Michael Solseth

How’s it going everyone, I’m Mike Sol and I am one of many contributing writers to Culture of Gaming. You can usually find me playing some of the latest games to come out, although I tend to avoid anything related to sports or strategy. I enjoy the big three and all the games on them but my main console is the Xbox One. I don’t have a specific preference in gaming, but any game that has fun action and beating up waves of enemies is usually my cup tea. If you ever want me to game with me or want me to write about something of interest, feel free to hit me up. I hope to have a personal blog set up soon, but my loyalties shall remain with CoG.

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If you are someone who enjoys Smash Ultimate, you likely already got your hands on Terry Bogard from Fatal Fury/King Of Fighters and got to see what fun goodies he brought with him.

The latest character to join Smash Ultimate
Source; Smash Ultimate

With each new character that joins Smash Ultimate, we get to not only enjoy a new wave of content, but we can also imagine the new possibilities that each one brings. Up to now, one could argue that the most impactful update we got was when Banjo & Kazooie jumped in, as we got a Sans (Undertale) outfit that also gave us a new song. While we didn’t get the chance to enjoy a new song with an outfit, that was a rather big deal at the time.

But during the 45-minute showcase of Terry, we got to see so many unique things that it can be overwhelming to consider what this could mean for both Smash Ultimate and whatever that may come after it. It might not seem like much at first, but when you break down the presentation into six talking points, you suddenly realize just impactful this latest update could really be. What significant are these exactly? We’ll let’s go through each one.

1) Stages with barriers (New form of Smash Fights?)

Usually, when you get a look at a stage, you can probably get a good idea of what you can expect out of it. Upon first look that the King of Fighters Stadium when we first saw Terry, the field was flat and it almost did seem like it was going to be the kind of stage fans hated the most: “Walk-Offs.” As the name would imply, a Walk-Off stage is a stage where you don’t really “fall to your death” but you can easily KO’d in these kinds of stages if you aren’t careful. So many players were sort of losing hope that this flat stage wasn’t going to have anything special to it other than a wide musical selection and random KoF cameos; at least it was until Ryu and Terry magically bounced off the wall.

Source: Smash Ultimate

As it turns out, KoF Stadium’s fancy gimmick was having high blast zones and the sides got invisible walls that players can bounce off of rather than flying straight into a KO. The closest we ever got to having something like this was with Snake’s stage where you could destroy the side walls so players can then go flying out. In the stadium though, the walls aren’t so easily broken. Of course, if you do a strong enough attack, your opponent can find themselves breaking through the walls and straight into a knockout, but Smash players can do the one thing that so many other fighters have been able to do for decades: fight in the corner.

Hopefully, Sakurai will consider making bringing this back in future titles as it can enable a whole new playstyle that could be more than just another Battlefield or Omega stage.

2) No Pants? No Service! (The limit to who can appear has finally been reached?)

Every Smash game tends to push the envelope all the more on characters we can expect to see in Smash Brothers. Brawl brought about the new age through Snake and Sonic while the 4th installment did the unthinkable to not only add in Street Fighter’s Ryu and Bayonetta but to bring in Cloud from Final Fantasy VII, whose game (at that time) didn’t appear on a Nintendo platform. It was the moment that sent chills up everyone’s spine since we never thought it was going to happen.

Sakurai would do this again once more literally minutes before Smash Ultimate‘s release when we got Joker from Persona 5 as DLC and later with Banjo & Kazooie during E3 2019 (even if Microsoft owns him now). As long as you are a video game character, and you could appear in Smash. Or at least that was the case until we got to a certain fighter…

Sakurai draws the line at Mai Shiranui
Source: Smash Ultimate

As it turns out, Sakurai draws the line at “characters that don’t wear pants.” You might think “Why pants? Have you seen her other features?! And why does she get cut when we got Bayonetta and Zero Suit Samus?!”

There’s a simple explanation for that: Both ladies WEAR PANTS OR SHORTS! Even if we were to compare the upper body and say that was why Sakurai said no to her, just remind yourself that Blue Mary found her way in, and she ALMOST SHARES HER MEASUREMENTS! And in spite of this, what does she have that Mai doesn’t have? PANTS!

Source: Smash Ultimate

Smash is for Good Boys and Girls, so put on some pants or shorts, or Sakurai will have to decline your submission. So if you wanted to see 2B from Nier:Automata in Smash, there might be a slight complication with that…

3) Back-B is now a term?! (More moves in the future?)

Whether if Ultimate was your first-time experience Smash or your fifth, there is a simple term that just about anyone can pick up. Your “B Button” allows you to use your character’s special attacks. We got three B attacks during the 64 days, and then four between the times of Melee and today. Neutral-B, Up-B, Down-B and Side-B. So imagine when we saw Terry Bogard coming to Smash and suddenly realize that he had more than just four special moves at his disposal; that would have to mean one of his signature moves would likely be put on the chopping block since you could not fit them all within four special attacks, right?

Well… Yeah… That is right. People who knew Terry were in a constant debate in between three of his attacks and how one of these two would get cut: Power Dunk and Crack Shoot. But leave it to Sakurai to throw out the rulebook and come up with an idea we never thought possible: A “Back-B” input.

Since Terry follows the same movement as his Street Fighter counterparts (Always staring at the opponent), this does allow Terry to have his Side B have two separate moves: Power Knuckle and Crack Shoot. Both essentially do the same thing (which notable differences), but this gives Terry more options than anyone else on the roster (unless if we count Hero’s Down B). While it would seem unlikely that we will see future fighters have five special attacks (unless if they are also fighting game characters), Sakurai opened the gates and has shown us that if needed, we could see “Back-B” become the hottest new input for characters to enjoy.

4) The lack of a certain Tekken Attire (Mii Outfits)

If you did enjoy Smash for 3DS/Wii U, you likely got to see the wide variety of Mii Outfits that you could dress up your Mii Brawler, Swordsman, or Gunner. This was Nintendo’s fun way of saying, “This character didn’t make the cut, but you can wear their skin and still pretend you’re fighting as them!” There’s nothing wrong with that of course since trying to make so many fighters in one game can be a rather daunting task.

Fast forward to today and the Mii outfits in Smash Ultimate are serving three purposes:
a) The Mii outfit became an actual Fighter
b) The Mii outfit confirms that character will not be DLC
c) The Mii outfit is missing and leave possibilities in the air.

Now bear in mind that for that last one, there are still a good sum of outfits that have not made their return yet and thus some still hold to the idea that they could still become a playable character. Geno hopefuls are still holding on when during the Mii reveals with Hero, Geno’s gunner outfit did not appear since that round was more focused on “Square-Enix” characters. And for this recent round of Mii outfits, we got SNK Fighters and a few from Virtua Fighter that we got from the last game. But like Geno, many thought we were going to see the inclusion of a “Heihachi Brawler Outfit” to go with this collection, but that did not happen either.

Source: Smash Ultimate

So what does this mean? Either Heihachi (or any Tekken character of note like Jin or Kazuya) could still be in the running, a playable Namco representative is on the way, or absolutely nothing because if there’s one thing you shouldn’t ask Harada-San for, it is anything.

5) They approved HOW MANY SONGS?! (SNK Setting a new standard of OST generosity?)

With the fighter’s pass, you get several goodies with each pack: A fighter, a stage, some spirits, and some lovely songs to listen to and enjoy. Keep in mind that it is insane to think of how gigantic the soundtrack for Smash Ultimate is and that’s just counting the new arrangements. And with Persona 5, Dragon Quest and Banjo-Kazooie, we got to see a nice range of songs from their composers either exactly as they are, or remixes that will leave you amazed and listening to on a loop. Persona’s soundtrack had a nice range of songs from three separate Persona titles, Dragon Quest got two songs for each of their four playable Hero characters, and then there was Grant Kirkhope who got to become the first “western” composer to make songs for Smash. How can you possibly top all those three put together?

Source: Smash Ultimate

Well if you’re SNK, you pick up your thumb, point it into the sky and say, “OK!” It is hard to imagine that Sakurai gave SNK a proposal for 50 songs from various SNK titles (ranging from Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters to Samurai Shodown and Metal Slug to name a few), and SNK had zero issues allowing Sakurai to do whatever he wanted to with those songs. If Smash Ultimate is a love letter to players then SNK is that one person who will give you everything your heart desires and only asks for your happiness in return. If you had not played many SNK titles, you should definitely check out the song list that is in Smash Ultimate and at least gives each one a minute of your time. Other companies can learn a few things from SNK’s example.

Not going to name anyone specific… Two songs…

6) Sakurai’s unpredictability for Final Fighter (Who will it be?)

If there was any question about Sakurai’s love for video games, we saw it in full form during Terry’s presentation. There was so much detail done to make Terry feel like he came straight out of Fatal Fury and it was downright beautiful if you were someone who plays or follows the series. Now you might think, “Sakurai didn’t need to do this,” but when you consider how many people had the reaction of “Who’s Terry?” it would make it seem like Sakurai chose a completely random character out of the blue for the sake of catching people off guard. Of course, it would have worked too had Nintendo not fumble the ball and showed off the SNK copyright, but let’s move on from that.

The point here is that if you were to ask people before the Fighter’s Pass was announced who they wanted for Smash, it would be a safe bet to say that none of them would have said “Terry from Fatal Fury.” There were some who mentioned Joker off-hand, and fans who thought Dragon Quest should get representation, (and do we even need to bring up the demand for Banjo-Kazooie?) but Terry was one of those characters who you probably would start considering after you were to look at what he could do and what he could bring to the table that others before him had not. And going into the final character for the fighter’s pass, it is literally anyone’s guess as to who it could be.

As the man himself said:

The wait for Smash Ultimate 5th character will be a fun one to predict
Source: Smash Ultimate

So what do you think?

Do you think that these inclusions could make an impact on the future of Smash titles? What are you in hopes for as the Fighter’s Pass reaches its end? And will Sakurai ever take a well-earned vacation at least for one week? Leave your thoughts down below and be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more articles on Smash Ultimate and all things in the gaming world.

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