We understand some people may not want spoilers, so consider this your first and only warning – otherwise, Nintendo’s November Smash secrets lay ahead! Let’s get to the reveals!
The stream opened with a focus on a boxing ring, and soon, we see Little Mac fighting someone – someone that’s quickly revealed to be…
Ken is an echo fighter of Ryu, as suspected, but there are some differences – he runs a little faster, and his kicks change depending on the command input. This Ken is based on his Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo appearance; he also has two final smashes, the classic Shinryuken and the Shippu Jinkaikyu!
After Ken beats Little Mac, a new challenger bursts into the ring: It’s…
The final-evolution Pokemon uses pro-wrestling moves when he fights – he has stronger throws than most characters, and does a (cancelable) pose after each one, for the fans. Darkest Lariat from Ultra Sun and Moon is his neutral, and he does a Cross Chop attack where he leaps into the air and dives at an opponent (but this move CAN miss if they move out the way). His side special summons ropes for him to run opponents into, and if he times an attack right after they bounce back, he’ll clothesline them! He also has his ability, Revenge, in this title – if he takes damage, his next attack will be a little stronger! The over the top Max Malicious Moonsault is his final smash. It’s with this attack he bests Ken Masters…only to find a line of challengers waiting him, much to his chargrin.
We then cut to a smiling Masahiro Sakurai, who informs us that “That’s all the fighters you’ll find in game.” Though he’s a little cheeky on this comment, as it’s technically not true (we’ll touch on that later).
The roster starts off with the original Super Smash Bros. cast, and characters can be unlocked to fill out the rest of the roster. And each and every one of those playable characters will have their own Amiibo, eventually.
The first run of Amiibo includes Wolf (Star Fox), Ridley (Metroid), and the Inklings (Splatoon). King K. Rool and Ice Climbers will come next, with more releasing throughout 2019 after that.
Speaking of collectable figures, there’s no trophies in this title, unlike past games. Instead, we have what are called ‘Spirits’.
Spirits and Spirit Mode
The world of Smash Bros. is still based on that initial N64 cutscene, all those years ago – this is a world of imagination, where we can use the characters to do whatever we want. But not every character is usable to us; some have lost their physical forms, and exist only as spirits. The playable characters are tangable to us; the spirits, though, are lost.
Sort of. Whilst the spirits may no longer have physical forms we can use, we can still use their souls to aid in our fights!
Similar to Stickers in games past, Spirits are characters from different game franchises that can be attached to our fighters to enhance their abilities. Each fighter can equip one Primary Spirit (a particularly strong soul), which itself has a determined number of slots for Support Spirits (weaker souls). Primary Spirits directly enhance a character’s strength, whilst Support provide minor boosts, or may help with resistance against stage hazards.
Spirits come in different qualities…
…and different types.
As the above image suggests, there is a ‘Rock-Paper-Scissors’ style mechanic at work here, with some spirits having advantage or weakness to others.
Spirits level up after battle, becoming more efficient helpers, and you can feed them snacks to aid in their levelling, too! And some spirits have advanced forms, which can be reached upon hitting a certain level with them. Spirits can be trained against each other, or sent off on adventures to gather treasure to help them level even more!
And, when it is strong enough, you can choose to release your spirit so that it has a chance of becoming a physical entity again some day. In thanks, it’ll leave behind it’s core – which you can use to combine with other cores to create new and even stronger spirits!
But how do you get Spirits, you may be wondering? Well, each spirit has certain challenges that must be completed – the challenge is in accordance with the nature of the spirit. Take the cocky Owain from Fire Emblem: Awakening. To gain his spirit, you must complete a challenge to constantly taunt as Chrom in battle. To get the Able Sisters, for another example, you must face a series of constantly spin-dashing Sonics! But defeating a challenge only offers a chance to unlock – to cinch the spirit, you must hit its representative in the challenge with a final blow; there are shields at play, so you may not get them on the first attempt if you aren’t precise with your attack.
Spirits only work in the specific Spirits mode of the game, however, to ensure things are balanced – consider the mode both and extra challenge to yourself, and other players. You can fight any other Spirit-weilding player you want online!
Whilst we’re on the topic of Online Multiplayer, there were a few reveals about it this Direct. Matchmaking is decided by three different factors.
Preferred Rules are rules that you can set up for a match before you begin the search; the system will try to find a player with the same, if not similar rules, and group you together. If your rules are different, only one player’s rules will be implemented.
Global Smash rankings are essentially the leaderboard of the game. You will gain and lose rank through general play, and will be matched up with people of equal skill most of the time. Suiciding won’t work to rig points here, though. If you earn a high enough rank, you’ll gain access to special, elite battles!
Distance between players is a factor, too. For connection stability reasons, you’re likely to verse local players over overseas ones.
Though, you can, of course, still verse overseas players, and choose to do so intentionally via creation of your own ‘Battle Arenas’ where you and your friends can fight and watch eachothers’ matches in a more intimate setting. There’s even some messages you can choose between to send eachother during a battle!
Players can make their own ‘Smash tag’ to separate themselves from the competition. Think of it like a dog tag; it identifies you, and you can customise it. Every time you win against an opponent online, you’ll get a copy of their Smash tag, so you can see who you’ve been beating!
You can also trade in Smash tags for ‘Gold’, an earned currency which you can use to unlock soundtracks and some Spirit stuff to use.
Smash Bros. Ultimate will also host some video recording and editing tools, so that players can share videos of their battles with eachother. To this end, Nintendo is developing the Smash World Nintendo App add-on, which will allow for video sharing. Players can also view their online and offline battle statistics, and set interesting options like making allies slightly transparent so they’re less distracting in fights.
Another interesting feature is that TV and Handheld mode have separate brightness and settings to adjust, allowing for a perfectly tailored experience.
Whilst normal trophies aren’t returning, we know support ones are! And we got the last few characters left to reveal. They include:
- Miku Hinasaki (Fatal Frame)
- Isaac (Golden Sun)
- Black Knight (Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance)
- Thwomp (Super Mario)
- Spring Man (Arms)
- Wily Capsule (Mega Man)
- Flies and Hand (Mario Paint)
- Tiki (Fire Emblem: Awakening)
- Vince (Art Academy)
- Guile (Street Fighter)
- Akira (Virtua Fighter)
That makes a total of 59 assist trophies, all up!
Mii Fighter Outfits
In addition to the various clothing options available in game, Mii Fighters will also be able to dress up as:
- The Yiga Clan (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
- Inklings (Splatoon 2)
- Ribbon Girl (Arms)
- Chibi Robo (Chibi Robo)
- Ray MkIII (Custom Robo)
- Toy-Con (A Nintendo LABO player)
- Rex (Xenoblade Chronicles 2)
Future Characters (DLC)
Remember when I said Sakurai’s comment was a little cheeky? Well, it’s because whilst he was technically correct, the game will eventually have more fighters released for it!
Characters will be released in ‘Fighter Packs’, which will contain the fighter, their stage, and a soundtrack. Each pack is estimated to go for around $5.99 USD. There is expected to be five in total released over 2019, and they can be bought all at once in what is essentially a season pass.
Though these additions are not the only fighters that await us. Infact, we have another one coming to us soon – it will be on offer as a limited-time only free DLC, which will be ready ‘in a few months’. And this character is…
A Pirhana Plant?!
An unexpected combatant, indeed! But not one to be underestimated – able to spit poison and spike balls, as well as attack from a distance, this is no house plant! His Final Smash turns him into the rendition of Petey Pirhana from Subspace Emissary – he stomps about, and woah to those caught in his cages!
World of Light
Speaking of Subspace Emissary, although there hadn’t been a story mode to speak of, Sakurai asked us about the Spirits in Spirits mode, and how exactly they befell that fate. We cut to a cutscene of the fighters on a certain cliff. Fox tells the group that ‘Not a single one can be spared’.
And we pan to what only be described as an invasion. Of Master Hands.
The Hands launch beams, which make quick work of our heroes vaporising them – only the ever swift Kirby manages to escape!
And although he’s fortunate, his friends meet a fate worse than mere death – they are shucked from their bodies, and possessed by wandering Spirits aligned with the Hands!
Alone, Kirby must start to fight his comrades and free them from this fate, so that together, they can take on the Hands and win once and for all!
Players move around a variety of worlds, inspired by different titles, to participate in battles and challenges to free their friends. This mode, called World of Light, seems very large and indepth, and reminiscent of Subspace Emissary entirely! And with the new ‘Lifelight’ song, a vocal version of the game’s theme, all I can say is I can hardly wait for this title to come out!
That’s all for our Nintendo Direct coverage for today. Thank you for your time, and may many glorious battles await you, Smash fans! Please note, North American readers: Nintendo is having some events where you can play the game early! Check out their site for more details.