The Super Smash Bros. world is still reeling from the addition of Tekken's Kazuya Mishima to the roster. He's the second-to-last DLC character to be added for Fighters Pass Vol. 2 and, if series lead Masahiro Sakurai's own words are any indication, the second-to-last DLC character for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, period.
"The next DLC fighter will be the last one," Sakurai said frankly during last week's Mr. Sakurai Presents showcase. "There won't be any more after that."
If there's only room for one last fighter, one would imagine that Nintendo is going to make this selection count. Who could possibly be worthy of that final spot? Shacknews is here with our pronostication hat, as we're going to take our best educated guess on who will round out the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster.
The 1990s were an amazing decade, where Mario sat at the top of the video game mascot mountain, but had several competitors coming for his crown. Among them was PlayStation's Crash Bandicoot, who became the face of the original PlayStation, as we observed during our best video game commercials and TV ad campaigns of all-time feature. Crash's apirations didn't quite pan out, but he still became one of the key video game figures of the mid-90s and one of the pioneers of Sony's jump into gaming.
Crash has since become a third-party mascot, his rights currently with Activision. That opens the door for him to claim the final Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster spot. Ultimate, more than any game before it, has been all about video game history and it's reasonable to assume that Crash would help round out this game, in terms of its place as a gaming time capsule.
The last time we brought up Sora as a potential fighter for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, we noted that his rights technically sat with Disney and not Square Enix. We said Sora would be a long shot, just because of Disney increasingly souring on video games to the point that the company looked to be out of the gaming business entirely, outside of some mobile tie-in games.
However, 2021 has shown that Disney is taking a new approach to games. Rather than develop first-party games, the company has adopted a licensing approach. It's how characters from Marvel and Star Wars have come to Fortnite. It's how Indiana Jones has landed in the hands of Bethesda and MachineGames. It's how Pirates of the Caribbean landed in Sea of Thieves. This is a new world, one where Disney is much more generous with its IPs, which should theoretically include Kingdom Hearts' Sora. And, really, what better way to illustrate Disney's new approach to gaming than putting a popular character into the most popular fighting game in the world?
What will ultimately determine whether Sora ends up in Ultimate is money. Would selling Sora as a DLC character be worth enough, monetarily, to please Disney? That's hard to say, just because how much is "enough" to the Mouse? I will say this, though. The odds of Sora showing up as a playable fighter are much better today than they were a few years ago. It's still a long shot, but not as long as it was before.
Rayman deserves to be mentioned on this list, just because Ubisoft was there with Nintendo through many of its lean years. When those dire Wii U days first dawned, Rayman Legends stood out as one of the few third-party gems. He's a mascot every bit as lovable as Mario and Sonic. So why not throw him in as the last DLC character?
Well, there's probably a good reason. Creator Michel Ancel's exit from Ubisoft had a dark cloud hovering over it, due to toxic workplace allegations. Rayman's inclusion would inevitably lead to conversations about Ancel, which could mire Ultimate's last DLC character choice in controversy. Nintendo would likely want to avoid that.
Another good reason is that Rayman is already hanging out over in Brawlhalla. His talents arguably suit the Ubisoft brawler better, which would make his inclusion in Ultimate feel slightly redundant.
Goku from Dragon Ball Z is a character that has been on a lot of fan polls for many years. He's here for the sake of being a completionist, but this feels like as much of a reach today as it did back in the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U days.
Goku has a rich video game history, but that's not where he became popular. He's an anime character. If we're looking at Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a video game time capsule, Goku doesn't really fit on this roster. If we're looking at pop culture time capsules, Fortnite is that-a-way!
Still, he's a long shot, but worth including here anyway just because of his presence in games like Dragon Ball FighterZ and Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot.
Man, does this look like a grim prospect at this point. If there was a third Fighters Pass, I'd say Super Mario RPG's Geno has a better shot at being a DLC character. Being the last DLC character? That's much more unlikely.
We detailed the legend of Geno in great detail for Super Mario RPG's 25th anniversary. There's a reason this character has stayed popular for this long, even to younger audiences who weren't born when the game was released. Alas, Geno's inclusion as a Mii Fighter costume back in December should seal this character's fate.
We're including him here, just to be completionists, but I wouldn't count on Geno being the last DLC character.
Speaking of characters I wouldn't count on, this has been a battle of attrition for years. There has been a sector of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fanbase that has clamored for Waluigi as an official fighter, allowing him to graduate from his status as an Assist Trophy. To this point, Sakurai has remained steadfast in keeping Waluigi off the playable roster.
There's a theory that Sakurai will throw up his hands and shove Waluigi onto the playable roster, similar to how Metroid's Ridley made the original roster. The reason for the latter may have partly been because Sakurai didn't want to hear the outcry anymore. However, if Sakurai is truly finished with this game (and potentially video games as a whole) after this last character, then what does it matter if he doesn't put Waluigi in? There may be one last character he does want to see, but doesn't want to put it to the side for what's, at its core, a meme pick.
Waluigi has better odds than Geno, just because that fan outcry continues to be as loud today as it was many years ago. I don't think it'll happen, but I wouldn't rule out some new Mii Fighter outfits as a peace offering.
Halo's Master Chief is another long shot, but a slightly more plausible choice. Again, he's a character known across the gaming world, he has penetrated pop culture in multiple ways, and would fit perfectly in a gaming time capsule like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Microsoft would be more than willing to lend him out too, having been on friendly terms with Nintendo for the past few years to the point that former Xbox exclusives like the Ori games and Cuphead have landed on Switch.
Chief's spot on the roster is in question because he's such a shooter-focused character and that's typically not how the Smash series rolls. Nintendo might be willing to work around that, just for the significance of having the face that launched the Xbox brand. For Microsoft, it would be a great way to push Halo Infinite, as well as to continue pushing the Xbox's momentum in Japan.
What might undo Chief's candidacy, unfortunately, is that there's already significant Xbox presence in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with Banjo & Kazooie and Minecraft Steve. A third Xbox character doesn't sound likely.
Speaking personally, this is the pick I believe has the highest likelihood of happening. Once again, looking at Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a time capsule, a roster of the most recognizable characters in video game history is incomplete without Tomb Raider's Lara Croft. Her place in gaming is undeniable. She's transcended games and become a massive pop culture phenom, venturing into movies and comic books. She's a household name and has been for a much longer period of time than someone like Master Chief.
On top of that, she's celebrating her 25th anniversary this year. Square Enix has been celebrating 25 years of Tomb Raider throughout 2021, looking back at the series' biggest moments and also sprinkling in some cameos across games like Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege. There would be no greater feather in the cap for this character than to be featured in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate alongside gaming's biggest luminaries.
Arm her with her bow and arrow, let her set some traps, and even let her trap opponents in a dangerous tomb as part of her Final Smash. There are several family-friendly (which is a key) ways to implement Lara Croft into Super Smash Bros. and she would be a fine choice to complete the DLC roster.
Those are our picks to watch out for as we wait for the final Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC character to be announced. Is there anyone we're forgetting? Join the conversation and let us know in the comments. And remember, we will never see anything like this again.