Nintendo today held another Nintendo Direct presentation dedicated to the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate title for the Nintendo Switch. The last presentation before the game's launch served to introduce a few new characters and elements to the game.
First off, Masahiro Sakurai, the game's director, introduced two new characters, rounding out the final roster of the title with 74 fighters. One is Ken from the popular Street Fighter franchise, who serves as an Echo Fighter for Ryu, which means it shares a lot of the same characteristics, but has slightly different animations and altered attacks.
The other addition is Incineroar, a creature from the Pokémon franchise which was introduced with Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon for the Nintendo 3DS. Its attacks are based on wrestling moves as well as its attacks in the Pokémon games, including its Final Smash, Max Malicious Moonsault, which is based on the similarly-named Z-move in its original franchise.
Early buyers can also get an additional fighter, bringing the total up to 75 characters. This is Piranha Plant from the Mario franchise, and it features powers based on all of the character's variations throughout the series. This includes spitting out poison, spiked metal balls, and more. Its Final Smash is Petey Piranha, a gigantic plant with leaves for feet and hands. Though this is a reward for those who buy the game early on, it'll only be available next year, as work on the additional character isn't quite finalized yet.
If 75 characters still aren't enough for you, Sakurai also confirmed the development of additional paid content. It's not yet known which characters will be arriving through this method, but Nintendo did lay out how it plans to distribute them. Packs will be sold containing one fighter, one stage, and several new music tracks, each pack costing $5.99. You can also get the Fighters Pass, which includes five of these packs, for $24.99. Buying this collection also grants you a special outfit for the Swordsman Mii fighter, which is based on Rex, a character from Xenoblade Chronicles.
Speaking of Mii fighters, they can now be customized with a wide variety of outfits such as the one mentioned above. There are a few others, such as the Yiga Clan costume (inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild); a Ribbon Girl outfit based on the character from Nintendo's fighter game ARMS; and many more. New Assist Trophies were revealed as well, with the total number of characters coming to a total of 59. Characters available as Assist Trophies include Guille from Street Fighter, Akira from Virtua Fighter, Spring Man from ARMS and others.
Moving on from fighters, Nintendo also revealed a new game mode, which was shown in the game's menu during the last Smash Bros Direct, though it was blurred out at the time. This new mode is called Spirits, and it calls in even more characters from a variety of franchises. In this game mode, those characters have lost their physical form and became spirits, which can be attached to your fighter as either primary or support characters, giving you extra power and abilities. Spirits can also level up as you fight using them, so they get stronger over time, and you can use them to power up amiibo fighters as well.
To unlock spirits, you'll need to engage in special battles against specific characters which offer unique challenges, such as using certain moves, having specific support characters, and more. Once you win the fight, you play a roulette-like mini-game to try to unlock the spirit you were fighting for. You can also send spirits back to the real world, which essentially grants you badges you can collect and combine to obtain new spirits.
Nintendo has also made some changes to online battles, and it no longer offers the 'For Fun' and 'For Glory' options when heading into a fight. Instead, matchmaking is based on three different factors - the player's preferred fighting rules, their online ranking (known as Global Smash Power or GSP), and the real-life proximity to other players to ensure a more stable connection.
Winning multiplayer battles, either online or locally, also grants the player with the loser's Smash Tags. These can be collected and exchanged for coins, which can then be used in the game's shop to acquire new music tracks, spirits, and items for the Spirits game mode. Two players can also use the same console to go online and engage in team battles against other pairs. A spectator mode is available as well, so you can watch other people fight and maybe learn from other players.
Speaking of online, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will also work with the Nintendo Switch Online service launched in September, and you can use your smartphone to participate in voice chat with other players. Sometime next year, a new feature called Smash World is also planned, where players can see videos and images posted by other players.
Sakurai also went over a few of the smaller game modes in the game. There's Elite Smash, which is unlocked once players reach a certain GSP, and Mob Smash, where players can face off against a massive number of enemies and tried to defeat them all. The latter comes in a couple of flavors, including one where you face off against 100 fighters and try to finish as quickly as possible and one where new enemies are spawned indefinitely until you lose.
A number of little enhancements and additions have been made throughout the game as well. There's now a tips page where you can find all of the tips which are usually displayed in the game's loading screens, the ability to record your battles and save them as videos, a records page where you can see your performance in previous battles, and a language selection option with 11 languages to choose from. When playing in team battles online, you can also now turn your teammates invisible to reduce confusion, and if you're playing on the same console, you can set custom balance changes, so weaker players have a better chance against the stronger ones.
Nintendo's amiibo line of NFC figures is also expanding with the new characters found in this title. The Inkling (Splatoon), Ridley (Metroid), and Wolf (Star Fox) amiibo will launch alongside the game in December. King K. Rool (Donkey Kong), Ice Climbers, and Piranha Plant will receive their own amiibo on February 15, and Isabelle, Pichu, Ken, Young Link and Daisy will be available sometime next year as well.
Finally, Sakurai teased the new adventure mode in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which is called World of Light. Precise details about this mode won't be revealed until the game launches, but it appears that all of the game's characters were attacked by some sort of outer space force and turned to stone. The single surviving character has to go on a quest to save them, fighting against dark versions of each character in order to free them and have them join the quest.
The game is now available for pre-purchase through the Nintendo eShop, which will grant you the special Piranha Plant character mentioned above as well as double the gold points you'd usually get from buying a game. Nintendo is also giving fans the chance to try the game in various locations throughout America and Europe, with demos featuring all of the game's characters. The game launches on December 7, and it's clearly Nintendo's biggest bet for the holiday season.