Among the numerous announcements during yesterday’s Super Smash Bros.-focused Nintendo Direct stream, perhaps none had more people curious than those regarding which characters we could expect to see both return and make their series debut in the upcoming Wii U and 3DS games. The final tally comes to four confirmed returning characters and one all-new character, the latter being the rather unexpected Greninja from Pokemon X & Y.
In its debut game, Greninja is the final evolved form of the frog-like starter Pokemon Froakie, and is very reminiscent of a ninja in its appearance and attack style. It wasn’t the only Pokemon to be confirmed, however, as in an interesting twist, the iconic dragon-like Pokemon Charizard will be making its return as a solo character. In its debut appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Charizard was 1/3 of the Pokemon Trainer character, where players could switch between it, Ivysaur, and Squirtle with the press of a button. Why the other two have apparently been dropped is currently unclear, but if I had to guess, since the game’s director Masahiro Sakurai seems to be putting a heavy emphasis on character balance, it’s probably easier to heavily adjust one character than three.
Other confirmed returning characters include Yoshi, the last of the original Nintendo 64 Super Smash Bros. lineup to be announced (excluding hidden characters), as well as both Zero Suit Samus from Metroid and Sheik from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. In another interesting tweak, Zero Suit Samus and Sheik will no longer be alternate forms for Samus and Zelda that can be switched mid-battle. Instead, they will be individually selectable characters with more fleshed-out move sets and abilities.
Promotional screenshots for all five characters can be viewed below, along with a new pre-rendered trailer showcasing Greninja and Charizard. We will continue to keep you updated on Super Smash Bros. as more news drops.