Article updated - Sun 9th Feb, 2020 07:00 GMT: Earlier this week, in his latest Famitsu column, Masahiro Sakurai touched on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate having too many Fire Emblem characters and sword fighters. While he understands what the fanbase is talking about, he says it is time to "move on" as what's done is done.
Here's a more detailed translation, courtesy of Nintendo Everything:
I understand. First and foremost: there are too many Fire Emblem characters; and what’s more there are too many sword-users. It’s something that’s already been decided, though, so let’s move on – I should be thinking more about other things.
The Smash Bros. director further explains how his own "preferences" don't play a role in the fighter selection process and noted how Nintendo has a "larger" say in the decision-making. Byleth, for example, was added because the character is brand-new, which is a nice contrast to existing fighters with more extensive histories.
My preferences don’t play a role in which new fighters are added; Nintendo has a larger say in that decision and brings their thoughts to the table. At any rate, the “theme” for this character was the how much freshness they brought to the game. The fighters that we include in Smash Bros. tend to come from series that have histories. For instance, Dragon Quest’s “Hero,” “Banjo & Kazooie,” and Fatal Fury’s Terry Bogard all first appeared around 20 to 30 years ago – I want to include quite a wide breadth of characters.
To avoid Byleth becoming another character reliant on swordplay, Sakurai decided to consider the "techniques" this fighter could use. From here, he ended up implementing the leaders' Hero Relics from Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
as a workaround I considered what techniques the character should use and ended up implementing the three houses’ leaders’ “Hero Relics” as some of their moves to keep with elements present in Three Houses. For instance, though the character uses a bow all the same, how the player uses it can differentiate it quite a bit from say, Link or Pit’s bows.
What do you think about Sakurai's comments? Have you enjoyed playing as Byleth in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate? Leave a comment down below.