attacks can now be charged midair, but doing so will leave the player open. Consecutive dodges will slow you down and make you more vulnerable. Players can achieve a perfect shield — which will counter attacks — by releasing the shield button. You will also be able to attack while on a ladder.
Update (8/8): Chargeable Final Smashes can be turned on or off. Players can fill a gauge and when it gets maxed out, a weaker version of the Final Smash can be activated. No two Final Smashes can be used simultaneously.
WHAT ABOUT NEW GAMEPLAY MODES?
In addition to the returning Classic Mode, there will be a few new gameplay modes. Squad Strike battle mode is an elimination-style battle, where players have a lineup of three or five characters and battle to decide the winner. Tourney mode will generate tournament brackets of up to 32 players. Smashdown mode makes characters from previous battles unavailable, so players must chose new characters for new rounds.
Additionally, the new Training mode will feature an exclusive stage with a grid that allows players to experiment with launch and trajectory
ANY OTHER NEW FEATURES?
For starters, Final Smashes are shorter, so that players can return right to the action without waiting for a long animation. No more waiting for Fox’s Landmaster!
It will also be easier to see key information in the middle of matches. During timed matches, the leading player will occasionally flash with a light. In one-on-ones, the total number of each character’s KOs will flash on the screen every time they’re killed. The number of stock lives left will also be bigger and easier to see.
Additionally, there will be differences in the damage dealt in one-on-one games and four-player games. This is because one-on-one matches tend to last longer (less enemies, less damage). Adding more one-on-one damage will make matches go quicker, increasing the tempo of the game.
Characters like ROB and Robin, who have limits on certain powers, will have gauges to show how much longer those powers can last. Villager has an indicator showing what they have pocketed. Inkling fighters have limited ink, with an indicator showing how much they have left.
Assist trophies can now be damaged and knocked out, which adds a kill to your opponents’ overall scores.
Update (8/8): The game will boast a very impressive soundtrack (more than 900 tracks!), which can be easily listened to in handheld mode by plugging in headphones. Essentially, the Switch can be used as an iPod to jam to the sweet Nintendo soundtracks. You can even make playlists, and the track list will be updated weekly.
There will also be an option to switch the menu between displaying all echo fighters or stacking them on the characters they are based on.
Additionally, players select the match’s rules first, and rulesets can be saved to play with at any time. In addition to time battle and stock battle, stamina battle will be featured as one of the main Smash modes.
Sudden death starts with 300% damage, and the camera will slowly zoom in on the final players as they fight.
HOW ABOUT NEW ITEMS?
There’s going to be a lot of new items to use in matches, including, but not limited to, a black hole, a launch star and a fake Smash ball that will kill you if you hit it.
Update (8/8): Other new times: a banana gun, a Killing Edge sword, a Bomber, Death’s Scythe, a staff, a ramblin’ evil mushroom and a rage blaster.
Featured Pokémon focus heavily on Alolan Pokémon and include Alolan Exeggutor, Abra, Solgaleo, Lunala, Mimikyu, Pykumuku, Vulpix and Alolan Vulpix, Marshadow and Ditto.
Assist Trophy characters include Zero (Mega Man), Knuckles the Echidna (Sonic the Hedgehog), Krystal (Star Fox), Klaptrap (Donkey Kong), Kapp’n (Animal Crossing), Chef Kawasaki (Kirby), Gray Fox (Metal Gear Solid), Nikki (Mii), Shovel Knight (Shovel Knight), Moon(The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask) and Rathalos from Monster Hunter (who will also be a stage boss).
WHAT KIND OF SMASH GAME CAN WE EXPECT?
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is bringing back all beloved characters, introducing much-ballyhooed new characters, and incorporating mechanisms used in the competitive, high-level sphere.