Last week marked the arrival of another long-awaited Nintendo Direct, with another amazing surprise. This time around we got a new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character who might be the most adorable one on the roster: Isabelle made it in! When she popped up on the screen during the Direct I could hear Animal Crossing fans screaming in excitement around the globe. Not every character needs to provide a brand new experience to be exciting in Smash though: What are some shoe-in choices for additional echo fighters?
What are echo fighters?
Ultimate includes characters called “echo fighters,” which are basically “clone characters.” They play very similarly to existing characters, but they allow Nintendo to include long-awaited fan favorite characters without adding another couple months to development time.
Now let me remind you, Super Smash Bros. has essentially become a party game showcasing the most popular characters, not the most beloved. For this article, I tried to select characters who have a realistic chance of making it into the title. It’s not that I don’t love the characters from Nintendo’s smaller games, but unless Sakurai manages to fight off the Nintendo investors single-handedly, they have to include characters that’ll sell the most copies.
1. Rex & Pyra – Shulk
Exploiting the Xeno franchise
The Xeno games sell relatively well and have a genuinely unique take on the fantasy setting. We honestly think they’re fantastic games. But when I look at Shulk in comparison to all the other characters in the roster, I can’t help but feel he’s lucky to have gotten a slot. However, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is Monolith Soft’s highest-selling game to date. It makes perfect sense if Sakurai were to look to this game for an echo fighter.
But he can’t echo Shulk — he’s not a Monado user!
Rex and Pyra from XC2 could easily echo Shulk in full Smash implementation. Instead of the Monado Arts Shulk uses, Rex could instead switch between Blades for different passive buffs that function the same way. They also both can use swords, likely making it easier on the development team. And I’d rather have Rex in the game than nothing at all. Rex would have to give up the pure range of Shulk’s Monado in exchange for speed or power. Hopefully, this would be a good way to make sure Xenoblade stays as popular as it has been in recent years.
2. Captain Toad & Toadette – Ice Climbers
This one is probably the least likely to happen but all the puzzle-crazed fans out there would love nothing more. Captain Toad is a relatively recent franchise where our adorable little Toad or Toadette wanders around rotatable 3D squares looking for treasure. They’re relaxing, intelligently designed, and well-selling games. Both versions of the Captain are welcome additions to the list of notable Mario characters. This dynamic ragtag pair would be perfect additions as echo fighters of the Ice Climbers.
Can Toad still make it with zero hops?
The biggest hurdle to climb would be the fact that you totally can’t jump in the Captain Toad games; it’s actually part of its branding. So Sakurai would have to find a little workaround, maybe something similar to Little Mac where they’re extra strong on the ground and can only get airborne by launching each other. Other than that, they’re basically perfect fits. And this would finally cement a Toad character’s appearance in Smash.
3. Shadow, the “Ultimate Life Form” – Sonic
Shadow would be a perfect pick for Sonic’s echo fighter. Shadow is almost equally as popular in the Sonic fan base, albeit in a more “edgy” way. He has an almost identical body type to Sonic and has his own gimmicks to boot. Shadow was the first guess in everyone’s mind once echo fighters became confirmed.
Will Nintendo let him be maximum edge?
All Nintendo has to do is play around with his rocket boots. Need an “up special” without a spring? Rocket boots. All the other moves could stay mostly the same. But in truth, fans would love if Shadow took more inspiration from his version in Shadow the Hedgehog for the GameCube, myself included.
People love the GameCube hit because it’s so painfully awful that it circles back around to being awesome. I’m talking tons of guns, his motorcycle, and a Black Doom summon. Alternatively, he could work as a Wario echo as well under that context.
4. Akuma, the Raging Demon – Ryu
Ryu’s inclusion in Smash Bros. for Wii U was by far one of the most surprising crossovers, and I think Sakurai could capitalize on that one more time. Ryu is a user of the Shotokan, a fighting style used to describe a number of characters in the Street Fighter roster, including Akuma, Ken, Gouken, and Sakura. Personally, I’d love to see any of them as echo fighters, but the one that makes the most sense is Akuma.
How would the Raging Demon play?
Akuma typically focuses more on heavy hits rather than EX moves and Hadoukens, so that would already be enough variation to make him an echo fighter. Also, he’s appeared in other franchises already, such as Tekken 7. And finally, who doesn’t want to perform a Raging Demon on a cute little electric mouse? Suffer for your sins, Pikachu!
5. Impa – Sheik
The Legend of Zelda, like the Mario franchise, is well represented in Smash. It’s no wonder why Link and Mario are some of the most recognizable mascots in history. However, the representatives thus far have been a bit… mundane. I mean, we have three Links, two Zeldas, and one of the more imposing but boring Ganondorf designs. I know they all play (mostly) different, but the series could use a rep or two from the side characters.
Who’s intensely popular, but also slightly obscure?
In comes Impa, the Sheikah handmaiden of the princess. Impa in her design from Hyrule Warriors, which is more combat-focused, is a perfect candidate as an echo fighter for Sheik. Both characters share the same tribe, finesse, and mystique. Instead of Shiek’s double kick side smash, Impa could instead have a longer-range double slash. I’d honestly be surprised if Nintendo didn’t use her.
Stay tuned for the continuation
There’s more to come! With all the associated Nintendo IPs out there, you can bet I’ve got more picks that are my own personal favorites or ones that just won’t ever make it in no matter how much people scream. There are myriad characters out there, and plenty of them deserve slots on this roster. See ya soon!