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This article is written by Delzethin. For guidelines on guest posting, please refer to this article. Please note, that not all members of Source Gaming necessarily agree with this post 100%. However, because of the nature of the post and the possibility to encourage a healthy discussion on the matter, the Source Gaming team decided to feature it.
NOTE: The following is an opinion article. You are allowed to disagree.
Even a year past its release, the fourth installment of Super Smash Bros. is still captivating our minds. Discussion and speculation still continues over what the next wave of DLC could bring, with the brunt of it focused on which characters could join next. Countless hours have been spent analyzing the information we have regarding the Smash Ballot, Sakurai’s statements, and the situations surrounding a plethora of different characters.
Yet despite everything we as a community have covered, there is one scenario that has seen little discussion. Strangely enough, I believe that this is despite it actually having a plausible chance of happening!
So now, let us answer this: What are the odds of a second character from Pokémon X and Y making it into Smash?
The Pokémon franchise needs little introduction. The brainchild of Satoshi Tajiri, the monster-training RPG series debuted in Japan in 1996 and quickly began a worldwide phenomenon that continues to this day. Over its nearly 20 years of history, Pokémon has become the second highest selling video game series of all time, second only to Nintendo mascot and fellow Smash icon Mario, with over 270 million copies of its games sold alongside a long-running animated TV show and countless merchandise. Pokémon X and Y, the feature games of the series’ most recent “generation,” have been both highly praised and wildly popular, having sold over 14 million copies as of last June.
Reasons for Inclusion
But beyond all of that, could another Pokémon character even happen now that Mewtwo has already become DLC? We don’t have a definitive answer for that. However, we also have no solid proof that DLC is limited to one character per franchise, and we’ve seen multiple newcomers from the same series join in the same Smash game several times over the course of the series. Smash 4 has already seen the Mario series gain two newcomers and three more characters overall than it had in Brawl, after all, and we’ve seen Fire Emblem gain three (although each of them got in for a different reason, it still happened). Considering those circumstances, it seems more likely than not that Sakurai has no problem doubling up if he feels like it’s worth it.
While we still don’t know everything about Sakurai’s decision process, we do know some information that he’s left us in his various interviews. In particular, we know that he caresparticularly about a potential newcomer’s moveset and how naturally it could draw inspiration from the character’s source material without any major creative stretches, especially if that inspiration would give them a level of uniqueness that’d help them stand out in an increasingly crowded roster. Pokémon isn’t just Nintendo’s second biggest franchise, it also has a plethora of potentially interesting characters in its over 700–and counting–different Pokémon species. Furthermore, most of those characters can learn a long list of highly varied attacks, and with a complex elemental system involving 18–and counting–different elemental types! With so much sheer variety, there are things Pokémon characters can do that no one from any other series can even compare to!
But why another Pokémon from Generation 6? Well, that ties into how the dev team went about things early in Smash 4’s development. As we now know, Greninja was chosen early on even though Gen 6 was still in production, since X and Y were scheduled to be out a year before Smash 4 and it was decided they’d be best off adding a Pokémon character in from what would then be the newest and most relevant games in an extremely popular series. Sakurai and his team were sent copies of concept art and other design documents to use as a point of reference for Greninja, to ensure they could create an accurate portrayal of the species.
But you know what has been overlooked? The fact that there is no possible way Greninja was the only Gen 6 Pokémon they looked at.
It would’ve been a gigantic risk to have only the assets for Greninja and bank on nothing going wrong at any step in the development process. From a designer’s standpoint, it makes sense to have alternate options, ones that could become a Plan B if necessary.
And although Greninja ended up getting the nod…who’s to say they weren’t also interested in any of the other Pokémon they looked at? Perhaps they had others in mind that were merely outclassed by the waterbending ninja frog?
Once DLC production was under way…could they have still been interested in one of the Pokémon they left on the cutting room floor? Could said interest have been enough to give them another chance?
But if that were to happen, which of the Gen 6 Pokémon would get that second opportunity to join the fight? Here are the four that, in this writer’s opinion, have the greatest chance:
Pokémon X and Y saw the debut of the Fairy type, heralded by a brand new Eevee evolution that quickly won over the fans. Though Jigglypuff was retroactively given the Fairy type alongside the Normal type it already had, the total lack of Fairy attacks in her moveset leaves the niche wide open for a character who wielded fae magic. Combined with the fact that Eeveelutions are very popular among fans, Sylveon could easily have been among the Gen 6 Pokémon they considered.
Looking further in, Sylveon has quite a bit going for it should the opportunity arise. Its status as the Fairy type was notable enough to receive a trophy in both versions of Smash 4. Being a quadruped would lend toward a unique fighting style on its own, and while avoiding any logistical issues with picking up items, as its ribbons are prehensile. Not even Eevee being a Poké Ball summon is necessarily a deal breaker; Sylveon’s pool of abilities is both larger and more developed than Eevee’s, meaning neither would feel redundant.
It’s also worth mentioning that most of the Pokémon characters we’ve seen in Smash have drawn partial inspiration from the Pokémon anime. As of the time of writing, Serena recently had an Eevee join her party, and all signs point to her becoming a Sylveon.
With a unique elemental typing,flashy appearance, and fighting style, the luchador bird became a fan favorite at near record speed. Though less prominent in promotional material than the others in this list, Hawlucha does have anime presence as a current member of Ash’s team, and has stuck around in fans’ minds due to being just that cool.
Hawlucha’s greatest assets lie in just how many unique mechanics could be built around its attributes, moveset, and lore. A small brawler with power that defies its size? A grappler fighting style that puts a focus on its signature Flying Press? A toned down and properly balance gliding ability, being a bird and all? Or perhaps a mechanic based around fighting like a professional wrestler and gaining strength from the proverbial cheering crowd every time it lands a flashy, over the top attack?
Though the least popular of the Kalos starters, calling Chesnaught disliked is like calling a bullet slow…which Chesnaught would then block effortlessly. The knight of the Kalos starters’ allusion to classic RPG classes, Chesnaught’s greatest chance lies in how well it’d inherently stand out among the rest of the roster. Ivysaur’s departure left the niche of a character with plant-based powers wide open, and the closest thing to a heavyweight among Smash 4’s newcomers is the unconventional Bowser Jr….and Chesnaught just so happens to fall under both categories. As with Sylveon before it, Chesnaught would have little issues with its base form Chespin being a summon, as its array of abilities are much greater and further developed.
Also unique is how many of Chesnaught’s attacks are more defensive in nature. The potential is there for a bulky juggernaut with a playstyle based around plowing through opponents’ attacks and delivering a deciding blow of its own. Its signature Spiky Shield could serve as a unique counter that deflects projectiles and harms any opponent who so much as comes close!
One potential roadblock, though, could be Chesnaught’s lack of anime relevance. The only notable appearances so far have been in one movie and during a dream sequence in a recent episode, and for Clemont’s Chespin to reach its final form in time, it would have to evolve twice over a short span of episodes. It remains to be seen how much that would matter–Charizard is based more on Red’s from the games and from the miniseries Pokémon Origins, and Plusle & Minun, if they were the “pra_mai” found in Brawl’s files, wouldn’t have had major anime counterparts–but it could still present problems.
But there is one Gen 6 Pokémon in particular I believe has a more notable chance than the others. One that has been underrated and seen as irrelevant even within the context of Pokémon characters. One that anyone who has seen me on Smashboards probably saw coming several hundred words ago.
There was…some controversy surrounding Delphox early on in X and Y’s release. The Fennekin line had been fan favorites ever since the games were announced, and nearly everyone had their own ideas for just what the line’s final form could become. When Delphox was first discovered, the heavy mage motif ended up surprising a lot of people. It wasn’t quite what they expected…and that led to backlash.
Our imaginations can do some amazing things…but the problem is, real life rarely–if ever–matches the idealized visions of what’s to come that we create for ourselves. It’s the reason so many adapted movies feel worse than the books they were based on, for example. It takes time for that initial disappointment to die down so the work in question can be judged on its own merits.
With that in mind…have you noticed how much more popular Delphox has become in the last year or so? There’s been an increase in fanart and fan appreciation overall, as the firebending fox wizard has started to grow on them.
As far as the potential goes for Smash Bros.? Delphox actually has much more to offer than being just another fire wielder! You see, even though there are other major fire users on the roster, all of them rely heavily–or entirely–on physical attacks, using fire as a primal force of nature. And while Smash does have a few magic users, all of them have a repertoire that covers many different elements–fire is just one of many tools for them to use. With no magically aligned fire users currently on the roster, there actually is a niche there a character could use to its fullest…especially so if they could embody some of the aspects of fire that its other wielders have yet to touch: the warmth, elegance, and beauty it brings despite its danger!
But what about popularity, you say? Firebender characters tend to be popular. Magic users are not only popular, there’s already an underlying feeling among Smash fans that the roster could use more mages. And so a character that falls under both, with the naturally high moveset potential of a character from an RPG and whose thematic flavoring would lend toward a fighting style unlike any other character whose powers so much as come close? Those are the kinds of traits Sakurai has outright said his team looks for!
And once again, Fennekin being a summon isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, due to lacking both the spellcaster motif and the Psychic type it gains in its later forms.
What else can be said? Well, Delphox’s signature Mystical Fire creates a magically altered green-tinted flame, one that could potentially be expanded into a moveset featuring fire that burns in a rainbow of colors, with no more of a creative stretch than Greninja’s water swords! Or how about the high level of prominence within the Pokémon series itself, from its position as a starter to promotional materials to having (at the time of writing) as many major anime roles as Greninja! Or the fact that in the anime, Serena’s rival has a Delphox as her signature Pokémon, and her own Braixen–the Fennekin line’s middle form–may herself be evolving some time soon? Or the fact that Delphox is Junichi Masuda’s favorite of the Kalos starters?
Reasons for Exclusion
But for all the talk about what could happen…the whole argument for all four Pokémon relies on the chance of Sakurai both having considered them early on and deciding to give them a second chance. It’s a speculative leap of faith, to be taken with a grain of salt at best. Even though it feels plausible, we have no proof of it so far.
Further complicating the problem is that no Pokémon character saw an overwhelming amount of vocal support in the Smash Ballot, and though you could argue a couple saw moderate support, none of them were from Generation 6. Due to that, the only foreseeable chance any of the Kalosian four have are as pre-Ballot or non-Ballot selections. And with the final Smash Direct coming soon (though not necessarily the last wave of Smash DLC), we have no idea how much more content Sakurai and his team are planning on creating. Even if another Gen 6 Pokémon did catch their interest, it might just be too low priority to make the cut.
For any of these four–or others not mentioned here–to have a chance, several things will need to go right…and yet, they still have a believable way of joining the fight without having to rely on the Smash Ballot. Their odds may not be the greatest, but they’re plausible nonetheless, and with how unique of additions any of them could make to Smash Bros., they deserve to be acknowledged for that at the very least.
Who knows? Maybe one of them could become a new favorite of yours.
Though another Pokémon character need not necessarily bring a new stage with them, here’s a small sample of what Pokémon X and Y have to offer that the Kalos League stage missed out on:
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3XEUx4-76Y – Kalos Route 15)
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAtQ5djwoko – Super Training)
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWpCQ-t6RLU – Kalos Gym Leader)
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvpdqiROrQg – Kalos Route 18)
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohXsgJERxW4 – Secret Super Training)
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFT_B06qKdk – Battle – Xerneas and Yveltal))
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