Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: With the arrival of Sora, the Ultimate squad will be officially closed. We remember how we got here and the pending potential for his successor. Next Tuesday, October 19, Sora from Kingdom Hearts will join the cast of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. With the arrival of him, the “Fighter Pass 2” will be complete and Masahiro Sakurai (creator of the saga and director of all its deliveries) will be able to dedicate himself to something else, be it planning a sequel, trying his luck with another franchise or simply resting, that he has earned it. Although it is expected that over time there will be more updates, both to tweak the playable balance and to continue adding spirits from other games as a promotion (as has happened these days with Metroid Dread), the designer has confirmed that there are no more characters planned, so Ultimate will stop expanding significantly. It’s the end of an era.
And it is the end of an era not only because speculation about possible additions to the next generation is over, but also because of the fact that Ultimate is a unique event. Sakurai himself has assured it several times: reusing the base of the Wii U Smash allowed to accelerate development and include all its fighters, re-fish pending and then continue adding more, surpassing the seventy characters in the base game and the eighty when adding DLC . The idea of redoing all that work on another engine – or a greatly improved version of the current one – would be intimidating on its own, but then there’s the multitude of licenses involved. Because Nintendo will continue to be free, but bringing back characters like Sora, Banjo, Sonic, Pac-Man, Solid Snake, Joker or Mega Man would require renewing agreements with Square Enix, Microsoft, Sega, Namco, Konami, Atlus and Capcom respectively.
But how did we get to this situation? How have Sakurai and his team been able to build a crossover so legendary that the idea of repeating it sounds inconceivable? Does Ultimate represent the roof of Super Smash Bros. as a concept? And if that’s the case, how can the next installment get fans excited again after this deployment? To talk about all those things and take stock (because not everything has been equally positive), today we look back and also look ahead a bit. Because Ultimate is literally the best-selling fighting game ever (25 million), so this train sure doesn’t stop here.