Super Smash Bros Ultimate aired its final Nintendo Direct on Thursday, revealing loads of new information and the last round of fighters for the base game. Masahiro Sakurai, the game’s director, led viewers through the game’s details one last time before its release later this winter. It’s a 40-minute video, and a lot to take in, so we’ve rounded up the best parts.
The Direct starts off with a cinematic in a boxing ring. Ryu is squared up against his Street Fighter rival and new echo fighter, Ken. They trade blows. Ken thinks he’s won—then Incineroar enters the ring. The fire-fighting-type Pokemon from the latest generation, Sun and Moon, is revealed to be the final playable character in the base game. Sakurai details Incineroar’s moveset, which is full of wrestling moves and grabs. Keeping in that theme, Incineroar also turns to the crowd and taunts after every move, though Sakurai mentions that players can cancel out of them at anytime.
Players start out with the original eight fighters from way back in the N64 days and build out to the total roster of over 70 characters. For every new character, there’s going to be a new amiibo available, too.
Because Sakurai and his team couldn’t fit every obscure Nintendo character into the game as a playable character, they created Spirits. According to the game’s lore, Spirits are ethereal beings who have lost their physical bodies. Those characters include several Pokemon, Hal Emmerich from Metal Gear, Revali from Breath of the Wild and many, many more. They’re a new mechanic in Ultimate, similar to equipment from the 2014 Smash Bros.. They enhance stats and can even provide additional skills.
Acquiring them is just like acquiring a new fighter. Beating Spirits in special modes means you can add them to your roster. Spirit Battles pit the player against fighters that Sakurai says match the particular spirit’s personality. Getting The Imprisoned spirit, for example, means you’ll have to beat King K. Rool, because both of them are weird reptilian creatures with sharp teeth. The Able Sisters’ spirit battle gives every enemy a drill, and Hal Emmerich is protected by a giant version of R.O.B.
The entire system is shockingly deep. Along with bonus stat increases, Spirits introduce a rock-paper-scissors mechanic. Each Spirit is either Grab, Attack or Shield type and can be leveled up through usage in battle, feeding it snacks, taking it to the dojo or sending it to find treasure. Some can even evolve into enhanced versions of their original forms.
Smash Ultimate is also introducing a heavily developed online system. Your Global Smash Power is a direct correlation to the number of players the game thinks you’re better than. From there, even every individual fighter has their own ranking. If you’re better with Ness than you are with Link, for instance, your individual GSP will reflect that. The idea is that no matter what, players should be able to expect an evenly matched fight. For advanced players, there’s something called Elite Battles. This is what the development team will keep an eye on for balancing purposes.
There’s a social addition to the online mode, too. Players can collect smash tags from defeated opponents, spectate other matches, pair with other players in duo matches and post video highlights on Smash World, an extension of the Nintendo Switch app.
Sakurai then goes into a whole slew of quick facts: The total amount of assist trophies is up to 59, there are helpful guides available, Century Smash is back with stage and music customization, All-Star mode is available from the get-go, and players can create videos with battle replay. Challenges will also be making a return and players can review battle stats, as well. There’s even language support for 11 languages, along with specific voice acting for each.
Thurdsay’s Direct confirmed paid DLC for the game. Sets will include music tracks, a new stage and a fighter. There are plans to release five of these packs for $5.99 apiece, or as a bundle for $24.99. However, the team has yet to decide which fighters to develop, which means release dates are totally up in the air. Before assuring fans that he’ll get to work on them as soon as the main game is done, Sakurai says, “I wonder if I’ll ever get a break.”
The Direct wraps up with a tease of the brand-new adventure mode. There’s not much new information, other than a mysterious cinematic that somehow ties into characters losing their bodies and turning into spirits. Check it out here or in the full Direct video below.
Anyone ready to preorder Smash Bros. Ultimate now will also be able to play as Petey Piranha, as revealed through an extremely metal cutscene. The game looks to be overloaded with features and an absolute labor of love. Smash hits shelves on Dec. 7.