I’ve been a part of the Nintendo community for quite some time now, but I can’t recall a single event that united Nintendo fans more effectively than a good, old-fashioned Super Smash Bros. character reveal. The anticipation, the speculation, and, of course, the moment of the reveal – watching these reveal trailers live with my friends and family was genuinely one of the highlights of my career here at Nintendo Wire. So today, I wanted to revisit all the reveals from the Smash Bros. Ultimate timeline and list my top five.
Keep in mind that these picks are solely mine, so please don’t be too upset if you don’t find Fire Emblem anywhere in my ranking. Without further ado, let’s dive into number five!
Number 5 – Ridley
If you were a fan of Super Smash Bros. prior to the Switch era, you likely heard the ongoing debate about adding Ridley, Metroid’s iconic pterodactyl antagonist, to the roster. I remember hearing arguments like “Ridley is WAY too big to be in Smash” or “Metroid has enough representation already!” However, as a die-hard Metroid fan myself, I held onto the hope that Ridley could somehow find his way into Smash in some form. So, you can imagine my surprise when, at E3 2018, Nintendo officially unleashed the dino with one of the most epic reveals to date.
The trailer began with Mario, Samus, and Mega Man walking down a dimly lit corridor, each falling victim one by one to a mysterious force. Then, Ridley emerged from the shadows, spinning Mario’s hat on his finger, as if to say, “Yeah, I took down that plumber for good!” What a moment!
Number 4 – Joker
Full disclosure, I’m not a die-hard Persona fan, but what Nintendo did with this reveal at the Game Awards in 2019 was simply magical. What initially seemed like a standard cut to the host, Geoff Keighley, turned into a scripted power outage and a takeover of the massive screen on stage. After some banter between the Phantom Thieves, we finally received the confirmation that Joker was joining the Smash roster.
What made this moment so incredible, in my opinion, was the sheer surprise of it all. Leading up to the trailer, there were no hints that a Smash reveal was on the way. So, seeing one pop out of nowhere was a fantastic moment for the show. Kudos to Nintendo, Atlus, and the Game Awards for keeping the surprise under wraps!
Number 3 – Banjo and Kazooie
Okay, this is where my bias might show a bit. In a nutshell, I’m an enormous, and I mean ENORMOUS fan of the Nintendo 64. Over the years, I’ve collected not only every game released in North America and Japan, but I’ve also hunted down every system. I’m sharing this because Banjo-Kazooie happens to be one of my all-time favorite games on the platform, setting the stage for collectathons for years to come. While Mario and Link were the official mascots of the system, Banjo and Kazooie were the unofficial ones.
When Microsoft acquired Rare back in 2002, it became evident that the likelihood of Banjo appearing on a Nintendo platform was extremely slim. (We won’t even mention Nuts & Bolts, okay?) So you can imagine my delight when, over 16 years after the acquisition, Banjo and Kazooie were officially returning to Nintendo. It was an exciting moment, and the trailer was a blast! One of the reasons it left such a strong impression on me was the involvement of Donkey Kong and his friends, essentially creating an unofficial Rare family reunion.
Number 2 – Sora
Some people say they save the best for last. Now, I’m not entirely sure about that, but I can confidently say that the introduction of Sora in Smash was undeniably one of the most emotional moments I’ve personally witnessed in the history of Smash. The trailer starts with a callback to the first Smash Ultimate teaser trailer. The massive, fiery Smash Ball in the distance appears to be extinguishing, and all the characters we’ve come to know and love are reverting to figure form. But then, a glimmer of hope emerges — a distant light. Mario breaks free from his plastic prison and journeys toward that solitary flame. He retrieves something from within the fire and hurls it through the air. Suddenly, a Keyblade materializes, opening a portal from which Sora emerges. As he soars through the air, all the Smash fighters awaken from their slumber!
The trailer concludes with a handshake between Mario and Sora, symbolizing a partnership. However, in reality, this handshake represents the union of two colossal forces in the world of entertainment: Disney and Nintendo. For years, people had been saying, “Disney would never allow Sora in Smash!” But this moment proved them all wrong!
Number 1 – Sephiroth
If you know me personally, this won’t come as a massive surprise. Final Fantasy VII is probably my favorite game of all-time, so seeing not one, but TWO representatives from the game in Smash Bros. was a dream come true.
Now, even without my personal bias, I believe it’s fair to say that the Sephiroth reveal was the most epic, fantastical, and all-around badass reveal for Smash to date. Sephiroth didn’t come to Smash to have a good time — he came to Smash to bring despair! In his fury, Sephiroth slices through Galeem like butter and even appears to impale Mario through the shoulder with his sword, Masamune, a direct homage to a classic scene in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.
After the reveal ended, all I wanted to do was watch it again and again. That’s the tell-tale sign of a damn good trailer!
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