A quick glance at the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster and you’ll see that it is mostly composed of characters from the following franchises: Mario, Pokemon, The Legend of Zelda and… Fire Emblem! Yes, Fire Emblem is up there with Nintendo’s biggest three franchises when it comes to character representation in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. In fact, there are more Fire Emblem characters (seven, including clones) than there are fighters from The Legend of Zelda (six, including all three versions of Link).
And this is quite known to Smash Bros. fans, with some even complaining about having so many sword-wielding fighters (of which most are from Fire Emblem) in the roster. I’ve even seen this used as a running joke several times. But I think that there are actually very good reasons why Fire Emblem has such a big presence in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster, and I’d like to talk about those reasons today.
Smash Bros. is a fighting game and Fire Emblem characters are warriors
While Super Smash Bros. thematically is not a serious fighting game, it is still a fighting game by definition so it’s quite natural to include characters who “fight” or do combat/battles. I may be in the minority when I say this but, the inclusion of characters like Ken, Incineroar, Simon Belmont, and Chrom felt very natural compared to Animal Crossing’s Isabelle joining Smash.
Don’t get me wrong – Smash Bros. is just casual enough that characters like the Wii Fit Trainer and Isabelle don’t feel completely out of place, I’m just saying that it’s more organic to think of combat-oriented characters when thinking about roster inclusions for a fighting game. That’s why we’ve got a lot of representation from Pokemon and why it’s also natural for the Pokemon franchise to have their own fighting game in Pokken Tournament. So if we’re going to pull characters from Nintendo franchises, it’s more natural to get the ones from the combat-oriented games.
Fire Emblem is one of Nintendo’s better selling franchises
Nintendo has several franchises under their umbrella and Fire Emblem ranks in the top twenty in terms of sales, which may not seem all that impressive at first glance but I’d like to point out that prior to 2003, Fire Emblem games were released only in Japan and even then, most Fire Emblem games released were on Nintendo’s handhelds.
It’s also important to consider Fire Emblem’s position for the company in recent times – if you take a look at the games that Nintendo has released on mobile, the list is limited to Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp and Dragalia Lost (a new IP). Fire Emblem Heroes is considered a financial success for Nintendo and the next entry in the franchise, Fire Emblem Three Houses, is one of the highly anticipated games that are set to come out on the Switch.
Each Fire Emblem game has a completely different cast of characters
Fire Emblem, as a franchise, is as important to Nintendo as Star Fox, Donkey Kong, and Kirby. What makes Fire Emblem different from all those other franchises though is how each Fire Emblem game (with exceptions) features a completely different set of characters and worlds, including the main protagonists. If we were to get a character from Star Fox to fill a slot in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, for example, we’re now limited to secondary or supporting characters because we already have Fox and Falco in the game.
Do the same thing but take it from the Fire Emblem franchise and it’s clear that you have so much more options. We can get either Alm or Celica (the lead protagonists from Fire Emblem Echoes), the Black Knight (one of the lead antagonists from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn), Azura (the main female protagonist of Fire Emblem Fates), or maybe even Edelgard (one of the revealed characters of the upcoming Fire Emblem: Three Houses).
If you look at all of the Fire Emblem fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, you’ll realize that they are all leading characters of their respective games:
- Marth – the main protagonist of Shadow Dragon and Mystery of the Emblem (the first two Fire Emblem games and their remakes)
- Roy – the main protagonist of Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade (the last Fire Emblem game to have a Japan-only release)
- Ike – the main protagonist of Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn (the only Fire Emblem games released worldwide to home consoles)
- Chrom, Robin, and Lucina – the main protagonists of Fire Emblem Awakening (the game that saved the Fire Emblem Franchise)
- Corrin – the main protagonist of Fire Emblem Fates (the latest non-remake Fire Emblem release)
If you were to tell me that I’d need to cut one of these characters from the roster, it would be hard for me to choose one. Roy and Marth are vital as they are the ones that helped establish Fire Emblem outside of Japan due to their inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Ike is one of the most popular Fire Emblem protagonists. Chrom, Robin and Lucina are all from one of the most important Fire Emblem entries yet, and while I don’t like the character of Corrin all that much, he/she is actually the one that plays quite differently from the other sword-wielding fighters in the game.
I know I’m biased (I’m a big Fire Emblem fan), but I think I’ve been able to objectively justify why there are so many Fire Emblem characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. To be quite honest, I actually wish there were more of them in Smash – let’s see if that Edelgard as a Smash Bros. fighter DLC rumor is true. Or maybe Nintendo can develop a weapon-based fighting game involving Fire Emblem characters that is similar to SoulCalibur.