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Will all of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's DLC characters be 3rd parties? Based on Reggie's words, it sounds pretty likely

With the surprise reveal of Persona 5's Joker for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate yesterday, all bets are off

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • December 7, 2018 at 7:48 p.m. PST • Comments: 38

Yesterday, The Game Awards 2018 took place, and among other big announcements, Nintendo confirmed who the first post-launch paid DLC character (besides Piranha Plant, who early adopters are getting for free) will be.

To the hype of many JRPG fans, including two of us writers here at EventHubs (myself and as Dakota "DarkHorse" Hills), it was revealed to be Joker, the main protagonist of Atlus' smash hit Persona 5.

This announcement came somewhat out of left field. While Atlus and Nintendo are definitely on good terms, with the collaboration project Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE on the Wii U and numerous Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS games and spinoffs of the Shin Megami Tensei and Persona series, the main Persona games have been firmly stationed on Sony hardware, and Persona 5 is no exception.

To have Nintendo include such a big Sony-embedded franchise in the biggest gaming crossover we've ever seen goes a step further even than the shocker that was Final Fantasy's Cloud back in Super Smash Bros. 4, since Final Fantasy had a long and rich history on Nintendo hardware, with effectively the first half of the series being Nintendo-focused.

On top of this, Reggie Fils-Aime spoke at the event and his words suggested this is just the tip of the iceberg, saying that "These are going to be characters that are new to the series, just like Joker from Persona 5, characters you would not expect to be in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate."

So what exactly does this mean for the big picture of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's DLC? Let's see if we can decipher some of the weight that the words of Nintendo of America's president carries.

Does this really mean no Nintendo characters at all in the DLC?

Sadly for Nintendo diehards such as myself, Reggie's words seem to heavily imply that the DLC for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate won't contain any Nintendo characters at all, and that any fan favorites who have been left out missed the boat in the launch roster.

This is of course not a guarantee, but the phrasing "characters you would not expect to be in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" leans heavily towards non-Nintendo properties.

Of course, you could also read this to have a different meaning, such as including characters people have thought were already ruled out, such as heavily requested assist trophy characters like Isaac or Waluigi, or even characters that are already part of someone else's moveset, like Toad is for Peach.

But while this could be the case, it certainly doesn't sound like it would be the case.

The harsh reality for anyone holding out hope for any remaining Nintendo favorites is that they're unlikely to make the cut, and that you'd best prepare yourself for non-Nintendo properties to fill out the entire lineup, and hold out hope that perhaps we'll get a second wave of DLC which will be different.

What exactly does "new to the series" mean, and what's the value of DLC to the publishers?

Perhaps the most curious part of Reggie's statement is that the characters will be "new to the series". Surely, any character ever added to Super Smash Bros. is new to the series, certainly now in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate where every single veteran is also part of the roster?

What Reggie might mean by this is that they're all brand new franchises that are not yet part of the Super Smash Bros. universe, something many theorycrafters had already assumed when it was said that each DLC pack would contain one stage and several music tracks (the only series in Super Smash Bros. to remain without a stage to their name is R.O.B./Gyromite).

In this case, it sounds even more likely that 3rd parties would be all the rage, since notable Nintendo franchises that aren't already part of Super Smash Bros. are very few indeed.

Business-wise, it makes great sense. A big part of DLC planning is to try and bring in players who may not already be interested in your product. It's a safe bet that any Nintendo fans are already buying the game, and that the inclusion of perhaps Dixie Kong or Rex & Pyra aren't going to sway anyone who isn't buying the game.

Big franchises that aren't traditionally associated with Nintendo, however, are a different story, and can very well drive in sales for the base game that you would not have seen otherwise.

This is already standard practice when it comes to DLC in fighting games, as we see guest characters become more and more prevalent, with Mortal Kombat, Injustice, Soul Calibur and now even Tekken all having featured guests from entirely different mediums than even video games.

While it doesn't seem all too likely that Super Smash Bros. is going to venture outside of the bounds of video games (never say never, though), the shock announcement of Persona joining the fray shows that there are still a mountain's worth of franchises that are big to gaming but are certainly not expected for Super Smash Bros.

We've previously reported on particular third parties Nintendo have good relations with, and it might be of interest to keep track of these to try and figure out what DLC we might see in the future, or at least from where it would come. As stated earlier, Nintendo and Atlus are definitely on good terms, even though Persona 5 itself was never on any Nintendo platform.

Super Smash Bros. already shook the gaming world by including Solid Snake back in Brawl, which was reportedly simply because of Smash Bros. series producer Masahiro Sakurai and then-producer of the Metal Gear series Hideo Kojima being good friends, so series can be included in Smash based on practically any basis if it brings sound business sense along with it.

Another interesting part is that since Atlus is owned since a few years back by Sega, this brings them to 3 characters/franchises in Super Smash Bros. with Sonic, Bayonetta and Persona, though it's really only the first one that people typically connect with the Sega brandname.

What this will mean for future DLC is anyone's guess, but given the juggernaut companies currently tied to Super Smash Bros., it doesn't seem unlikely that we'll see more from them, or from their subsidiaries, as Atlus is to Sega.

Of course, it's also possible that the DLC will focus on bringing entirely new companies into the fold, with prime Nintendo collaborators in recent years being Koei Tecmo and Level-5.

While the Nintendo fan I am at heart laments the likely loss of more Nintendo icons joining the fray, the shock of seeing my favorite game of the last 4 years joining Super Smash Bros. fills me with excitement and anticipation as well.

Even so, love for Nintendo is the very core of Super Smash Bros., and while there are a lot of 3rd parties that enhance gaming's greatest crossover even further, I'm personally filled with a complex feeling I can't really place.

Perhaps that's what Nintendo were going for with their DLC announcement, since Reggie himself said that they specifically wanted to target characters you would not expect to be in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

In the case of Joker, I certainly didn't expect him, but waking up to the announcement of his inclusion was an extremely positive experience. Unexpected doesn't have to mean unwanted.

At the same time, if the choices are being made with shock value as their main focus, it might end up with fans resenting them in the end.

Whatever the case, Nintendo basically blew the case wide open with their announcement of Atlus joninig the party with Persona 5's Joker, and while we can predict a lot of things that likely won't happen (such as Nintendo characters being DLC), it's becoming increasingly difficult to predict what actually will happen.

They've got us right where they want us, and all we can do is wait and see.

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