A number of images purporting to be from a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate slide of marketing material has emerged today, potentially leaking the rest of the game’s roster. The image, which is a still taken from a Snapchat video, pans over the banner image from the game showing all the characters in various action poses, revealing a number of characters that have yet to be officially announced.
According to the video, seven unannounced characters will be part of the final game. If you don’t want to know what they are according to this rumor, turn away now.
The seven unannounced characters are purported to be Shadow the Hedgehog from the Sonic series, Ken from Street Fighter (who has been rumored before), Isaac from Golden Sun, Geno from Super Mario RPG, Chorus Kids from Rhythm Heaven, Banjo-Kazooie, and Mach Rider. The characters were pieced together from a pan over what appears to be marketing material for the game.
As mentioned, the image comes from a Snapchat video from an employee of a French printing company that produces marketing materials. In the video, the employee’s name is visible, leading people to find his profile on LinkedIn, and connecting his place of employment to Bandai Namco, developers of the game. Further adding to the mystery is that other marketing materials for unrelated products, like the upcoming Grinch movie, can be seen in the video, bolstering the credentials for this being from a marketing-adjacent business.
Several of the characters have also been mainstays of rumor mills since the game’s announcement. Fans have long requested Geno and Isaac, with the former getting a Mii costume in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. Data for the Chorus Kids was found in those same games, indicating they may have been cut, possibly for the processor-intensive (and thus 3DS-limiting) reasons Ice Climbers were also removed from those titles. Mach Rider would fit in with the series’ tradition of adding in a NES-era character for each game (Ice Climbers, R.O.B., Duck Hunt), as well.
Xbox boss and head of gaming at Microsoft Phil Spencer has mentioned several times that he would want to see Banjo and Kazooie in Smash Bros., which is feasible considering the series’ history with Nintendo and Microsoft’s surprisingly close working relationship with the Japanese company. Spencer tweeted this as recently as March of this year.
Would someone blow up their career over a fake? That question seems to be at the heart of this argument, compelling fans to battle back and forth on the veracity of this video. While the employee seems to be verifiable and real, as is the employer’s listing of Bandai Namco as a client, Nintendo is not listed as one. There’s almost no situation where Bandai Namco would be handling the marketing materials for the game, as even the most loose chain of command would have new art go through Nintendo first. Anyone familiar with Nintendo’s marketing would tell you that the idea of them having the developer of a game they’re publishing handle shipping reveal-heavy banners to a firm they’re not involved with is beyond crazy.
Moreover, if the intention is to leak the roster, panning over a printed banner from a distance at a high speed so people on the internet can piece together just enough to circle blurry images seems counter-intuitive to the whole goal. Why even take the video and not just release a list of names without any chance of your own name or identifying information being shown? Considering how hard Nintendo came down on the ESRB leak that revealed all of the last game’s characters, if real, this mistake would get someone sued and the place of employment likely losing all their clients.
There’s also the fact that, well, the roster seems woefully incomplete. Every single Super Smash Bros. game has added a new Pokemon character. Pikachu and Jigglypuff headlined the first game, Mewtwo came in at Melee, Brawl introduced Lucario, and the 3DS/Wii U game brought in Greninja. Since the last game’s release, a new Pokemon generation has had two mainline games, and Pokemon itself has seen a resurgence in sales and popularity that had more or less taken over the world again, however temporarily. The presumption of a new Pokemon fighter in each game is so concrete that Greninja was originally just listed as “New Pokemon” on the game’s design document, according to director Masahiro Sakurai, to be decided at a later date. This would be a strange time to suddenly decide the series does not need a new Pokemon character.
All that said, very few people actually know for sure. Nintendo could be laughing at this rumor right now, sweating bullets over all the reveals being leaked, or finding some middle-ground of being upset at accurate guesses from a possibly fake banner. With only a month and some change to the game’s release, and Sakurai’s promise to show off every character before the game comes out, it seems likely we’ll find out more in the next few weeks.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releases on Nintendo Switch on December 7.
What do you think? Do you believe this to be real or fake? What do you think of the roster it proposes?