Sunday, August 19, 2018

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Echo Estimations #2

Echo Fighters. Easy to make, now high in demand. While clones generally got despised in previous Super Smash Bros. games, the re-brand helped wonders and people, who might have been against clones in the past, are begging for them now.

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate it's also a way of including some fan favorites, which otherwise probably wouldn't be playable at all or just be represented as an alt costume. As Sakurai explained in a column about the clones in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, the key is that the clone characters only get balanced against their original counterpart, not against the entire roster. This saves a lot of development time and makes the Echo Fighters an easy way to fulfill fan requests. They are essentially alt-skins with some additional efforts.

Now, the last Direct has blown the doors wide open for Echo inclusions with Richter, Dark Samus and Chrom...

Dark Samus used to be a case of "should be unique", but she got in as an Echo Fighter anyway. Other than the above reasons, there is also the fact that she looks quite similar to Samus, where similar looking characters probably should also behave similarly to avoid confusion, especially in chaotic matches like 8 Player Smashes. Still, she has quite different animations from her counterpart, which sets her apart.

Chrom got in as an Echo Fighter of Roy, which is a loose connection. He probably should have been another Echo Fighter of Marth, but Lucina already took this spot and there is only ever one Echo Fighter per character (the ε-numbering and the shared slot on the roster should make this clear). So, Chrom got in as an Echo Fighter of Roy, the original clone of Marth, despite him having no real relations to the character story-wise. Still, Echo Fighters probably have to come from the same franchise as their original.

In addition, Chrom borrowed the Up Special from Ike, so Echo Fighters don't necessarily have the exact same moves as their counterparts. Probably all the clones in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will become Echo Fighters this way, unless they are returning from the first three games.

Richter also showed that it's entirely possible that new characters might get Echo Fighters right out of the box and that 3rd party franchises might receive Echo Fighters as well. It's certainly a good way to add some more content to franchises, which so far only have one fighter, but which aren't really a big priority.

With the new insights let's go over our list of Echo Estimations from last time by adding and re-evaluating contenders:

  • Black Knight (Ike)
  • Black Shadow (Captain Falcon)
  • Celica (Robin)
  • Dixie Kong (Diddy Kong)
  • Dry Bowser (Bowser)
  • Funky Kong (Donkey Kong)
  • Impa (Sheik)
  • Hilda (Zelda)
  • Isabelle (Villager)
  • Jeanne (Bayonetta)
  • Ken Masters (Ryu)
  • Medusa (Palutena)
  • Octoling (Inkling)
  • Ribbon Girl (Spring Man)
  • Shadow (Sonic)
  • T-elos (KOS-MOS)

Black Knight and Ike share the same sword fighting style, where he could become an Echo, who is slightly heavier, but even stronger. He's also a fan favorite and a "bad guy" from the Fire Emblem franchise for once. Much like Chrom, he even had a Mii costume in Smash 4, where many of those were used to acknowledge fan favorites. But since we already got an Echo Fighter from the Fire Emblem series and Ike seemingly still has an alt color based on the Black Knight, chances aren't that good. Also, realistically someone like the Black Knight shouldn't even be able to jump, while Echo Fighters tend to have the same basic attributes as their originals, so a strong and heavier Echo might not be an option at all... He could appear as a boss and/or an Assist Trophy in the game, though.

In the same sense as the Black Knight, Black Shadow could be added as an Echo Fighter of Captain Falcon, finally giving this franchise some more love. It would certainly fit with the current "rival theme", which also introduced Ridley and King K. Rool. In addition this could be a nod to the original Melee Ganondorf, who was a Captain Falcon clone in that game.

We're not done yet with discussing Fire Emblem characters, where with the exception of Corrin every of the existing characters could have an Echo Fighter, especially now that there doesn't have to be a real connection between the Echo and the original. I personally would have loved to see Tharja as the "shadow" of Robin, but she doesn't really use a sword / dagger and we already have too many characters from Fire Emblem Awakening. So, Celica from Fire Emblem Echoes could be a candidate here, seeing how she is both magic user and a sword fighter. Her main gimmick would be hurting herself with her own magic, which basically makes her the Pichu of Fire Emblem. They could even include Alm in her Final Smash, similar to how Chrom used to be in Robin's Final Smash. But she isn't really a perfect fit, because she is a faster character, who uses entirely different magic from Robin... So, like Black Knight she feels like a possibility, but not a strong one.

With Dark Samus being an Echo Fighter, it's fully certain that Dixie Kong will make it into the game as an Echo Fighter as well. Her Up Special can be completely different from Diddy's rocket barrel, however, which used to be the main issue before. Otherwise she looks very similar to Diddy and probably could re-use all his other moves, including the Peanut Gun, which could be a bubble gum gun like in Tropical Freeze. Diddy Kong's old Dixie recolor also hasn't been sighted yet. Plus, we haven't seen Diddy Kong's Final Smash yet, where both he and Dixie could perform some "Double Trouble".

Dry Bowser is still more likely to become just an alt costume, but getting an amiibo of the skeletal character would certainly be interesting...

Nothing has really changed for Funky Kong, except that his animations could be quite different from Donkey Kong, utilizing the surf board in some form.

Impa now feels more likely after Chrom was added, where she even has a deeper connection to Sheik than Chrom has to Roy. But what still speaks against her is that they probably would use her Skyward Sword incarnation, who would be quite taller than Sheik. And so far all the Echo Fighter share the same body proportions as their counterparts... But let's see.

Hilda is still one of my favorite picks and nothing has really changed for her either. She doesn't seem any more or less likely than before. She could fully use her scepter all the time, setting her animations apart from Zelda's.

Isabelle and Shadow already got covered in my previous post about Assist Trophies that might become playable. Though, in Isabelle's case it's still unclear whether she would really become an Echo Fighter or her own thing. Shadow is full Echo material, however, since he looks very similar to Sonic.

Jeanne is again a candidate, which makes the most sense for being an Echo Fighter, but she feels somewhat unlikely to appear in the base game, because Bayonetta has still her Jeanne alt colors. Samus doesn't have her Dark Samus colors anymore, which hinted at the inclusion of said character. Ike also seemingly lost his Chrom colors. But with Jeanne's colors still being a thing, it doesn't look so good for her. Maybe as DLC...

Ken Masters on the other hand is still likely. Street Fighter got lots and lots of music added and Vergeben, the guy who leaked Ridley and Simon Belmont, now insists on both Isabelle and Ken. So, things are looking good for the Ryu Echo Fighter.

Like Black Knight and Black Shadow, Medusa would be another Echo Fighter to fill in some more antagonists into the game. But her moves would have to be very different reskins for her to make sense as an Echo Fighter, like Dark Pit's Electroshock. And overall she would certainly be material for a semi-clone with a similar movement style, but different Special Moves, maybe even bringing back some of Palutena's lost moves.

The Octolings are like Jeanne most likely material for DLC, because Splatoon 2's "Octo Expansion" might be too new to make an appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. If they were a thing, they probably would have been showcased together with the Inklings.

Last but not least, we have another "what if"-scenario similar to Ribbon Girl, where don't even have the corresponding original fighter on the roster: I'm talking about KOS-MOS & T-elos from the Xenosaga universe. Both androids are recurring characters with their latest appearances in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I'm not all that familiar with the source material, but I like the idea and really like T-elos' design and personality (she's basically an android Cia), where her as an Echo Fighter of KOS-MOS would be nice to have.

Anyway, the likeliest out of these choices seem to be the following, all of them being fan favorites and having some clues hinting at them:

  • Dixie Kong
  • Isabelle
  • Ken Masters
  • Shadow

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