Point, Counter Point: Gematsu Leaks Part One

Today, TheAnvil and PushDustIn are kicking their debate into full gear. Please read the introduction to this post, as we will be referencing it quite a bit during our debate. We have limited our responses to two times, and alternate the order for the topics. Let us know in the comments who you think had the stronger arguments! This is the first part of the debate, as it got incredibly lengthy. The last part will be posted later today!


Brawl and Smash for Wii U Emblem Order

Chorus Men
Characters Missing
Vague Names

Safe guesses
Dated information vs. New information


Chrom’s appearance in the Gematsu leaks is now quite possibly the most significant divider. He was first mentioned by Sal Romano as part of his 2nd leak. Posted the day of the special Smash Bros. only Direct presentation on April 8th, 2014. It should be noted that prior to this he was a very popular choice within the community, often considered “a shoo-in” by a significant portion of the fanbase. Suggesting that he was not would almost certainly incur some rather tasteless remarks. In fact, you could barely find a prediction or wish list roster without Chrom appearing on it.

While we do know now that Chrom was at least considered for a playable role at one time, we have no evidence to suggest he was anything more than that. Having him appear on a leak close to two years AFTER the development team decided he wasn’t going to be included is extremely fishy within itself. Especially as we know that Robin was in the original presentation slides. Had this been labelled “Robin or Chrom” this would not have been such an issue. While many might site dated information as a factor here, due to a separate reason that we’re going to cover shortly, I find that extremely hard to believe.

Chrom was incredibly popular. In fact, this is something that Sakurai mentioned in his Famitsu Column, “Abilities Unlike Any Other”. Sakurai stated, “I suspect a lot of you will ask: “What? Not Chrom!?” Of course, Chrom is quite popular, being the protagonist of Fire Emblem:Awakening and all.” Being aware of Chrom’s popularity is what possibly led Sakurai to initially including him on the roster. While the April 2012 presentation wasn’t labelled “Robin or Chrom”, there’s reason to believe that it was actually “Robin AND Chrom” at one point.

The main piece of evidence for this is the fact that Sakurai states, “I’ll give you an example– Chrom. When I decided who to have as a representative from “Fire Emblem: Awakening,” I had thought up a moveset from Chrom, but no matter what he just ended up as this mix between Ike and Marth, and he didn’t come together very well. But when I thought of the “sword and sorcery/magic” concept with Robin, the character’s individuality showed very well.” (emphasis mine)

Thinking up a moveset is no easy task, as evident by the translation we provided on how Sakurai creates characters. The fact that Robin was “decided” in August 2014 makes perfect sense. Until August 2014, Sakurai was not sure about Chrom. After he dropped Chrom, he decided to add him into Robin’s final smash, thus finalizing Robin’s moveset (CEDEC 2012 reflection translation). Furthermore, Palutena’s Guidance seems to be Sakurai discussing why Chrom didn’t end up working as an Ike alt, or as an unique fighter.  

Lastly, the extra detail on Robin’s slide (April 2012) is incredibly suspicious. Sakurai states, “After everything is decided, the staff works as a single unit to create everything as planned, but unfortunately some characters still end up slipping through the cracks.” Robin has continuously been praised by Sakurai for being a unique fighter. Why did he add that extra detail to him, instead of placing Rosalina’s extra detail about unique fighters?   

Chorus Men:

The Sneaky Spirit enemy appears in the 3DS-exclusive mode, Smash Run. This is one of the few enemies from a series without a fighter or a stage representation (The only other being the Polar Bears from Ice Climbers). In fact, until the Miiverse Stage, Rhythm Heaven didn’t have musical representation either. Therefore, the Sneaky Spirit and the numerous trophies included in both the 3DS and the Wii U version are the only references to Rhythm Heaven in the retail version of the games.

The Chorus Men were first mentioned by Sal Romano on his April 8th, 2014 post. While the Chorus Men are better known as Chorus Kids in English, (Chorus Men is their Japanese name) we have decided to stick with the original leak wording for clarity purposes. After Chrom was disconfirmed, many saw the Chorus Men ‘as unlikely choices who didn’t have a shot anyway’. After the full roster was revealed, many anti-Gematsu felt vindicated that the Chorus Men was false information.

That changed on January 26th, 2015 when I discovered an unusual database entry while data-mining the Wii U version for Super Smash Brothers. The file, mark_db houses the database for the emblems used by the various game files. To my surprise, there was the ‘rhythm’, right before ‘rockman’ (Japanese for Megaman). There is also an order, which heavily suggests that some ‘rhythm’ character was going to be playable!

Of course, this does not 100% confirm that it was Chorus Men that were going to be playable. However, due to the fact that the Gematsu Leaker got everything else correct, and because of the emblem order, I must admit that the Chorus Men were the most likely. Due to the fact that pacman is ordered with the stages, I believe that this database was created in an early development period, most likely before Sakurai officially joined the development team (after Kid Icarus was finished). Therefore, I am not sure if the Chorus Men were given priority, if they were able to work on the 3DS/ 8-Player Smash, or if any real work was done on them. What is known, is that at some point they were most planned to be included as fighters.   

The absence of the Chorus Men seemed to be one of the biggest driving forces in essentially “debunking” the leak in the eyes of many. Although the data-mining find has skewed the line between genuine and ungenuine tremendously.

The fact that an icon representing the Rhythm Heaven series exists in the game is infallible. However, what it means is not so cut and dry. After all, the Chorus Men are not the only viable characters that appear in the Rhythm Heaven series of games that could have been considered for a playable role. If you look at the trophies included in this iteration of Smash, they include other characters such as Marshall, The Wrestler & The Reporter, as well as Karate Joe. After all, Rhythm Heaven was and still is one of the longest running, legitimate franchises that Nintendo has under its belt that does not yet have a playable character in Smash Bros. Though I must note that it’s just as plausible that the Chorus Men were a planned playable character, as they were also among the (few) trophies that the Rhythm Heaven series received.

Similarly to Chrom, it’s still fishy within itself that a (potentially) cut character appeared on a leak posted in 2014, considering the roster was finalized in 2012.

It’s not unusual for leakers to have incomplete, or imperfect information. Many of the leaks that we saw during Brawl were partial leaks. They usually don’t have the full picture. The timing of the Gematsu leaks might suggest that the leaker worked in publicity, but it could’ve been something that the leaker did to throw off any investigation. We don’t know how much information the leaker had, where they got it, and how much of it they chose to give out. He might have only had had access to pre-development data, and he decided to share it over the course of the actual development cycle, in order to fuel speculation. We simply have no idea what kind of mentality the leaker actually had. Therefore, I believe the “a (potentially) cut character appeared on a leak posted in 2014” is a moot point. We simply can’t prove one way or the other that the leaker even knew the character was cut.   

While it’s hard to know exactly how this leaker got their potential information, they seem to indicate an ongoing knowledge of the Smash development. These are factors which we will go into in more detail in later topics.

Characters Missing:

While a few of the missing characters are at least partially easy to explain, some are rather hard to think of a believable reason as to why they were never on a leak. Most notably the Duck Hunt Duo (Duck Hunt outside of EU) and Bowser Jr.

The Duck Hunt Duo are characters who certainly appeared on Sakurai’s original presentation slides, and were described in these slides as a “surprise character”. I’ve seen many pro-Gematsu supporters claim that a potential reason as to why he didn’t know about these characters was because they were unlockables. This is usually supplemented with Bowser Jr, and the 2 newcomer clones Lucina and Dark Pit as to why they were also absent from the leaks. Though this is hard to take seriously, as the 4th Gematsu leak contained developmental details about Ness, who is also an unlockable character.

Lucina and Dark Pit are tough to place in this argument, as their status really applies to how we conclude the leaker got their information. If it was early in development then it could have been when the characters were still planned as alternate costumes for Marth and Pit respectively. Which would completely justify their exclusion from any of the leaks. However if these leaks were obtained in an ongoing fashion, as the 3rd and 4th Gematsu leaks seemed to indicate, then their absence from any lists is harder to justify.

Rosalina & Luma were also notably missing from the leaks. Although she had been officially announced by the time the second Gematsu leak was posted on April 8th, 2014, one could argue that she easily could have been a name on the original leak posted prior to E3 2013. Considering that she was officially announced prior to Pac-Man, Little Mac and the Mii’s who appeared on his first leak. Similarly to the Duck Hunt Duo, Rosalina & Luma were also on the presentation slides.

Did he know about the characters he posted about on April 8th, 2014 when he posted the first leak in E3 2013? If so, then why were none of these names not mentioned back then? If he reported the information as he found out about it, how did he think that Chrom and the Chorus Men were going to be included?

It’s not just Chrom and Chorus Men. It’s Shulk, Palutena, Chrom, Chorus Men AND Pokemon from X and Y. 66.66% of those characters are in the game today. As we discussed, there’s hard evidence for the other two thus indicating that the leaker debately got 100% correct. As I stated before, it’s difficult to argue “why the leaker didn’t know 100%” without knowing how the leaker obtained their information. Maybe he found shreds of paper in the garbage bin outside of Bandai Namco, and was only able to piece 11 pages together. How come he didn’t leak the stages? Or the various modes? We don’t know the leakers role or mentality, so let’s stop trying to assume how they thought. For all we know, the leaker could’ve been fired before being fully exposed to the project plan. We can speculate, but there’s simply not enough information to make an educated guess on the matter.

For the clones (Lucina, Dark Pit AND Dr. Mario), we know they were added later into development. We don’t know if the leaker actually knew about those characters or not. Since it seems that the leaker just had pre-development information (Pre-August 2012), it seems kind of natural that they wouldn’t know about Lucina, Dark Pit or Dr. Mario, but I can’t assume that it’s 100% certain.  

I do agree that the whole unlock/locked character theory makes no sense what-so-ever. That kind of stuff has no impact on what is known/not known when developing. Unlockable characters and stages still need to be tested. They still need to have materials prepared. The Gamer and the Temple stages were originally unlockables, but there were changed to default stages sometime in development, for an unknown reason. As I stated with the Chorus Men, we don’t know how the leaker decided to share information. Maybe they knew about the other characters, but decided not to share them.  

Vague names:

The ‘vague names’ has never been a huge demerit for me. The reason is because we don’t exactly know how the leaker got their information. It’s very unlikely that they were working on the game itself, so it’s possible that their information probably came from a second-hand source. Because of this, it’s likely that they didn’t have access to the actual documents, and were only told information from a friend. Despite this, the leaker did say “A Pokemon from X/Y” in their leak, which is exactly how Sakurai stated how development proceeded with them.

Here’s what Sal said on Greninja:
Pokemon from X and Y

Again, I don’t know. This is what the guy told me, so it’s what I posted. I don’t know how involved he is in the game’s development, or how ‘inside’ his insder knowledge is. There are, again, tons of reasons as to why he might not have known or been able to say the Pokemon’s name. Or even describe him at that. Depending on the guy’s involvement, it’s possible he was only told about a “Pokemon from X and Y” being in the roster.

-April 16th, 2014

In addition, this is exactly how Ike was chosen for Super Smash Brothers Brawl (Japanese). Ike was originally “Someone from Fire Emblem” before becoming “Ike”. This an obscure fact, and is still not widely known. This does hint that the leaker might have had some information from the pre-development stage of Smash.

“Chorus Men” leads me to believe that the leaker is Japanese, and Sal Romano was translating the names. This is only speculation on my part, and is NOT confirmed by Sal himself. This would also explain why some other characters had some weird names such as “Goddess Palutena”. I’ve sent numerous requests to Sal for additional information about the leaks, but he has not responded to them.  

While “Pokemon from X and Y” and “Animal Crossing Guy” can certainly apply to Greninja and Animal Crossing’s Villager, the vague names especially in the case of the latter is something that has always drawn a fair amount of controversy.

While “Pokemon from X and Y” and “Animal Crossing Guy” can certainly apply to Greninja and Animal Crossing’s Villager, the vague names especially in the case of the latter is something that has always drawn a fair amount of controversy.

There’s no question that any pokemon from the X and Y games fit this description. If Sakurai had decided on Delphox, Xerneas, Dedenne, Hawlucha or any one of the 68 in total new Pokemon that were introduced in the newest installment of the Pokemon series then this vague description could still apply to these characters. The statement is so vague that one could even argue that it could apply to either Lucario or Charizard, who both received new Mega Evolutions in Gen 6 and in Smash Bros (especially as Charizard is newly solo). It’s also worth noting that in every single Smash Bros game to date, there has been a new Pokemon from the latest Generation as a playable character, Pikachu and Jigglypuff in SSB64, Pichu in Melee, Lucario in Brawl, and of course Greninja in SSB4.

While at the time Greninja was very possibly unnamed, it seems strange that the leaker could not give any kind of detail about what exactly the character was even if it was as simple as “he’s a Ninja frog”. This leaker knew who fairly niche characters like Chrom and Shulk were, and detailed the exact games they were from (based on Sal’s 2nd leak), but couldn’t give a brief description as to which Pokemon it was?

Animal Crossing Guy is where this argument starts to hold more weight as there isn’t much of a reason as to why he could not name the Villager in particular. Many people considered that this was because he was covering the other main Animal Crossing character that was thought to have a good chance of becoming a playable character; Tom Nook. As he technically fits the description of being an “Animal Crossing Guy”. It’s not even the same as the name he had in Super Smash Bros. Brawl when he had a trophy “Animal Crossing Boy”.

It’s impossible to know what kind of information the leaker had. We don’t know how long Greninja was “A Pokemon from X/Y”. By the way Sakurai described it, it seems that the Project Planning team decided the characters, and Sakurai had the final say.

As for the Pokemon, those Pokemon had some time between the release of their games, and the appearing in Smash. Furthermore, Jigglypuff, Pikachu, Mewtwo, Pichu, and Lucario are popular Pokemon. Sakurai literally decided this Pokemon without knowing how fans would react to the character. This is the first time he’s ever done that with Pokemon. He’s done something similar with Fire Emblem, but he went with the game’s protagonist. With Pokemon, there is no protagonist. Therefore, picking a new Pokemon from X and Y was incredibly risky.

Furthermore, X and Y was in development while Smash for Wii U / 3DS was being made! The character design wasn’t even finished when Greninja was selected. By your logic of “picking a Pokemon from the latest release”, that means that Greninja is truly unprecedented, as he would’ve have gone with a Pokemon from Black/White 2. This is something that NO ONE saw coming.

“Guy” and “Boy” are essentially the same word. This is unnecessary nitpicking. Tom Nook is not a guy, he’s a racoon. He does not fit the description of being an “Animal Crossing Guy” at all. My point about the leaks possibly being translated still stands. The fact that the leaker used “Chorus Men” makes it likely the leaker was Japanese. Maybe they didn’t have a good command of English? The Japanese version of “Animal Crossing Boy” trophy in Brawl can be literally translated as “The Protagonist of Animal Crossing”. The leaker might not have been aware of the gender swap option, and thought only the guy was getting in.

By the time of Smash’s release, X and Y were to be the most recent Pokemon games so I think the point still holds weight. Though I can see where you’re coming from, it still remains to this day that each Smash game has featured a Pokemon character from the brand new generation at the time.

“Guy” is a very vague word that can pretty much be used to apply to anything of male orientation. Would people written the leak off if it was exactly the same wording, but Tom Nook was in over the Villager? I’d suggest that most people would still associate the wording “Animal Crossing Guy” to him meaning Tom Nook.

The post will be continued very soon. Make sure to subscribe so you can stay up to date!


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  1. The primary problem I have with this debate is the “all or nothing” approach. Either the entire leak is fake or its entirely legit. Why does this need to be the case specifically? Couldn’t the guy have just made shit up to get attention after the first leak? The person sure as hell did by the time of Robin’s reveal, clearly stating that the next character was Shulk, when obviously the leaker didn’t know anything about it at all.

    The first leak was true, no questions asked. The problem I have is the second. Everyone knew Palutena would be in, just as everyone knew we’d get a new Pokemon and everyone knew we’d get Chrom (lol). Shulk was a pretty good guess, and Chorus Men were blatantly wrong. Overall, the second leak was incredibly “easy” to guess half of them, and odds are part of it would be correct at least. And naturally part of it was wrong.

    I think the leaker got the information from trailers and promotions he saw early, but made up the second leak to get more attention.

    1. “Couldn’t the guy have just made shit up to get attention after the first leak?”

      Not likely. The leaker didn’t get any “attention.” Nobody knows who he is. He contacted Sal Romano anonymously. Fake leakers love putting their name out there and milking their fifteen minutes of fame, but the Gematsu leaker didn’t do that.

      Of all the leaks I’ve witnessed over the years, I’ve never seen a credible leaker suddenly start lying for no reason. The type of people who are privy to classified info tend not to lie like that. Trolls who lie for attention are lonely and antisocial. They wouldn’t be in a position to obtain credible industry secrets in the first place.

  2. I’m pretty sure there’s an inconsistency with the names of the two incorrect characters. If the leaker really was Japanese, wouldn’t he/she have spelled Chrom’s name as “Krom”? As that’s his Japanese name. What I’m basically trying to say is that I don’t think the leaker’s ethnicity really means much.

    1. It all depends if Sal Romano translated the names or not. He could’ve seen the names in katakana, and just wrote them out in English. Maybe he wasn’t aware of the localization choice for the Chorus Kids/Chorus Men. Without Sal’s direct confirmation it’s pure speculation.

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