But don’t blame him.

The latest installment of Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. crossover series, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, boasts a staggering 82 combatants to choose from. That seems like it should be enough quantity for anybody, but it’s the amount of variety that’s got some people upset.

Last month, Smash director Masahiro Sakurai revealed that the latest DLC character to be added to Ultimate would be Byleth, the protagonist/player avatar of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and a number of very vocal fans let their displeasure be known.

▼ Byleth’s Ultimate reveal video

In some ways, the backlash could be called surprising. Three Houses is not only the newest entry in Nintendo’s Fire Emblem strategy RPG series, it’s also the most internationally successful and popular Fire Emblem title ever. But while gamers were happy to spend time with Byleth in Three Houses, they didn’t necessarily need to see the character again in Smash, since Ultimate already has seven other Fire Emblem characters.

Ultimate now has as many Fire Emblem fighters as the original Street Fighter II had playable characters in total.

With the addition of Byleth, Fire Emblem heroes currently make up nearly 10 percent of the Ultimate roster, each one wielding a sword as their primary weapon. If that’s starting to feel a little cookie-cutter to you, you’re not the only one, though. In a recent interview with Japanese video game magazine Famitsu, Sakurai himself is quoted as saying:

“I know the game has too many Fire Emblem characters. And I know it has too many swordfighters.”

▼ In addition to the Fire Emblem fighters, Ultimate’s swordfighter character list features Cloud, Hero, Link, Meta Knight, Mii Swordfighter, Shulk, Toon Link, and Young Link, accounting for a total of 19.5 percent of players’ options.

However, while he may be the director, Sakurai explained that he doesn’t have complete control over everything that goes into Smash. “I don’t decide who the new fighters are going to be based on my own preferences,” he said. “It’s up to Nintendo.”

The director really is in a tough spot. As a Nintendo-published game, of course the company is going to want to put its own characters front and center in Smash. With its medieval war theme, Fire Emblem has the most violent narrative of any of Nintendo’s intellectual properties, plus an entirely new cast of characters introduced for each new game in the series (unlike the Mario and Zelda franchises, which continually recycle/reuse the same key characters), and so the protagonist of whatever the latest Fire Emblem makes a natural fit for a fighting game.

There’s also the fact that for all its success, the Smash franchise is one of the biggest tail-wags-the-dog situations in modern gaming. What started as a Nintendo-characters-only party now has a huge number of “guest fighters” borrowed from other companies, and they’re arguably as big a draw as their Nintendo counterparts. That’s led to unbridled expectations, as it feels like virtually any video game character potentially could be in Smash, and so the safe choice of “another Fire Emblem character with a sword” is bound to feel a little anti-climactic.

But dissatisfied fans can at least take heart in the fact that Sakurai himself seems to feel like the roster imbalance is becoming an issue, even as there’s one non-Fire Emblem character that’s completely off-limits for Smash.

Source: Game Yoridori Subculture Midori Park via Hachima Kiko
Images: YouTube/Nintendo
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!