Nintendo has just streamed a special Nintendo Direct, revealing the new fighters for the upcoming Smash Bros. Ultimate, including King K. Rool, as well as showcasing various new modes, items, assist trophies, and more. This one was action-packed, with five new fighters confirmed; we know some of you hate spoilers, so read on only if you dare!
To kick things off, the stream began with Luigi walking through an obviously haunted castle, before meeting Death itself. Death reaps the poor plumber, but before his soul can be snatched away, a familiar whip stops Death in its tracks…
The whip, of course, being the legendary Vampire Killer wielded by none other than Simon Belmont. Part of the Belmont family, a lineage charged with keeping Dracula in check whenever he resurrects, Simon debuted in the original Castlevania back on the NES, and his appearance marks the series first representation in Smash proper.. Whilst traditionally geared to fight the demonic and undead, Simon could easily take on Mario and friends with that whip, the Vampire Killer: A relic infused with alchemy and a willing soul.
Simon uses the Vampire Killer as his primary weapon; it leaves him open for attack when in use, but has one of the longest reaches in the game, and it can be moved around freely. Simon can also use the Axe, Cross, and Holy Water items from the franchise to damage foes. The slayer can also launch a mighty uppercut, as well as encase an enemy in a coffin during his Final Smash, called Grand Cross.
King K. Rool
Donkey Kong fans, rejoice! Long-time hopeful and much desired potential (going off his placement in various polls) King K. Rool has been confirmed as a fighter. Debuting in the original Donkey Kong Country on the SNES, the monarch has served as that franchise’s primary antagonist, and has demonstrated a physical prowess on par with the big ape himself.
Although he wasn’t discussed much (indeed, his reveal closed out the Direct), we know that he can use a boomstick, throw boxing punches, throw is crown, and appear to harden his belly as a form of armour. Although unconfirmed, it appears that his Final Smash will involve him getting into his island lair, and shooting a laser from it at and destroying Donkey Kong Island.
Three echo fighters were also revealed during the event. They are Dark Suit Samus (from the Metroid Prime franchise), Richter Belmont (from Castlevania), and curiously, Chrom (Fire Emblem: Awakening). The three will copy the moveset of Samus, Simon, and Roy respectively, and the later two will have their own voices and animations. But what Chrom’s appearance as a fighter means for Robin’s Final Smash is unknown. It was also revealed that players can ‘merge’ the selection of echo fighters into the fighters they’re based on, in order to reduce the number of character options presented.
Some of the items Sakurai discussed during the stream include:
- A Banana Gun (One shot only)
- Killing Edge (Hitting when it glows does extra damage)
- Bomber (Blows up others but not the holder)
- Death’s Scythe (KOs weak players)
- Staff (More damage over distance)
- Ramblin’s Evil Mushroom (Inverts the affected’s controls)
- Rage Blaster (The more damaged the wielder, the stronger it is)
Assist Trophies and Pokemon
We also saw several assist trophies, including:
- Zero (Megaman)
- Knuckles (Sonic)
- Krystal (Star Fox)
- Klaptrap (Donkey Kong Country)
- Kapp’n (Animal Crossing)
- Chef Kawasaki (Kirby)
- Gray Fox (Metal Gear Solid)
- Nikki (Swapnote Mascot)
- Shovel Knight (Shovel Knight)
- Moon (Legend of Zelda)
- Ashley (WarioWare)
- Rathalos (Monster Hunter)
- Alucard (Castlevania)
The Pokeball now has the chance to spawn the following Pokemon when used:
- Alolan Executor
- Alolan Vulpix
- Ditto (Returning after being cut from Melee)
Some stages, it appears, have a chance to spawn ‘bosses’ on them; NPCs who are tough, and hazardous to everyone. So far, only Rathalos (who can also appear as an assist trophy) and Dracula are known; bosses appear to have special requirements occur in a stage before they show up.
Smash Bros. Ultimate boasts a whopping 103 stages, and when considering variations like Battlefield and Omega forms (which are available for every stage), there’s over 300. “We put a lot of effort to rebalancing the stages, and improving them,” Sakurai stated. He noted that older stages, though, had a focus on maintaining nostalgia.
All stages are unlocked from the start, and appear in the chronological order they entered the franchise (much like the fighters). Some stages confirmed during the Direct include:
- Pokemon Stadium (Pokemon)
- Garden of Hope (Pikmin)
- Brinestar Depths (Metroid)
- Summit (Ice Climbers)
- Unov Pokemon League (Pokemon)
- Magicant (Earthbound)
- Gamer (Warioware)
- Final Destination
- New Donk City Hall (Mario Odyssey)
- Dracula’s Castle
Dracula’s Castle also includes candelabras which dispense an item upon shattering, as well as various invading monsters to harass players during battle, including the Werewolf, Medusa, and Death itself.
Stage Select now comes before character select, allowing players to pick characters they feel are best suited to a stage. Additionally, stage hazards and options can be toggled pre-battle, including a new option: Stage Morph. With Stage Morph active, players can select two stages for the game to shift between during play, to help change up the pace of battle with unexpected terrain changes. Each stage can also play any music associated with its franchise, if so desired.
Smash Bros. Ultimate will feature over 800 soundtracks, excluding menu and victory themes. This also equates to over 800 hours of music. These tracks are taken from both appearing character’s titles and Nintendo franchises; Simon and Richter, for example, are bringing 34 Castlevania songs with them. The Sound Test allows players to listen to these tunes at any time, including when the screen is off, encouraging gamers to set up their own nostalgic playlists and utilise the Swtich as a music player on the go.
The new main menu of of Smash Bros. Ultimate was shown off, with attention drawn to the menu’s crisp design and ease of use. The menu features a side bar, allowing players to open important Smash Bros. links readily, as well as access the rest of the console as needed. One mode in the menu was blurred out, with Sakurai teasing that he wasn’t ready to discuss it just yet.
Sakurai was, however, happy to discuss other modes. Multiplayer will now store your custom rulesets, and present them as default when starting a new match. Final Smashes may be toggled to charge over time, allowing for hectic gameplay (although it was iterated that Final Smashes cannot occur at the same time). Stamina Battles are treated as their own, official mode, and Sudden Death will slowly zoom in the screen as players fight, and each character starts at 300% damage.
Tournament Mode returns, with the game creating bracketed contests containing up to 32 characters, and Training Mode also makes a come back, but with a revamp. The stage in Training Mode has a lined grid, allowing players to carefully note where their attacks land with pixel-perfect precision, and when attacked, the graph will display their actual movement, as well as project the shortest and furthest distance you can send them depending on the power of your attack, taking weight and power into consideration.
Squad Strike, a 5v5 or 3v3 elimination style battle was announced, as well as Smashdown, where players fight with the entire cast to determine the ultimate winner, with defeated characters becoming unable for anyone to select.
That it for this Nintendo Direct’s coverage! The full Nintendo Direct is embedded below.