Since its announcement several months ago, hype for the Switch’s iteration of Smash Bros has been growing and now with just over a month to go before release Nintendo graced us with one more Direct to show off everything in the game. Here’s what they showed:
The Direct started off with a trailer for Ken from Street Fighter followed by Incineroar from the Pokemon series. Ken is an Echo Fighter of Ryu with most of his moveset being slightly tweaked while Incineroar appears to be a heavy character with some unique moves.
As previously announced, amiibo for Inkling, Ridley, and Wolf will be available when the game launches on Dec. 7. Amiibo for King K. Rool and Ice Climbers will be available Feb 15, and amiibo for Ken, Isabelle, Pichu, Young Link, and Daisy are confirmed for sometime in 2019.
One of the biggest new features in Ultimate is called Spirits. Spirits are characters from across all kinds of games that can add to playable characters’ strength. Spirits are split into four classes: Novice, Advanced, Ace, and Legend. There are Primary and Support Spirits as well. Primary Spirits can be equipped on a playable character to add to their stats in some way and if a Primary Spirit has Support slots, Support Spirits can be added to them as well. Spirits are unlocked through winning Spirit battles which have you fighting against a character that has equipped a Spirit with win conditions often attached. Spirits are split into Attack, Grab, and Shield types that can give characters an advantage over their opponents. Primary Spirits will gain experience from battle and some can even evolve into another form. Combine Spirit cores to summon a new Spirit and train Spirits in a gym or send them on a mission to gain treasure and experience as well. Spirits can be used to power up amiibo figures as well. We didn’t get any word on just how many Spirits are in the game but based on the wide range of games Spirits seem to be coming from, it’s likely somewhere in the hundreds.
Smash Ultimate will have both local wireless and online play. Instead of being split into For Fun and For Glory like in Smash Wii U, you can set your preferred ruleset in Ultimate. When entering an online battle, one player’s preferred ruleset will be chosen at random and used for the battle. Global Smash Power makes a return as well and will be factored into online matchmaking. If your GSP is 100,000 then you are higher ranked than 99,999 people. Raising your GSP lets you fight higher ranked opponents online. You can also set a GSP for each character. Matchmaking is prioritized by the distance between players online. If you achieve a high enough GSP, you can enter Elite Battles online to fight against other elite fighters. Winning online battles lets you claim your opponent’s tag and add them to the list of opponents you’ve defeated. Online modes in Smash Bros. Ultimate will be compatible with the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app, and an additional app called Smash World will launch in 2019 and let you share and watch gameplay clips and more.
There are a total of 59 assist trophies this time around. Some new ones shown off in this Direct are:
- Shadow from Sonic the Hedgehog series
- Takamaru from Mysterious Murasame Castle
- Starman from the Mother series
- Nightmare from Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land
- Color TV-Game 15
- Yuri Kozukata from Fatal Frame
- Isaac from Golden Sun
- Black Knight from Fire Emblem
- Thwomp from the Super Mario series
- Spring Man from ARMS
- Wily Capsule from Megaman
- Flies & Hand from Mario Paint
- Tiki from Fire Emblem
- Vince from Art Academy
- Guile from Street Fighter
- Akira from Virtua Fighter
A number of modes are returning from previous games including All-Star mode and the various horde fighter modes. Challenges are sorted by category and laid out like a comic book. You can collect gold by playing various modes in the game like in the Wii U version, and gold can be used to purchase music tracks, spirits, and more. Ultimate also comes with support for a whopping 11 languages including English, Japanese, German, Italian, French, Russian, Chinese, Korean, and more.
Mii outfits sets are back including Yiga Clan, Splatoon 2 characters, Ribbon Girl, Chibi Robo, Ray MKIII, and Toy-Con.
As with Smash Wii U, Ultimate will receive paid DLC characters. These characters come in sets including one character, one stage, and multiple music tracks. Each track is “expected” to be $5.99 or you can buy the Fighters Pass which includes five of these sets for $24.99. If you purchase the Fighters Pass, you can get a Mii outfit based on Rex from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 as well as some music tracks. Sakurai stressed that development has not really begun on the DLC fighters yet, so they cannot show off anything that will be included yet.
Lastly, separate from the DLC sets, Piranha Plant will be a free character for anyone who purchases the game and registers it (physical copies) before Jan. 31st, 2019. No release date is confirmed, but we are told to expect him to release a couple months after the game’s launch.
The Direct closed with a peek at one of the most requested modes for Ultimate, a story/adventure mode. Sakurai emphasized that this adventure mode is “nothing like what we came up with for the Subspace Emissary” but does contain some sort of story. The Direct closed with a nice looking cinematic that can be watched here.
Chris started loving video games at a young age, playing Super Mario World and Star Fox on his parents’ SNES. Although Nintendo (the Switch in particular these days) is still front and center for him, he also spends a fair amount of time on his PS4 and PC. He is also a huge fan of the Fire Emblem and Star Fox franchises. Chris enjoys watching basketball as well and is a huge fan of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Plays: Switch, PS4, PC.