Based on a leak from Nintendo UK, it’s looking quite likely that we’ll be seeing a character from SNK join the cast of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. With plenty of experience when it comes to fighting games as well as a solid place in video game hardware history via the Neo Geo line, it’s another show of Smash covering practically every base it can when it comes to representation. No stranger to crossovers, we’ve singled out five SNK characters that could easily make the jump to Smash’s roster.
Terry Bogard – Fatal Fury series
One of the characters closest to being the “face” of SNK’s fighting roster, Terry Bogard would fit right in. Sporting that trademark cap and simple yet recognizable look, he’s a powerful fighter from the streets of South Town with an upbeat vibe to him. He’s been featured in plenty of titles both within SNK’s library and beyond, and his fighting style is one that’s easily adaptable to Smash’s system. I can already hear his cries of “Power Wave!” and “Rising Tackle!”, though that simplicity and predictability could limit his appeal from a gameplay perspective. There’s some room for unique elements (a common theme of the DLC fighters so far) via systems from, say, Garou: Mark of the Wolves or Real Bout, but in the end, Terry just needs to be Terry. In that way he’s the “safest” choice, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Nakoruru – Samurai Shodown series
Speaking of a safe choice, with Samurai Shodown coming to Switch this winter there’s definitely room for a little cross-promotion. While Soul Calibur VI is set to receive character Haohmaru via DLC, Smash could instead pull from fellow lead and star of the series Nakoruru. Taking inspiration from the indiginous Ainu people of Hokkaido, Nakoruru fights for the sake of nature alongside her hawk companion Mamahaha. She’s a quick character armed with a short sword (unlike the longer blades of current sword-wielders in Smash) with aerial and ranged options via said avian assistance. While some of SamSho’s trademark blood and unique, weapon based systems probably won’t make the transition with her, Nakoruru’s popularity and gameplay niche should serve her well if she joins in.
Kyo Kusanagi – The King of Fighters series
If SNK wants to live by their Dream Match ethos, then why not go back to where it all began in ‘94? The King of Fighters was their own internal crossover and now stands as one of the longer running fighter series around (for reference, KoF XV was announced earlier this year). Headlining it is Kyo Kusanagi, a character made for the crossover itself known for his confidence and flame wreathed martial arts. His recognition is such that several later KoF characters are just clones of him in both the fighting game and literal sense, just to keep the versions fans grew accustomed to around while the character himself evolved. With lots of history to pull from, Kyo’s another viable option for Smash. King of Fighters changes up its meter mechanics and gameplay systems pretty regularly, offering up plenty of moveset potential to pull from. If they really wanted to get ambitious, he could even somehow retain KoF’s three-versus-three style, be it with his original teammates or with other popular KoF/SNK characters alongside him.
Athena/Asamiya – Athena/Psycho Soldier
Call this one a cheat for including two different characters, but both versions of SNK’s mascot Athena character would fit right into Smash. The original Athena game had you play as Princess of the Kingdom of Victory, fallen into the Fantasy World thanks to opening The Door Which Shouldn’t be Opened out of sheer boredom. That right there’s already incredible storytelling, but it’s the gameplay potential that really makes Athena shine. You’d have to gather up weapon and armor as you journeyed through, making yourself stronger as you go. Despite featuring RPG characters, nothing like that has managed to make its way to Smash and could be a unique hook for the princess. She’s a bit more obscure at this point, though, which is where her descendant Athena Asamiya comes in. Debuting in the arcades via Psycho Soldier, Asamiya has gone on to be a mainstay and idol in SNK’s fighters, as well as headlining games of her own. Those fighting skills and psychic powers would fit right in in Smash, as would the character’s ever changing wardrobe.
Metal Slug – Metal Slug series
These last picks have all been rather conventional, though no less iconic, fighters. But now it’s time to get a little weirder, as SNK isn’t just known for their extensive fighting game library. Run ‘n Gun games haven’t gotten their fair share of love, so why not bring in some of the best of the genre? I’m talkin’ Metal Slug baby! This was one of the main quarter eating machines from my arcade days due to the addictive gameplay, inherent humor, and gorgeous sprite work. While the characters here would be the likes of Marco Rossi and Fio Germi, the gameplay could center more on the titular tank itself. Metal Slugs have had plenty of variations and capabilities over the years, and bringing that to Smash may be the least likely of this list but it has some of the greatest potential.
This list hardly scratches the surface of SNK’s massive lineup. Characters like Mai Shiranui, Geese Howard, Iori Yagami, Ryo Sakazaki, and more are just as recognizable in their own ways. With such a huge pool to pull from, as well as the potential for stellar music and stages, SNK’s inclusion in Smash would be well deserved and fit right in with the best of ‘em.