When Super Smash Bros. Ultimate dropped on the Nintendo Switch in the winter of 2018, it boasted a nigh-on overwhelmingly robust roster. Not only did it collect every single character from every single previous SSB iteration, pitting tons of famous Nintendo characters from different franchises against each other in infectiously fun combat, it also introduced a bunch of new ones. Castlevania, Street Fighter, Donkey Kong — all of these franchises and more had new representatives in the game. And we haven’t even gotten into the DLC yet. Since the game’s release two years ago, new characters have dripped in semi-regularly, with folks like the Piranha Plant from Mario, Terry from Fatal Fury, and friggin’ Banjo & Kazooie coming to play. Now, as part of a Nintendo livestream (h/t gamesradar), maestro Masahiro Sakurai, the director of Ultimate, has announced the latest and greatest character to come to the stage. But the character… might feel a little familiar.
You see, SSB Ultimate has seen some flack in the fan community for heavily favoring characters from Fire Emblem, Nintendo’s internationally successful JRPG. There were seven characters from that universe available to play as before factoring in DLC, and they all feel fairly similar aesthetically and similar to play as. Anime-styled hair? Flowing cloaks of armor? Swordplay, flirting with some magic? You now basically know what it’s like to play as a Fire Emblem character in SSB Ultimate. And while the characters do have subtle differences for true believers (Ike is slow and powerful, Chrom has tons of magic, Marth digs fire, etc.), fans were itching for some variety in new character announcements. Would we get Dante from Devil May Cry? Something crazy, like a Tetris block? Waluigi, finally?
Well, nope. We got another Fire Emblem sword fighter. Specifically, Byleth, the main character of recent Switch game Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Indeed, upon first glance, Byleth looks like just about every other Fire Emblem fighter. But there are some key differences that might make them a unique experience to play. For one: You can choose your gender of preference, with Byleth’s skin coming in both male and female varieties. Also, they’re not just adept with a sword — they also have a bow, halberd, and axe, all borrowed exactly from Three Houses. And, these different weapons provide different ranges of attack — you don’t have to get super close to someone to do some damage, unlike other Fire Emblem characters. Finally: Sakurai is obviously having fun with this creation. In the announcement video, he dabs on us, gives us binary counting lessons, and friggin’ gives us the finger! What a guy! I don’t know about you, but I’m going to exercise an open mind when I get in my first play session as Byleth.
Check out the full livestream from Sakurai below, and marvel at how much fun this guy is having. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is available wherever you buy video games; Byleth is available starting January 28. What are you gonna play in 2020? Here’s some of our most anticipated upcoming games. Plus, take a trip down memory lane with our favorite Nintendo 64 games of all time. And did you know there’s such a thing as a “Nintendo PlayStation“?!