Here are three reasons why Byleth's Super Smash Bros. Ultimate reveal was so divisive within the community

The eighth Marth

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • January 20, 2020 at 8:10 p.m. PST

It's no secret that Byleth's unveiling for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was a move that left the Smash community with mixed feelings. Although Byleth was a surprise of sorts, it wasn't one that was universally praised.

While it may come across as obvious to those who have been following the game, there are a number of reasons why Byleth might be the most poorly received character that has joined the Super Smash Bros. roster.

To set the stage, Persona's Joker, Dragon Quest's Hero, Banjo-Kazooie, and Fatal Fury's Terry Bogard were the challengers that had previously joined Super Smash Bros. Ultimate via the Fighters Pass.

As a result of this, many were expecting yet another third party to put their mark on the game. Of course, there were also plenty of first party Nintendo reps that could've been met with better reception from the fans.

And yet, we ended up getting Byleth from the latest Fire Emblem: Three Houses which had only been released on July 26, 2019. While Fire Emblem: Three Houses has been critically acclaimed, even fans of the FE series weren't too happy to see this roster addition.

Let's take a look at three of the major contributors to Byleth's current disdain within the Smash community.

Too Many Fire Emblem Reps

Byleth's entry as a playable character marks him (or her) as Fire Emblem's eighth rep. They're joining alongside the likes of Marth, Lucina, Roy, Chrom, Ike, Robin, and Corrin. It really isn't helping things that Byleth's appearance bears so many similarities to that of Marth and Lucina.

Tied with the Pokémon series (counting the Pokémon Trainer as one character), Byleth's inclusion means that Fire Emblem is the second most represented franchise as far as playable characters are concerned in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Obviously the Mario series gets the most representation.

What's strange about this is the fact that Fire Emblem's presence here is disproportionate to its popularity and sales. In fact, Fire Emblem isn't even Nintendo's tenth best selling series.

Funnily enough, the Legend of Zelda, Kirby, and Donkey Kong games tend to produce more in terms of sales. Despite this, Fire Emblem has more than double the number of playable combatants than Kirby and Donkey Kong.

Of course, it's also worth mentioning that there are plenty of other games that haven't had the opportunity to see representation at all so far. It's often stated that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is meant to be a celebration of gaming, not just Fire Emblem.

There's a perception that Byleth is essentially taking a "character slot" when there are more "deserving choices." Being that characters require a lot of time and resources to develop, there's some truth to this statement.

Yet Another Swordsman

There are now 18 different fighters that utilize a sword as their primary method of attacking opponents (Joker and Ganondorf aren't being counted here). While there are plenty of variations in their playstyles, there are obviously going to be similarities that exist in how many of them swing their blades.

Although Byleth is not one of them, a good number of these Fire Emblem sword users are equipped with down special counters. All of them but Byleth and Robin have these actually.

In addition, four Fire Emblem fighters are armed with some sort of Dancing Blade type of attack. All of them (including Byleth) have specials that can be charged for stronger variations.

Of course, Byleth is somewhat interesting because he's a Fire Emblem character that uses more than just a sword. He's also armed with a lance, ax, and bow.

Unfortunately, what these additional weapons essentially amount to from a gameplay perspective are just more "sword" attacks. That is to say, disjointed pokes that aren't directly tied to the character's hurtboxes.

As a result, Byleth just doesn't appear to be bringing anything truly unique to the table in terms of gameplay. The expectation here is that they'll just play like another Fire Emblem character.

For better or worse, this looks to be largely true from looking at the gameplay trailer, even if they don't necessarily have a counter or Dancing Blade combo.

Blank Slate Silent Protagonist

If you played Fire Emblem: Three Houses, then you probably know that there's not really much to say about Byleth's personality. Byleth is often titled as being a "blank slate" in terms of a character.

Funnily enough, there's actually a canonical reason why Byleth comes across as an emotionless robot throughout the game's story. Without getting into spoilers, Byleth essentially serves as the "silent protagonist" character.

As a result, the game really feels like it follows the stories of the three house leaders — Edelgard, Claude, and Dimitri — more so than Byleth. He or she (depending on your choice at the beginning of the game) is basically just along for the ride in achieving the selected house's goals.

Byleth is often declared to be a character with no personality. While this isn't entirely true, it isn't entirely false either.

There are those that would've been happier with a different choice. More specifically, they'd be less annoyed at yet another Fire Emblem swordsman if that chosen challenger simply wasn't Byleth.

Is there a reason why you weren't happy with Byleth's reveal that isn't present on this list? Be sure to let us know in the comments section.

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