With the announcement of Pyra and Mythra joining the Smash roster, I've seen a lot of divided opinions on the subject. I've seen people like myself, who are extremely stoked (I literally screamed I was so happy to see Pyra join lineup). I've also seen people decry her as "another anime sword fighter, but with tits this time," which is just hilarious (to me). But nobody seems to be looking at any of the character reveals with a critical piece of information.
Ultimate isn't the FINAL Smash game.
Now, what I said probably sounds incredibly obvious, and I get it. But think about it for a moment. As far as I recall, Sakurai has more or less stated since beginning that Ultimate is (probably) a one time deal, with the level of Third Parties going through the roof compared to past titles. We likely won't get a roster with this many Third Party characters again for a long time. The amount of licensing agreements and what not that have to be signed for the amount of characters present is likely a logistical nightmare after all.
The reason I bring this up is that in 10 DLC characters we've had since launch (Pyra & Mythra included as a single character due to their mechanic of swapping), we've had 4 "Nintendo" characters: Piranha Plant, Byleth, Min Min, and now Pyra/Mythra. Since the debut of Ultimate, we've also seen several new Nintendo-owned characters join the roster, such as Ridley and the Inkling.
Why am I bringing this up? Simple: as I said previously, Ultimate isn't the last Smash game that's going to be made. There is a future beyond it, and that future likely won't have as many, if any, Third Party characters. I say this because of the above point of the agreements being a pain the rear, and because even Sakurai said not to expect something to the scale of Ultimate ever happening again back when it was revealed that every character from Smash's past would be present. While this could very well mean a good number of First Party characters won't come back in the future, I personally think this applies more to the shakier ground that Third Parties rest on. Nintendo doesn't own those characters, and I know for a fact that even the most lucrative deals don't last forever. Smash is a boon for both Nintendo and the Third Party partners that get characters included, but it's also likely hell to have to go between dozens of people outside of the dev team to make sure things aren't going off brand for those Third Party titles. While there is little doubt in my mind that there are likely plenty of instances of this on the First Party side of things, Nintendo is ultimately in charge of their IPs, so there's likely less of an issue there.
I say all of this because I see inclusions like Byleth and Pyra/Mythra, as "safe/lackluster" as some may see them, as smart picks. Why? Because they have a better chance of making the transition between Ultimate and what comes after Ultimate. Smash is, first and foremost, a Nintendo game. It started as a series where Nintendo icons beat the snot out of each other, and it will always be that, at least in part. I can totally see them pulling out Third Party characters in the next title (until maybe the DLC) in order to bolster the homegrown Nintendo roster of characters, and maybe even give said Nintendo IPs more representation. Since becoming a Xenoblade fan, I've been dying to see more representation for the series in Smash. The cast have unique moveset potential due to their wide varieties of weapons and personalities. I'm over the moon about Pyra/Mythra in part because of that fact (the other reason is I'm a huge Pyra fan). Despite the whole "swordfighter" thing (which I think is a stupid criticism that should apply as more of a "Marth Clone" issue, personally), I think it's healthier for Smash to expand on what Nintendo can more easily bring back in the future, rather than place all of their stock on likely one-time only cameos from Third Party titles, big or small. Byleth, Min Min, and Pyra/Mythra ultimately have more of a chance to come back after Ultimate than, say, Sephiroth or Joker (as much as I'd love Joker to come back… I can do without Sephiroth personally).
TL;DR: I think that Pyra/Mythra, like Byleth and Min Min before them, are more important for Smash's future beyond Ultimate than Third Party characters that may or may not come back. Even if people don't really care about that right now, I think it's a smart move on Nintendo and Sakurai's part to add some "Futureproof" characters in the DLC passes.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. If some of them feel a little scattered, forgive me, I tried. I'd like to know what you all think of my thoughts, and maybe offer your own. What do you think of the whole "what happens after Smash Ultimate" bit of this?
- My big issue with the next Smash having a significant roster reduction: not just who do you cut, but how do you make the newcomers feel worth the lost fighters?
- Sakurai’s character design philosophy seems to have changed, but in a good way
- I think Fighter #78 being in Smash just completely changed the likelihood of Fighter #61 being cut from the roster in future games
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