Sakurai explains that Smash Ultimate’s new fighters aren’t his call

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Nintendo

Admits there are a lot of Fire Emblem fighters in the game

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director Masahiro Sakura found himself in the line of fire after revealing the identity of the last DLC character of Fighter Pass 1. Fans were unhappy with Byleth for being yet another Fire Emblem character and a sword wielder. 

In a recent Famitsu column which was translated by Eventhubs' Nicholas "MajinTenshinhan" Taylor, Sakurai explained that he doesn't get to decide who the new fighters will be. "New fighters aren't decided by my own tastes, but are brought in by Nintendo," he stated. He went on to say that their choice of Byleth was actually to try something different. 

"The theme this time was 'something fresh.' For Smash Bros., we tend to always bring in fighters with a lot of history. Dragon Quest's Hero, Banjo-Kazooie, Fatal Fury's Terry, all of these characters first appeared around 20-30 years ago. There's a lot to incorporate from." 

"Something fresh," in this context, pertains to how old the character (and their game) is and not necessarily the franchise. As Fire Emblem is a massive franchise with most of the games featuring new characters in new settings, Three Houses really was a new game. The latest Fire Emblem installment was released on July 26, 2019. Compared to older franchises like Fatal Fury and Banjo-Kazooie, even Joker from Persona 5 fits Nintendo's description of new. 

"This time, we thought it important to have a character from a game people are playing right now, and have them almost immediately get to play them in Smash Bros. And so, the timing for 'Three Houses' fit well.

Sakurai went on to admit that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has an overabundance of Fire Emblem characters and swordsmen. Since the company had already decided on Byleth, he went along with it. However, in a bid to make Byleth a bit more unique, he had the character use other relics from Three Houses and not just the Sword of the Creator. The director also ensured that Byleth's bow attacks are different from Link and Pit's, so there's more of a difference in playstyle and moves.  

With the first Fighter Pass complete, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fans await the reveal of Fighter Pass 2's first DLC character. At least this time, we're sure it won't be a Fire Emblem character.  

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