With Smash DLC now being a reality, I thought this would be a good time to break down possible DLC candidates. This will be part one of what will (hopefully) be a comprehensive break down of viable third party characters for DLC. As it stands now, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS has a total of three third party characters, those being Sonic the Hedgehog, Pacman, and Megaman. Conspicuous by his absence is Solid Snake, the only non-returning third party veteran. In honor or our fallen soldier, we will be looking at what I see as the top three DLC contenders from his home company, Konami.
The perfect disguise
Character Background: Solid Snake is a soldier of fortune from the Metal Gear franchise. Part of the elite special forces unit Foxhound, Snake is a true super soldier. He is a man who specializes in the impossible, a living weapon and expert spy that has been tasked with destruction and disarmament of the titular Metal Gear units (bipedal nuclear armed tanks) time and time again.
Metal Gear NES edition (that cover is totally not just a frame from the movie Terminator that’s been painted over)
The series roots are in the 1987 release of the game Metal Gear on the MSX2. Most Western fans are more familiar with the NES/Famicom port of the game as the MSX2 had a limited release in the region. The franchise is a pioneer of stealth-gaming that has repeatedly revolutionized the genre over the past three decades. It looks to do so again with the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain later this year.
Reasons for inclusion: Snake is really a no-brainer. He is a veteran of the Smash Bros. series, and while he may not fit in with the rest of the cast on the surface, his gritty “mature” outward appearance is part of his appeal. He has a unique aesthetic, moveset, and a gaming world that adds a lot of charm to the Smash Bros. universe. Case in point: his in game Codec conversations from Brawl.
These conversations provided players with a fun and interesting way to learn more about the characters found in Smash Bros. In them, Snake would use his two way communicator (the Codec) to ask for advice about the characters he was facing from various members of his supporting crew from the Metal Gear franchise. These Codecs were so well received, in fact, that Sakurai felt the need to include a similar feature in Smash Bros. for Wii U in the guise of “Palutena’s Guidance.”
I’ve been cut, Colonel!
Snake is also a highly recognizable gaming icon. The Metal Gear series is one of the longest running and most successful in gaming, with over 39 million units of software sold since its inception. Not only that, but the character has been on Nintendo hardware for over 28 years, most recently in 2012 with Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D on the Nintendo 3DS.
Reasons for exclusion: Konami and Nintendo aren’t exactly the best business partners at the present time. The last games that Konami produced for the 3DS were released in 2013. They have yet to publish a title for the Wii U that is not a virtual console release of an old NES or SNES game. Worse yet, there are currently no known Konami software titles in development for the Wii U. This includes the newest Metal Gear Solid titles, which are not being ported despite also releasing on inferior hardware (in this case the Xbox 360.)
Will old man Snake and his fabulous mustache forever be doomed to Sony exclusivity?
There is also the issue of Metal Gear’s legacy with Nintendo. Snake may be a gaming icon, but he is not a Nintendo icon. He is much more closely associated with rival console manufacturer Sony, and has in fact only been featured in one non-port on a Nintendo video game system (the 1998 Gameboy Color game Metal Gear: Ghost Babel.) While the original Metal Gear was ported to the NES, it was done so with no input from Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima and is considered a vastly inferior version. The game is so different, in fact, that Kojima himself does not consider it a true part of the Metal Gear series.
This last point was once a positive in Snakes favor. Hideo Kojima and Masahiro Sakurai are friends and it is a known fact that Snake’s inclusion in Smash Bros. Brawl is largely due to this. Kojima is now leaving Konami, so this is now at best a neutral point.
What is Smash Bros. without music? Here are a few tracks you can look forward to if Snake comes back.
If you enjoyed reading this piece, check out the case for Simon Belmont here.