During yesterday’s Super Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct, new characters and amiibos, and new Mii Fighter costumes, were all revealed. Also shown were some magnificent artworks depicting the new challengers. Below is the professional artwork not only for the new characters but earlier works for others as well.
Left: Duck Hunt posed in his iconic laughing fit. The duck, with its back turned, is glaring in irritation at him. This alludes to players’ frustrations when they fail to shoot down all the ducks on a screen. But notice that the explosion indicates the shooter did, in fact, hit something. Perhaps, from the bird’s perspective, the shooting is a reminder of its days as the prey.
Middle: Shulk wields his blade, pointed forward as multiple characters are arranged behind him. Shulk, with his Monado Arts, has commanded their respect and now leads them into the future of Smash, which welcomes so many characters from old games and makes them new again.
Right: Bowser Jr. and Mario face off. Bowser himself stands imposingly in the background, watching as his son takes on the mantle of the battle against his oldest enemy. A sign of pride, and also of warning to Mario that his ambition will never die. Other fighters look on, knowing the gravity of the outcome of this battle.
Left: Villager acquires the Smash Ball, beating out the most famous heroes. How can a simple young man from a peaceful life compete with, and defeat, such legendary figures? The life villager leads is, in fact, the kind of life such heroes strive to create. What they must fight for, he is given. Yet without them, he would not be able to enjoy such peace.
Middle: Palutena watches over Pit and Link. Done in an anime style that gives an element of sport to their competition, promising mutual respect, as both have conquered nearly impossible odds. Dark Pit hides in the background, filled with desire for glory.
Right: Rosalina flies through the cosmos with other fighters. Mario and Fox are obvious inclusions, but Wii Fit Trainer is there as well to remind us all that discipline and dedication to improving ourselves can take us higher than we would ever have imagined.
Left: Pacman, the foreground, finds a joy and freedom in the 3D world he never knew in his early days. Behind him, those who have grown accustomed to such freedom must readjust to their roots, finding their own ways to survive in a world designed solely to destroy them.
Right: Mega Man stands in front, confident in his skills and in his arsenal. He stands among the best of the best, ready to join their ranks and cement himself as one of them. Meanwhile, evil plots to crush that confidence. Can this newcomer succeed in the face of such power?
Left: Bayonetta centered between opposing forces. Ideals and conviction against power and ambition. Bayonetta herself isn’t concerned with sentiments such as these, but she stands ready to trade blows with good and evil alike. Middle left: Corrin faces powerful opposition from all sides. He (she) battles hard, the mere presence of this new fighter seen as a continuing invasion by those who are already there. Corrin’s acceptance, or lack thereof, is yet to be decided.
Middle right: Ryu is one of the few fighters with only his own skill to rely on. No weapons, magic, or technology, his inner strength will be what carries him through the battles to come.
Right: Heroes from two of the greatest and most beloved adventures meet for the very first time. Cloud’s arrival is a miracle, and the Smashers know it. They are eager to welcome him with their own power. Likewise, Cloud knows he and Link have fought many times in the hearts and minds of the people and vows never to fall against an old rival he has never before encountered.
Interpret it how you will, art is judged by the way it connects to the viewer. These depictions present a mixture of rage, respect, confidence, power, and self-identity of the characters. All wish to defeat their enemies, yet none would hesitate to come to their aid either. The one thing each of these works has in common, above all else, is a feeling of brotherhood that is only strengthened by their battles in Smash Bros. As they fight together, locked in combat, they shine ever brighter.