As for the other two new fighters to be revealed, the Animal Crossing Villager looks a solid addition, if not a pretty basic fighter (perhaps the whole idea behind his inclusion is to present another balanced, easy-to use character like Mario). I was by no means surprised that many of his attacks saw him making use of tools like the axe and bug net, but I did get a chuckle out of his moves. As for the other big reveal, the Wii Fit Trainer, I found it downright hilarious, and in the best way possible. Her reveal trailer was just plain goofy, and based on her crazy moves that were shown off, I think ‘over-the-top and silly’ is the whole theme of her character.
When Nintendo first announced the partnership with Namco to bring players a new Smash Bros. title, they stated that the number of fighters on the roster was not likely to increase, but that some of the fighters at players’ disposal certainly would. From the E3 reveal, we know of twelve confirmed fighters, which are as follows:
- Donkey Kong
- Animal Crossing Villager
- Wii Fit Trainer
The Brawl roster contained thirty-five fighters, which (assuming this number is to remain the same) leaves twenty-three spots open. Personally, I expect most (if not all) of the clone characters to be dropped, while I expect them to keep all of the fighters from the original Smash Bros. – Captain Falcon, Ness, Jigglypuff, Luigi, and Yoshi. Luigi, while technically a clone character of Mario, is such a huge part of Nintendo’s brand image, and I can’t imagine them dropping him for any reason. Plus, his new moves in Brawl set him and Mario a little further apart from one another. While I didn’t expect Mr. Game & Watch's debut in Melee to be more than a cute bit of nostalgia from Nintendo, he made a return to Brawl, and I expect he will be back for this next installment, along with Zelda, Olimar (representing the soon-to-be-released Pikmin 3), Ice Climbers, and at least one of the Fire Emblem characters. Considering SEGA’s good relationship with Nintendo and their upcoming Wii U exclusive Sonic Lost World, I’d say their blue hedgehog mascot will almost undoubtedly return to the fight too.
Assuming all of those predictions prove true, that would leave us with twelve free spots. So then the question is, who is left to fill them? Going solely off what was shown in the reveal trailer, there were two stages that really caught my attention. The first was a boxing ring, which had the Smash Bros. logo displayed in the center. It’s entirely possible that this is a brand new original Smash Bros. stage (much like Battlefield and Final Destination), but I wonder if it isn’t the home stage of Punch-Out protagonist Little Mac. The second was the Skyloft stage from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Link’s appearance still seems to be based largely off his Twilight Princess counterpart, but he has a slightly different look than he did in Brawl. His tunic and the belts that run across his chest bear a striking resemblance to his Skyward Sword design (even though he does not bear any cel-shading), while his face is more angular and his nose slightly more pointed (again, much like Skyward Sword’s Link, or even Ocarina of Time’s). If this new look is in fact a nod to Skyward Sword, I think there is a decent chance that Ghirahim could replace Ganondorf on the roster. He’d certainly offer up a significantly different play style and would remove one of the clone characters in the process.
As for the stages shown between both the 3DS and Wii U versions, we can confirm the following:
- Battlefield (Smash Bros. series)
- Spirit Train (The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks)
- Skyloft (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)
- Smashville (Animal Crossing)
- Dr. Wily's Castle (Mega Man series)
- A new Mario Bros. stage (that highlighted spiked pillars in the water)
We also saw snippets of a few other stages, but not enough to be certain as to what series they are representing. Here are my ideas on the four:
- Valley with a waterfall (possibly Gerudo Valley from Ocarina of Time)
- Indoor colosseum of sorts (possibly from Fire Emblem or a new original Smash Bros. stage)
- Boxing/wrestling arena (possibly from Punch-Out or a new original Smash Bros. stage)
- Spinning stone wheel in a forest/jungle (possibly from Donkey Kong Country Returns)
I expect we’ll gradually learn more in the months leading up to this new Smash Bros. release. Maybe these exclusivity deals between Nintendo and Platinum Games will see the inclusion of someone from the Wonderful 101 as well? It seems like and appropriate fit for the franchise. As for me, I’m still hoping and praying that they put in Travis Touchdown.