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Masahiro Sakurai reveals that Kingdom Hearts' Sora was the newcomer that received that the most votes during the Smash Ballot

Bayonetta was in fact not the winner

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • October 9, 2021 at 11:15 a.m. PDT • Comments: 12

"Sora is finally here." Indeed, Sora from Kingdom Hearts will be the last fighter to join Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

During the presentation that revealed Sora, Masahiro Sakurai talked about this fighter's popularity, which was clearly a major factor in his inclusion. "I knew that Sora was the most requested fighter," said Sakurai during the unveiling.

"Six years ago, when Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U were out, there was a poll called the Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot," continued Sakurai. "The top choice for the most requested new fighter was Sora."

During the "Final Video Presentation" for Super Smash Bros. 4, we were actually told that Bayonetta was the overall winner of the Smash Ballot — among the "negotiable and realizable" characters, anyhow. Those are the key words to consider here: negotiable and realizable.

"We've been asking for your opinions on the Super Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot, and Bayonetta was the number 1 choice in Europe. In North America, she was among the top 5," said Sakurai during that 2015 presentation. "This ranking includes even fighters from previous games in the series. Among the negotiable and realizable characters, Bayonetta was the overall number 1 choice worldwide."

We would later learn that King K. Rool also performed extremely well during the Fighter Ballot. This is likely what resulted in King K. Rool receiving a Mii costume in Super Smash Bros. 4. Later, he was made into a fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

"Six years ago, when Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U were out, there was a poll called the Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot. The top choice for the most requested new fighter was Sora." - Masahiro Sakurai

What's interesting is that Masahiro Sakurai would later state that old veterans like Snake were actually more popular than Bayonetta on the Fighter Ballot.

Since Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was already being planned as DLC for Super Smash Bros. 4 was being wrapped up, veterans and popular characters like King K. Rool were saved for the next entry in the Smash series.

Even looking at Sakurai's choice of words when describing Sora's popularity suggests that Sora wasn't even the overall number 1 character. Sakurai specifically stated that Sora was the most requested "new fighter" that appeared during the Smash Ballot.

In other words, it's very possible that certain veterans that weren't present in Super Smash Bros. 4 actually ranked higher than Sora. Metal Gear's Snake was probably the character that actually won the Fighter Ballot, but we may not ever know that for sure.

"While this ballot was happening, we spoke with Mr. Iwata, who was still with us then, and we decided not to reveal the results," continued Sakurai in the Sora reveal presentation. "For the fighters at the top of the list, we thought that some people might demand them from the respective game companies. We believed that this would cause some inconveniences to many parties."

Indeed, it would've been simple to deduce that newcomers that ranked above Bayonetta on the Smash Ballot probably weren't selected as a result of the intellectual property owners, especially when Sakurai stated that Bayonetta was the overall most popular character among the "negotiable and realizable" characters. If these results were revealed, then this likely would create pressure on these companies.

"We're sorry that we could not reveal the results," said Sakurai. "But now, after a long time, we were able to connect it to the result we have today."

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