Mach Rider may have been briefly and jokingly considered for the retro slot in Super Smash Bros. Melee by Masahiro Sakurai

We still don't know what the deal is about that Vifam figurine rifle Sakurai purchased for reference

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • October 27, 2018 at 11:49 a.m. PDT

The Ice Climbers and Mr. Game and Watch are considered to be "retro reps" in the Super Smash Bros. series. Despite the fact that the Ice Climbers were cut during the development of Super Smash Bros. 4 due to limitations of the Nintendo 3DS, very few were actually surprised to see that the Ice Climbers and Mr. Game and Watch were revealed to be returning fighters even before we knew that "everyone is here."

Notably though, there were other combatants that were apparently considered for this retro slot in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Before the Ice Climbers were ultimately decided upon, there were other considerations for the Balloon Fighter, Urban Champion, Bubbles from Clu Clu Land, and an Excitebiker.

According to a translation by Source Gaming, Masahiro Sakurai may have briefly (and jokingly) considered Mach Rider when asked who would he like to put into "Smash 2" after the development of Super Smash Bros. 64.

"Character I’d like to see in Smash 2: Mach Rider," responded Sakurai. "Reason: His name is great. Mach? Ha."

Is it merely a coincidence that the Mach Rider showed up in the rumored "Grinch Leak" that supposedly revealed seven new fighters for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate banner? Given, there is currently ongoing debate about the validity of the images and information surrounding this "leak." Unless someone steps forward to reveal that they were the fabricator of the rumors, the Smash community probably won't reach a consensus about the information until the next official reveal.

Even if we were to ignore the leak for a moment, Mach Rider's possibility isn't completely outlandish. Since Super Super Smash Bros. Melee, every iteration of the series has had a retro rep or two. Super Smash Bros. Melee had the Ice Climbers and Mr. Game and Watch, Super Smash Bros. Brawl had Pit and R.O.B., and Super Smash Bros. 4 had Duck Hunt.

After the DLC updates for Super Smash Bros. 4 had finished up, Sakurai revealed that he had purchased a Vifam figurine in order to reference the attached rifle for an unannounced project — which we now know to be Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Notably, it bears at least some resemblance to Mach Rider's rifle.

Mach Rider rifle image #1 Mach Rider rifle image #2
Click images for larger versions

According to Source Gaming's translation, this is apparently a common practice for Sakurai.

"To give a recent example, the other day I bought a Vifam model based off of the old anime series — and no, that doesn’t mean I’m making a Galactic Drifter Vifam game," said Sakurai. "The reason I bought it is because I wanted to get a closer look at the rifle that came with the figure and use it as a reference. I used to buy a lot of strategy guides for similar reasons."

We don't currently have any confirmation about what content in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate uses these references. With the recent banner leak, many have begun to speculate that this was intended for modernizing Mach Rider's appearance since he hasn't appeared in a game since 1985 — which has been re-released for the Wii in 2007, Nintendo 3DS in 2013, and the Wii U in 2014.

"The reason I bought it is because I wanted to get a closer look at the rifle that came with the figure and use it as a reference. I used to buy a lot of strategy guides for similar reasons."
— Masahiro Sakurai.

During gameplay, the Mach Rider rides a motorcycle in order to reach his destination. To defeat enemies and obstacles, he utilizes his machine gun.

While we've never seen the Mach Rider fighting off of his motorcycle, this probably wouldn't present a problem when it comes to devising moveset ideas. Captain Falcon of the F-Zero series has a list of attacks in Super Smash Bros. that have very little to do with the source material.

Interestingly enough, Sakurai opted for explosive ordnance when developing Snake's moveset in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He specifically stated that having Snake use realistic firearms or knives was strictly off-limits.

What's funny about this is that Bayonetta, Super Smash Bros. 4's final DLC fighter, has realistic guns incorporated into her attacks. Would he go so far as to actually add a machine gun to a Nintendo character's move list?

Of course, it's entirely possible the rifle was used for Splatoon's Inkling, another fighter, an item, or even an Assist Trophy. Maybe Sakurai will shed more light on this subject later.

While Sakurai was seemingly just joking about Mach Rider, fighters he has specifically talked about have had a habit of making it into the franchise eventually. Ridley, for example, was always thought of as being "too big" to be playable.

Notably, he originally wasn't able to think of movesets for the the Villager or the Miis during the development of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He also thought of PAC-MAN as being "too far-fetched" when the idea was suggested by Shigeru Myiamoto.

While the Mach Rider has yet to become a playable combatant or even an Assist Trophy, it is interesting how there have been references to the series since Super Smash Bros. Melee. There have been music tracks, a trophy, and a sticker for the Mach Rider character.

Could Sakurai's joke about Mach Rider someday become a reality? Considering that the game comes out on December 7, 2018, we'll know soon enough. Supposedly, we'll be learning about the game's entire roster before release.

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