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If Bandai Namco get more characters in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC, who might we see?

Although Pac-Man is an iconic mascot, there's much more available from Bandai Namco that fans would assuredly welcome

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • December 24, 2018 at 7:59 p.m. PST • Comments: 45

With the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC coming up, I've taken it upon myself to launch this new article series which analyzes each 3rd party company currently present with playable characters in Super Smash Bros.

We'll take a quick look at which characters they currently have in the game, how long they've been in the series, and any other interesting distinctions on a company-by-company basis.

Then, it's time to look over what other major franchises they have available which might be a good fit for Super Smash Bros., or simply fit the criteria of being important to gaming history or to specific genres.

Right now, there are five 3rd party companies who have playable representation in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and we're going to look them over one by one.

Bandai Namco have been the most loyal ally to Nintendo when it comes to Super Smash Bros. development, but we've been told they will receive no special treatment. Maybe it's time for a second character from the company, though...

With that, let's dive straight in and have a look at what more Bandai Namco have to offer the Super Smash Bros. series.

Bandai Namco's Smash History

Although Pac-Man doesn't carry any kind of particular distinction with him as a 3rd party character, besides being the first Bandai Namco character to be added, this company has a deeper connection with the Super Smash Bros. series beyond that.

It's been no secret that Bandai Namco started assisting Nintendo with development for Super Smash Bros. 4, and this has continued with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as well.

It's been said that Bandai Namco will receive no special treatment simply because of the close co-operation between the two companies, something we can clearly see as Sega, Capcom and Konami all overshadow them in Super Smash Bros. content, but it's hard to ignore that Bandai Namco have quite a few notable franchises that'd be apt for Smash.

With the winds seeming to blow in the direction of 3rd party additions for the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC, it'd be hard to imagine that Bandai Namco characters haven't been on Nintendo's mind when they've been working together in such close quarters, and for such a lnog time already.

Tekken

We've heard it many times from series producer Katsuhiro Harada himself — if you aren't counting Super Smash Bros., Tekken is the biggest selling fighting game franchise on the market.

Although Street Fighter 2 holds more clout in many areas of the world, there are places such as Sweden, where I live and grew up, where the fighting game that everyone was talking about and that was referenced nonstop in popular culture was actually Tekken 3.

Tekken has a storied history and has been staying strong even through the so-called dark ages of fighting games where most developers weren't really focusing on the genre anymore.

As mentioned before, too, Bandai Namco have an extra in since they're actively working with Nintendo on Super Smash Bros. development, meaning it's unlikely that Tekken has never crossed the thoughts of the development team, seeing as it's Bandai Namco's biggest and most successful video game series, eclipsing even Pac-Man as far as sales go, though Pac-Man was obviously more of an arcade fixture.

The only thing that's a little bit muddy as far as Tekken goes, though, is that contrary to other fighting game franchises there's no constant main character. The most consistently recognizable character is probably Heihachi Mishima, who is an antagonist more often than not, but the only problem with him is that his voice actor Unshō Ishizuka recently passed away and they might want to avoid using the character out of respect, rather than replacing his voice (for a second time — his previous voice actor Daisuke Gōri died in 2010).

If you're not adding Heihachi, the most obvious choices seem to be either Jin or Kazuya, possibly utilizing their Devil Forms as well which would fit perfectly well in Smash.

The thing about it is, though, everyone has kind of been waiting for a Tekken character as an inevitable inclusion ever since it became known that Bandai Namco were collaborating with Nintendo on Smash, and even moreso after Street Fighter's Ryu made his debut during the Super Smash Bros. 4 DLC wave, but all we've seen from Tekken is a Mii costume for Heihachi back in Super Smash Bros. 4, and even with the abundance of Spirits in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Tekken is nowhere to be seen or referenced at all.

It's hard to say what this could mean for Tekken's chances. It's possible that they were already considering Tekken as a potential DLC candidate and decided not to include any content in the main game because of this, or it's possible that they simply do not envision Tekken as mixing well with Smash. I suppose time will tell.

Tales

Although not nearly to the same scale as Square-Enix's enormous RPG series, the Tales franchise from Bandai Namco definitely holds its own as one of the biggest Japanese RPG series in the world.

We've also seen reference to the series in the past, much like with Tekken, when Tales of Symphonia's protagonist Lloyd Irving received a Mii costume in Super Smash Bros. 4, though this Mii costume is also absent in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (which doesn't have to mean anything — Virtua Fighter costumes are also gone from Ultimate despite being in 4, even with the addition of an Assist Trophy from the series).

The Tales franchise originally began with Tales of Phantasia on the SNES, and has had many games released for Nintendo consoles since then, with one of the most notable games in the series being Tales of Symphonia which was originally a Nintendo GameCube exclusive game (a PlayStation 2 version was later released, but only in Japan).

Like most JRPGs, the Tales games have a new cast for most games, and often have entirely new worlds, so it's hard to point to certain characters as the main character of the entire series, but Sakurai added the Lloyd Irving Mii costume in Super Smash Bros. 4 reasoning "could it really have been anyone else?", so if Tales were to get Smash representation, it's hard to imagine it being anyone other than Lloyd from Tales of Symphonia.

What makes Tales seem like a pretty dodgy bet, though, is that we've already got Final Fantasy in the game since before, and Persona is set to be the first DLC. On top of that, I'll be talking about another JRPG series from Square-Enix in the next article which is much bigger than Tales, and it's hard to imagine them devoting three out of five DLC slots to just one genre.

Tales is a big series, is part of Bandai Namco and certainly has some kind of shot, but in this instance it feels like its genre might hold it back. Then again, Smash has been fairly light on RPG characters (not counting strategy RPGs like Fire Emblem, which are a whole different genre to most), so maybe we're going to see a wave of them blast through with this DLC.

Soul Calibur

The Soul Calibur, or simply Soul, franchise has been a staple for Bandai Namco since it came along, and it's one of their most popular and enduring franchises, even though it had a bit of a slump for a few years before we saw its revitialization through Soul Calibur 6 this year.

While it's maintained popularity across the world, the fact of the matter is that it's simply not as big or popular as Tekken is, and it's from the very same developer.

If Nintendo are looking to add a 3D fighting game character to the Super Smash Bros. roster, it's just very hard to imagine why they would pick Soul Calibur over Tekken, and the same goes for Namco Bandai themselves.

It doesn't really help that the wide variety of moves available are part of both series, either. Limiting an expansive move set down to the more beginner-friendly Smash system could prove a development challenge, but Soul Calibur doesn't really ease that aspect compared to Tekken since it has a ton of moves available for every character, too.

Another point against it might be that it's more medieval-themed while Tekken is current and modern, which actually makes Tekken stand out more in the Super Smash Bros. roster, which already has several medieval-esque fighters, most notably from the Legend of Zelda and Fire Emblem franchises.

It feels like Soul Calibur would have a pretty good shot if it was from any other developer, but because it's from the same people who make Tekken, it's hard to imagine why it would ever be included over it. At the same time, no other feasible Bandai Namco franchise besides the already listed Tekken and Tales is nearly as big as Soul Calibur.

If they did decide to add Soul Calibur to Smash, I can't quite place who would be the best fit as a character, either. Anyone who's been in the majority of games would be a solid choice, but it's hard to discern who would be the best fit when looking at a spread of Siegfried, Sophitia, Mitsurugi, Taki and Cervantes, since they're all roughly equal in importance.

In short, Soul Calibur is a hard sell for this round of DLC, but if Tekken gets added... Then suddenly Soul Calibur is going to start looking like a much more viable option to add.

At first, I thought that Dark Souls seemed like a great fit for Bandai Namco, but it turned out after closer research that they're only distributors and don't actually own the intellectual property at all, making it a similar situation to what Nintendo has with Bayonetta.

That doesn't mean Dark Souls is out of the running for Smash DLC of course, but they're not part of Bandai Namco and thus not really relevant to bring up as a pick in this particular piece.

Are there any other Bandai Namco franchises you'd like to see become part of the Super Smash Bros. family? Do you disagree with any of my reasoning? Feel free to let us know in the comments.

Thanks for reading this story, and hopefully you enjoyed it. Look forward to the final part of this article series being released in the coming days.

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