Content of the article: "Super Smash Bros ‘What If…?’: Final Fantasy (Move Set Concepts)"
As you can assume from my presence in this community, I am a massive Super Smash Bros fan. I love Smash because it is a celebration of gaming and its history, with fighters from all types of games across numerous platforms and backgrounds. It's a beautiful concept that I don't think any other game has ever accomplished quite as well as Smash has.
I'm also a huge fan of a certain, little known Square franchise, bit of a hidden gem, called Final Fantasy. Doubt you've heard of it. Jokes aside, I've been playing the games since I borrowed a friend's copy of FF7 in 2000, aged 7, and have been hooked since. I often consider Final Fantasy as a main contributing factor of my love for JRPGs, the other factor being Pokémon. I was ecstatic when Cloud was added to Smash back in 2015, and in tears when Sephiroth was announced in December.
On a somewhat unrelated, yet important note, I also like Marvel. Nice bit of superhero escapism never hurt anyone. I'm really looking forward to Marvel's What If…?, an upcoming animated series that explores the outcomes of key events had they been different in some way, such as Peggy Carter receiving the super serum instead of Steve Rogers.
I think y'all know where this is going now.
Both the idea of exploring alternative events, as well as Sephiroth's addition to Smash Bros has had me thinking about what other Final Fantasy characters would be like if they joined Smash (at least, more than usual). Thought it would be fun to share some of these ideas with you.
DISCLAIMER: I don't expect any more FF reps in Smash, ever (I never thought we'd get Cloud, let alone see him return for SSBU and have Sephiroth as DLC), and that the purpose of this is to simply have fun speculating and conceptualizing what could be IF we did, not to request or suggest these characters.
Tifa Breaks Her Limit!
I feel like my first pick is the most obvious, and potentially the most requested aside from Cloud and Sephiroth themselves, but Tifa would be a brilliant addition.
One thing Smash lacks is female brawlers. Most female characters have weapons at the center of their move sets, like Lucina and Samus, and the brawlers among them are only partial brawlers, such as Bayonetta and ZSS with guns, or Peach and Daisy with numerous, cartoony gimmicks. Tifa would be the first female pure brawler other than maybe Min Min (I'll let you guys decide if her stretchy arm gimmick discounts her).
She'd also be super easy to build a move set around, as well.
- Her neutral attack could be a pretty standard 3 hit combo of punches, the final hit having good impact. A Beat Rush, if you will. She could potentially have a flurry of punches as well. Many characters alternate based on input speed and other factors.
- Side tilt could be a simple kick attack, maybe akin to Captain Falcon's side tilt.
- Down tilt could be a slide, not only like Cloud's and Sephiroth's, but like her animation when using Parry in Remake.
- Up tilt could be a flip kick, like Somersault.
- Neutral air could be a simple kick, maybe similar to Mario's.
- Back air could be a a punch, with Tifa leaning backwards to backhand behind herself.
- Forward air could be a forward leaning punch, similar to Mario's spiking fair and Banjo's strong hit fair, or a leg drop like Snake's. Either could potentially spike.
- Down air could be Divekick, with a meteor spike effect.
- Up air could easily just be an aerial variant of Somersault, with Tifa doing a flip kick.
- Tifa's neutral special could provide her with what may be her only projectile. I'm thinking Chi Trap from FF7 Remake. The more charged it is, the stronger it is, but charging leaves you open and it is stationary. Doesn't stay on screen more than a few seconds, and does damage without knockback, like Piranha Plant's poison mist. Potentially good for ledge trapping to rack up damage as the opponent recovers.
- Side special could be Overpower, in which Tifa charges up and drop kicks her opponent.
- I was thinking about putting a counter throw for Tifa's down special, but I think Focused Strike could work nicely. She would jump backwards, then lunge forwards, like in Remake. In the air, the lunge would enter her into free fall, leaving her wide open if she misses. Potential horizontal recovery option.
- Up special would clearly be Whirling Uppercut, so let's move on.
- Her throws could be rather fun. Forward could shoulder barge the foe, back could have Tifa roll onto her back and throw them behind herself. Down would be Meteodrive, and up could see Tifa jump and then slam dunk them off the floor, Meteor Strike style. Both would be references to some of her OG limit break attacks.
- Up smash could be Dolphin Blow, either with watery particle effects or with a transparent dolphin image, to reference one of her OG limits.
- Side smash could be a neat looking kick similar to her animation when attacking with Deadly Dodge in Remake.
- Down smash could be Waterkick.
- Her Final Smash would obviously be a flurry of hits leading into Final Heaven.
With a potential move set like this, Tifa would be a perfect fit, and suddenly, a Mii outfit doesn't seem to do her justice.
Noctis Warps Into Battle!
Now for a character I am not entirely sure is all that popular. I see a lot of people complain about FF15, but still, Noctis would make an interesting character.
Noct's gimmick in FF15 is that he can use any sort of weapon, as opposed to the others only being able to use two types each (greatswords and shields for Gladio, daggers and lances for Ignis, and guns and machinery for Prompto). He can also summon the Armiger, a group of royal arms belonging to past kings of Lucis, to aid him in battle. Finally, Noct is able to throw his weapons and warp to them to perform a Warp Strike from afar.
Whilst I won't go into as much detail as I did with Tifa, but I do have some good ideas of moves Noct could have.
- His up special could be his Warp Strike. Makes sense for his warp to be his recovery, and it could be angled, like Sephiroth's up special, to go in any direction. If it hits, it could emulate FF15's Warp Stike, doing more damage the further his sword travels. Of course, for Smash's purposes, it would be harder to hit from afar, as you cannot lock on like in FF15.
- Any move using a greatsword should be slow. Strong, but leaving Noct super vulnerable if he misses. FF15 shows us he doesn't have Cloud's or Gladio's strength or skill to swing it around like a one handed weapon, and he often has to put his whole body into an attack. This could lead to a super slow, but stupidly strong side smash, and potentially an incredibly slow, yet powerful, forward aerial.
- His down special could be a counter that needs perfect timing, like Bayo's Witch Time. Yep, I mean Holy. A perfectly timed counter would counter with a blast of Holy magic from his ring. Would be tough to pull off, and could result in reduced damage and a phase dodge if you mess it up, like Bayo's Bat Within. Would also work as a nice reference to FF15's dodge mechanic.
Of course, Noct has loads of potential for other moves too, utilizing lances, daggers, shields and guns as well, and potentially magic. Naturally, his Final Smash would be him summoning the Armiger and going all out.
Please let me know what your thoughts are on this. If you guys like it, I have numerous other characters I have been thinking about, and I might even discuss some characters you guys suggest. 🙂
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- I think Fighter #78 being in Smash just completely changed the likelihood of Fighter #61 being cut from the roster in future games
- Rough estimate of 10.1 knockback changes, for the few moves that changed
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