Super Smash Bros. Ultimate isn't just a game - it's one of the biggest events of 2018. It collects over 70 fighters, which is astounding for a modern fighting title. Every character in Smash history has returned, along with a number of notable newcomers. Not only have classic Nintendo characters like Ridley and King K. Rool made it in, but also third party characters Simon and Richter Belmont. That's not even the end of it - DLC fighters are on their way as well.
During the November Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct, series creator Masahiro Sakurai announced that five DLC fighters will be released through February, 2020. This is not counting Piranha Plant, as that character is free for a limited time. The five fighters each come with their own stage and music tracks.
So who are these fighters going to be? Which franchises will they represent? Nintendo shocked everyone at The Game Awards 2018 by announcing the first DLC fighter: Joker, the main protagonist from Persona 5. This came out of left field, as he was not one of the expected characters.
Joker's inclusion opens the door for many other unexpected fighters. With him being inducted into the roster, and analyzing all that we know about the upcoming DLC fighters, we can begin to guess who the other four fighters are. Here are four hints for what the next DLC characters will be.
THEY EACH COME WITH THEIR OWN MUSIC - WHICH MEANS THEIR MUSIC ISN'T IN THE GAME ALREADY
This is an interesting thing to consider. During the November Direct, Sakurai confirmed that each DLC fighter will come with "multiple music tracks." Ultimate has over 800 pieces of music already, so it's hard to imagine any character from the main franchises making it in as DLC. Mario, Zelda, Pokémon, and more are stacked with themes. It makes sense that the DLC fighter will be someone with few music tracks, or none at all.
With this theory in mind, it's hard to picture certain characters making their way in as DLC. For instance, Zelda is represented by so many tracks, it's hard to imagine a character like Impa or Midna being chosen. It's more likely that the next DLC fighters will be from franchises with little to no music representation at all in the game.
"Beware the Forest's Mushrooms" from Super Mario RPG is a iconic piece of music that's not in Ultimate - if Geno were to make it into the roster, he would almost certainly be accompanied by that track, among others from the game.
THEY DON'T HAVE TO HAVE APPEARED (UNTIL RECENTLY) ON A NINTENDO CONSOLE
Every third party character has some kind of tie to Nintendo. Sonic has had numerous games on Nintendo consoles, as well as Mega Man. You can find Street Fighter II on the SNES. Castlevania has a history on classic Nintendo consoles, as well as Final Fantasy. Pac-Man, of course, has appeared in a number of titles, even guest starring as a racer in Mario Kart Arcade GP. Even Metal Gear has some history with Nintendo, such as Metal Gear: Ghost Babel releasing exclusively for Game Boy Color. At first glance, Joker from Persona seems to be the exception, but that actually isn't the case.
Every main Persona installment has been a PlayStation title. But the spin-off, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, was released on 3DS in 2014. More importantly, Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth released in Japan just eight days before the release of Ultimate. Joker is the main character in Q2. It would be wise to look at which third party characters are appearing on 3DS or Switch. Undertale was ported to Switch this year, for instance. "Sans for Smash" is no longer a joke, but a real possibility.
BEING A SPIRIT OR A MII FIGHTER DOESN'T PRECLUDE ANYTHING
'Spirits' is one of the biggest features of Ultimate. In the Adventure Mode, you have to navigate a vast overworld and free various spirit characters. These Spirits will then enhance your fighter. What's astounding is that there are over 1,000 spirit characters, from Tails to Shantae. Some may think that being a Spirit in this game de-confirms that character as appearing as playable. This is not necessarily the case.
Sakurai stated in the November Direct that Spirits are replacing trophies. With that in mind, let's look at the previous franchise title, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. At release, you could find a trophy of Mewtwo and Lucas. Why bring this up? Because Lucas and Mewtwo were both added as DLC characters later on. Thus, you can apply the same logic to Spirits here. Mii Fighter costumes, by the same logic, probably don't de-confirm anyone either.
LICENSING CLEARLY ISN'T AN ISSUE
How many third party companies did Nintendo have to get approval from? Capcom, SEGA, Square Enix, Konami, to name a bunch. This is unprecedented and shows that licensing isn't a real issue for including characters in Ultimate. Yes, licensing is probably still an issue for outlandish character picks, like Goku, but in the realm of video games, it appears almost anyone is up for grabs.
So, with all this in mind, it suddenly becomes more daunting trying to guess who will be the next DLC fighter. Nintendo of America's president, Reggie Fils-Aimé, told IGN that Joker's inclusion is "emblematic" of the approach to DLC fighters. Reggie said at The Game Awards that the DLC are characters "you would not anticipate to be in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate." It seems like outside-the-box characters like Joker will be the norm for DLC. Sora, the protagonist from Kingdom Hearts, is a reasonable guess. Sora has a history on Nintendo consoles. Plus, with Kingdom Hearts III being one of the event games coming out next year, Square Enix and Disney likely wouldn't mind Sora being in Ultimate. Licensing doesn't seem to be a problem, after all.
We know that Nintendo itself has chosen the fighters, so the company would probably pick a character from its own library as well. Rex from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a popular guess. Sakurai said Rex wasn't included in the roster because of Xenoblade Chronicles 2's development in conjunction with Ultimate. Sakurai didn't say this prohibited Rex from DLC, so it's technically possible. Maybe we'll see Euden from Dragalia Lost, or Ninten from Mother/EarthBound Beginnings.
It's an exciting time to be a Smash Bros. player, to say the least.