This was my initial reaction to the news that Dark Pit is a playable character in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS. But now, onto the rant.
Dark Pit is in Super Smash Bros. It feels wrong just typing it. Palutena was already an unnecessary inclusion, but Dark Pit is the very definition of pointless. Pit was the only character representation that Kid Icarus needed. It isn't exactly one of Nintendo's biggest franchises after all, what with that whole 21 year period where the series laid entirely dormant. It had a nice quasi-classic on the NES that people remember fondly, then a Gameboy sequel that seems largely forgotten. Then nothing for 21 years. And while 2012's Kid Icarus Uprising was a good comeback/reboot, I certainly don't see it as a means to justify three separate characters representing Kid Icarus in Super Smash Bros.
So why is Dark Pit (and Palutena, for that matter) in Super Smash Bros? My only guess is that Sakurai, the creator/director of the Super Smash Bros. series, also directed Kid Icarus Uprising. And he's playing favorites.
This is eye-rolling not just because it seems a bit self-indulgent on Sakurai's part, but back when he was working on Super Smash Bros. Melee on the GameCube, he actively refrained from including King Dedede at the time, since Dedede is another of Sakurai's own creations, and Sakurai didn't want to prioritize his own characters (though Dedede, unlike Dark Pit, has actually earned his spot on the roster). What happened to that humility?
What's worse is that back when Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS was announced, Sakurai stated he was adamant about not including 'characters who are too similar' this time around. That is to say, clones. Not only do we have a host of Fire Emblem characters with little to differentiate them, not to mention the return of Dr. Mario, but Dark Pit is, you guessed it, a clone of Pit.
Given the hordes of weapons from Kid Icarus Uprising - which not just included bows and swords but also mallets, spears, and firearms, among others - you would think they could have at least used Dark Pit as a means to include more of the gameplay variety from Uprising and give him a unique moveset. Nope. Just a clone.
To make the inclusion of Dark Pit (as well as Dr. Mario and Lucina) all the more questionable, Sakurai even found a way around implementing clones for some of the characters. Olimar can be swapped for Pikmin 3's Alph, and Bowser Jr. can be replaced with any of the seven Koopalings. So if these characters can simply be palette swapped (and for more welcome characters than Dark Pit, I might add), why does Dark Pit need to be a separate character on the roster at all? Why couldn't he just be an alternate 'costume' for Pit?
If Sakurai was going to favor one of his own series this time around, he could have at least made that series Kirby. Kirby at least has the argument of being relevant for the past twenty years, and appearing in a multitude of really good games. I wouldn't have minded a fourth Kirby character. But Dark Pit really feels like a bottom-of-the-barrel character, but it's a barrel with Sakurai's name on it. I guess that gives Pit-but-with-black-wings priority over more deserving characters, and apparently it gives Kid Icarus more priority over more deserving series.
Let's take the obvious example of a series that deserves more representation: Donkey Kong. Donkey Kong was Nintendo's first franchise, it's iconic, and heck, the Super Mario series itself is a spinoff of Donkey Kong! Yet Donkey Kong is still stuck at two characters. Kid Icarus, a series that didn't even have a single game for over two decades, has three. I see no reason whatsoever why Dark Pit gets an inclusion while Dixie Kong (a character with far more creative potential) is still a no-show.
Some people complain that Mario, Pokemon and Zelda have too many characters on the roster. The difference between them and Kid Icarus is that they've earned it. I'm not exactly a Lucario fan, but I understand why he's there. Pokemon is a vital property for Nintendo, it's prominent, it's popular, it's relevant. And Lucario is one of the more popular Pokemon. So like him or not, he at least makes sense. But Dark Pit? What exactly has he done but be another trope of a dark-clad anti hero? I mean, as far as dark-clad anti heroes go, he at least wasn't angsty or brooding, but being a more tolerable cliche doesn't exactly make him great or memorable.
In short, I am overall ecstatic to play the new Super Smash Bros. games. But Dark Pit is easily the most questionable character choice in the series' history. At the very least, come release, I know exactly who my punching bag is going to be.