Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is quickly nearing the end of its second Fighters Pass. Now that Mythra and Pyra have released, fans are eager to see who the last two guests in the Switch’s highly successful Smash entry will be. On top of that, fans are wondering whether this is really the end of the line. Nintendo has yet to turn around and say that it’s going to release a third wave of DLC, but considering how successful Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is, it wouldn’t be surprising. There’s still a lot of famous characters that fans really want to see join Smash too. There really doesn’t seem to be any better opportunity than a game with the tagline “Everyone is here.”
It’s certain that a third Fighters Pass would really excite fans, and it’d sell well too. The question is whether or not it would be a good thing for Smash, as a franchise, in the long term. Smash Ultimate is intentionally designed to be the definitive Super Smash Bros. game, bringing the whole franchise together under one roof and updating everything to modern standards. What, then, would any future iteration of the Smash franchise look like? If Nintendo decides to keep expanding Smash Ultimate, how can any future game live up to its legacy?
Truly The Ultimate Super Smash Bros.
The intention has clearly been to make Smash Ultimate a crowning achievement for the franchise all along. Nobody expected every single character to come back for a new Smash game and then some, but Nintendo and Smash director Masahiro Sakurai defied expectations and delivered a real blockbuster of a game. That’s why it makes sense that Nintendo pushed for a second wave of DLC fighters, and why a third wave would be certainly believable. If the game is already supposed to be the ultimate Smash title, why not lean into the name and expand the game for years on end?
The answer to that is what it might mean for Smash long-term. Odds are the next Smash game won’t repeat Ultimate‘s sweeping design, so it’ll inevitably downsize and go back to a more traditional blend of old and new. However, that might not be able to match what Smash Ultimate has been doing. Fans are loving the breadth of options in Smash Ultimate, so any future game with less coveted characters and nostalgic stages might feel like it’s missing something.
What’s more, fans are wondering if Smash Ultimate will be Masahiro Sakurai’s last time working on the Smash franchise. These games are his brainchild, but after working on them for more than twenty years, it’d be understandable if he wanted to retire and pass the game on to a new generation of developers. It’s hard to say for sure if that would happen, especially considering the fervor with which Sakurai is working on Smash Ultimate. If he did leave the franchise, the next Smash game will constantly be compared to Sakurai’s own work. Smash Ultimate will be a daunting act to follow as arguably one of Sakurai’s greatest works.
Making Ultimate Count
Frankly, though, Nintendo can probably make Smash work in the long run by continuing to support Smash Ultimate for now. There’s a lot of things it could add into a new Smash game that would draw fans back to a new game, even if it’s smaller than Ultimate. For instance, fans are dying to see a story mode like Brawl‘s Subspace Emissary.
World of Light in Smash Ultimate was a similar venture, but it didn’t have enough plot to sate many fans. A Smash game with another true story mode would delight many fans. Plus, there’ll always be characters that don’t make it into Smash Ultimate. A future game with unique guest fighters of its own would definitely appeal to many potential fans, no matter the guests.
In the meantime, another year or so of DLCs for Smash Ultimate would be more than welcome. Unless a third Fighters Pass emerges, there’s only two invitations left to go around, which isn’t many by any measure. Fans are still crossing their fingers for so many guests, from Sora, to Dante, to Crash Bandicoot, to Master Chief. Hopefully Nintendo has realized by now that, if it plays its cards right, it might be able to strike a balance between Smash Ultimate‘s success and success in Smash‘s future.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate is available now for Nintendo Switch.