November 1, 2018 Nintendo Direct. The final Super Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct before launch.
Character reveal! It's a two-fer. The scene is set in a boxing ring, with Little Mac up against our first newcomer:
Ken Turns Up the Heat! Ken Masters from Street Fighter joins as Ryu's Echo Fighter, because come on, was he really not gonna be an Echo? Like Ryu, Ken has two Final Smashes depending on whether or not an opponent is right in front of him, and the original Street Fighter
Ken defeats Mac, only for someone new to enter and challenge him:
Incineroar Enters the Ring! Incineroar from Pokemon Sun and Moon joins as an original fighter. He's a pro wrestler, hands down. I was really hoping for Decidueye as the next Pokemon rep, but this works.
Just to recap, the starting roster will have the original eight starter characters from the original Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64. With the above two reveals, the final roster of the game will have seventy-six (76) fighters, counting the Pokemon Trainer's roster and the Mii Fighters separate.
I feel like I should note that the game seems to automatically group the Pokemon Trainer as one fighter but automatically separate the Mii Fighters into their three movesets, for seventy-four (74) slots on the roster. This also counts the Echo Fighters separate; like the August 8 Direct revealed, you can group Echoes with the fighters they're based on, shrinking the roster to only sixty-seven (67) truly-unique fighters (again, splitting the Miis but grouping the Pokemon Trainer).
Smash Bros. amiibo for the Inkling Girl, Ridley, and Wolf come out on December 7, 2018, the same day Smash Ultimate launches.
King K. Rool and the Ice Climbers get their amiibo on February 15, 2019.
Ken, Isabelle, Pichu, Young Link, and Daisy will get their amiibo later in 2019.
No word on the Incineroar amiibo yet.
No more trophies?
Collectible trophies will not be returning. Instead, we're getting something new that keeps the collectible aspect of the trophies but adds something new:
Remember in the August 8 Direct, where the menu had a blurred-out section? That was Spirits mode.
Exact quote from Sakurai('s translator): "In the Super Smash Bros. series, the characters are toys in the real world, but they are fighters in the world of the imagination. Returning to the real world is an ongoing theme. In the imagination, you can battle impossible combinations of characters.
"In this mysterious world, the unspeakable happens. Many beloved characters lose their physical forms. All of them, except the fighters, are turned into spirits, unable to return to the real world."
Spirit characters aid fighters in battle. Much like equipment from Smash 4, spirits provide different boosts to combat stats. Much like trophies, there are a lot of them.
Spirits have four strength tiers: Novice, Advanced, Ace, and Legend.
Primary Spirits' power is added to a fighter. Fighters can only have one Primary Spirit at a time. Primary Spirits boost a fighter's stats.
Support Spirits provide other boosts, such as autoheal, unflinching smash attack charge, or items equipped at the start of battle. This is similar to trophy effects in the Smash Tour game mode from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Primary Spirits can have up to three Support Spirits, though some top out at less.
To unlock a Spirit, you must win a Spirit Battle. Choose the Spirit you want to battle (you can pick from a randomly selected list of six). You will then fight a fighter who is similar to the spirit character (for example, to get the spirit of Polterpup from Luigi's Mansion, you'll fight the Duck Hunt fighter, and to get the spirit of Smeargle from Pokemon, you'll fight the Inkling Boy fighter).
Spirit Battles try to imitate the spirit in question as much as possible. To get the Gordo (Kirby series) spirit, you'll have to fight a bunch of invisible King Dedede (also Kirby series) who keep using their Gordo Throw attack at you. To get the Spirit for The Imprisoned (The Legend of Zelda), you'll fight a giant King K. Rool who has the assist trophy Ghirahim aiding him.
Once you defeat the fighter, referred to as a Puppet Fighter in this case, you will have to destroy it in order to release and acquire the spirit. Destroying it in this case means there's a little minigame where your fighter holds some kind of gun while the Puppet Fighter is surrounded by a barrier that's not complete but is spinning. Shoot through the gap to get the spirit, but if you hit the barrier, you'll break part of the barrier. You only get one shot, but the game will remember that, so if you fight that spirit again later, the barrier will remember that it's broken, giving you more gaps to shoot through.
Primary Spirits have a type advantage type: Attack beats Grab, Grab beats Shield, and Shield beats Attack. Hey, that's similar to how the actual fighters work normally: Shields block attacks but not grabs.
Some Spirit Battles have added stage hazards like poisonous floors, but some Spirits give immunities to that, so equipping them is useful.
You can choose your spirits before going into a spirit battle. You'll get a little hint about the battle conditions, such as "The enemy is invisible" or "The enemy is easily distracted by items".
Spirits can gain experience and levels, much like amiibo fighters. Primary Spirits gain experience during battles when equipped. You can also feed them snacks which give them experience. There's also specific training modes for spirits, which can run in the background when you're playing other modes or even when the game is off.
Snacks can be acquired when you win a Spirit Battle. The more even the match (that is, if the difference between the power of the Spirit you're fighting, and the total power of you and the Spirit you have equipped, is low), the more snacks you'll get. The less even the match, the more likely you'll just get the Spirit. So, going overpowered isn't recommended it seems.
Additional training areas can be unlocked by beating Spirits labeled "Masters", such as Cap'n Cuttlefish (Splatoon) or Gravity Man (Mega Man).
Some spirits gain more powerful forms when their experience is maxed out, such as Primal Groudon for Groudon.
You can also send Spirits back to the real world. This means they're gone, but they leave behind their "core", and you can combine cores to summon more spirits.
Spirits can also power up amiibo Figure Players. This costs you the Spirit, though.
Spirit Battles always have the Final Smash Meter enabled.
By the way, the Final Smash that demonstrates this is Yoshi's Final Smash, which we haven't seen before. Yoshi hits the fighter into a canyon, where a veritable stampede of Yoshis tramples them. It's like the opening to Melee!
The whole setup seems to be a way to simulate as many battles as possible that can't be done with fighters, assist trophies / Poke' Ball Pokemon, and stage bosses.
There's also an "Autopick" option. If you're not sure on who to use for a Spirit Battle, let the computer pick something for you.
There's also multiplayer battles with Spirits. Fight other players who are using Spirits in one-on-one, or two-on-two battles.
(also, back to that blurred-out thing, the dashboard on the right side of the menu had a blurred out icon as well. That was the Collections option, which presumably lets you see what Spirits you've acquired)
Matchmaking is now based on three factors:
Preferred Rules. You can pick a rule set before the match. The matchmaking system will try to group you with fighters with similar preferred rules.
Global Smash Power. To recap from Smash Wii U / 3DS, Global Smash Power is like a leaderboard, but instead of saying you're 1st or 5th or 9001st, the number simply means you have a higher score than that number of people. If your Global Smash Power is 100,000, then you have a higher score than 99,999 people. Of course, your GSP fluctuates depending on how many players exist and how well you do.
Each one of your fighters has their own GSP.
Physical distance between players. This is done from a signal standpoint; if you're in London, it's easier to connect to someone in Paris than to someone in Buenos Aires.
Sakurai straight-up recommends a wired connection for online play. There's a USB LAN adapter for that, sold separately.
If your GSP is high enough, you can enter elite battles. If you have this option, you're definitely among the top-tier players.
You need one to play online. It's basically like an icon on any forum.
Pick an icon, a color for the tag, taunt messages, and whether or not you receive notifications.
When you defeat another player, you'll get their Smash Tag (you keep yours). Build up a collection.
You can have some short messages to send off before and after a battle. They're short things like "Keep your eyes open!", "I'll win this time!", "Talk is cheap!" or "I hope you like to be countered." They're all preset, so you can't make your own. A number of them seem to be quotes from different Smash characters. They pop up before the match begins near the health meter, and after it ends on the results screen.
While waiting for the battle to start, you can fight in other modes, like training or stock battles.
Spectator mode is back, so you can watch other players' battles.
Co-op online play is back. Form a team of two.
This is just a battle room you can set up. There are spots where you can join the battle, wait for the next battle, or spectate the match.
Connects with the Nintendo Switch Online App
You can use Voice Chat with players in arenas.
This is a free Smash-centric app where you can upload gameplay videos.
Smash World service begins 2019.
Shadow the Hedgehog (Sonic the Hedgehog series). Looks like Knuckles' inclusion as an Assist and Shadow's suspicious absence as such was just a red herring.
Takamaru (The Mysterious Murasame Castle), Starman (Mother/EarthBound series), Nightmare (Kirby's Adventure), and Color TV-Game 15 (a.k.a. Pong) (Color TV series) all return.
Yuri Kozukata (Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water). A camera reticle will go around the stage. When it snaps on a fighter, they'll be stunned for a few seconds.
Isaac (Golden Sun) returns from Brawl, but his Move ability (which forms a giant hand that pushes you) now does more, like smack you with a giant fist or catch you in two hands to carry you upwards (how far up isn't shown, but I assume he throws you to the blast line).
Black Knight (Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance). Another Fire Emblem sword wielder. What a shocker.
Thwomp (Super Mario series). He just does what he does: hover in the air until someone gets close, then smacks down on top of them. Move quick, or you'll get thwomped.
Spring Man (ARMS). Sorry, everyone who wanted him as a fighter. True to form, he uses his extendable arms to deliver long-ranged punches. He also uses his special attack before leaving.
Wily Capsule (Mega Man). Dr. Wily in one of his Wily Capsules shows up to fight. Amusingly, he's one of the fighters that can be attacked and KO'd, and when he's beaten, he'll do that whole bowing down "I'm sorry I'm sorry" pose thing, just like in the original games. Nintendo is really good at sticking true to characters' origins, aren't they?
Flies and Hand (Mario Paint). Yes, the flyswatting minigame from Mario Paint! Ridiculous? Yes. Awesome anyway? Yes.
Tiki (Fire Emblem: Awakening). Hey, it's a Fire Emblem character that doesn't use a sword! Tiki can shapeshift between human form and dragon form, and she unleashes a massive burst of fire breath on the stage. Dang.
Vince (Art Academy series). He paints things, which appear on the stage and hit fighters.
Guile (Street Fighter). He lies in wait to block attacks and kick fighters that get too close.
Fittingly, his reveal comes with his theme music. Guile's Theme really does go with everything!
Akira (Virtua Fighter). Not much to report; he's a fighting game character with a very low polygon count.
The total number of Assist Trophies is 59, which is greater than the number of Poke' Ball Pokemon for once.
Assist Trophies that can be KO'd can be KO'd by the fighter who summoned them. Remember, KO'ing Assist Trophies gets you points, but if you KO your own Assist Trophy, nobody gets points for that. Something to keep in mind.
Century Smash is the new word for 100-man Smash
All-Star Smash is available right away, even if you haven't unlocked everyone (or anyone). Fighters you unlock will be added to All-Star Mode as you unlock them.
If you save a replay of a match, Replay Mode lets you not only watch those matches, but also make videos out of them.
All those tips you saw in the loading screens in Smash 4? Now you can see them at any time. They're all conveniently sorted, too, by category or fighter.
Challenges are back. Instead of one big board of challenges, there are several pages, sorted by category.
Records mode tracks your battle history, as usual. Online and Offline battle rankings are separate this time.
Remember Smash Tags? You can trade those in for in-game currency, or Gold. Gold can also be won as a reward for beating a Spirit. Presumably there are other methods.
The Shop can get you Mii outfits, Spirits, snacks for your Spirits, support items, and music tracks.
In the Options menu...
Language Support! The game supports eleven languages. Character voices, from Pokemon to the Announcer, change based on language.
Brightness settings for TV mode and Handheld mode are separate.
One thing I haven't mentioned in previous things is that in matches, there's a radar in the corner of the screen that shows where fighters are if anyone is off the screen. In the options menu, you choose the size of the radar (large or small), or toggle it off.
In wireless or online play, you can set the option to have your allies be semi-transparent so you aren't distracted as easily.
Custom Balance. If you're fighting a friend on the same system, you can adjust the strength of your fighters. You can boost your fighters' power up or down by three, giving you a power boost or a big nerf. This is largely done for balancing reasons, such as if you're a noob going against a pro or something.
This isn't available in online play, of course.
Mii Fighters have twelve voice options which can be pitched up or down
Mii Fighter Costumes
Yiga Clan outfit (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
Splatoon 2 Inkling (Splatoon 2)
Ribbon Girl (ARMS).
Chibi Robo (Chibi Robo)
Ray MkIII (Custom Robo)
Toy-Con set (Nintendo Labo)
Rex (Xenoblade Chronicles 2), a purchase bonus for the Fighters Pass (see below)
There will be five paid DLC sets coming up.
Each set comes with one fighter, one stage, and music tracks.
Each set costs $5.99 USD.
The Fighters Pass, $24.99, lets you get all of them for slightly less.
The contents will not be revealed until it's out. So, just have faith.
All DLC content will be released through the end of February 2020.
Sakurai: "... ... ...I wonder if I'll ever get to take a break!"
A Mii Fighter outfit will be available as a purchase bonus for hte Fighters Pass: Rex (Xenoblade Chronicles 2). The fighter roster was picked before Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was announced, so Rex's inclusion as an actual fighter couldn't happen. That didn't stop Greninja for Smash 4, though, so...
There's also some more Xenoblade Chronicles content in the form of music and Spirits.
Limited-Time Offer. A FREE DLC offer. If you buy Smash Ultimate now, you'll get something very unexpected:
Pirahna Plant Pipes Up! That's right; a near-literal garden-variety mook is going to be a fighter in Smash Ultimate! NOBODY SAW THIS COMING! Piranha Plant combines attributes of many different Piranha Plant-style enemies.
He won't be ready until a couple months after launch.
Remember: LIMITED TIME OFFER FOR PRE-ORDERS.
He'll have an amiibo.
Smash fans in North America. Check out the Nintendo website for information on when and where these pre-launch events happen.
Adventure Mode: "What exactly caused all these characters to lose their bodies and transform into Spirits?" Let's just isolate the clip, and I'll leave my thoughts after.
Is that the same cliff from that one scene in Brawl's story mode?
I'm immediately reminded that the actual Biblical Angels were a lot more abstract than the stereotypical "human with white wings and halo".
So, the inside of Master Hand isn't the Master Core like in the last game.
Shulk has a vision, and there's nothing he can do about it.
Jeez, what is this, Infinity War?
Of course Kirby would be the only survivor. Sakurai loves this guy.
LYRICS! The main theme now has lyrics. And not just the "dead language so we don't have to translate it a kjghpillion times" lyrics, but full English and Japanese lyrics! And possibly other language lyrics? The song is titled "Lifelight".
"Puppet Fighter" was the exact words. Now we know why.
Is that Galleom from Brawl's Subspace Emissary? Sweet!
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: "World of Light"
So, no Paper Mario, no Decidueye, and no Wonder-Red, but we got Guile's Theme for music, story mode looks sweet, and the Spirits idea is kinda interesting.
Not the best Smash Ultimate Direct of the three, but still good. Yeah. Still good.
"Stow your fear. It's now or never!"