The 2018 Game Awards occurred on the same day that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was released (depending on where you are in the world), and one of the final reveals of the evening was a trailer for the first paid DLC character in Ultimate: Joker from Persona 5. The trailer was just an animated cutscene - no gameplay whatsoever.
But there were some clues for how Joker will play in Nintendo's franchise-crossing fighting game. We are here today to try and figure out how Joker will work in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate based on his appearances in other games, not to mention give our best estimate on his personal stage and the DLC's release date.
Joker will be a ranged fighter who relies on his Persona and pistols in combat, with his knife not being as effective.
The player will be able to switch Personas by pressing the special button (in the same way that Shulk switches his Monado Arts), which will have its own extended opening & end lag which will be punishable, so the player won't be able to spam the switching mechanic. Each Persona will affect how his other attacks will function - see below for the Personas we expect to see!
The side-specials will be Joker firing his gun in the direction that the stick is pointed in, with the bullets being empowered by the equipped persona.
Joker's down special will be a unique move for each persona that is linked to their element, such as Jack Frost allowing him to cast Bufu, which acts in a similar manner to Lucas' PK Freeze.
Joker's recovery move will be the dashing animation he uses when jumping from cover to cover in the stealth portions of Persona 5 and will act in a similar manner to Pikachu's Quick Attack.
Regular, Throw, And Smash Attacks
Joker's regular attacks & Smash attacks will involve using his knife, which will also be empowered by his equipped personas. These knife attacks will have a short range and won't have reliable hit boxes compared to his ranged attacks.
Joker's throws will resemble the animation where he jumps on an enemy's back and rips off their mask, although it will be a lot quicker.
Joker's Final Smash will almost certainly be the All-Out Attack from Persona 5 and he will summon the Phantom Thieves to aid him.
The Wild Card - Which Personas Will Joker Summon?
Joker shares the same gimmick as the protagonists of Persona 3 & Persona 4, in that he is a "Wild Card" with the ability to switch Personas outside of battle. The other party members in the game can only use one each, but those can evolve over the course of the game.
We are theorizing that Joker will act as a ranged version of Shulk; he'll be able to change the attributes of his weapons by switching his active Persona, with a cooldown required before he can summon another.
We have seen Arsene in the trailer, so we know he will be appearing in the game and will be summonable by Joker.
Jack Frost will almost certainly appear as he is the mascot of the Shin Megami Tensei series. Pyro Jack will likely appear as well, with the two spirits granting Joker ice and fire-based attacks.
Pixie is another strong candidate, as she has appeared as one of the starting demons in almost every game in the Shin Megami Tensei series and will likely add lightning-based attributes to Joker's attacks.
The fifth persona will be Bicorn, as you are encouraged to try and recruit one during the conversation tutorial in Persona 5.
Joker's Costumes & The Persona 5 Stage
The Persona 5 stage will almost certainly be Mementos and will have a trippy red & black background that swirls around during the match.
Mementos will also likely have enemy personas as stage hazards, allowing for more creatures to appear in the game.
Joker's alternate costumes will likely include his school uniform, as well as his beach outfit (again, pulling a page from Shulk's book). We may also see some other costumes from the Shin Megami Tensei series, such as the samurai outfit from Shin Megami Tensei IV.
Possible Release Date?
The first DLC character for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be Pirahna Plant and that won't likely be released until February, according to Nintendo and Sakurai.
There are going to be two huge Persona concerts in Japan on April 24th & 25th, and the fans are expecting some kind of huge announcement at these events. The reveal that Joker is available "right now" would certainly qualify as a surprise, so that could be the date when he becomes available in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.