I'm calling it now, I think we're going to see Master Chief in Super Smash Bros.

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • June 13, 2019 at 7:48 p.m. PDT

If your brain is wired anywhere closely to the way mine is, you probably read that title and immediately defaulted to "those two things just don't go together." My heart is still inclined to feel that way, but after thinking on it a good bit, my head is articulating an entirely different story.

A lot of us grew up enjoying both Smash and Halo, but certainly in a "never the twain shall meet" sort of way. Halo was an Xbox console-exclusive first person shooter involving a super soldier blasting aliens while Smash was a Nintendo-exclusive deviation on fighting games with a party atmosphere. If you were in the mood to play one, that meant you were probably very much not in the mood to play the other.

Smash Bros. started out in 1999 on the Nintendo 64 as a celebration of some of Nintendo's most recognizable characters. It allowed players to explore certain fantasy bouts, and see what might happen if Link drew his sword on Donkey Kong, or if Captain Falcon got into a tussle with Fox McCloud.

It was a bold and intriguing move, and it was done well enough to garner enough interest for a much bigger sequel just two years later... the same year Halo: Combat Evolved came out on the Xbox. Both franchises grew immensely over the next decade, but always in a parallel manner.

Smash grew its roster and popularity significantly in Melee, but kept it still to Nintendo characters only. That would change seven years later when Brawl dropped on the Wii.

It was with Brawl that the franchise began its transformation beyond a mere celebration of Nintendo and into a celebration of video games in general. They did this with two characters: Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake.

Not only was Sonic not a Nintendo character, he was the damn poster boy for Sega. The Metal Gear Solid series was available on Nintendo consoles, but Snake was still a third party character. What's more, he was from an M-rated franchise that involved covertly killing human enemies... it's clear the boundaries were moved further back at this point in time for Smash.

Fast forward to 2014 and Smash 4's release on the Wii-U. Now that the flood gates had been opened for third party figures, the trend continued with PlatinumGames's Bayonetta, Square Enix's Cloud Strife, and Capcom's Ryu.

Five years later and we find ourselves in present day with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Every previous character that has been in a Smash title is part of the roster, plus we also have guests Ken Masters, Joker, the Belmonts, and now The Hero from Dragon Quest and Banjo-Kazooie. The latter of those is particularly significant.

Banjo-Kazooie was developed by Rare back in the late 1990's and was featured exclusively on Nintendo consoles. After the popularity of both the first and second franchise installments, players saw the bear and bird as a perfectly-fitting puzzle piece for Smash. They wound up having to wait almost 20 years for said puzzle piece to be placed, however, because Microsoft's 2004 acquisition of Rare.

Banjo's reveal is an evidence that Nintendo is now cozy enough with Microsoft and Microsoft is comfortable enough with the status and prestige of Super Smash Bros. for this kind of deal to be struck.

So now we finally come back around to Master Chief and Halo, who happen to be the property of (Final Fantasy fanfare, please) Microsoft. While 2015's Halo 5: Guardians is seen as something of a low point for the franchise, Chief is still one of the most recognizable characters in modern day gaming. What's more, the next Halo installment is slated to launch with the next generation console, Project Scarlett, in late 2020.

If you're Microsoft, lending Banjo-Kazooie to Nintendo probably isn't going to do all that much good for you. As fondly remembered as they were (outside of the Nuts and Bolts game Microsoft published) Banjo and Kazooie have not taken center stage in the world of gaming for quite some time.

Nintendo's decision to include them almost certainly comes from their being in touch with the wishes of older and nostalgic fans, but Banjo and Kazooie are probably not amongst the most potentially profitable DLC characters you could put out in 2019.

Master Chief, on the other hand, is getting ready to go on the publicity building trail very soon. It's just spitballing at this point, but a deal by Microsoft to give back the character that many diehard fans would appreciate may very well could have come with the promise that they'll also get to promote one of their biggest figures by featuring him in Smash Ultimate as well.

While a marriage between Halo and Smash seemed impossible on multiple fronts back in the day, the evolution of Smash, Halo, Microsoft, and Nintendo seems to have somehow aligned the stars. Given what Super Smash Bros. has become, it almost feels as though we should begin to expect titanic figures in gaming, like Chief, to join the battle.

Ultimate still has two unnamed fighters to reveal before they fulfill the promised DLC quota, and it very well could be that Chief isn't planned to fill either of those roles. Still, a second character DLC pack for the best-selling fighting game of all time (that would surely see characters released throughout 2020) doesn't seem like too farfetched an idea.

If you'd like to hear more on the subject, check out this week's episode of the EventHubs Podcast as Catalyst, Dreamking, and converse about the potential of Chief in Smash.

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