The final Nintendo Direct presentation for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate before its release has finished, and with it comes a slew of announcements concerning the game.
The presentation went into detail about the final two new fighters available when the game launches on December 7th. First up, it's Street Fighter's Ken, who will serve as Ryu's Echo Fighter (a term Sakurai and his team coined to refer to clone fighters with similar movesets to existing characters). Ken will have mostly the same moves as Ryu, although his speed is slightly higher and his Hadoken move has a slightly different animation.
The second new fighter unveiled during the presentation is Pokémon's Incineroar. The final evolution of Fire-type starter Litten in Pokémon Sun and Moon, Incineroar takes inspiration from pro wrestlers for his moveset, which incorporates lariats, moonsaults and more. Both Ken and Incineroar will be available at the game's launch.
A third and final fighter was also revealed during the presentation. Piranha Plant will be available for free to those who purchase the game early. In order to get this character, players must purchase the digital version of the game before January 31st, 2019, or register their physical copy of the game on their Nintendo Switch. The character won't be available until around February 2019, and those who didn't pre-order the game can still purchase this character (plus an extra stage and music tracks) in the future. Pre-ordering the game now will guarantee you access to Piranha Plant when the character is released in February next year.
In addition, Sakurai also unveiled that the Smash Bros team is working on five upcoming DLC packs, each of which will incorporate a fighter, a stage, and several music themes. Piranha Plant doesn't appear to be part of this line-up; instead, it's an extra bonus for early purchases. Details aren't yet clear on who these fighters will be, but since Super Smash Bros. Ultimate already contains the series' entire prior roster, the new characters will be designed from scratch as Sakurai explicitly stated they will not be echo fighters. Each one can be bought separately for $5.99, or the Fighters Pass (which unlocks all 5 as and when they come out) can be purchased for $24.99.
Also announced during the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Nintendo Direct was a new feature named Spirits. Spirits replace the previous games' unlockable Trophies. Like Trophies, Spirits take the form of characters from the fighters' franchises and histories, but unlike Trophies, they can be assigned to characters in order to power them up and change their stats in various ways. Spirits can also be levelled up, improving the bonuses they give to characters, and will grant extra abilities like speed and strength to fighters in battle. There will be "thousands of combinations" of spirits available. To learn more about this (fairly complex) new feature, check out the full presentation.
To back up the new Spirits feature and give it narrative context, a new single-player mode was announced, titled "World of Light". Sakurai was quick to distance this mode from Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary mode; it won't be quite as cinematic as that, but it'll explain the Spirits feature in a little more detail and give solo players something to do.
On the online side, a new matchmaking system was announced which allows players to set their preferred rules for a fight and prioritises geographically close opponents. It's also now possible for two players to team up on the same Nintendo Switch system and battle opponents using the same setup around the world.
Four new Assist Trophies were announced, bringing the total to 59. Street Fighter's Guile, Spring Man from ARMS, Isaac from Golden Sun (who has previously appeared in the series, but is given an expanded moveset here) and the Fly Swatter from Mario Paint have all been confirmed.
Fans of Nintendo's amiibo toys-to-life line will also be pleased to know that every single Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter will be receiving their own amiibo figure, including the yet-to-be-announced DLC fighters. Currently, the amiibo release schedule is as follows:
- Inkling, Ridley, Wolf - December 7th 2018
- King K. Rool, Ice Climbers, Piranha Plant - February 15th 2019
- Isabelle, Pichu, Young Link, Ken, Daisy - TBA 2019
These major new gameplay features accompany a wealth of accessibility additions, quality-of-life improvements, and minor features, including an expanded online mode, Nintendo Switch Online app support (forthcoming) and new amiibo to commemorate the game's release.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be released for the Nintendo Switch on December 7th.
Do any of these announcements get you more hyped for the game? Did some of your predictions fail to make it in? Let us know in the comments below!