Wolf in Memoriam

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Welcome friends, to a new segment here on Source Gaming – Veterans in Memoriam. Like any proper funeral, this series isn’t meant to focus on the negatives, but to celebrate the character’s  time in Smash. Today we will look at the life and times of Wolf  O’Donnel; we will examine the reasons he initially made the roster and determine what it was he brought to Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Most of all, we will look at the reasons he may have been excluded from Smash for Wii U & 3DS, and determine the likelihood of his return in future games… all while celebrating all that is Wolf.

Who is Wolf O’Donnel

Wolf O’Donnel was the third Star Fox character to become playable in the Smash Bros. series. The leader of the eponymous Star Wolf mercenary team, Wolf usually acts as an antagonistic force to Fox McCloud and crew. Wolf is a space pirate that has been wanted by the Cornerian army for years,  but he is not exactly an evil force. He is more a gun for hire… it just so happens that the forces that tend to bankroll him are a bit on the malevolent side.

Wolf debuted in Star Fox 64, the best selling and highest rated entry in the Star Fox series. His demeanor was a bit aloof and he spoke with a British accent that fit the part. He, like many other Star Fox characters, had many lines that would live on as internet memes.

The scene that started it all….

His character would see a bit of an overhaul in Star Fox: Assault. He was there shown as a muscular, gruff, and rough fighter. Gone was his British accent, instead replaced with a bit of a Southern drawl. This would be the interpretation that would make it’s way into Smash Bros.

Wolf in Smash Bros.

By Sakurai’s own admission, Wolf was a “lucky addition” to the Smash Bros. franchise. Fans during Brawl’s development were somewhat expecting a new Star Fox representative, and to many it came down to either Wolf or Krystal, a telepathic female vixen (in every sense of the word) who was introduced in Star Fox Adventures. Wolf won the battle largely due to the fact that he could be built from Fox, as it were. Fox’s model served as a base for Wolf, which allowed the character to take about 70% of the effort as a new character would.

I mean, at least it’s a cool looking Landmaster, right?

As a result, Wolf shares quite a bit with Fox, including a few animations. While Wolf is not exactly a clone, he does share a Final Smash with Fox in the form of the Landmaster, and his specials are all variations on concepts established by Fox. Still, his ‘A’ moves are almost all unique and his physics and attributes make him stand out from both Fox and Falco. He is by far the heaviest of the Star Fox crew, and his moves are imbued with a feral strength not seen in the other space animals.

Wolf is the sort of character that “ticks off a lot of boxes” in regards to what people want in Smash. This is likely a reason he is so sorely missed by a large portion of the Smash fanbase. He is a villain, or at least he acts as a villain in many of the games he features in. He is a third character in a series that many feel needs more playable representation. A brutal character, Wolf is also one of the only Smashers to use claws as primary form of attack. He is also a veteran character who, while sharing some concepts with Fox, has some very unique properties and fills a niche that is not currently occupied. It is no wonder why he was as heavily expected as he was.

I thought you preferred the air?

The Future for Wolf

All that being said, Wolf was cut. The reasoning why is anyone’s guess. Since Wolf was nearly cut due to time constraints in Brawl, it would be logical to assume the same thing happened in Smash for Wii U & 3DS. Sakurai has gone on record as saying he was worried about how DLC would be received. He did not want fans to think that  content was withheld from the base game. This may have resulted in cut content, such as the Dr. Mario stage or a possible Rhythm Heaven character, not being reintroduced as DLC. If Wolf was worked on as part of the base game, he may also have fallen into this category. As of right now, though, this is pure speculation and should be treated as such.

Wolf and crew weren’t completly forgotten about.

The lesson fans should perhaps take from Wolf not making it into Smash 4 is that we, as a community, should not take anything for granted. During the vast Smash for Wii U/3DS speculation period, which ranged from the games debut at E3 in 2013, to the reveal of Bayonetta as the final DLC character in December of 2015, most fans thought Wolf was a shoo-in. “He’ll be a hidden character in the base game!” They said. “He’ll be the first Brawl DLC vet!” They said. “He’ll be a surprise reveal in the last Direct!” They finished off with. They were so sure of this that they continually moved the goal post. This surely cost Wolf in the Smash Ballot, and if fans were that adamant about his return they should have voted in larger number so that their voices were heard.

Still, this may not be the end for Wolf in Smash. As opposed to Lucas or Roy, Wolf is a recurring character in his series. It is because of this, as well as his veteran status, that he is always in contention for a spot on the roster. Remember though, the lessons of Smash for Wii U/3DS. Do not take it for granted that Wolf will return in the next Smash Bros. game. If you consider yourself a Wolf fan, please do not take the character for granted. Mention Wolf on online forums. If you’re artistically inclined, could post some art on Miiverse. More than anything, though, go out and buy Star Fox Zero so that Nintendo knows we still care. Keep the character and the franchise in the spotlight, so that Wolf might shine again.

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  1. I think it is worth remembering that Wolf also had a popular following which Sakurai has stated as being a big factor and if he didn’t have that he wouldn’t have made it either which I feel the article completely skipped over which is odd considering it was SG themselves who translated that. There is now also precedent for Veterans to return either in the base game or as DLC. If Doctor Mario can return there is absolutely no reason why Wolf cannot for Smash NX.

    I also take huge issue the “This surely cost Wolf in the Smash Ballot, and if fans were that adamant about his return they should have voted in larger number so that their voices were heard.”. The Ballot was a suggestion box and clearly Nintendo was always going to be creative when it came to deciding who to use. All the Smash Ballot related characters are mostly due to financial reasons. Lucas, Roy and Mewtwo didn’t get in because of the Ballot. No Veteran did. Corrin for obvious reasons, Square Enix obviously wants FFVII Remake on NX and Nintendo owns the Bayonetta license which has not even sold 1m copies so they need to make as value from it as possible. Splatoon doesn’t need it with its 4m sales and can wait until Smash NX.

    Another interesting factor to consider is if and when Smash NX comes around Nintendo is going to have huge problems trying to somehow top the current roster in terms of the number alone and variety. It would be insane not to add Wolf considering.

    There is currently a campaign for Wolf to return to future Smash Bros games. You can click my name for the URL.

  2. Do you guys think there’s any significance in the fact that his (Wolf’s) model in Lylat Cruise seemed to be replaced from Brawl to Wii U?

    And by extension, the lack of Wolfen in Orbital Gate Assault? I mean, the darn thing took a year to make so not having Wolfen in. Would it be because of sensitivity regarding the loss of Wolf as a playable character?

    Before Lucas was announced, they had used his Brawl model as a trophy. I know trophies don’t mean anything but it struck me curios.

    1. Definitely.

      “However Wolf had a redesign between the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube era of games. Wolf in Super Smash Bros. Brawl used the GameCube design for Wolf. Smash 4 released in October of 2014 which as at a minimum 18 months before the release of Star Fox Zero. Wolf’s design would most likely not match his design from Brawl so Sakurai would be caught in the position of either revealing Wolf’s new look well before Nintendo was ready to release information about Star Fox Zero or risk his look in Brawl being outdated. There are also potential issues with plot spoilers for Star Fox Zero by releasing Wolf and his potential updated look early.”

  3. Wolf kind of got shafted this time around. His series spent years being dormant, well beyond when the initial roster was figured out. He finally got a new game…only for it to start development too late to be relevant for DLC. Perhaps this Smash for NX rumor could give him a way to sneak back in.

    If not, though, I could see a couple different scenarios for Smash 5. One would have Wolf becoming the next Mewtwo, a well liked veteran who missed a game. However, if Star Fox as a whole gets going again and we see new games that focus on the team as of Assault onwards, Wolf vs. Krystal could be the next Chrom vs. Robin.

    1. Star Fox isn’t really a dormant series I don’t feel. No, they it isn’t Mario or Call of Duty in which they don’t get a game every 2 weeks but they typically get at least one game every hardware generation.

      I don’t see a situation where Wolf has to fight for a place with Krystal in the future. Wolf being included and then maybe if Krystal is relevant. Chrom and Robin were both new characters and this isn’t exactly a Toon Link/Young Link situation either. Seeing as SFZ is essentially 64 its likely Krystal won’t be around nor know if she will be back in the future. Honestly I hope Star Fox turns into FireFly or something like that. Star Fox is an independant mercenary team after all it would be good to highlight that aspect in an open world or something.

  4. Been waiting for this type of series since Corrin was announced…

    RIP Wolf, we just couldn’t have 2 Brawl Cuts comeback… we had 3 melee vets tho.

  5. It was funny at first, but after some time I find it a little annoying how people say “RIP” or “that character died” if he/she’s not in Smash Bros.

  6. This was such a bitter-sweet article. It’s sweet because it’s a genuinely great artile paying tribute to my main, but it’s bitter because this article shouldn’t need to exist, as Wolf should’ve been in the base game. Hopefully, if this NX rumor ends up true, we’ll see Wolf come back in as bonus content to help it sell.

  7. A shame we couldn’t get Wolf. There was no reason for him to not return, especially if Roy of all people came back. Modding exists for a reason. Only a matter of time until someone takes the initiative.

  8. I can’t believe this whole DLC speculation about him on YouTube was a lie this whole time. Maybe we’ll get him back in the (Rumored) NX remake?

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