Photo by Jack Yang
During the last Mini Direct presentation, Nintendo revealed the long-awaited fourth DLC character for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. This time, Nintendo opted for a first-party pick; the newcomer is the Master Sword from The Legend of Zelda series, the third “sword” character alongside Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII and Pyra/Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicles 2. According to a Nintendo representative, the new character will “spice up the gameplay with diverse, never-before seen gameplay that will make you rethink everything you know about Smash.”
The choice of the character makes a lot of sense; the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is anticipated to be announced in the foreseeable future. Nintendo most likely wants to market one of their flagship series by adding a familiar character to their crossover fighting game. In the announcement video, Master Sword’s moveset was briefly put on display, including action-shots of it lying on the ground, glowing and shooting beams (in whatever direction the sword was lying), and sometimes reflecting the light that is shone on it.
This “underwhelming” demonstration was disappointing to many fans, but the moveset “perfectly reflects what a sword would behave like in a fighting game,” according to IGN’s review of the announcement video. “A great idea would’ve been to add Fi (a character from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword who lives within the sword and assists the main character) to go along with Master Sword, but director Masahiro Sakurai stated, ‘Unfortunately, it would be extremely difficult to get copyright for Fi to appear in the game,’ even though Nintendo owns all the rights on the character.”
Many fans are upset that Nintendo has added another sword character to the roster. With approximately 25% of the game’s roster consisting of characters that wield swords (with a considerable portion being characters from Fire Emblem series), this addition “doesn’t diversify the rosters, which defeats the purpose of Smash being a crossover game,” according to youtuber Blaz Krönki. “It’s also frustrating how Nintendo gradually keeps making the characters more and more swordlike, which is not only mundane, but also just boring. After all, who would want to use a sword? This character addition only makes the game more and more sword focused, which takes away from the fun.”
“Of course, I am sure many players would enjoy playing as Master Sword,” continued Krönki. “But, it would be interesting to see more characters from franchises new to the Super Smash Bros series. It would be amazing to see characters like 2B from Nier: Automata, who is a sword-wielding android; or Dante from the Devil May Cry series, a mercenary who fights demons with various weapons including a sword. I’m sure a lot of fans would be happy to see these popular characters, and Nintendo definitely needs to capitalize on their popularity among the fans. Furthermore, their weapon choices will definitely add a lot to the gameplay and make it more diverse and exciting. It’ll definitely contrast the array of boring sword fighters we have from games like Fire Emblem and The Legend of Zelda.”
Despite the controversy, many are excited that Master Sword made it to the game, and even more so about Bullet Bill, whose entrance was teased at the end of the presentation.