I’m anticipating Smash 5’s reveal this e3. That’s right: not Smash 4 Deluxe. Smash 5. A Smash 4 port is both undesirable and unlikely. I won’t go into details regarding that, though, as I already wrote an article on the subject which you can read here. Even though e3 is some time off, it’s always fun to speculate as to what a new Smash will offer, so here are the ten newcomers I view as most likely, ranked in order of probability.
A lot of people thought he’d be our retro rep in Smash 4; the equivalent of Game and Watch in Melee and R.O.B. in Brawl. I imagine this was largely due to the random inclusion of a Murasame Ninja Castle game in Nintendo Land. He ended up being a mere assist trophy, but that could be seen as just a stepping stone to make before being made playable. Some are convinced that Takamaru will be the next Little Mac in that regard. With Duck Hunt out of the way our potential retro newcomer pool is smaller, and I think Takamaru is left as the likeliest such newcomer.
9. Shovel Knight
Yeah, yeah, I know the arguments against this. He’s a third party rep, and not even an iconic one like those we’ve gotten thus far. But it’s very telling that Shovel Knight is one of the only non-Nintendo characters to get an amiibo outside of the Smash lineup(Monster Hunter also got an amiibo); he’s a character that really resonates with Nintendo fans and would fit perfectly into Smash. And while Shovel Knight isn’t an exclusive to Nintendo platforms, it did release on the Nintendo console prior to other consoles. And it featured an exclusive co-op mode via the amiibo on the Nintendo platforms, which, while later made available on non-Nintendo platforms, still speaks to Shovel Knight having a clear loyalty to Nintendo.
I’m convinced that he’s going to be a third party newcomer. Sure he’s not as recognizable to your average joe as the likes of Pac-Man or Sonic, but he would appeal to the core Nintendo crowd. He’s the most likely third party newcomer at this point.
8. BotW Link
Now I know this might not sound desirable to a lot of people, but I do think there’s a good chance it’ll happen. Please hear me out.
It’s been forever since we’ve gotten a proper Zelda newcomer: the last non-clone we got was actually Zelda way back in MELEE. Brawl saw Toon Link, and Smash 4 saw no newcomer at all. Files for Toon Zelda were actually found in Brawl; apparently she was strongly considered as an additional “newcomer” back then. While Toon Zelda is irrelevant enough to be dismissed at this point, we can glean from this that for whatever reason we seem to be limited to the Triforce Trio as far as potential Zelda newcomers go. When you consider that reality along with how long it’s been since the series got a proper newcomer, this becomes more plausible. And when you think about the immense success of Breath of the Wild and how well-represented it will surely be in the next Smash, it becomes probable.
They won’t want to throw out Link’s classic moveset, so they’ll keep him, but add BotW Link with the Sheikah Slate. It’s not like there are any other characters in the game significant enough to warrant playability in Smash. I suppose that Zelda with the Sheikah Slate isn’t TOTALLY outside the realm of possiblity, but considering that you never see her use its powers(whereas Link does the entire game) but DO see her use magic, I think it’s more likely Zelda will retain her old moveset, just with her BotW design instead of her TP one.
Or maybe I’m totally wrong and they’ll throw in Mipha out of sheer popularity. Or maybe we won’t get a Zelda newcomer at all.
7. Captain Toad
Yup. Captain Toad’s the most probable pick for a Mario newcomer. He’s become a series mainstay, having appeared in every 3D Mario game since Galaxy, and even managing to get his own spin-off title on the Wii U. Consider the very real possibility of a Treasure Tracker port and/or sequel on the Switch, and you’ve got a rock-solid case for putting Captain Toad in Smash. And let’s face it, Toad is by far the most iconic Mario character not currently in Smash.
People have raised objections to his inclusion on the grounds that his character doesn’t jump, but such people are silly and not to be taken seriously. That’s just like when people said Olimar couldn’t get in because he’s an inch tall; there’s always a workaround, especially if Sakurai’s directing. Perhaps he could have a fantastic recovery(I recall propellor platforms being a thing in Treasure Tracker) at the cost of barely being able to get off the ground when jumping. That would certainly make him unique. Besides, who’s his competition for the Mario newcomer slot? Daisy or Waluigi? Pfft, as if. King Boo? It would be awesome, but it’s not happening. Pauline? Maybe in Smash 6, but for now she hasn’t displayed enough staying power.
Get ready for Captain Toad, people.
6. Rex and Pyra
Xenoblade Chronicles is a growing franchise. While it isn’t popular and never will be without a serious gameplay overhaul(I love the games, but this is true, face it), Nintendo does seem to acknowledge that it holds some value, pushing the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 out in the Switch’s first year and granting it the December release slot. It’s already the best-selling game in the series. Consider that, and then also consider that we get closer and closer to the bottom of the barrel for newcomers as time goes on, and I think we’ll probably get a Xenoblade 2 rep, and it’ll naturally be the game’s main protagonists, Rex and Pyra. I won’t get into the details, but there’s also insane potential for a unique moveset, so take that for what it’s worth.
Plus Sakurai is a confirmed Xenoblade fan, so if he’s directing, it’s all the more likely.
We’re in the top five now. While I did try to order these from most to least likely, everyone from here on out is a shoe-in.
We all know Isabelle is getting in. She’s overtaken Tom Nook as the Animal Crossing mascot, even being put in Mario Kart. With AC’s recent rise in popularity, it’s more than deserving of a second rep. And Isabelle will be that rep. It’s happening. No point speculating otherwise.
4. Spring Man
ARMS is a new first party IP that sold well enough that it’ll most likely get a sequel and become a legitimate franchise. As such, a newcomer is all but assured. And that newcomer will be the game’s mascot, Spring Man. Which is actually quite unfortunate, considering that he’s the least interesting character they could have put in. ARMS is so full of neat characters and we’re going to get stuck with the blandest of the bunch. I could also see Ribbon Girl getting in as an alt or even a second rep, but sadly she’s the next blandest. What we really need is some Twintelle or Helix, but that’s not happening. At least not this go-around.
3. FE Newcomer
Since Melee we’ve had a tradition of getting at least one FE newcomer from the latest game in the series, and in SSB4 we got two. Three if you count DLC. And back down to two if you don’t count the clones. FE’s a pretty major franchise for Nintendo now, which is evident in that it was one of the first franchises to get an iOS game. Now, seeing as how FE Switch has yet to even be revealed, we don’t know who exactly to expect to be the newcomer, but rest assured we’re getting someone from that game.
2. Gen 8 Pokemon Newcomer
Pokemon will be getting a mainline game on the Switch. This game will be huge, and we’ll surely get Gen 8 out of it. There’s a pattern that would suggest the next Smash would have a Gen 8 Pokemon(Melee had Gen 2, Brawl Gen 4, SSB4 Gen 6), but that’s not even relevant, because the need for a Pokemon newcomer from Pokemon Switch is enough of a reason to guarantee a Gen 8 newcomer.
Does this even warrant an explanation? Splatoon is a breakout new IP for Nintendo that managed to do extremely well despite its debut on the Wii U. With Nintendo’s urgency in rushing the franchise to the Switch, it’s clear that it’s become quite important to the company, and thus Inkling is rendered the most likely newcomer for a new Smash game. On that I think everyone can agree. And that’s without even considering the insane moveset potential.