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Continuing their slow rise in nods towards the competitive Smash community, it was announced at EVO 2018 on Sunday, right before Melee Grand Finals, that we’d be receiving an entire Nintendo Direct for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate this Wednesday. While a more meager display than the other game devs at the event (which tend to make announcements, rather than announcements of announcements), Sakurai & co. have once again sent the hype train into full throttle, barreling down the tracks at mach ten until it inevitably explodes when they don’t add Waluigi to the roster.

But past the endless pleas for characters, there’s actually quite a bit we don’t know about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, despite the game coming out in a mere five months. The previous two entries spent much longer than that building up anticipation, dropping game modes, stages, and a whole lot more at a constant drip via the ol’ Smash blog and Miiverse. (Rest well, old soul.) The Ultimate reveal at E3 focused mostly on two things: the fact that “everyone is here!” and competitive tweaks. So there’s a whole lot left to discover. Let’s shoot the breeze on a couple of them:

Single player offerings

Smash for Wii U was a great game, but compared to previous entries, it fell behind a bit in terms of offerings for solo players. Classic mode was a weird, experimental ploy that wasn’t particularly fun (the 3DS version got the actual classic mode), and the Master/Crazy Orders were interesting in concept but not execution, leaving only All-Star, Events, and Stadium to be really substantial. Without something like Brawl’s Subspace Emissary or even Melee’s Adventure mode, the single player in Smash 4 felt more than a little lacking. Which means that it’s a prime situation for Ultimate to pick up the slack.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Hopefully the classic version of Classic mode will return, alongside what will be an absolutely stacked All-Star mode. Expecting a full-blown, cutscene filled Subspace Emissary type deal seems unlikely with such a large roster, but something more akin to Melee’s Adventure — traveling through the now massive selection of Nintendo worlds — sounds like a blast, if lengthy. Events seem like a safe bet, as does the return of Stadium modes, but there are many unknowns at play. Will we see some sort of new game mode? A tweak of the Orders from Wii U? Or perhaps the long-awaited return of the greatest Smash mode of all time — Board the Platforms from 64?!

New and returning modes

Of course, there’s a host of other modes besides single player that are in play. Some smaller fare like Special Smash seems like a given, but what about more expansive multiplayer modes like Smash Tour or Smash Run? What will be the trophy-acquiring minigame this time around? Ultimate seems focused on… well, providing an “Ultimate” version of the Smash franchise, so I think it’s safer to bet on more returning features than new modes.

I imagine Smash Run will return, as it was the cleaner of the two Smash 4 modes, while Smash Tour will either be edited heavily or dropped. Stage Builder will likely return too, hopefully with a greater resemblance to its Brawl iteration than Smash 4’s. Beyond that, there’s a lot of potential for surprises, and I doubt Sakurai would make a new game before including one interesting new way to play the game.

Stages and items

We’ve already seen a ton of stages for Ultimate — going merely by what we’ve seen in character trailers, the vast majority of stages from the franchise will be available to play. In terms of new ones, however, we’ve only gotten two: the Great Plateau Tower and Moray Towers (evidently there’s a predilection for vertical structures going on). Now would seem a ripe time to reveal more, including the New Donk City stage hinted at in screenshots, along with stages for potential newcomers.

We should look for new items, as well. Besides the half-dozen or so shown off at E3, it’d be cool to see weapons from Splatoon or Breath of the Wild, which have plenty of inventory to pull from, or something more unorthodox. (Coil arms from ARMS, anyone?) It’ll be interesting to see what Assist Trophies pop up too, since Bomberman has opened the door for more third party reps that may not be fit for full movesets. Speaking of…

… Probably a character or two

Look, I get it. Speculating about characters that will pop up in Smash is a lot of fun. We all have our dream picks, and we’ve all crafted movesets for them in our heads, and constructed detailed essays on why they “should” be added. But trying to figure out an ultimate (heh) rhyme or reason as to who Sakurai adds is generally futile. This is the man who put in Mr. Game & Watch, R.O.B., and Wii Fit Trainer, for goodness’ sake. Despite the literal thousands of characters predicted so far, I can almost guarantee he has a curveball coming down the pipe. Heck, I was incredulous that Ridley made it in. What could possibly come next?

There are certainly some that are more or less likely than others. King K. Rool has become a crowd favorite addition. An ARMS rep — Spring Man or Ribbon Girl most likely — seems like a safe-ish assumption. Xenoblade 2 did gangbusters, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see Rex and/or Pyra. People still want Geno. With the official adoption of the “Echo Fighters” nomenclature, the door is open for characters like Ninten, Ken, Shadow, and more to get a chance in the spotlight. And then there’s the inevitable deluge of third party picks, whether they be from Japanese AAA studios or little indie devs. I mean, come on, Tekken 7 is adding Negan from The Walking Dead; as far as I can tell all bets are off in today’s age of crossovers in fighting games.

I think one character being revealed on Wednesday is a given, two is a decent chance, and anymore is rather unlikely. It’s impossible to say who exactly will be showing up, but I think it’s important to note that just because your personal pick may not make it doesn’t mean that we’re in for a bad game. Sakurai’s team is doing the best they can, and it seems ill-willed to fault them for who’s not there rather than who is.

Unless they don’t add Bandana Dee. In which case WHAT ARE THEY THINKING.

Jokes aside, tune into the Smash Ultimate Direct on Wednesday at 7 a.m. PT to find all the news on the game possible.


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Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.