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Sakurai: “I understand as well…there are too many Fire Emblem characters, & there are also too many sword users”

A new issue of Famitsu also has a new column from Sakurai. Sakurai dedicated a good chunk of the column to the first Fighter’s Pass that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate received, while addressing the criticism that was made in response to Byleth’s reveal. Sakurai reminded people that Nintendo had picked the characters, and that they were not decided by “my own favorites”. Because they were decided like this, Sakurai says that “I just proceed as-is. There are other things I must think about more”. That said, Sakurai not only understands the criticism some fans have, but he even agrees with them. Sakurai admitted that “I understand as well. There are too many Fire Emblem characters. And there are also too many sword users”. In fact, the amount of sword users is exactly why Sakurai says he “brings in tactics exclusive to each fighter”. A tweet that relayed the news and translated it to English is down below.


  1. I doubt Sakurai has zero voice in the talks about potential fighters. I really doubt Nintendo, out of nowhere, just sent the name Terry Bogard to Sakurai.

    At any rate, there’s not actually a disproportionate amount of sword users when you look at actual numbers.

    It does feel like there is too many FE echo fighters which… Honestly is weird to say since Chrom and Lucina are more unique than Richter or Daisy or even Dark Pit.

    1. I second this completely. I don’t think there’d be nearly as many complaints if Roy, Chrom, and Lucina weren’t in the game or were alternate skins.
      Which I find dumb because it isn’t as though these characters required as much work as say a brand new fighter. The whole point of echo fighters is to be an alternate, similar option. Y’all like Chrom? You can switch to Chrom, simple as that.

      But no, much of the smash fanbase still subscribes to this ‘slot’ mentality where if Chrom wasn’t in the game suddenly Sora would appear in his place. Downright childish imo.

    2. They probably gave the name SNK, as SNK has been the main supporter of all of Nintendo’s digital stores since the Wii era. I remember when the switch forat came out half of the eshop was just Neo Geo games for a good amount of time.

      1. From a gameplay perspective, he is absolutely an echo fighter. I think only his holy water is slightly different. He probably could have just been an alt of Simon like Alph

    3. Chrom, yes- he has a mix of both Ike’s and Roy’s moves and those have their own properties. Lucina is literally a copy of Marth without the extra damage/knockback if Falchion hits with just the tip, and I think she’s slightly lighter and faster too.

      1. Chrom is a copy of Roy except for his up special. Both of them are just copies without tipper/sweet spot attacks. Surprisingly, that does enough to make them feel somewhat unique… Really almost to a point that I’m slightly worried there will eventually be a Bylth echo without tipper damage at some point.

  2. I’m honestly more surprised that it took this long to remind people AGAIN that Nintendo is in charge of picking the fighters for Smash, not Sakurai. That was established over a year ago, and yet, somehow too many people had forgotten that bit of information.

    1. +Kamek
      It’s not that we forgot it, it’s just that we find it hard to believe he has no input. Sakurai has gone on record to say that he loves Persona 5 and he loves Fire Emblem. As far as Joker goes; We’re all with him, Joker was a good pick and Persona did deserve representation but with Fire Emblem, that’s not as easily accepted.
      In addition, people have also criticized how under-appreciated Zelda has been, well It later came to light that apparently Sakurai doesn’t care much for Zelda as a franchise. He has played them, for sure, but let’s just say his love for Fire Emblem is higher than Zelda.

      1. There’s a difference between having input and having the final say. Sakurai could probably suggest all the characters in the world, but in the end, Nintendo is the boss. And, that boss wants to promote their brand.

      2. +Redgeek
        But it has been confirmed in the past that some characters are only in because Sakurai gave it the green light.
        Greninja, for example, was shown to him before he was put into a Pokemon game and instantly liked the design and decided to put the character in.
        Another case is Incineroar, Sakurai has gone on record to say he was choosing between Incineroar and Decidueye but he ended up going with Incineroar.
        The point I’m making is that not all submissions are because of Nintendo, there are choices that got in because of Sakurai and when you consider he’s known to love Fire Emblem, it does make this claim questionable.

      3. I don’t agree with the Zelda bias. I mean… There was 5 Zelda characters in Melee.
        The problem is Zelda games just use different incarnations of the same characters and, sometimes, throwaway villains. It’s just kinda hard to add a relevant Zelda character as a unique fighter. I mean… I even think to the Champions in BOTW and any of them would be a good fighter but then…. Which do you choose when you can’t do all four? What if they aren’t even mentioned or appear in BOTW2?

        Zelda is just a tricky franchise to implement in Smash. I’m glad, at least, that they didn’t feel obligated to match all the Zelda fighters from the same game.

        Side note: this is not me criticizing Zelda games. It’s one of my favorite franchises. I’m just pointing out that Smash just doesn’t know what to do with the franchise since they added all the main figures of Zelda games in Melee (that is, if you accept Sheik as being the rep for Impa and Sheikah race)

      4. +comfortfoodgames
        But that’s the thing; Smash Bros Melee was the ONLY game where we straight up got new Zelda characters with an original moveset. Think about it; Zelda and Sheik came with their own moveset, Ganondorf was just a slower Captain Falcon, and Young Link was just a Link clone.
        In Smash Bros Brawl; It was literally just Toon Link with Twilight Princess Zelda, Ganondorf and Link replacing the originals.
        In Smash Bros 4; new characters from 1 of Nintendo’s big boys.
        And now we are at Smash Bros Ultimate; Link was changed for the Breath of the Wild design, Zelda got changed to be A Link to the Past variant, and Ganondorf was changed back to be his Ocarina of Time version.
        Do you see the problem here? Zelda is a big deal especially within Nintendo and yet all Smash Bros does with it is swap character versions around and the only thing of actual note is new stages.

        As for when you say “It’s hard to implement”, are you kidding me? There is so many relevant characters from Zelda that are worthy to be in Smash. Zant, Girahim, Skull Kid, Ravio, Impa, Darunia, and so on. Besides, relevance isn’t always a deciding factor, if you want to say that then King K Rool and Banjo Kazooie would be out of the question but yet because of fan-demand, they got in.

  3. Seriously, this “too many swordfighters” meme needs to die. It’s not funny now and it wasn’t funny then. They don’t even take a third of the roster. The only fighters worth buying in the first fighters pass where sword fighters.

    Super smash bros is a video game crossover series made in Japan, and there are a lot of characters in Japanese video games video games with swords. So get use to it.

    Even if they did stop putting in sword fighters, how are we suppose to get characters like Zero or Sora (if not this iteration, then a hypothetical new one)? I would rather have another sword fighter than another Sega character or a Microsoft character. And you people call yourselves Nintendo fans.

    1. That’s what I always find funny. People like to use the “too many swords fighters” complaint, but then ask for another swords fighter themselves.

  4. As much as people are upset about fe characters and sword fighters, you do have to admit that direct made byleth seem like a cash grab, the direct felt like a quick way to advertise fe 3 house dlc, it actually makes sense now why nintendo tried to push him more, I love fire emblem characters but I still feel like there could have been a better way to implement them, I mean there kinda of giving the impression that fire emblem is a sword type game, when there’s more to it.

    1. The Direct didn’t feel like a three houses cash grab at all. It was formatted exactly like the other characters show cases =b I think you where just telling yourself it was a cash grab and so that’s why it appeared that way to you. I don’t see how learning how to count in binary is going to make people want to buy FE.

      1. Now to be fair I have the same feeling about all character inclusion, I mean it is one of the main purpose smash, it’s a an amazing series, but it’s obviously a fun way to advertise characters from different series, or franchises which works really cause a good amount of people get into other games because of this series, byleth reveal just didn’t seem right to me, how it was presented it just felt different , his moveset on the other hand is a different story he plays very good.

    2. Hero was solely there to promote Dragon Quest XI. Roy debuted in Melee before he was in his own game. Terry has a lot of games on Switch + King of Fighters XIV is going to come to Switch. Persona games are coming to Switch and Joker is there to remind people of that. Smash has always been about this for Nintendo; not for Sakurai. Smash is one of the biggest marketing devices ever in gaming.

      I thought Byleth was an excellent choice. He’s my favourite avatar from the series, and his ability to use whichever weapon he wants was applied really good into Smash. I don’t know how necessary it was with a lance when he has a extendable sword, but people are complaining about swords so there’s that.

      I think Robin, Corrin and Byleth are good representations for FE. They’re different from regular swordfighters. I would prefer some axe and lance users like Hector and Ephraim for example, but flagship mascots in FE are usually swordsmen. Problem with Fire Emblem is that there are so many good characters that deserves a Smash representation. There will never be enough FE characters; and it’s already too many. It’s a paradox really.

    3. Exactly what I thought. Also, I’m sure there was a more unique fighter in line but that one had to be punked out for this new FE character to advertise their game… especially because this was the last fighter in the pack, the unique character really had to be phased out. :(
      Once the new fighter in the newer pack is revealed, it will probably make more sense.

  5. There are still a bunch of sword users I would like to see in. Adol from Ys, Laharl from Disgaea, Dirk the Daring, Crono.

    As for Echos, I actually wish they would do what Sakurai apparently doesn’t want to do with fighters and just re-use moves from other characters. Like I get where he is coming from, but giving an echo a mix of moves based on others fighters still makes them play more uniquely then a echo that uses the exact same moves as another with MAYBE some slight stat and effect differences to them, if we are lucky. Otherwise they are just better off as an alternate costume/form.

  6. i found this:
    “Via an English interpreter, Sakurai said that “hardly anyone knows what we’re announcing today, even among Nintendo staff worldwide.” The character had been in development with the “utmost secrecy” and would surprise even Nintendo employees, which briefly made it seem that the character would be a really, really big deal”

    – Church of Sasori

    1. ||I am going to agree with you in this case, some choices seem like are based in Lord Sakurai’s tastes, also I doubt that if he has not creative freedom he might not have announced season pass 2…

  7. With the exception of the Links (though they all feel different) and clone FE characters, the sword fighters each feel unique. We can’t stop making sword fighters now because that will eliminate the chance of some of my hopeful picks from getting in like Sora, Travis, Crono, Ryu Hyabusa even Dante (though Dante could play more like Bayo). As for FE characters, I think the games are cool but yeah I think 8 is enough ;)

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