This morning Nintendo live-streamed the reveal of Lucina and Robin from Fire Emblem Awakening (you might recognize Robin as the default name of your player character, the Tactician – both male and female versions will be playable). This came as quite a shock – two additional Fire Emblem characters were not expected, especially with Chrom being excluded (although he does appear to show up as part of a Final Smash).
But more importantly, it disproved the Gematsu leak. If you’re unfamiliar with the rumor, an alleged Nintendo insider contacted Gematsu last year pre-E3 with a list of Smash characters – all of which would be revealed. Earlier this year they showed up yet again with more “leaks” – one of which was Chrom. While up until this point they’d been on the money (and had a huge sect of Smash fans taking his word for gospel), for those of us who called BS – we were right.
And now we can get back to the drawing board.
How many characters will there be? And how many more will be newcomers? Well, the way we’ll estimate here is by mocking up the character selection grid. Two out of three Smash games have had a rectangular one, and Braw’s was 4 x 9, so a safe bet here would be 5 x 10. This makes 50 slots, but we can expect one to be taken up by a random option, seeing as how there was one in this year’s E3 demo. So we have 49 character slots to work with, and so far (assuming the different Mii Fighters will share a single slot), 36 of those have been confirmed.
But not all of the Brawl cast has been confirmed to be returning yet. Still in this grey area are Ness, Jigglypuff, Ice Climbers, Ganondorf, Falco, Mr. Game & Watch, Meta Knight, Wario, Lucas, Squirtle, Ivysaur R.O.B., and Snake. 13 characters – yeesh! Luckily we can assume Charizard is the only Pokémon Trainer transformation that will be coming back – that leaves out Squirtle and Ivysaur. Hideo Kojima has also stated that he’s had no part in the game’s production, so Snake is most likely also out of the running. As for Lucas, we’ll have to go by precedent. The Melee-Brawl transition didn’t work out too well for clones (Ganondorf and Falco made the cut, but Roy, Pichu, Dr. Mario, and Young Link were all dropped), and Toon Link’s already made it in, so if there’s going to be a clone left out, we can only assume it will be the only other one added in Brawl.
So if only the most likely cuts are made, that means another ten on the roster – giving us just 3 more slots for newcomers. If we count each of the three flavors of Mii Fighter individually, that would give us 16 newcomers total – not bad considering this Smash Bros. seems to be changing/buffing veterans more than ever, and including custom movesets that allow 3 options for each type of special move. If this seems a bold thing to predict, keep in mind that 3 more newcomers would fall in line perfectly with Masahiro Sakurai’s recent statement that he’s “nearing the bottom of the stash of new challenger videos.”