Smash Contenders

Since launch we've seen a steady drip feed of DLC fighters landing in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The five brawlers of the Challenger Pack (plus Piranha Plant) have given the game a periodic injection of fresh blood, not to mention the excitement generated by the reveals. Byleth from Fire Emblem: Three Houses is the final fighter from the Challenger Pack to get one of those sealed invites - a boon for Fire Emblem fans, although with such a wealth of representation from that series already, non-aficionados could be forgiven for feeling a little underwhelmed.

That is until you remember that more fighters are incoming, of course, with six fighters forming the second Challenger Pack, so the speculation won't let up until this new round of DLC wraps up in December 2021. Blimey! The ones released so far have been brilliant additions to the roster and a source of rolling hype around the game. Even people who aren't into Smash (yes, they exist) can get behind reveals featuring gaming legends like Terry Bogard, Banjo-Kazooie and Dragon Quest's Hero.

So who's next, then? Min Min from ARMS was the last to join the brawl back in June. Speculation about upcoming fighters has been rampant since the game launched, with any tiny innocuous detail taken as a clue to power the rumour mill. With five more positions to fill and an announcement incoming, we've rounded up the usual suspects as well as some outsiders to weigh them up and ponder the likelihood of their joining video gaming's greatest crossover. At the bottom there's also a poll where you can vote for your favourites or make suggestions in the comments.

Ready, then? Fight!

Leon S. Kennedy

Notable game(s): Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil series

For: High recognition factor; Unlike existing characters - potential for unique style; Could be a part of a Resident Evil echo fighter pair - with Claire, maybe?; Fabulous hair.

Against: With guns, knives, blood and creeping zombie flesh, Leon and the Resident Evil series is not exactly kid-friendly (Presidential daughters excepted). Counterpoint: the Metal Gear Solid series has featured genital-based explosives and Snake's still in Smash.

Final Smash: Chainsaw Guy lurches onto the stage and everyone except Leon loses their heads.

Viewtiful Joe

Notable game(s): Viewtiful Joe, Viewtiful Joe 2

For: Crazy style; Already an accomplished fighter who'd fit right in; Sexy Silvia would make a great shadow fighter.

Against: Hasn't starred in a game in a while (not necessarily a problem - kids need an education!)

Final Smash: Joe slows time and proceeds to zip around delivering blow-after-blow until time resumes and the opponent bounces around and off the screen.

Amaterasu

Notable game(s): Okami, Okamiden

For: Cool fighting possibilities with the Celestial Brush; Plenty of combat experience; The sumi-e art style would be a unique addition (imagine the stage).

Against: ... nope, can't think of anything.

Final Smash: Chibiterasu leaps out with the Celestial Brush and plants bombs that blast the opponent into the stratosphere.

Ramirez & Jonesy (Fortnite)

Notable game(s): Fortnite

For: Incredibly recognisable to millions of people; Cartoon style would fit in well; Plenty of echo fighter skins to choose from; Fortnite = still so hot right now.

Against: Guns (kinda fundamental to Fortnite) might be problematic in Smash, although there's enough scope for silly ACME-style weapons and llamas.

Final Smash: After thanking the bus driver three or four thousand times, he finally shows his appreciation of your appreciation by dropping his vehicle from the sky directly on top of your opponent.

Steve (Minecraft)

Notable game(s): Minecraft

For: Incredibly popular and family-friendly; Unique style compared to the existing roster; Microsoft and Nintendo are BBFs right now (seriously, Ubisoft are well jealous)

Against: Another sword fighter?

Final Smash: Night falls and creepers descend on your opponent, driving them off the stage.

The Wrestler (Rhythm Heaven)

Notable game(s): Rhythm Heaven Megamix, Rhythm Heaven series

For: A large repertoire of killer moves; Looks great on camera; Would make an excellent addition to the Smash soundtrack vault; Wubba dubba dub, is that true?

Against: Sometimes our desire for a fighter is based solely on who we want to see in amiibo form - this may be one of those times.

Final Smash: Take your pick! Maybe the paparazzi crowd into frame and you "Pose for the fans", blasting everyone from the stage with your powerful pecs. Alternatively, The Chorus Kids arrive and shatter your opponent using their ultrasonic voices.

Mallo

Notable game(s): Pushmo / Pullblox, Crashmo / Fallblox

For: Could create interesting mechanics for a block-filled stage, We haven't seen Mallo on Switch... yet.

Against: Lesser-known cute character would no-doubt invoke 'fan' ire in certain circles.

Final Smash: A wall of blocks appear behind your opponent and Mallo pushes a button. As he's sake on top of the blocks, everyone else is smashed off the stage towards the screen, landing with a splat and sliding down.

Downwell dude

Notable game(s): Downwell

For: Loads of potential in a Downwell stage; Gunboots offer cool offensive moves; Would make an unlikely but brilliant team with Bayonetta; Would go down... well.

Against: A bit one-note?

Final Smash: Downwell dude removes his gunboots and puts them on his opponent. Having no experience with such footwear, they are blasted off the stage to their doom.

Master Chief

Notable game(s): Halo: Combat Evolved, the Halo series

For: Iconic gaming character; Trained in evolved combat.

Against: We've already had a massively surprising Microsoft crossover with B-K, although Master Chief is very different.

Final Smash: A Warthog speeds onto the stage, the Chief jumps in while it's still moving and ploughs over the opposition to finish the fight.

Dante

Notable game(s): Devil May Cry, Devil May Cry series

For: The DMC games have been getting rereleases on Switch for a while now; A natural fit for Smash.

Against: Yet another sword fighter; Perhaps too similar to existing fighters?

Final Smash: "Let's rock, baby!" Then Virgil, Trish, Lady and the rest dive in. Stylish, explosive violence ensues.

Tetrominos

Notable game(s): Really?

For: A novel addition; Massively iconic; We want to see a T-spin turned into an offensive move.

Against: Tetrominos aren't blessed with an abundance of personality.

Final Smash: A Tetris 99-inspired dumping of lines on top of your opponents, crushing them mercilessly.

The Wonderful 101

Notable game(s): The Wonderful 101

For: A unique addition with plenty of character and potential; Would fit in nicely with a long-rumoured Switch port.

Against: One hell of a technical challenge to implement so many fighters into one 'character'.

Final Smash: The entire 101 morph to form the Unite Hand and flick the stage clean.