NOTE: I had to make a couple minor edits, both to more accurately incorporate Sakurai’s comments about the game’s stages and to include a theory on the hidden game mode or feature. Last edit: 5:32 PM EST
Once again, Sakurai and the team behind Super Smash Bros. Ultimate have dropped a mass release of information, revealing two newcomers, three Echo Fighters, and an entirely new franchise into the mix. There is quote a bit of information here, so we’ve compiled it here for ease of reading. Note that there was a number of things officially revealed here that had been unofficially discovered during E3. We want to make this comprehensive, so we’ll be including information Sakurai gave that was revealed, only unofficially or through separate channels like the Treehouse Live footage. We have also collected reactions from the Source Gaming team directly.
The Direct itself:
[su_spoiler title=”Tracks made for or used in prior Smash games. Bolded are ones we noticed had their pitch changed, though we couldn’t verify all of them:” icon=”plus-square-1″ anchor=”Click Here”]
- NEWCOMER: Simon Belmont, from Castlevania. He draws from his home games: his specials are the Axe, Cross, Uppercut, and Holy Water, and he can use directional control of his whip as in Super Castlevania IV. Final Smash is the Grand Cross.
- NEWCOMER: Richter Belmont, as an Echo Fighter of Simon. Many of both Castlevania heroes’ attacks originated from Richter’s portrayal in Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night.
- NEWCOMER: Chrom, as an Echo Fighter of Roy. However, he also appears to have taken some animations from Ike, and he has what seems to be a unique Final Smash.
- NEWCOMER: Dark Samus, as an Echo Fighter of Samus.
- NEWCOMER: King K. Rool, from Donkey Kong Country. He uses a blunderbuss to not shots and apparently suck them back in. His recovery is a small propeller on his back, and his Final Smash involves him firing the Blast-O-Matic at DK Island. He also has a counter, involving his gut absorbing an opponent’s attack.In addition, Sakurai has stated that “we plan to reveal the design of every fighter before the game launches,” and that there will be more characters to reveal “later.”
- One minor point of speculation. King K. Rool’s reveal trailer starts with a number of art pieces showing various Nintendo heroes fighting their archenemies: Mario saving Peach from Bowser, Samus attacking Ridley, and Kirby squaring off with Meta Knight. While this is in NO way a confirmation, it might – MIGHT – lend some degree of credence to the claims “heroes vs. villains” focus. However, do take this with several grains of salt; it is most likely just there to highlight Donkey Kong and K. Rool’s storied rivalry.
[su_spoiler title=”Stages:” icon=”plus-square-1″ anchor=”Click Here”]
- There are, in Sakurai’s words, “exactly” 103 confirmed stages in the game, the vast majority coming from prior stages; when counting both Omega and Battlefield forms, that number increases to 309.
- New Stage: Dracula’s Castle, from the Castlevania series. Hitting a candle will drop an item. Bosses from the first two Castlevania games can appear as bosses, including Medusa, the Werewolf, the Creature and Flea Man, Carmilla, the Mummy, Death, and at least one as-of yet unknown boss (whose silhouette appears similar to Kid Dracula). Dracula can also appear as a boss, though the circumstances for activating him are as of yet unknown.
- The unnamed Super Mario Odyssey stage has been confirmed to be New Donk City Hall, in which players ride a platform up and down the front of the building. There appears to be a mechanic in which players can “activate” the game’s musicians and Pauline.
- Previously shown, Ultimate provides a stage hazard toggle, removing certain elements like the Yellow Devil.
- All stages are available for eight player battles, and all of them are available from the beginning. Apparently, the process of unlocking stages has been removed.
- Officially announced returning stages (whether or not they had been seen through videos, screenshots, and the like) are: Pokémon Stadium, Garden of Hope, Brinstar Depths, Summit, Unova Pokémon League, Magicant, Gamer, and Final Destination, now sporting a rocky look with glowing veins.
- Previously returning stages which had not been seen in any capacity before now include: Big Battlefield, Peach’s Castle, Kongo Jungle, Mushroom Kingdom (64), Rainbow Cruise, Yoshi’s Island (Melee), Fountain of Dreams, Brinstar Depths, Pirate Ship, Mario Bros., Hanenbow, Golden Plains, Paper Mario, Dream Land GB, Mute City SNES, PictoChat 2, Flat Zone X, Gamer, Windy Hill Zone.
- Several stages have been renamed: Mario Circuit (Brawl) is now Figure-8 Circuit. Dream Land (3DS) is now Dream Land GB. Mute City (3DS) is now Mute City SNES. Yoshi’s Island (64) is now Super Happy Tree.
- Big Battlefield now has an orange tint to visually differentiate it.
- Perhaps the oddest new stage element is a new feature: Stage Morph. Set to “off” by default, players can use it to select two entirely separate stages; as you battle, the stages will switch with each other at regular intervals set by the player.
- The new Assist Trophy Rathalos also appears as a boss on a stage presumably inspired by the Monster Hunter series. This could mean Sakurai is hiding some stages, or it could mean that this will be a special stage not regularly accessible in versus mode. That the stage is unnaturally flat for a Smash Bros. environment suggests the latter.
[su_spoiler title=”Current Stage List (This is separate due to its sheer length, and ignores the Monster Hunter stage shown):” icon=”plus-square-1″ anchor=”Click Here”]
- Big Battlefield
- Final Destination
- Peach’s Castle
- Kongo Jungle
- Hyrule Castle
- Super Happy Tree (formerly Yoshi’s Island (64))
- Dream Land
- Saffron City
- Mushroom Kingdom
- Princess Peach’s Castle
- Rainbow Cruise
- Kongo Falls
- Jungle Japes
- Great Bay
- Yoshi’s Island (Melee)
- Yoshi’s Story
- Fountain of Dreams
- Green Greens
- Pokémon Stadium
- Mushroom Kingdom II
- Brinstar Depths
- Big Blue
- Delfino Plaza
- Mushroomy Kingdom
- Figure-8 Circuit (formerly Mario Circuit (Brawl))
- WarioWare, Inc.
- Bridge of Eldin
- Frigate Orpheon
- Yoshi’s Island
- Lylat Cruise
- Pokémon Stadium 2
- Port Town Aero Dive
- Castle Siege
- Distant Planet
- New Pork City
- Shadow Moses Island
- Luigi’s Mansion
- Pirate Ship
- Spear Pillar
- Mario Bros.
- Green Hill Zone
- 3D Land
- Golden Plains
- Paper Mario
- Gerudo Valley
- Spirit Train
- Dream Land GB
- Unova Pokémon League
- Prism Tower
- Mute City SNES
- Arena Ferox
- Reset Bomb Forest
- Tortimer Island
- Balloon Fight
- Living Room
- Find Mii
- Tomodachi Life
- Pictochat 2
- Mushroom Kingdom U
- Mario Galaxy
- Mario Circuit
- The Great Cave Offensive
- Kalos Pokémon League
- Flat Zone X
- Palutena’s Temple
- Garden of Hope
- Town and City
- Wii Fit Studio
- Boxing Ring
- Gaur Plain
- Duck Hunt
- Wrecking Crew
- Wuhu Island
- Windy Hill Zone
- Wily Castle
- Super Mario Maker
- Suzaku Castle
- Umbra Clock Tower
- New Donk City Hall
- Great Plateau Tower
- Moray Towers
- Dracula’s Castle
[su_spoiler title=”Assist Trophies:” icon=”plus-square-1″ anchor=”Click Here”]
- Alucard, from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. He uses his iconic Symphony of the Night design: he wields his super-fast Crissaegrim sword, can fly across the stage as a bat, and dodges attacks by taking the Form of Mist.
- Chef Kawasaki, from Kirby Super Star. Grabs fighters with a long spoon, then pulls them into his pot. Similar to Kirby’s Final Smash in Brawl.
- Kapp’n, from Animal Crossing. He drives around in his bus, captures fighters, and drives them off the screen.
- Klaptrap, from Donkey Kong Country. Runs around and leaps onto enemies, chomping on them,
- Knuckles, from Sonic the Hedgehog 3. He digs out of the ground and uses both punches and a Homing Attack.
- Moon, from Majora’s Mask. It falls from the sky, causing a massive explosion when striking the stage.
- Nikki, from Swapnote. She draws obstacles or enemies on the stage using a stylus.
- Shovel Knight: He performs his downward stab and regular strike. Sometimes his digging uncovers an item.
- Zero, from Mega Man X. Attacks with his sword, with both strikes and a sword beam.
- Old Assist Trophes include Ashley, Gray Fox
- Rathalos from Monster Hunter is the first character to appear as both an Assist Trophy and, surprisingly, a boss as well. Specifically, he appears on what is presumably a Monster Hunter stage, though one that was only partially shown and not explicitly confirmed.
[su_spoiler title=”New Pokémon:” icon=”plus-square-1″ anchor=”Click Here”]
- Alolan Exeggutor: Acts as a natural barrier that stands in the stage
- Abra: uses Teleport to drag characters all around the stage
- Ditto: uses Transform to copy a fighter directly. Notably, Ditto was planned and scrapped as a Pokémon in Melee, most likely with this exact ability in mind.
- Lunala: (likely) uses Moongeist Beam to fire a massive blast from the background
- Marshadow: uses Spectral Thief to trap, then punch, its target.
- Mimikyu: grabs an opponent, pulls it under its cloth, and beats them. It also seems that it can destroy opponents outright, likely if they accrued enough damage à la the danger zones in Great Cave Offensive.
- Pyukumuku: (likely) uses Counter to respond to any attack with its “fist.”
- Solgaleo: (likely) uses Sunsteel Strike to fire a massive horizontal blast
- Vulpix: now comes in both Alolan and regular varieties to attack with ice and fire.
[su_spoiler title=”Items:” icon=”plus-square-1″ anchor=”Click Here”]
- Killing Edge: a sword that becomes more powerful as it glows crimson. Frst item from Fire Emblem.
- Death’s Scythe: large blade that instantly KO’s any fighter who has been “badly damaged” (possibly meaning they have over 100% damage). First item from Castlevania.
- Staff: a Kid Icarus: Uprising rifle whose power increases the further you are from your target
- Banana Gun: a banana that fires a single powerful “bullet” before turning into a banana peel.
- Ramblin’ Evil Mushroom : an EarthBound monster. You pick it up and spew spores on your target, causing their controls to be reversed.
- Rage Blaster: a variation on the Ray Gun with a twist: the more damage you have, the stronger it gets. We’re not quite sure whether or not this is an original item.
- Bomber: a Kirby enemy which explodes after you hold it aloft like with the Special Flag
[su_spoiler title=”Music:” icon=”plus-square-1″ anchor=”Click Here”]
- My Music functions differently to how it was used in prior games in one area: all stages from each franchise will now share the same music (though not, I believe, the same player-directed likelihood ratios).
- There are over 800 music tracks in the game; when counting tertiary music like victory jingles that number rises to around 900.
- Due to the absurdly high number of music tracks, Sound Test has been reorganized to sort all music by series. This menu allows us to see at least how many pieces of music each series has: Metroid has at least 25, Yoshi’s Island 14, Kirby 39, Star Fox 17, Game & Watch 2, Wii Fit 10, Sonic the Hedgehog 20, Bayonetta 11, Street Fighter 36, Pac-Man 13.
- The “Other” category, for music from series either not related to characters or related characters whose series was limited to one mainline release (like Duck Hunt or Ice Climbers), has 97.
- Alongside listening to the music in the game itself (or the characters’ voices), you can develop your own playlists and use the game as a music player.
- Castlevania in particular has thirty-four tracks: “Vampire Killer,” “Vampire Killer (New Remix),” “Starker / Wicked Child,” “Out of Time, “Nothing to Lose,” “Black Knight,” “Bloody Tears / Monster Dance,” “Dwelling of Doom,” “Cross Your Heart,” “Can’t Wait Until Night,” “Beginning,” Mad Forest,” “Aquarius,” “Simon Belmont Theme,” “Simon Belmont Theme (The Arcade),” “Divine Bloodlines,” “Slash,” “Dance of Illusions,” “Iron-Blue Intention,” “Dracula’s Castle,” “Dance of Gold,” “Lost Painting,” “The Tragic Prince,” “Awale,” “Ruined Castle Gallery,” “Lament of Innocence,” “Jet Black Incursion,” “Crash in the Dark Night,” “Ripped Silence,” “Hail from the Past,” “Jail of Jewel,” “Twilight Stigmata,” “Jet Black Wings,” and “Go! Getsu Fuma.” These come from across the entire franchise, from the first Castlevania to Harmony of Despair.
- Returning tracks include (but are not limited to): “Overworld Theme / Underworld Theme (The Legend of Zelda),” “Saria’s Song / Middle Boss Battle,” “Gerudo Valley,” “Termina Field,” “Ballad of the Goddess,” “The Great Sea / Menu Select,” “Dragon Roost Island,” “Molgera,” “Village of the Blue Maiden,” “Full Steam Ahead (Spirit Tracks),” “Overworld Theme (The Legend of Zelda) (64),” “Overworld Theme (The Legend of Zelda) (Melee),” “Overworld Theme (The Legend of Zelda) (Brawl),” “Great Temple / Temple,” “Tal Tal Heights,” “Termina Field,” “Midna’s Lament,” “Vs. Meta Ridley,” “Multiplayer (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes),” “Psycho Bits,” “Lockdown Battle Theme,” “The Burning Lava Fish,” “Nemesis Ridley”,” “Star Fox – Main Theme,” “Corneria (Star Fox),” “Space Armada,” “Star Fox Medley,” “Star Fox 64 – Main Theme (64),” “Star Fox 64 – Main Theme (Melee),” “Star Fox 64 – Main Theme (Brawl),” “Star Wolf,” “Star Wolf (Brawl),” “Duck Hunt Medley (for 3DS/Wii U),” “Balloon Fight Medley,” “Balloon Trip (Brawl),” “Balloon Trip (for 3DS/Wii U),” “Clu Clu Land,” “Ice Climber (Medley),” “Ice Climber (Brawl),” Wrecking Crew Medley (Brawl),” “Stack-Up/Gyromite,” “Mach Rider,” “Famicom Medley,” “The Mysterious Murasame Castle Medley,” “Shin Onigashima Medley,” “3D Hot Rally – Title,” “Tetris: Type A.”
- New tracks include: “Hyrule Main Theme,” “Woodlands (The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes),” “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2017 Trailer,” “Vs. Parasite Queen,” “Splash Screen (Metroid Prime: Federation Force),” “Area 1 – 5 Torrid Zone (Metroid: Samus Returns),” Wrecking Crew Medley,” “Wrecking Crew Retro Medley.”
- On the screen, the list of Final Fantasy music shows only two tracks, suggesting the possibility that, as with last time, the series may only have two pieces of music.
[su_spoiler title=”Rules, Menus, and Other:” icon=”plus-square-1″ anchor=”Click Here”]
- Classic Mode has returned, with one twist: each fighter has a set of opponents unique to them.
- Squad Strike: a five-on-five / three-on-three elimination battle between players. Each side (whether played by a single player or a group) rotates through a number of fighters.
- Tourney returns; up to 32 players can compete.
- Smashdown: a mode in which after playing each match, all selected fighters will not be allowed for the next battles.
- Training Mode now features a simple new stage visually based around graph paper. In addition, it displays launch distances for each attack with a range of whether the target is at 0% or 100% damage.
- Chargeable Final Smashes are a new mechanic you can toggle on or off in Options; fighters will have a meter that slowly charges, allowing fighters to unleash their Final Smash when it’s maxed out – albeit one that is less powerful than the normal version.
- You select the Rules first when starting a battle, to help speed up the process of setting up the match. In addition, Stamina is now treated as a standard mode.
- In addition to choosing stages before characters, one new option involves choosing whether control of the stage select is limited to one person, goes between all players in order, or gives the stage pick to the last match’s loser.
- Both the stage and character selection screens are structured to emphasize when each stage was added to Smash Bros., rather than being grouped by franchise.
- You can change the character selection screen so that Echo Fighters’ slots are folded into that of the fighter on which they’re based.
- Instead of making as many separate loading screens as past games, the Main Menu seems to zoom into larger sub-menus. Of the five main buttons on the menu – Smash, Games & More, Vault, and Online – the fifth is explicitly censored. Supposedly, we will hear about this mode at a later date. There’s also an easily accessible dashboard.
- One current theory made after attempt to clear up the pixelation is that the mode is called “Spirit,” with a popular conclusion by fans being that it is a new Adventure or Story mode.
- A separate theory, from Twitter user Leak Review, comes to a similar conclusion, albeit from a different place: the vague descriptions of Rathalos and Dracula imply there might be a story mode, or at the very least a return of Boss Battles.
- Simon, Richter, Chrom, Dark Samus, and King K. Rool will all receive amiibo.
Source Gaming reactions:
Getting to be both right and wrong at the same time; mainly, my Chrom RTC has aged poorly, but Dark Samus has aged wonderfully. I don’t even mind Chrom, personally, but I just didn’t expect him to be added after FE got treated so well last time. Simon’s finally shown up, so that part of the leaks is done with. And King K. Rool on top of that? The Smash Ballot’s influence really is shining on Ultimate. And we’re still not done with reveals somehow. Amazing.
So it looks like we are getting more characters than I thought. I had eight characters, and four of them got confirmed in this direct. 4 of them! Simon, K. Rool, Chrom, and Dark Samus. I didn’t predict Richter, but who did really? It seems we are getting a lot more echoes than expected so now my confidence for Isabelle, Shadow, and Ken have skyrocketed. As for everything else, oh man. There is a lot of stuff here from all the stage love, Assists, items and so on. Also all the rules and training mode. And it is still going! Insane.
That was a fairly mediocre direct in my eyes. I’ll admit that I have higher standards than most, but Sakurai adding official support for modes that have been requested since 2005 and finally letting us set the default rules isn’t going to move the needle for me. Stages, items, Pokémon, are also negligible to me. Honestly, the reduction of the balloon knockback effect was the best part of the Direct for me.
Also Gamer and Fountain of Dreams. Where’s Poké Floats though? -Soma
That direct was really good. I’ll be honest, I was expecting a massive blowout. But the direct was modest in nature, which is totally fine. It means more is coming in the future. As for the contents? While I haven’t really played Castlevania, and only played a little bit of the first DKC, the reveals were pretty exciting. The trailer CGI was great, and I LOVED Dedede’s troll in the King K. Rool trailer. The lengths they are going with Echo Fighters is really insane. Truth be told, I wonder if those characters don’t even have their own character slot.
To kind of explain, in Smash 4, while there were character slots in the main code, you could actually do some hacky stuff with Smash 4’s character files. By using some specific code in Smash 4’s “animcmd” and “MSC” character scripts, I’ve heard that different move properties and taunt animations are theoretically possible per costume slot. Now, if a modder wants to correct me on this, let me know! But, that’s what I could understand at least.
I mainly bring this up because this game is based off of Smash 4, and it could be a way of adding echo fighters without tampering with the game’s code much. Thus, making echo fighters worth it. Again, if someone wants to correct me on this, truly let me know! This is only a basic understanding of the process, and more things could definitely go into it.
Other than that, the direct was pretty cool and I’m looking forward to seeing what that mysterious mode really is!
I think with this Direct, it’s almost proof that we’re going to get an Adventure or Subspace Emissary type of mode (whether that includes cutscenes or not). I’m not even talking about the Monster Hunter stage that’s both missing from the stage select screen and looks like a boss fight. Just about everything fans have been asking for has been added. From characters like Ridley, King K. Rool, and Simon Belmont to features like directional air dodging, Battlefield versions of stages, and the order of rules/characters/stages. Even the training mode is reminiscent of Street Fighter for competitive players.
But one thing was blurred for a later reveal, a new mode. Along with characters and other adjustments, the “last” big feature that fans want that has yet to be crossed off, is an Adventure mode. Not only would it be special enough for its own Direct, but it would also coincide with how the player unlocks characters. Sakurai said during the video that all of the characters would be revealed before launch. Therefore it makes complete sense to wait to announce them all first, and then introduce the new mode which shows off how to unlock them. I imagine we will get two more Directs like this. One in between September and October, and the final in November.
As for this Direct… I have Simon Belmont now so do whatever you want, Sakurai.
This is the best game ever made. Hands down. Smash for WiiU and 3DS have nothing on Ultimate. I will play Ultimate longer than Splatoon 2 – and I have 600 hours in that game.
First off, METROIDVANIA ON ICE WAS REAL?! Simon Belmont, Richter, Alucard Assist Trophy, AND A STAGE WIL DRACULA AS A BOSS!!! THAT’S AMAZING AND I’M NOT EVEN A CASTLEVANIA FAN!
Chrom as an echo fighter was very expected from everyone, but WHO he is an echo for wasn’t. As an Echo for Roy – that’s very interesting as Roy was originally always seen as a Marth clone. Seven Fire Emblem Characters, can’t wait for next year for the eighth.
The amount of stages, music, new modes, quality of life changes are absolutely extraordinary. Final Destination looks CLEAN! Magicant looks beautiful in HD, as well does Unova Pokémon League. I’m also extremely happy they incorporated playlists and music playing while the console is still in Sleep Mode.
Finally, the newcomer I was very against – King K. Rool. Not because I don’t like him, but because I love being antagonistic. However, that trailer was so charming – I couldn’t help but laugh and smile.
This Smash Bros. title is truly special.
Sakurai, you liar! You claim that all the stages are organized by when they joined the series, but spending so much of my time looking at the Brawl Dojo makes me entirely aware that those stages should be organized by when you revealed them! Mushroomy Kingdom next to Delfino? No way, buddy.
…On a less, um, dumb note, what I really liked about this Direct was that it was so weird. Like, the obscene wealth of information in the last one often feel deeply surreal – especially “Everyone is Here!” – but a lot of the neat changes to the game, the new options, Richter Belmont being a fighter, Shovel Knight actually appearing (even if as an Assist Trophy)…it was odd, and in a rather pleasing way. The game continues to look both exciting and wild, even if I will miss getting to unlock or discover more (and more hidden) content given how enjoyable that has been for me, and how it might mitigate how overwhelming the game may feel. And feel intimidating it does, albeit in a very positive way. I guess…all I can think about is how crazy all of this is: the hype cycle, these various bursts of information, the constant sense that there is something completely crazy and big just around the corner. It feels different from prior Smash games, and that makes me so happy.