The April 1st Nintendo Direct opened up the Super Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot, allowing fans to vote for the characters that they want to see added as DLC. Or at least, that’s the innocent intention. I imagine some poor intern at Nintendo sifting through mountains of joke submissions for some semblance of usable data. I’m sure Sakurai foresaw this and has some sort of system in place, but it’s still incredibly funny to think about.
What I think should be made clear from the beginning is that this is not a pure numbers competition. Just because a character ends up getting a lot of votes doesn’t mean they automatically get added in. In the end, Sakurai has the final say.
Since there’s no real way to make a sensible top picks list for something like this, I decided to just turn it into an informal discussion. This way, I can talk about the characters that I want to see as well as discuss their chances of actually making the roster.
Why he should be included: How could you possibly say no to that adorable face? This cat rabbit thing would be perfectly at home with the Super Smash cast of weirdos. In his games, Klonoa uses his magic ring and the Wind Bullets that he shoots from it to capture enemies, using them as projectiles and multiple jumps. This mechanic could easily make up the bulk of his moveset, perhaps even producing his own enemy fodder like King DeDeDe, making a potentially aerial-oriented fighter out of this 2.5D platforming star. He also has Pac Man on his hat, and a Klonoa Amiibo would be super cool. Wafoo!
The obstacles: Klonoa’s Nintendo legacy is actually very small, relegated to a few spin-off titles on the GameBoy Advance and one on the Wii, but Solid Snake’s is even smaller so who knows? While Snake had Hideo Kojima doing backdoor deals with Sakurai, Klonoa has the benefit of being a Namco property. Considering Smash 4 was developed by Bandai Namco, I feel that Klonoa actually has less hoops to jump through than most 3rd party characters, unless Pac Man’s inclusion completely negates Klonoa’s chances.
Why she should be included: Having more playable female characters is always a plus, particularly when they star as the heroine in a long-standing series. While forgotten until making a splash on the 3DS in her 3rd game, Shantae’s games have the quality to rival Mario and Metroid. Shantae’s calling card is her unique method of whipping enemies into submission with her hair. Coupled with the plethora of cool weapons and upgrades, she has a pretty big pool to create an interesting moveset from. Even her creators from WayForward are pushing for her inclusion.
The obstacles: While she has the pedigree, dating all the way back from the GameBoy Color, she doesn’t exactly have the same fame as her Nintendo compatriots. Of course, that could possibly a good thing too, seeing as how someone like Lucas, who’s from a game that hasn’t officially seen Western light, managed to become immensely popular. Another troublesome thing would be her outfit, or lack thereof. We already had a big hullabaloo over Samus’s Zero Mission costume, so it’s easy to imagine that Shantae’s fashion choices may be met with a bit of contention as well. Personally, I’m a big fan of Shantae’s pirate costume.
Why he should be included: The face of a great, yet forgotten Nintendo, Isaac would fill the hole created by a distinct lack of JRPG characters outside of the Fire Emblem series. Isaac specializes in earth Psyenergy, the game’s version of magic, which is something we’ve never really seen in Smash Bros. before. Fire, lightning, water, and even wind are used, but outside of a Pokemon Stadium stage theme, earth is the forgotten element. With his domain over the Djinni, he can draw upon Venus Psyenergy to use the forces of nature, attacking with vines, rocks, and earthquakes. His final smash would obviously have to be one of the Venus summons, probably the strongest one: Judgment.
The obstacles: I suppose on paper, Isaac is incredibly similar to Robin, seeing as how they both wield swords and dabble in the magic arts. But for the reasons I stated above, I feel that Isaac is different enough to become his own unique fighter. After all, they wouldn’t be any more similar than, say, Mario and Luigi. Plus, he was an Assist Trophy in Brawl, and his absence this time around is awfully suspicious. They’ve kept the music from his games, though.
Why he should be included: With a pedigree that rivals the Pac Man and Mario, it’s argue against why Bomberman deserves a spot in Smash 4. He’s been on every Nintendo console except the 3DS and Wii U (thanks, Wikipedia) and is really one of the last historically iconic faces missing in the game. His style of combat, comically yet sadistically chucking bombs to trap opponents, would feel right at home with all of the insanity that happens in Smash Bros. Ultimately, Bomberman would be a more cartoony version of Snake, and that’s definitely not a bad thing.
The obstacles: Funny that I should mention Snake because both he and Bomberman are property of Konami. Realistically speaking, I imagine Snake would have priority over Bomberman simply because they have a moveset from him already that they can adapt from Brawl, like they did with Mewtwo and Lucas. But with all of the turmoil happening with Konami at the moment, it’s hard to say anything concrete about the company at all.
Why they should be included: Originating from the 3D platformer heyday of the N64, Banjo & Kazooie are a tagteam that feels distinctly Nintendo. They learn an enormous amount of moves between the two N64 games, which could be used in so many interesting ways in a moveset, from the various maneuvers taught by Jamjars to the different types of eggs that Kazooie can shoot.
The obstacles: Banjo and Kazooie are owned by Rare, which basically means that they’re out of Nintendo’s jurisdiction. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer mentioned that it’d be cool to have Banjo and Kazooie in Smash Bros. and while this may just be a bunch of publicity nonsense, he’s not wrong. Outside of the 3rd party mess, Banjo & Kazooie actually had some proverbially thunder stolen by Duck Hunt, which has a similar tag team mechanic. The main difference, I suppose, is that Duck Hunt is technically a team of three (dog, duck, and light gun shooter), while Banjo & Kazooie are a duo through and through.
There are actually a ton of other characters that I could have talked about, so tell me in the comments who you’d like to see be added to Smash 4!