Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a game that I can’t wait to own. I’ll probably take off from work on launch date so that I can play all weekend. As a fan since the original game released in 1999, Ultimate makes me giddy. Not only am I pumped to play, but I’m also thrilled to watch tournaments on Twitch. The fighting game community has always been active, but outlets like Twitch enable people from all over the world to watch tournaments as they happen. I spend hours watching fighting game competitions on streaming services, and I believe the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster is set to shake up the community in a significant way.
Look at the competitive games at this year’s EVO. Some of the games included were as follows:
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (58 characters)
- Injustice 2 (38 characters)
- Dragon Ball FighterZ (26 characters)
- Street Fighter V (34 characters)
- BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle (40 characters)
Except for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U exceeding 50 characters, most fighting games have a moderate number of fighters in the roster. Currently, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is standing at 73 characters in the roster, and more fighters are coming. We don’t know if Nintendo will announce three extra characters or a bunch more. As it stands, the roster is already massive. What excites me is the fact that old, fan-favorite characters are returning in addition to new fighters. This year’s EVO saw the controversial final featuring two characters playing as Bayonetta. While the event was unfortunate, I find myself optimistic about the future of the competitive scene.
Every single Friday, my local Microsoft Store hosts fighting competitions. Some days we compete in Tekken 7, while we occasionally play Dragon Ball FighterZ and Injustice 2. As someone who identifies with the fighting game community, I practice playing each of these games often. Actively competing means that I’m always learning new maneuvers. I see the same people at these tournaments, so it’s easy to tell what characters they are excellent with, and who they struggle fighting against. This knowledge helps me when it comes to my strategy. I’m well-versed in plenty of characters because I never know who I’m playing against, and what characters will help me in specific fights.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s large roster is certainly a game changer for the competitive scene because of the unpredictability and variety that it offers players. Think about it — the more characters in the roster, the more every player needs to understand. Sure, some competitors will only familiarize themselves with one character, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I used to play that way, and it worked well for me. But how many other players will be skillful with multiple characters? With 73 fighters to choose from, players who specialize with a specific character will still have to study the remaining 72 in the roster to understand their fighting styles.
Just because you don’t play as a certain character doesn’t mean that you can ignore them completely. Members of the fighting game community take every aspect of the genre seriously. They don’t go to tournaments without being prepared. I remember going to my local Injustice 2 tournament with the intention of playing as Supergirl. I spent days memorizing every single move in her combo list. Executing her moves became second nature to me. When I noticed a few of my fellow competitors countering her abilities, I called an audible before my next match and switched to Poison Ivy. Luckily, I was able to use a character that had not been used during the tournament. This change worked to my advantage.
While EVO sticks to the same formula, local competitions have enough variety. It’s frustrating to me when players at EVO pick the same characters. There’s still a sour taste in my mouth from the Bayonetta debacle a few weeks ago. While I’ll never be great enough to take the stage at EVO, that won’t stop me from enjoying the thrill of the competition at my local video game stores. We often try to do something different, and I think Nintendo’s decision to include over 70 characters (with more being announced before launch) is wise, and only adds to the replayability.
Super Smash Bros. has always been an important part of my life. When the Nintendo 64 version launched, I played by myself since online gaming didn’t exist. Super Smash Bros. Melee is my favorite in the series, and I play it every month with friends. I spent days of my life playing Super Smash Bros for Wii U on a competitive level, and I expect to do the same with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Nintendo knows that the competitive fighting scene is massive and growing every year. The latest installment in the popular franchise appears to be the most inclusive version yet. Not only does the game feature plenty of characters for fans, but it also includes new in-depth fighting mechanics, and a training mode for players to hone their skills.
Nintendo will be releasing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in December, and I can’t wait to see how it shakes up the fighting game community. While people on stage at EVO will probably stick with Diddy Kong, Bayonetta, and Mario, I think the game will benefit greatly for local competitive scenes. I’ve seen the community grow firsthand over the past few years. I think Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be the start of a resurgence in the FGC. Only time will tell, but I think we’ll see the benefits of Nintendo’s newest fighter for years to come.