Super Smash Bros. has always held a special place in the gaming universe. Rarely does a game capture both the casual and hardcore markets like Smash does, but the compelling level of depth seen in each iteration since the N64 version doesn’t make Smash stand out on its own. At the end of the day, Super Smash Bros. is all about characters. Smash Bros. brings inherent fun by bringing together the most popular and universally recognized characters in Nintendo’s history and letting them duke it out. With no real milestone characters left to add after Brawl’s massive 37 fighter roster, director Masahiro Sakurai decided to continue to grow and diversify the roster by adding some lesser regarded heroes in Smash 4. Unfortunately, that means some of the newcomers may not be returning for Super Smash Switch, replaced by more relevant modern counterparts. Will your favorite Smash 4 character return for Smash 5? I’ve crunched the numbers, and here the resulting odds.
Remember this disclaimer before we jump into the topic at hand: The Smash Bros. game revealed at the end of last Thursday’s Nintendo Direct could simply be an upgraded port of Smash 4 rather than a true Smash 5. If that is indeed the case, all of these characters mentioned will almost assuredly return! Still, as great as Smash 4’s roster was, I’d gladly sacrifice some returning characters for an all-new game.
Rosalina and Luma – Chance to Return – 95%
Possible Replacements: Pauline (Super Mario Odyssey)
Rosalina and Luma fans worry not. The queen of the galaxies will almost certainly return for Smash Switch. A unique moveset and high overall strength made Rosalina and Luma a popular pick in Smash 4. Though I would expect her to be nerfed down a bit come Smash Switch, Rosalina and Luma’s moveset was one of Sakurai’s most creative and enjoyable additions to the Smash Bros. series. I expect her to play similarly to her Smash 4 counterpart, with minor changes sprinkled in to fit whatever new mechanics are added to the game.
Bowser Jr – Chance to Return – 95%
Possible Replacements – Shadow Mario??? (Mario Sunshine)
Although Bowser Jr. was not considered to be one of the better fighters in his debut outing, his importance to the Mario Universe secures a return spot. As interesting as his clown car fighting style was, Bowser Jr. has so many skills in his repertoire that an entirely new moveset should be in his future. Perhaps his Shadow Mario Final Smash changes to a Zelda/Sheik transformation. Either way, Bowser Jr. will be in Smash Switch. The Koopalings probably will return as alternate costumes as well, although in an ideal world they’d be separate from Junior as their own character.
Greninja – Chance to Return – 55%
Possible Replacements: Decidueye, Tapu Koko (Pokemon Sun & Moon)
Greninja could easily be removed from the roster, however in my heart-of-hearts I feel his moveset was too cool to discard after just one outing. With speed like Sheik, and power to boot, Greninja’s versatility in the ring makes him a good candidate to return. Perhaps he could be cut in favor of a Gen VII Pokemon, but his game being outdated does not disqualify him from Smash. Lucario returned from Brawl to Smash 4, and has become a Smash staple. If Greninja were to be cut, Decidueye has shown himself capable of a fun moves in Pokken Tournament DX. He could be the replacement, bringing back the grass type that was missing from Smash 4.
Robin – Chance to Return – 50%
Possible Replacements: FE16’s Protagonist, Celica (Fire Emblem Echoes)
As a Fire Emblem lover, and Fire Emblem Smash Bros. expert, it pains me to put Robin’s odds at 50/50. He represents the Fire Emblem series with his moveset better than anyone, even Marth. A mix of powerful spells and sword combat made Robin a personal favorite. Still, Awakening released in 2013, and with a new Fire Emblem game on the way Robin could be headed for the showers. Celica, from Fire Emblem Echoes, makes sense as a replacement as she too wields both swords and magic. Don’t count Robin out yet though, Fire Emblem Awakening saved the series and several FE swordsmen/women will likely be cut. Robin still stands out despite his game’s age.
Lucina – Chance to Return – 5% as her own character, 70% as an alt for Marth
Possible Replacement: FE16’s Protagonist, Alm (Fire Emblem Echoes)
Lucina polarized a lot of Smash fans, turning them against the volume of Fire Emblem characters on the Smash 4 roster. Six representatives were a lot, and Lucina didn’t really earn her keep with her moveset. She played identically to Marth, just without the tipper mechanic, giving her an edge in some matchups and making her a good tutorial character for new players. Adding her to the game probably took almost no development time, but just how relevant is Lucina still? She’s an extremely popular character for sure, however Marth won’t be removed from the game and having her remain his clone would feel like a short cut. My money says she becomes an alternate costume for Marth.
Bonus: Roy has a 65% chance to return. His popularity speaks for itself, and as a Smash legacy character I don’t see him being relegated to DLC again. He had a pretty unique moveset in Smash 4, playing differently than Marth and Ike.
Corrin – Chance to Return – 20%
Possible Replacement: FE16 Protagonist
Corrin, while not as unique as Robin, had a well thought out moveset that separates him/her from other FE characters. Still, with a new Fire Emblem game coming at least two of the Fire Emblem veterans will be cut to make way for the new protagonist. Marth, Ike, and Roy should be safe. Lucina will be cut and Robin might be cut. Corrin has to compete with Robin for that last open FE slot, and I think the Tactician Magician wins that head-to-head. I like Corrin, but the character earned a lot of ire from both Smash and Fire Emblem fans. We’ll see how Corrin fares, but I think this protagonist will head to the locker room early.
Palutena – Chance to Return – 80%
Possible Replacements: None
Kid Icarus: Uprising is Sakurai’s baby, and the Goddess of Light earned a spot in Smash 4 because of his love for her series. While underwhelming, Palutena’s Smash 4 kit was built with custom moves in mind. She served as the poster girl for that new feature, and as such her default kit suffered. Sakurai knows he isn’t alone in loving Kid Icarus, and Palutena deserves another shot at the Smash Bros cast. She will return with a significantly honed set of specials, and hopefully with her shield mechanic refined. Fear not Kid Icarus fans – the Goddess of Light still isn’t done dolling out divine intervention.
Dark Pit – Chance to Return – 0% as his own character, 99.99% as a Pit alt
Possible Replacement: Viridi, Hades, Medusa (Kid Icarus Uprising)
I won’t drag this one out. Dark Pit won’t return in Smash 5 as a unique character, but he will be available as a Pit alternate costume. There’s absolutely no chance Sakurai gives him a new skillset, and he just isn’t relevant enough to bring back in his current form. He will definitely downgraded to an alternate costume.
Villager – Chance to Return – 90%
Possible Replacements: Isabelle (Animal Crossing New Leaf)
Villager was the first character revealed for Smash 4 and once again there won’t be any drama as to his inclusion in Smash Switch. Perhaps another Animal Crossing character will join him, but as the player character Villager won’t be discarded. His kit stood out in Smash 4, with a really cool pocket mechanic and quirky moves befitting the Animal Crossing series. Villager will return in Smash Switch, probably with the same zany moves.
Little Mac – Chance to Return – 100%
Possible Replacements: None
Little Mac might have been Smash 4’s most popular character. Everyone had that one friend who played Little Mac. They talked a lot of smack, really rubbing in all of those cheaply landed KO Punches, only to curse at the game after falling to their doom with an ill-advised Side-B. Personally, I found Mac to be underwhelming. His KO punch was a cheap mechanic, as was his super armor on every smash attack. Those broken strengths were offset by his god awful recovery, making him frustrating to both play and fight against. He wasn’t a strong character, but still felt like a poorly tested gimmick. Hopefully his second outing weakens his KO punch and super armor, while boosting his recovery.
Wii Fit Trainer – Chance to Return – 15%
Possible Replacement: 1+2 Switch Cow Milking Guy* (1+2 Switch)
Wii Fit Trainer stands as a relic of the past. If universal character usage charts were available, Wii Fit Trainer probably would sit at the very bottom. As a character she didn’t really stand out, however Mr. Game & Watch continues to grace every Smash game with his 2D presence. As a similar gag character, Wii Fit Trainer has precedent to return. Still, my gut says the roster will be slightly smaller than Smash 4’s, and Wii Fit might not be able to pull up past the cut bar.
Shulk – Chance to Return – 55%
Possible Replacement: Rex, Pyra/Mythra (Xenoblade Chronicles 2)
I’m giving Shulk better than a coin flip odds to return, despite Rex/Pyra being a guaranteed new fighter. Shulk’s Monado arts never resulted in an overly compelling character, but the potential was there. If he does return I doubt his moves will change much. Still, his Monado arts could be altered to make him stand out. With Xenoblade Chronicles 2 selling over 1 million copies worldwide, Xenoblade feels worthy of two representatives.
Duck Hunt – Chance to Return – 35%
Possible Replacement: Ice Climbers (Ice Climber)
Duck Hunt took the internet by storm when images of him on the 3DS version emerged. Sakurai’s creativity knows no bounds, as Duck Hunt and its tool kit showed, so I actually believe this quirky character has a punchers chance to return. In Smash 4, Duck Hunt had an incredibly high skill curve, but was capable of holding its own against much of the cast. Perhaps he’ll be retooled with other retro references for moves, but I expect his trap-centered gameplay to return almost untouched. While that might not be exciting, new mechanics could breathe more life into this old dog.
Mega Man – Chance to Return – 95%
Possible Replacements: X, Zero (Mega Man X Series)
It might be crazy to say that Mega Man has the same percentage chance as Rosalina to return, but there’s just no way Capcom and Nintendo won’t work together to bring the Blue Bomber back. Honestly, even though he just arrived in 2014, it wouldn’t feel like Smash without Mega Man. He’s definitely in, and there is so much room to change his moves. I’d love to see him with an entirely new kit. Metal Blades aside, Mega Man’s specials weren’t great and that felt like a missed opportunity. I’d love to see some stranger moves, like Mega Man 3’s Snake power and Rush Jet, added into the mix. Mega Man will grace Smash Switch’s roster, it’s just a matter of how.
Pac-Man – Chance to Return – 70%
Possible Replacements – None (Perhaps Mrs. Pac-Man!)
Pac-Man’s a different story. Unlike Mega Man, there wasn’t a ton of hype surrounding Pac-Man’s reveal, and he really didn’t get used a whole lot thanks to a janky moveset riddled with inconsistencies. His grab was just unbearable. Regardless of gameplay flaws, I still expect him to return in Smash Switch. Bandai Namco and Nintendo have enjoyed a healthy partnership in recent years, and Pac-Man deserves to be up there with the greats.
Ryu – Chance to Return – 30%
Possible Replacements: Chun-Li, Ken (Street Fighter Series)
Ryu was one of the stranger inclusions in Smash 4’s roster, but he carved a creative niche with Street Fighter inputs that worked surprisingly well in the context of Smash 4. I’m betting “no” on Ryu, however that doesn’t mean a Street Fighter character won’t be included in the game. Perhaps Chun-Li or Ken shows up in his place. With all the crazy guests in Smash 4, the floodgates are certainly open for some wild characters. Whether that’s a good thing or not, I don’t know for sure, but it doesn’t feel like you can stuff the cat back into the bag at this point. TLDR: Stranger characters than Ryu will be arriving in Smash Switch.
Cloud – Chance to Return – 51%
Possible Replacements: Olberic, Primrose (Octopath Traveler), Edea Lee (Bravely Default)
Another one that’s tough to call. Cloud’s inclusion destroyed the internet, and he lived up to the hype. Not only was Cloud one of the strongest fighters in the game, but he also had a distinct feel to him – A bit of weight not common in characters with his fast yet devastating attacks. The Limit Break mechanic? Brilliant. Those crisp aerials? Lovely. Those spikes? RIP anyone with a predictable recovery. Still, there’s something to be said for Square Enix being weird. You just can’t predict them. Even though they have a great relationship with Nintendo right now, there’s no guarantee Cloud returns. Still, I’m saying he does.
Bayonetta – Chance to Return – 35%
Replacements: PLEASE FIND A REPLACEMENT SAKURAI!
Bayonetta… She’s incredibly cool and her games are great. But Bayonetta is a terrible fit for Smash Bros, and she killed Smash 4. Bayonetta was so broken that Smash 4’s best player, TSM ZeRo, retired in small part because he didn’t enjoy to competing against her anymore. In a game that didn’t focus on combos, Bayonetta being able to 0-to-death combo people didn’t make for a good fit. Sakurai heard the fans pleas and released a patch to weaken her and her alone, but still Bayonetta still remains completely overpowered. Ultimately her games feature flashy combos to savagely defeated massive foes, and she wouldn’t feel like Bayonetta without combos.
What does this mean for her chances in Smash Switch? If the game focuses on combos, and every character has the same combo potential that she has, as is the case in Melee, Bayonetta should return. If we’re looking at a Smash 4-styled game, she has to be out, lest we fall back to square 1.
And there you have it folks – my very best guesses on which characters stay and which characters go come Smash Switch’s release later this year. If you’re saddened by the potential loss of your Smash 4 go-to, cheer up! The Inklings have already been revealed for Smash Switch, and they won’t be the only new faces gracing Final Destination. Perhaps a new fighter will fill the void in your heart.