Proving that it is foolish to have hopes and dreams, Nintendo revealed the fifth add-on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character to be… another character from Fire Emblem. And fans this morning are, what the kids call it, “salty.”
Coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch on January 28 is Byleth, the protagonist of the best-selling tactical roleplaying game Fire Emblem: Three Houses. The character was revealed Thursday morning at 9 a.m. Eastern, in a video announcement devoted exclusively to Smash Bros. Ultimate.
The stream was hosted by game director Masahiro Sakurai, appearing in a pre-taped video filmed back in November. As such, what was revealed may not be indicative of the final product releasing later this month.
The pack containing Byleth is available for $5.99, and is part of the Fighter Pass bundle that includes four previous DLC characters for $24.99.
Throughout the 35-minute presentation, which began with the reveal trailer, Byleth and the other contents of “Challenger Pack 5” were broken down by Sakurai, who explained Byleth’s move set in great detail.
As if knowing the criticism at the game’s abundance of sword-centric Fire Emblem characters, Byleth’s trailer contained a fourth-wall breaking reference acknowledging “too many swords” as a way to introduce the new character’s diverse arsenal: a lance, an axe, and an archer’s bow, all from Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Still, this doesn’t change the fact Byleth is still a character from Fire Emblem, a franchise fans of Smash Bros. weren’t exactly chomping at the bits to see more of in the game.
With seven characters already playable from the Fire Emblem franchise, Smash fans were really hoping for a new character from another third-party, non-Nintendo exclusive series, as in the case of Joker from Persona 5 or Banjo & Kazooie.
As video game journalist Chris Scullion (@scully1888) sarcastically tweeted, “HEY GUYS I was at a meeting so I haven’t watched the #SmashDirect yet. So who was it? Doom guy? Steve? Master Chief? Dante? Another Fire Emblem character? HAHAHAHAHA just kidding about the last one, that would be fucking mental.”
Marvel Comics writer and author of the novel Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed, tweeted: “I’ve never felt more hostile toward a franchise I’ve never played than I do toward Fire Emblem.” He followed up with another sarcastic tweet about pulling his son out of school because “they picked another swordsdork for smash and he needs to hear about this bullshit right away.”
Comedy writer Mike Drucker tweeted, “Hahahaha they added another Fire Emblem character to Smash Bros. All of you had hoped. All of you had dreamed. But it’s another Fire Emblem character. You fools. You insignificant fools.”
A user who runs the popular Facebook page “The Rise and Fall of Nickelodeon” tweeted on their account @RiseFallNick, “No surprise reveal. No big news… just ANOTHER Fire Emblem character. All that secrecy and hype for… basically the most disappointing #SmashDirect ever.”
They added, “Sakurai I love ya, we all do, but this was not the character to reveal as the 5th DLC.” True to their brand, @RiseFallNick used a GIF of a disappointed Squidward from SpongeBob SquarePants packing up his lawn chair and heading inside.
And of course, there were memes, many of which center on a baffling breakdown of how to count in binary during the top of the stream which resulted in an image of Sakurai holding up the middle finger. This is being taken as Sakurai trolling his audience with the universal symbol of “Fuck you.”
Of course, there isn’t a total consensus over Byleth in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. As Three Houses is one of the most popular entries in the series’ history, there appears to be just as many fans who are welcoming Byleth to the game.
What made Byleth’s reveal presentation extra trollish was that Sakurai began the top of the presentation on a very high note. Via an English interpreter, Sakurai said that “hardly anyone knows what we’re announcing today, even among Nintendo staff worldwide.” The character had been in development with the “utmost secrecy” and would surprise even Nintendo employees, which briefly made it seem that the character would be a really, really big deal.
With that kind of description, you would have assumed maybe a character like Master Chief, from Microsoft’s Halo, would have been the new fighter. But nope. It’s just another Fire Emblem character. Whether you love it or hate it, you’ve probably already paid for it.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Challenger Pack 5 will be added on January 28.