It seems that Sakurai is getting a little tired of the typical heroes and heroines in Nintendo’s roster, which is why he looks to throw in the occasional curveball character.
As all Nintendo Switch fans will know, a little game by the name of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is set to launch in just a couple of weeks (December 7). The Nintendo faithful have watched the likes of Red Dead Redemption 2 go by (with its super creepy easter eggs), knowing that their own Game of the Year is on the way.
This is going to be the Ultimate for sure, friends. It’s going to be the Smash to end all Smashes (it’s not yet confirmed whether it’ll be the last in series), and it’s got the dramatic trailer to prove it. Complete with Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now, thanks to some enterprising fans.
Sakurai’s certainly going all out with this one. This time, we’re finally going to see Ridley and King K. Rool joining the fray, two iconic Nintendo villains that some fans have been desperate to see join the Smash Bros. action for some time now. Then there are the more unexpected newcomers, like Simon Belmont of Castlevania fame.
Then, there are the real curveballs. Can anyone honestly say they were salivating for a piranha plant to join the Ultimate roster? Not even a famous one like Petey Piranha, mark you, but a generic one. Probably not, but here we are nevertheless. The piranha plant is a preorder bonus of sorts. This is the actual world we are living in right now.
If we’re honest with ourselves, yes, it does look like a hilarious character to play as. Yes, it does have teeny little feet, and that’s adorable. What was the thought process behind that decision, though, Sakurai?
As it turns out, the great man does think these things through. Way ahead of time, it seems. In a recent interview with Game Informer, Sakurai confirmed that roster choices are made way in advance (yep, those DLC slots have already been decided). On the subject of how and when characters are picked, he said:
“We decide on the fighters from the very early planning stage, and from there, we calculate and begin production. We don’t add or remove any characters during the project.
We do things like base our consideration on the results of the Smash ballot, and also balance things out so that there’s a difference in the types of fighters.”
On the subject of Incineroar’s inclusion, he went on:
“…during our planning stage we knew that a new Pokémon game was coming, so we intentionally kept one spot open for that, and we decided which character to create once we received more info on the title.”
In short, this piranha plant business had been decided long before anything was announced. Sakurai’s fond of the quirkier characters, stating that:
“In the past titles in the series, Mr. Game & Watch, R.O.B. and Duck Hunt Dog were some of the examples we offered outside of people’s typical expectations. However, if we don’t have these types of fighters, and we only had typical “hero/heroine” type fighters in the lineup, there’s not much difference. It’s probably not very interesting.”
You’ve got to hand it to him, piranha plant is certainly an ‘interesting’ choice. It’s also, as he took care to point out yet again, an early-purchase bonus character. If you need more piranha plant in your life, you’d better make sure you get your copy of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate locked down now (not that the character will be available until early 2019).