There's only roughly 40 days before Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releases on Nintendo Switch. With such a short time before the game's arrival, there are still a number of unknowns about the game. What's known is that the entire cast will return, along with a slew of all-new fighters. As for the remainder of the game's mysteries, it appears those will be answered on Thursday, November 1 by Series Director Masahiro Sakurai.
What can Smash Bros. fans expect to learn on Thursday's Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct? Shacknews doesn't have any exact answers, but we know where to make some educated guesses.
Final New Characters (Emphasis on "Final")
It was a lot of fun to see Isabelle make the Smash Bros. roster. But no offense to any Animal Crossing superfans, it wouldn't make much sense for her to be the final character announcement. No, Nintendo would want to think bigger.
If the final Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS Direct acts as a model for Thursday's Direct, it's that viewers should expect at least two new character reveals. There will be a character that nobody necessarily asked for, but many will be excited to see, potentially to help push forward a first-party game. Corrin was largely unfamiliar to the Smash Bros. user base, but was thrown in to help establish the new Fire Emblem Fates. When seen through that prism, I'm willing to guess that there will be some sort of tie to Pokemon: Let's Go, Pikachu and Let's Go, Eevee. Perhaps a new Pokemon character is on its way or even an alternate Pokemon Trainer. (An Eevee Trainer, perhaps?)
The final character reveal will be a "break the internet" type of reveal, along the level of Cloud or Bayonetta. This could be almost anything. (Except Waluigi. It won't be Waluigi.) With the last game adding Ryu, Cloud, and Bayonetta, the floodgates have been open for a while. The new character might be from a completely different gaming franchise that has yet to be represented in Super Smash Bros. Think someone like Sora from Kingdom Hearts or Rayman, the latter of which would further the growing collaborative relationship between Nintendo and Ubisoft.
As for franchises already represented, look for a few more Echo Fighters to join the fray, potentially from franchises that have yet to see them. For example, I wouldn't be surprised to see a different iteration of Link to match his Breath of the Wild counterpart, one armed with different tools of the Legend of Zelda inventory. Perhaps the Skyward Sword Link or the Ocarina of Time Link. Or how about an Echo Fighter for Sonic, like Tails or Shadow?
One thing that should be noted is that there shouldn't be any great expectation for DLC characters. With Sakurai aiming for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to be a definitive collection, it's reasonable to believe that whatever character reveals pop up on Thursday will be the final character reveals for the game, period. With the roster about to exceed 70 characters, DLC may not even be necessary.
Remaining Game Modes Revealed
All of the build to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to this point has surrounded characters and stages. But there has been little information on game modes that these characters can jump into. That will change on Thursday.
During the post-Evo Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct, Sakurai discussed the game's Tournament Mode, Training Mode, new Squad Strike, and new Smashdown Mode. On the single-player front, Sakurai also briefly discussed Classic Mode and how it would be formatted. But there are still some mysteries regarding what the rest of the game features.
Sakurai showed off the main menu back in August, with one mode conspicuously blurred out. Look for this mode to be revealed. Speculation has been high that it's a full-blown single-player adventure mode, last seen in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. In the wake of Brawl's Subspace Emissary mode, Nintendo expressed disappointment that the story was popping up on YouTube, where people could stumble onto spoilers. That was back in YouTube's relative infancy. While finding a spoiler-filled video is still very much possible today, there's a chance that the team may have come to terms with YouTube culture being the new normal. There's no guarantee that Sakurai has embraced the idea of a new solo story, but the odds are much better today than they were five years ago.
With so much to unlock, in terms of characters, stages, music tracks, trophies, and more, in-game currency will mean more than ever. So in addition to the aforementioned, be on the lookout for a mode like Special Orders, which can give players a special challenge mode to earn currency fast.
Speaking of Special Orders, that leads to...
The Continuing Evolution of Master Hand
Master Hand has been a staple of the Super Smash Bros. series since the beginning. He first debuted in the original game as the final adversary in Classic Mode. His role has grown considerably since then. He popped back up in Melee with his counterpart (Crazy Hand) in multiple game modes, he had a prominent role in the Subspace Emissary story campaign in Brawl, and he gave players a chance to earn coins in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U's Special Orders mode.
Master Hand coming back for Classic Mode is a no-brainer. But with continued speculation that Ultimate will be Sakurai's final Smash Bros. game, Master Hand's role might be a little bigger this time around. Maybe players will learn the mysterious antagonist's origins. Maybe they'll learn about his motivations. What does this gloved villain want? Who is he? Why is he?
Some of these answers might tie into that rumored story mode mentioned earlier. But one thing is for certain and that's that players should expect at least a few mentions of the malevolent Master Hand.
The Super Smash Bros. series hasn't always had the most sterling record for online play. It's no secret that Brawl's online left a lot to be desired. But Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U went a long way towards fixing up the series' online issues and now it's reached a point where Sakurai may want to go further with the online space.
The model here would be Splatoon 2 and Mario Tennis Aces. Both of these games have featured robust online game modes, but have also engaged their player base with online events. Splatfests are a regular feature that bring the Splatoon 2 base together during a specified period. Mario Tennis Aces holds regular online tournaments that allow users to pick up new characters and engage with other tennis players along the way.
It's unlikely that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will tie item unlocks to online play. And with an esports ecosystem already in place, straight-up online tournaments don't seem entirely likely, either. But a more casual meetup could be something that's easily set up within the Smash Bros. online ecosystem. Maybe tournaments with Special Smash rules or conditions could held on a monthly basis.
If Ultimate wanted to go the Splatfest route, the team could build around the Conquest mode that was introduced in the previous generation of Smash games. Conquest Mode operated similar to Splatfest, with players contributing towards a faction by selecting the characters in that faction. For example, Team Mario would earn a point whenever a player won with a character from the Mario universe. Conquest was fun, but felt limited. There's room for the idea to grow, with Nintendo building a more robust system around how to earn points and even offering greater in-game rewards for Conquest victories.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, What to expect from the November 1 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Dire
What a dire situation.
Holy shit, how many more Nintendo Directs need to be dedicated to this game? Haven't they basically shown the whole thing at this point?
This game is their big holiday event. The rest of their lineup is very thin, but a Smash release is a huge deal for every console of theirs.
This is the last one. Hoping for final character roster and unannounced mode.