Sora’s inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is so much more than just another fighter – he’s director Masahiro Sakurai’s goodbye to a franchise he created decades ago.
Sakurai announced yesterday that Sora would be the final and 82nd fighter to join the roster (technically, 89th if Echoes are included). It was a momentous occasion for all of games, something the director hinted at in a tweet made the day before Sora’s reveal.
There is one day left to go before Super Smash Bros releases the last DLC fighter. Ultimate has been announced.
Whether you’re a Smash Bros. player or simply love games, make sure to tune in!https://t.co/gV1B8eYROw
— 桜井 政博 / Masahiro Sakurai (@Sora_Sakurai) October 4, 2021
With room for just one more fighter in the roster, which might turn out to be the last fighter ever designed by Sakurai, this character had to represent more than just another pick in the roster. They had to represent everything that Super Smash Bros. as a franchise is about, and if there’s one thing Sakurai has made clear, the series is about celebrating games.
Sora symbolizes the appreciation of the Ultimate games presented in a very Ultimate way. There’s a good chance that if you’re not a fan of Kingdom Hearts, someone you know is, and even if you’re not a fan of the series, it’s highly unlikely that you aren’t familiar with Sora.
He’s not quite a Mario, but it’s clear Sakurai understands that to some players, Sora is their Mario. Hear me out: Mario first appeared in 1981, which means he’s roughly 40 years old. For players that grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, Mario was their guy and Mario’s popularity has only continued to grow since then. He’s one of the most recognizable video game characters of all time.
Many people remember Sora as their first exposure to video games. Square Enix’s collaboration with Disney in Kingdom HeartsThat was possible thanks to you. Kingdom Hearts seemed like an enjoyable video game on its own. It was also a good choice for people who are already into RPGs. However, for those not yet into video games, or for those just dipping their toes into the water, Kingdom Hearts’ heavy reliance on Disney characters and worlds surely grabbed attention.
Kingdom Hearts’ first release was in 2007, when I was seven years old. I loved Mario and other classic games but RPGs weren’t completely my thing yet (they are now though!). Like any 7-year old Disney fan, I saw this character, complete with zippers and a sword like a key and fighting alongside Donald, Mickey and Goofy. It was enough to convince me that Kingdom Hearts is what I wanted.
The game was amazing. It was a game I loved and played over and over. And then more Kingdom Hearts games released and even more after that and now, at the age of 26, I’ve got enough Kingdom Hearts to cover hundreds of hours of play. Sora in a certain way is my Mario, and Sakurai felt this. For many Sora is a Mario. To see the trailer for Sora, all you need to know is that he knew this.
The trailer will begin when it starts it’s a clear callback to the very first “Everyone is Here!” reveal trailer for Smash Bros. Ultimate. Smash Logo is seen dissolved into one flame.This was what we thought Dark Souls were thinking, right?Then we can see our favorite fighters seated on their Amiibo stands as toys. They are just like Kingdom Hearts’ antagonistic minions. I don’t necessarily think Sakurai is trying to say that, per se, but it is a callback to the original idea of Smash Bros – these fighters are toys, doing as we wish through our Nintendo 64 controller.
Mario, however, awakens. He then proceeds to grab a Keyblade out of the fire and if we’re going by Kingdom Hearts rules, he’s able to do that because he has a heart. Sora is seen as he tosses his Keyblade in the air. It’s no coincidence that Mario is the one able to wield a Keyblade. He’s the heart and soul of Super Smash Bros., and really, everything that Nintendo stands for.
There are those that don’t like Kingdom Hearts and that’s fair, but I’d be surprised if you found someone whose problem with the series is Sora. He’s a pure, naïve, innocent, and ultimately good person who serves as our continuous window into other characters and worlds we’ll always love. As Mario is our guide throughout the Mushroom KingdomSora is the one with whom we have adventures in Kingdom Hearts. Sora will always be there.
Smash needed Sora to become the last character. This very well could be Sakurai’s final Smash – although he says every Smash is his final one – but something about this time feels more real. Is Ultimate possible? I’m not so sure you can and I think Sakurai knows that.
Mario, who opened Super Smash Bros.’ doors, is right to have Sora close them (and secure it with his Keyblade).
Is it exciting to hear that Sora will be the final Super Smash Bros fighter? Do you want to be part of the Ultimate roster? Comment below to let us know!
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