In Smash Bros. Ultimate, Fire-type Pokémon, the Inklings of Splatoon, and Sonic, all of whom are definitely averse to water in their respective games of origin, are the only characters to be damaged by it in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Now, you can say whatever you like about Sakurai. You can say that he’s removed such-and-such a feature that you loved, and you’re going to boycott his games forever as a result. You can say he was the ogre who added that darn tripping mechanic to Super Smash Bros. Brawl, because he hates you and wants you to suffer. You can question his judgment, adding a dang piranha plant of all things to the game.
You can’t question his commitment to the Smash cause, though. Or his attention to detail. Ultimate boasts an incredible roster of over 75 characters, with DLC fighters set the join the ranks later on. As of the time of writing, many of us all around the world are mid-grind, trying to collect them all. There’s one subtle little detail you may not have noticed about Ultimate and its fighters, though: only a select few of them take damage from water in the game.
Granted, there isn’t a lot of water in Smash Ultimate’s stages. There are water hazards on the Delfino Plaza stage, for instance, and the pirate ship on the Great Sea that is Toon Link’s stage. The fact that falling foul of water isn’t all that widespread just makes this unique little easter egg even better.
Certain Smash Ultimate characters take damage in water. It makes sense in canon, since Charizard and Incineroar are fire-types, water is lethal to Inklings and Sonic can't swim to save his life pic.twitter.com/H1PDEdjW0x— Tristan Cooper (@TristanACooper) December 7, 2018
Who suffers in the water, then? Well, the characters who are actually vulnerable to water in the games they hail from. That’s the Inkling (if you’ve ever played Splatoon, you’ll know what touching the water as an ink-based lifeform will do to you), Sonic the Hedgehog (as we all know from the dramatic get-me-to-an-air-bubble-now music, Sonic is an awful swimmer), and Charizard and Incineroar, both Fire-type Pokémon.
It’s one of those neat little touches that the majority of players wouldn’t really register if it wasn’t there, but you can appreciate the subtle brilliance of it now that it’s been pointed out to you.
Here’s another one of those little touches: Charizard, while floundering in the water, will try its darndest to keep the tip of its tail up and dry. This is a reference to the fact that, if a Charizard’s flame goes out, its life will end.
Are these the sorts of things you’re really going to notice, in the middle of a heated and chaotic Smash battle? Well, no. Don’t worry, though, Sakurai, we did notice.