Super Smash Bros. Wii U release date revelations are just a few long weeks away. We'll learn a lot more about the game at E3, although a good deal less than we'd probably like: development only started a year ago, and Super Smash Bros. games take a pretty long time. But there're a few things we can discuss now. [UPDATED: The latest Nintendo Direct unfortunately had no information on the new Super Smash Bros. 4 - but another Nintendo Direct that will also air before E3 will]
This time: characters who will (almost) certainly not be returning in Super Smash Bros. 4.
The Super Smash Bros. Wii U release date isn't going to come around in a hurry, although holiday 2013 is by no means impossible. Lead developer Masahiro Sakurai has been working on the game since the release of Kid Icarus: Uprising on March 23, 2012. Development and pre-development have been under way for about a year for both the 3DS and Wii U versions of the game. And that means by now at least some of the roster is locked in.
Last week, we took a deep look at Super Smash Bros. Wii U. First, I briefly ran you through the characters who will definitely come back. Then, we gandered at the guys who are on the bubble and may or may not return. Now for the most depressing part -- characters who almost definitely aren't coming back. There are three.
Toon Link Cut From Super Smash Bros. Wii U
On the Super Smash Bros. Wii U release date, you're going to lose Toon Link. I'm upset about that, but it's virtually a guarantee. Even with Wind Waker HD coming out, it won't be enough -- Toon Link will be replaced. Super Smash Bros. Melee had Young Link. Brawl had Toon Link. Based on that pattern, you think we'd get Skyward Sword Link -- but that character is more commonly known simply as Link. It's a pretty straight version of the character. We're far more likely to get a 2D Link -- based on the character in the upcoming Link to the Past 2. Maybe he'll be a cross between Link and Mr. Game and Watch. Maybe he'll be able to go 2D. But he won't be able to be cute and cel-shaded, that's for sure.
This is the easiest call about the Super Smash Bros. Wii U release date. Lucario will be a two generations old by the time Super Smash Bros. 4 comes out. He was Gen IV, Pokémon X & Y are Gen VI. His retirement is almost indisputable. The question is, who replaces him? I see three possibilities, but feel free to chime in with more. The first is a return of Mewtwo in its new Forme or with the ability to toggle Forms, like Sheik. I see this as a little unlikely; it's not very flashy.
Keldeo, on the other hand, is a lot newer and fresher of a choice for Super Smash Bros. U. He has also had a Pokémon movie (the most current one, in fact), and is simultaneously cute and powerful (Nintendo cares about these things). Genesect, co-star of the next movie with Mewtwo, doesn't look like it has much of a personality. And it looks like it will be the villain. Keldeo even has a built-in Final Smash: it could call on the rest of the Swords of Justice.
The third possibility for a Lucario replacement in Super Smash Bros. Wii U is simple: someone from Pokémon X & Y whom we haven't met yet, probably a legendary. If Smash U doesn't come out until holiday 2014, this will be our best bet. If it comes out this year or early next year, my money is on Keldeo. What do you think?
Ike Cut From Super Smash Bros. Wii U
Ike is almost definitely going to be off the roster by the time the Super Smash Bros. Wii U release date rolls around. He's from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, which is already six years old. Fire Emblem: Awakening isn't even six months old, and it's been the best-selling game in the series in the West (it's done quite well in Japan too). Marth will stay, since he is the de facto series mascot. But Ike will probably be replaced by Prince Chrom, one of the two main characters of the game along with the player avatar.
I am holding out hope for a different option, though. On the Super Smash Bros. Wii U release date, I want Ike to be replaced, but not by Chrom. By a character who would look and feel much more distinct than Chrom, Ike, Roy or Marth. I want Ike to be replaced by Lucina.
A man can dream.