Third Party characters are all the rage in Smash Bros. Currently, both of the known Smash DLC newcomers are not owned by Nintendo, and it’s a trend that I personally think is likely to continue.
Fan speculation with the latest, rather large nugget of information, is only going to broaden, as another one of the supposed fan-made rules has been shattered with the reveal of the newest character, Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII. Proving that a character does not have to have significant history with Nintendo to join the fight (even though the series that he hails from, does). This was in fact a misconception on the part of fans all along, as it was always based on what fans thought Sakurai said, and not what he actually did say.
There’s a term that this community throws around a lot, and has consequently evoked much disdain through overuse and often misuse, the term “deserved” or “deserving”. Today, I’m going to be talking about an idea that a significant portion of fans subscribe to. One in which these fans believe that a company (usually a big gaming company) “deserves” a playable character in Super Smash Bros.
First of all it’d be appropriate to look at the few examples we have. Let’s start by taking a quick refresher on exactly who we’ll be talking about.
Solid Snake – Konami
Sonic – SEGA
Megaman – Capcom
Pac-Man – NAMCO
Ryu – Capcom
Cloud Strife – Square Enix
When the topic of Third Party characters is brought up, fans are often quick to bring up a company who has yet to receive playable representation in Smash Bros. Names frequently brought up are Ubisoft, Activision, Disney, Level 5 and Atlus. However, Sakurai’s method of selecting characters, and his guidelines on Third Party characters do not give credence this level of thinking. Third Party characters are treated as exceptional cases. These characters are not included in
Smash Bros. as a participation award, nor is it a reward for brand loyalty.
A common example of this argument is that; Capcom has two playable characters in Smash Bros. (Ryu and Megaman). So the other companies, NAMCO and SEGA also “deserve” additional characters to “be fair”. This is a mentality that completely overlooks the differences in the body of work that these companies have amassed over the years. Their values to the world of gaming, and the legacies that they respectfully left behind.
|Resident Evil (66m)||Sonic (335m)*||Tekken (45m)|
|Street Fighter (36m)||Puyo Puyo (16m)||Pac-Man (43m)|
|Monster Hunter (33m)||Ryu ga Gotoku (9m)||Tales (14m)|
|Megaman (30m)||Megami Tensei (7m)||Soul (13m)|
Approximate figures. If you want to be “fair”, Capcom actually has more notably successful franchises to draw from than the other companies.*
In my opinion, the existence of two Capcom characters alone is proof enough that deciding characters based on the company they come from is not Sakurai’s approach. I can see this as coming from a desire for variety, and possibly for a desire of Smash to become a celebration of all gaming, beyond Nintendo. However, I think somewhere along the way the line has been blurred and it has caused priorities to shift in a rather thoughtless way.
Characters “deserve” their spot on Smash, not companies. I’d like to ask you, the readers, would you really want the Smash Bros. roster to be dictated by such a bizarre and constricting set of principles?
What do you think? Do you want to see characters included solely for the purpose of the company that owns them? Is it one of many factors you think should be taken into consideration? Sound off in the comments below!