Super Smash Bros Ultimate Roster – Sakurai’s Confession

super smash bros ultimate roster fire emblem logo
  • Sakurai admits that Super Smash Bros Ultimate has too many Fire Emblem and swordsmen characters.
  • Sakurai claims that Nintendo sets the roster, and his job is to add variety to the characters.

Developers at Nintendo normally toe the corporate line. In fact, most refuse to even entertain questions that go against the company’s values and norms. But every once in a great while a notable employee will slip and reveal nuggets of information. Sakurai did just that when discussing the Super Smash Bros Ultimate roster with Famitsu last week.

The Interview

Masahiro Sakurai sat down with Famitsu last week to discuss the revelation of Byleth as the new DLC fighter. Here is what he had to say:

“I know Fire Emblem character is too many, and swordsman also is too many.”

Masahiro Sakurai – Courtesy of Famitsu

Famitsu dug a little deeper into that statement, and Sakurai slowly revealed more information about the decision-making processes at Nintendo. While Sakurai has the final say on fighter moves and style, Nintendo ultimately chooses the characters. With the release of Fire Emblem Three Houses’ Byleth, Nintendo chose to experiment by releasing a DLC fighter from a game that fans were currently playing. It just so happened that Nintendo chose not only another Fire Emblem character but also another sword character.

As Sakurai admitted that Super Smash Bros Ultimate contains too many of each, he also revealed that his job is to make the fighters have “their own tactics that are unique.” Given that the game boasts more than 17 swords-based fighters, Sakurai has the difficult task of making each character special. Until this point, he has performed exemplary in making each fighter feel different. For example, even though Byleth is the either Fire Emblem character, he still feels different given the special abilities from the Sword of the Creator.


So the two biggest questions are as follows:

  • Are the Fire Emblem fighters distinct from each other?
  • Are there too many sword fighters in Super Smash Bros Ultimate?

The answer to the first question is complex. While SSBU contains eight Fire Emblem characters, Marth, Lucina, and Chrom all feel similar; however, Robin, Corrin, and Byleth’s specials feel unique. Is this enough to stop fan criticism over too many Fire Emblem characters? Probably not.

Now the answer to the second question is a resounding “yes”. So far Nintendo has revealed 75 SSBU fighters. Of those 75, we picked out 17 (23%) that could be considered primary “sword” fighters:

  • BOTW Link
  • Marth
  • Lucina
  • Young Link
  • Ganondorf
  • Roy
  • Chrom
  • Meta Knight
  • Ike
  • Toon Link
  • Mii Fighter
  • Robin
  • Shulk
  • Cloud
  • Corrin
  • DQ11 Hero
  • Byleth

In addition, the following nine characters have some type of sword-like moves or abilities:

  • Joker
  • Kirby
  • Sheik
  • Zelda
  • Pit
  • Dark Pit
  • Mega Man
  • Palutena
  • Greninja

That means that 26 fighters (35%) or more than one-third of the SSBU roster has a sword-like move. This is quite staggering given the size and diversity of the roster. While those numbers are significant, Sakurai has done an admirable job not only balancing the roster but also making each character feel unique. His ability to add variety to sword range, speed, and power should be commended. But at the end of the day the fighters are using similar weapons. This is an area that we hope is addressed in the next DLC fighter pack.


While the reveal of Byleth is uninspiring, the number of sword fighters in the Super Smash Bros Ultimate roster is staggering. As Nintendo continues to release new fighters the next two years, Sakurai needs to continue assessing the roster in future Super Smash Bros Ultimate patch notes.

But we want to know what you think. Are you excited about the second wave of Smash DLC fighters? Do you think Nintendo will force Sakurai to include more sword fighters? Let us know in the comments below or the social media links on the right. Be sure to check out our other news items on SmashPokemonModern Warfare, and more.

Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay on top of all the latest Smash news. Until next time, enjoy!

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