Nintendo announces Super Smash Bros. 4
Surprising no one, Nintendo announced at this year’s E3 that it will release a new Super Smash Bros. for its forthcoming Wii U console. The fighting series includes furry Nintendo characters such as Fox McCloud and Lucario, plus guest character Sonic the Hedgehog.
The game or games, though definitely coming to at least the Wii U, are not yet in production. Sakurai’s studio, Sora, is currently working on the 3DS game Kid Icarus: Uprising, and may defer Super Smash Bros. until its completion, giving furry gamers plenty of time to petition for inclusion of their favorite characters.
For some fans, guessing who will appear in the next installment is almost as much fun as the actual game. In that spirit, here are a few vague speculations on potential furry characters.
Originally appearing in the Ursa Major Award-winning Star Fox Adventures, Krystal quickly became a furry favorite. When game studio Rare was sold to Microsoft, they bequeathed the character rights to Nintendo, opening up the possibility that she could appear in Super Smash Bros. game.
Krystal has a very good chance to appear in a new game. Doing so could fix two common complaints with the last installment. Firstly, the three Star Fox characters available in Brawl were all “clones,” meaning they had variations of the same basic moveset. Krystal could be given the ”magic” staff that appeared in Adventures, opening up a unique moveset. Secondly, while the last installment added 15 new characters, none were female. The closest it came was a new form for returning character Samus.
Going against Krystal is the fact that she has only appeared in four games since her first appearance; her last was, in fact, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, where she appeared as collectible items and with the rest of the Star Fox cast in a level-specific Easter egg.
The character’s future is also in doubt; she will not even appear in the next Star Fox game. It remains to be seen if Star Fox 64 3D is a simple remake or continuity reboot, which could open up the possibility of a Krystal-less Star Fox series – an idea not without its proponents. That said, Krystal is still a pretty safe bet for both Super Smash Bros. and Star Fox going forwards.
Samus Aran has appeared in every single Super Smash Bros. game; fans have been clamoring for a second character for the Metroid series since the beginning. The addition of Zero Suit Samus satisfied this need about as well as it satisfied the need for better female representation.
Unfortunately, Metroid doesn’t have a wide variety of characters to choose from; even the titular metroids aren’t guaranteed to appear every game. Ridley, a boss from the series, has proven to be a truly memorable villain, despite being a brightly-colored pterodactyl with a tendency to die multiple times per game. Ridley has the most Metroid appearances of any character save Samus; he would also have a more unique moveset than other series possibility Dark Samus.
One possible drawback to his inclusion is that he appeared, and was defeated, as a non-playable boss in Brawl’s story mode. His appearance could mess up continuity; still, a series which features Solid Snake teaming up with Pokémon may not take continuity too seriously.
Nintendo’s Animal Crossing has appeared on every console, including handhelds, since the N64, though it only became available to worldwide audiences with the GameCube. It has become a bestseller on many consoles, despite lacking significant changes – either to graphics or gameplay – since the N64. It's overdue for character representation in Super Smash Bros., especially since an Animal Crossing-themed level appeared in Brawl.
Of all the characters appearing in Animal Crossing, the most likely to make a playable appearance would be Tom Nook, who for all intents and purposes is the villain of the series. The game is open-ended, but players are tasked with paying off a debt to this anthropomorphic raccoon or tanuki (depending on the player’s localization), gaining players an upgraded house, and a brand new debt, without the player’s permission – hardly an ethical business practice.
Tom’s problem is that he doesn’t come with an obvious moveset, an issue for any character from the series; Animal Crossing is an almost completely non-violent video game. His visual style might also clash with other characters, though Super Smash Bros. fighters already run a gamut of styles.
Like Krystal, Dixie Kong was created by Rare and given to Nintendo when the studio was bought. However, unlike Krystal (part of a Rare-created property transferred to Nintendo late in production), Dixie sticking with Nintendo as part of the Donkey Kong franchise was never really in doubt.
Dixie Kong would be another possible female character for the franchise, giving her an advantage over the other potential new Donkey Kong character, villain King K. Rool. That said, there is no real reason why both characters could not appear in a new Super Smash Bros.
Dixie Kong was very close to playable in Brawl; code in the released version suggests the process to creating her as a character was fairly far along. It is unknown if the developers simply ran out of time to finish her, or if they had problems distinguishing her moveset from similar character Diddy Kong.
Bowser Jr. appears to be Bowser’s eighth child, succeeding his seven siblings as the favorite. He first appeared as the villain in Super Mario Sunshine, kidnapping Princess Peach in the misguided belief that she was his mother – kind of disturbing, actually.
Bowser Jr. has made frequent appearances as a villain in Mario games, and as a team player in various Mario sports titles. Unlike Waluigi – another character now more or less ubiquitous in those sports games – Bowser Jr. didn’t start there, giving him some advantage. Only Toad has greater justification to represent Mario, though uniqueness concerns may sink his bid.
That said, the biggest obstacle for any new Mario representative is that there may not need to be one. Mario, Luigi, Peach and Bowser Sr., plus related members of the Donkey Kong, Yoshi and Wario franchises, may be all the Mushroom Kingdom needs.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess tells the surprisingly touching story of a romance between a midget, Midna, and her dog. Midna completely stole the show with her incredible mix of creepiness and cuteness, and is the driving force behind the story; poor series protagonist Link is just along for the ride. Or to provide Midna a ride, anyway.
It would be Link, in his Wolf form, that allows Midna a place on this list. Though a moveset not involving Wolf Link could be formulated, the characters could easily make a package deal, with Midna riding into battle on her trusty steed – a more satisfying way of presenting the character.
The problem with Midna is that she is a bit of a one-hit wonder. While her game ended with an obvious sequel hook, more recent Legend of Zelda games have ignored it.
Speaking of one-hit wonders, Muddy Mole has had one appearance as the playable protagonist in the puzzle game Mole Mania, using his digging skills to rescue his family from farmer Jinbe.
Unlike Midna, who snuck into Link’s series, Muddy at least starred in his game. Muddy’s sole appearance could work to his advantage; such characters are often used in Super Smash Bros. as a kind of test balloon for a revival of their series, or to provide a shot of nostalgia.
Mole Mania was originally a Game Boy game, making it unlikely to appear on the Wii’s Virtual Console. The Wii U’s controller has its own screen, and Mole Mania could make a comeback using that feature.
Zoroark was the first Pokémon of the fifth generation announced; Lucario was first of the fourth. There are obvious parallels between the characters. Lucario was picked as a replacement for Mewtwo to promote the then-newest generation of Pokémon.
However, Pokémon may be on its sixth generation by the time the next Super Smash Bros. comes out; regardless, Zoroark and his friends will be old news. Pokémon is already well-represented; Mewtwo may strike back, but there could easily be fewer Pokémon; Lucario and Jigglypuff are likely cuts.
Zoroark or even Zorua could make an appearance in the PokéBall item. As far back as Melee, Ditto was planned to appear occasionally, morphing to a character to fight with the player opening the PokéBall. If Ditto does not appear in this role, Zoroark and Zorua may take over with their Illusion abilities.
Though Brawl fighter Ike is not furry, he appeared in a pair of fairly furry games. Both turn-based strategy Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and its sequel Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn featured a world where human “beorcs” fought with and against furry “laguz,” who look like anime cat girls until morphing to more bestial forms to fight.
Lethe, a Cat laguz, is one of the player's first two recruitment choices in Path of Radiance, and can become one of the more powerful characters in the game. Laguz cannot stay in bestial form the entire fight; they must gain energy to transform, and can easily lose it. This could create an interesting fighting style in a Smash Bros. game.
That said, Lethe (or any laguz) is unlikely to appear as a fighter in Super Smash Bros. Though Fire Emblem characters have proven popular, laguz only appear in two games. More recent characters, with the possibility of promotion, will probably get first shot. Only the connection with Ike, who is unlikely to be cut, keeps the laguz’s hopes alive.
Editor's note: The title of this story previously indicated that a fifth Super Smash Bros. had been announced.