Following a tantalizingly brief teaser trailer back in March, Nintendo formally unveiled its next Super Smash Bros. game at E3 2018. The new installment in the beloved fighting series arrives on Nintendo Switch later this year, and while there are still undoubtedly many details we don't yet know about it, Nintendo revealed a ton of information about the game during its June presentation, giving us a good idea of what to expect.
To catch you up on everything Nintendo has revealed about the game so far, we've compiled everything we know about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate below, from the game's release date and new characters to the many changes being made to its gameplay. We'll continue to update this list as new details emerge, so be sure to check back for the latest information on Nintendo's highly anticipated mascot fighter.
Is It a Port or a New Game?
Prior to its official reveal at E3, there was much speculation over whether Super Smash Bros. Ultimate would be a new installment in the series or an expanded port of the Wii U entry, in the vein of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Nintendo cleared up any misconceptions during a Q&A session at the expo, confirming that Ultimate is indeed a brand-new title built for Nintendo Switch.
How Many New Characters Are There?
Nintendo revealed three new fighters debuting in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate during its E3 presentation: Inkling, Ridley, and Daisy. The first two are brand-new additions to the series, and both boast their own unique movesets and play styles that draw from their respective franchises. Inkling can splatter opponents with ink and use a variety of weapons from Splatoon, such as Splat Bombs and the Splat Roller, while Ridley can spew fire and spear other combatants with his tail.
Unlike the other two newcomers, Daisy isn't an entirely new addition to the roster, but rather an Echo Fighter--a clone of an existing character, in the vein of Lucina and Dark Pit. Her moveset and play style are based on Princess Peach, although she boasts some different characteristics to set her apart. As we learned during Nintendo's dedicated Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct in August, Echo Fighters can either be displayed as separate characters on the selection screen or stacked atop the fighter they're based on.
Five additional newcomers were also revealed during that same presentation: Simon and Richter Belmont from Castlevania; Chrom and Dark Samus from Fire Emblem Awakening and Metroid Prime 3, respectively; and King K. Rool from the Donkey Kong Country series. Nintendo teases that it still has a "few" more characters to announce before the game arrives.
Which Characters Are Coming Back?
Everyone! Super Smash Bros. Ultimate features the largest roster in the series to date with more than 70 confirmed fighters (and presumably a couple of surprises still to be revealed). Every playable character who has ever appeared in a Smash Bros. game will return in Ultimate, including all of the DLC fighters released for the Wii U and 3DS installments--such as Bayonetta, Corrin, and Mewtwo--as well as third-party characters like Sonic, Cloud, and Street Fighter's Ryu.
The roster even encompasses characters who have previously only appeared in a single Super Smash Bros. game, including Pichu and Young Link (whose sole appearances were in 2001's Melee), and Wolf and Snake from 2008's Brawl. Longtime Metal Gear Solid voice actor David Hayter revealed he is reprising his role as the latter in Ultimate, and Snake's signature stage, Shadow Moses Island, has also been confirmed to return.
It's unclear just how many of these characters will be available from the outset; Nintendo teases that the starting roster could be as small as that of the first Super Smash Bros. for N64--eight characters--but an exact count has not been confirmed. However, the company says the conditions for unlocking characters have been streamlined this time around, and new fighters will be doled out frequently, giving players the feeling that they're constantly making progress.
How Many Stages Are There?
Nintendo confirmed during its August Direct presentation that there will be 103 different stages in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, each of which also boasts a Battlefield and Final Destination form. Taken together, this amounts to more than 300 levels to fight on. Moreover, Nintendo is introducing a new feature to the game called Stage Morph; when toggled on, it will cause one stage to transform into another in the middle of a match.
The majority of the stages in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate are taken from previous installments in the series. Among those that have been confirmed thus far are Spirit Train and Tortimer Island from Super Smash Bros. for 3DS; Princess Peach's Castle and Great Bay from Melee; New Pork City and Frigate Orpheon from Brawl; and Mario Galaxy and Gaur Plain from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. That said, there will also be a handful of new stages in the game. At E3, Nintendo revealed Great Plateau Tower (based on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild) and Splatoon's Moray Towers, while the August Direct gave us a look at New Donk City from Super Mario Odyssey and Simon Belmont's signature stage, Dracula's Castle.
What Else Is Different?
Aside from all of the new characters, stages, and items, Nintendo is making a ton of mechanical and balance changes in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Game director Masahiro Sakurai says the amount of tweaks in the game could number in the "tens of thousands," and they range from subtle visual upgrades--like Wii Fit Trainer's refined face--to reworked movesets and other dramatic overhauls.
One of the most notable changes is the pace of the game. Combat in Ultimate feels speedier than in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, resulting in quicker and more intense matches. Moreover, Nintendo has introduced some new techniques, such as directional air dodges, and simplified other ones, like short hop attacks, improving the game's accessibility while also allowing for more skillful play. In keeping with this emphasis on speedier matches, players will dish out more damage in one-on-one battles, while those who excessively dodge will now be penalized with slowed dodge movement and a smaller window of invulnerability.
Most Final Smashes have also undergone some dramatic changes in Ultimate. Some existing specials, like Pikachu's Volt Tackle and Sonic's Super Sonic transformation, are now uncontrollable, lightning-fast attacks, while other characters have received new Final Smashes entirely. This time, Link fires a devastating Ancient Arrow, while Pit barrels through opponents in the Lightning Chariot. Nintendo says that nearly every Final Smash has been reworked in Ultimate to be more immediate, allowing players to get back into the fray more quickly.
Likewise, many returning characters have received significant overhauls in Ultimate, both in terms of their appearance and their movesets. Ganondorf, for instance, is modeled after his classic look in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and he now uses his sword for his smash attacks. Princess Zelda's new model is based on her appearance in A Link Between Worlds, and Link dons his Champion's Tunic from Breath of the Wild. Shulk can now choose Monado Arts directly rather than having to cycle through them, while Palutena's special attacks have been streamlined.
Can I Use GameCube Controllers?
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will support several different controller options, including the Switch Pro controller, a single Joy-Con, and many Smash fans' preferred gamepad, the GameCube controller. As was the case with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, the latter will be compatible with the console via a separate adapter. This peripheral plugs into the Switch dock and works with both standard wired GameCube controllers and the wireless WaveBird.
Those who already own the Wii U GameCube controller adapter will be able to use it with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on Switch. Nintendo will also release a new controller adapter later this year, along with a new line of Smash-branded wired GameCube controllers. Both are already available for pre-order from various retailers such as Amazon and GameStop; the adapter retails for $20, while the GameCube controllers run for $30 each.
Will It Work with Amiibo?
Nintendo confirmed Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be compatible with the existing range of Smash Bros. Amiibo, and data saved to those figures will carry over to the new game. The company has also announced it will produce several new Smash Bros. Amiibo. During E3 2018, Nintendo showcased figures of Ridley and Inkling, two of the new fighters making their debut in Ultimate. The third new fighter announced for the game thus far, Daisy, will likewise receive an Amiibo, although it wasn't on display at E3.
In addition to the new figures, Nintendo announced it will also produce Amiibo for returning characters. The company has specifically confirmed Wolf, Ice Climbers, and Pichu will receive Amiibo, although that will presumably apply to other returning fighters, such as Young Link and Snake, as well. The Ridley, Inkling, and Wolf figures will launch alongside Super Smash Bros. Ultimate this December and retail for $16 each. Reprints of many previous Smash Bros. Amiibo will also be available later this year for $13.
Will I Need to Pay to Play Online?
While online play on Nintendo Switch has been free up until now, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (and other online-enabled games like Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Pokemon Let's Go, Pikachu and Let's Go, Eevee) will require a Nintendo Switch Online subscription once the premium service rolls out this September. Subscriptions will be available for one month (US $4 / £3.49 / AU $6), three months (US $8 / £7 / AU $12), and 12 months (US $20 / £18 / AU $30). Nintendo will also offer a Family Plan, which allows up to eight accounts to share one membership for US $35 / £31.49 / AU $55 a year.
Will There Be DLC?
Nintendo hasn't given any indication as to whether or not it will release additional content for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. However, the most recent installments in the series received an extensive amount of DLC following their release, from new stages and characters to a wide assortment of Mii Fighter costumes, and it seems likely that Ultimate will get a similar level of post-launch support, although nothing has been confirmed as of yet.
When's the Release Date?
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate launches exclusively for Nintendo Switch later this year, on December 7.