It looks as if all DLC characters for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate have been leaked, but the reaction to these fighters is mixed at best. It's clear that the purpose of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's rumored downloadable fighters is to flex third-party support on the Nintendo Switch. The likes of DOOM's Marine, Ninja Gaiden's Ryu Hayabusa, Minecraft's Steve, and Dragon Quest's Erdrick joining Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as the remaining four unannounced add-on characters is the most recent report.
These candidates are all iconic in their own right, and hail from franchises that have proven their staying power. Still, when looking at the reaction from Super Smash Bros. fans, it's clear that these aren't necessarily the fighters that they wanted. The community surrounding Super Smash Bros. is known for being picky, although the reaction to Persona 5's Joker addition to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was generally positive. Even then, it has become clear that this sort of layout for the Fighters Pass just isn't what they wanted.
There have always been popular characters overlooked in favor of promoting upcoming games or new franchises – looking at the character selections from Pokemon and Fire Emblem is enough to clarify that. To see it done entirely as DLC, however, is a little taxing and obvious to those who have long been supporting other candidates. For example, Steve from Minecraft is owned by Microsoft, the same company that also owns the Banjo-Kazooie property. This latter series is one that gamers have wanted to see crossover into Smash since Melee arrived on the Gamecube in 2001, which would make this potential decision to go with Minecraft over Banjo-Kazooie an understandably unpopular one. There's still a lot going for those that want to see Banjo appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but fans are still rightfully frustrated.
Another bizarre absence is Super Mario RPG's Geno. Nintendo actually negotiated with Square Enix for the rights to character to then only include him as a Spirit in the base game of Ultimate. With the immense support behind him and rights obtained, Nintendo has seemingly opted to put in Erdrick from Dragon Quest instead – another Square Enix-owned IP. To be fair, this could have been decided upon at Square's request, but why not allocate the resources to have both instead of leaving money on the table?
Truthfully, there's nothing inherently wrong with either Steve or Erdrick, but both are overshadowed by the aforementioned Super Smash Bros. community frontrunners. This, then, creates a sense of disappointment, and that can be somewhat demoralizing for gamers that have backed a potential fighter for over a decade. To be honest, it's clear that paid-for Super Smash Bros. content will make money regardless of who joins via add-on, but why not balance promotional fighters with major requests? That way everyone is appeased.
As for the possibility of DOOM and Ninja Gaiden, these characters are exciting for different reasons. Ryu Hayabusa has such strong ties to old school Nintendo that the only thing surprising about the character is that it took him this long to join the fray. DOOM's Marine, on the other hand, would signal a major step forward for Western developers in a franchise that has never featured playable characters from a studio outside of Japan – with the exception being the Rare-designed King K. Rool and Diddy Kong.
All of the chosen characters are surprising, iconic in their own right, and have the potential to deliver very unique fighters to fans. But different isn't always better and shock runs its course rather quickly. If this is what Nintendo is giving Smash owners – and that's still a big if – then they ignored fans in order to appease partners. That's not necessarily bad. It's just obvious. Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai has proven invaluable in implementing new characters and appeasing fans – but he has clarified that Nintendo chose the DLC characters this time around. If there's a Fighters Pass 2 for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, then perhaps characters like Waluigi, Banjo, and Geno will finally have their time to shine. For now, fans need only sit back, prepare for these potential fighter selections, and wait to see if this leak is true before deciding if they're disappointed.