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Predicting Smash Bros Ultimate's Roster: Animal Crossing, Geno, Rhythm Heaven

With rumors, speculation, and Nintendo Direct annoucements running wild, we try to iron out a final roster for Super Smash Bros Ultimate before the next official announcement, including Karate Joe, Isabelle, Super Mario RPG and more.

After a week long delay the September Nintendo Direct is upon us, presumably bringing with it some new news on Super Smash Bros Ultimate. The extra week has given me extra time to think about the rumors and speculation that have flown around this game since its inception, and I think I have an idea on how this roster is going to shake out.

First, let’s talk about the biggest rumors involving the codenames that circled around the internet this past summer. So far of the codenames we received, “King” has certainly come true with the reveal of King K. Rool while “Warrior” would fit the bill of one Simon Belmont. The rest are not as clear, but even from them we can probably figure out where the roster is headed.

Codename: Rumor Mill

“Doll,” “Ponytail,” and “Rhythm” all point to Geno from Super Mario RPG, Dixie Kong, and the Rhythm Heaven’s Karate Joe, the last one supported further by this happenstance discovery of a Rhythm Heaven Easter egg in the King K. Rool Smash Bros announcement, while the other are a bit less obvious. “Folklore” in particular confuses me, perhaps that was the Simon Belmont reference and “Warrior” has not yet been revealed? “Old Man” is another interesting one, as the last time we saw “Old Man” used in a Nintendo game was the older fellow that gives Link the paraglider in Breath of the Wild. Could the King of Hyrule being joining the fray? That would be something.

These are all referring to brand new characters of course, to say nothing about the more fascinating part of the roster: Echo Fighters. “Secretary” has led some to believe Isabelle from Animal Crossing will be echoing the Villager, which...sure. “Prime Ribs” made some people think another Metroid Prime character was on the way, but I’m of the belief this represents Ninten from the original Mother. After all, Ninten’s favorite food was prime ribs.

There's also the interesting tidbit of Nintendo renewing the trademarks for both Rhythm Heaven (one more point for Karate Joe) and Golden Sun, which means Isaac could be making his way to Smash Bros as well. This would make sense, as he'd be another one to ascend from Assist Trophy to main roster and he has a huge backing from the Smash Bros faithful, but I'm not so sure he'd make the initial roster. I wouldn't be surprised if he becomes downloadable content later on.

We could speculate on those rumors until the game comes out, but now I’m going to do a little bit of, to borrow a wrestling term, “fantasy booking.” If I was put in charge of fleshing out the rest of the SSBU roster, what would I do? My strategy is pretty simple, honestly: a few fully fleshed out brand new fighters and a butt ton of Echo Fighters. This may seem cheap, but in my opinion seeing a beloved character in Smash Bros echoing another fighter is far better than not seeing that character at all.

The current roster stands at 67 fighters and 6 Echo Fighters, a total of 73 selectable characters. When I’m done with it we’d be looking at 85 total fighters, and that says nothing about potential future downloadable content.  Let’s get cracking.

Could Isabelle graduate from Assist Trophy to Echo Fighter?

Echo Fighters R Us

The Echo Fighters idea is a stroke of genius, as it opens the door for a multitude of characters that otherwise would have been ridiculed if they were to be included. Characters like Richter and Daisy would have never sniffed the SSBU roster without this format, but now here they are ready to fight. It’s incredible!.

Most of my Echo Fighter ideas are plain as day obvious: Big Boss to fill in for Solid Snake, Proto Man to take over for Mega Man, and Blood Falcon to hide dastardly in the shadow of Captain Falcon’s spot on the roster. Isabelle from Animal Crossing seems like a lock to echo Villager per the rumor mill, as does Ninten for Ness and Shadow for Sonic the Hedgehog (assuming the dark hedgehog isn’t an Assist Trophy again). Another supposed no-brainer is Street Fighter’s Ken filling in for Ryu, but I have a better idea: Akuma.

First off, Akuma has been crossing over for years now starting with X-Men: Children of the Atom. Second, he’d be a villain and the game is hoarding villains like they’re going out of style. Most of all, seeing Akuma trap some poor jerk in the Raging Demon would be stupid cool. This has to happen, more so than Ken (no offense to him), and Capcom and Nintendo would be wise to pull this trigger.

The Skull Kid could soon find himself battling more than just Link.

Fresh Faces

Now we’re going to talk about is brand new characters, completely built from the ground up for this new game. No echoes here, these are new fighters with new moves and new ways to play.

Geno is first, and frankly I think he’s a shoe-in. He was such a requested character that he became a Mii costume in Super Smash Bros for Wii U, and do you know who else got that treatment? The Inklings, King K. Rool and Chrom. All of those characters are now playable, so why not Geno? In case you don’t remember, this damn funny Tweet will show you what I mean:

Dixie Kong is next, and like I said above she’s more than likely the “Ponytail” codename mentioned in all the rumors. She makes a lot of sense, giving more representation to both Donkey Kong the franchise and female fighters. She could resemble Diddy Kong based on their shared games, but have enough in her arsenal to make her a new fighter and not an Echo. Honestly her deadly ponytail alone is enough to build a whole new style of attacks and keep her from echoing Diddy.

Skull Kid from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask would keep with the villainous theme of Ultimate so far, while also bringing attention to an underrated Zelda character. His powerful magic could be a tremendous asset, and his Final Smash could summon the Majora’s Wrath boss to lay the smack down on his opponents. This one makes a lot of sense.

Spring Man and Ribbon Girl from ARMS fill a role characters like Marth and Corrin have in the past: they’ll shine a spotlight on a Nintendo product that some fans might not be familiar with. Coming from a fighting game these two would fit in right at home on the Smash Bros roster. Also, this would not be an Echo Fighter situation but instead the two being alternate costumes of the same fighting style, a la the male and female Wii Fit Trainers or Olimar and Alph.

The last one comes out of the storied Smash Bros tradition of including a weird retro character from yesteryear - an oft-forgotten soul that emerges out of the shadows to wage war on the current heroes of Nintendo. The N64 Smash chose Ness, Melee included Mr Game and Watch, Brawl had R.O.B., Smash 4 introduced Duck Hunt, and my version of Ultimate would bring in none other than ol’ Banana Ears himself, Mike Jones from StarTropics.

Jones would use his trusty yo-yo to do some damage, as well as the baseball-related weapons found in his games. Baseball bats are no stranger to Smash Bros, so Jones should feel right at home. His Final Smash would involve the screen filling with StarTropics enemies, because anyone who’s played the game knows that screen can fill in a hurry. Bring Mike Jones back!

The Super Smash Bros Ultimate roster can go thousands of different ways, and I’m working with anything other than my gut feeling here, but I’d be pretty jazzed if my predictions here came true. Even if half of the names I mentioned up top appear in the game I’ll be pleased. It all starts with the September 2018 Nintendo Direct. Here’s hoping I don’t goose egg right out of the gate.

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