Nintendo announces Fire Emblem’s Byleth for Smash Ultimate

Courtesy of Nintendo
Pictured is Byleth as they appear at the start of Nintendo’s 38-minute announcement video.

Joseph Phillippi | Staff Writer

1/23/20

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is perhaps the most diverse fighting game in video game history, with a cast of characters hailing from a smorgasbord of games, ranging from  Metal Gear Solid, to Banjo Kazooie, to King of Fighters/Fatal Fury, to Persona 5.

The fighter roster, including DLC characters, for Smash Ultimate is a whopping 74 characters and it is only growing with each new announcement. With endless possibilities, many players often wonder who could be added next. The lead up to the next fighter reveal, however, was preceded with hopes and prayers from the “Smash” community that the fighter would be a character from a game we have not seen yet, and that it would be a character with a unique move set and weapon.

These prayers were, at first glance, tossed into the fire as the newest character added to the roster in the smash announcement video last Thursday is Byleth from Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Sure enough, Byleth’s base weapon involves a sword.

Smash players have shown immense displeasure for the newest edition, primarily due to the character’s origin series, but also because Byleth is a swordfighter. Smash  Ultimate, out of the current 75 fighters, possesses a total of 17 sword fighters, and out of those 17, seven are from the Fire Emblem games.

Players are complaining that Byleth is a redundant addition that takes a roster spot from a more deserving or unique character. Leading up to the announcement, players hoped to see the likes of Dante from Devil May Cry or Master Chief from the Halo franchise.

Masahiro Sakurai introduced Byleth in an announcement video which lasted almost 40 minutes. In this video, he previews Byleth’s play style, and speaks on their history and backstory in Fire Emblem: Three Houses along with the history of the Fire Emblem franchise itself.

Byleth boasts a move set involving a gamut of weaponry, including a bow, battleaxe, spear and sword, each used depending on the direction in which the player aims the control stick.

Sakurai explains that Byleth is “lacking in mobility … throws are not [Byleth’s] strongpoint either, their grab lacks range.”

He then goes on to explain, “You could say [Byleth is a] distance demon,” meaning that Byleth may not be able to jump as high or move as fast as characters like Marth or Link, but Byleth’s weapon diversity and close quarters range is something to be feared.

Sakurai gives examples of Byleth’s play style, demonstrating an up-special (tilting the control stick up and pressing the A button) similar to Simon or Richter. This up-special allows the player to latch onto the edge of the stage, while also giving the player the ability to knock their opponent into the air, following that up with a hard blow to the ground or to the bottom of the screen depending on the situation.

In the video, Byleth demonstrates a unique play style, in that, their reach overall is similar to what we have seen before; however, their reach in close quarters is devastating, with a side-special B (tilting the control stick to the left or right and then pressing the B button)  that reaches opponents a quarter way across the stage.

Byleth also has a down B (tilting the control stick down while holding B) that possesses Super Armor whilst readying the attack, gifting the player with the ability to withstand an attack from the opponent. However, this can be counteracted with a grab, stopping the move and leaving the player open to a counter. It is unknown how Byleth will be perceived by the smash community when released. The DLC pack will be released to the public Jan. 28.

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