Despite Nintendo's mixed history with the Smash community, Sora's reveal for Smash Ultimate is undeniably a series high mark and a timely win for Nintendo.
The Super Smash Bros. series is all about one central fantasy -- who would win if my favorite video game characters fought? Smash started with just Nintendo characters, but as the series grew, so did the fanbases character wishlist. There is a reason Nintendo made sure to include dramatic gameplay footage of Sora battling Final Fantasy VII's Sephiroth during the reveal: these characters existing in the same game is why this Smash Bros. game is called Ultimate.
"I knew that Sora was the most requested character" - Masahiro Sakurai
Sora in Smash is an idea that has floated around forum posts and Reddit threads for over a decade. Other major crossovers were exciting, but there is something particularly special whenever a nostalgic RPG character is introduced to Smash. Joker, Hero, and Sephiroth reveal dominated fan discourse during their respective reveal and Sora is having the same warm homecoming.
As streamers watched live, some even had tears in their eyes as they rush of fan wonder washed over them. Astonished sentiments were common; I can't believe Nintendo actually did it. Considering the legal tight walk needed to work with Disney IP, the crossover represents a satisfying finishing touch to Smash Ultimate's final DLC or, as many are calling it, the Sakurai era of smash.
Sora really is the ultimate DLC character. Sora for Smash was a corny gaming wish that, in hindsight, now feels like the only valid choice.
"It's fair to say that his addition required more coordination than others fighters" - Masahiro Sakurai
As brands and IP's each strive to create their own universes for consumers to dive into, the ability to create memorable community moments becomes more important. Nintendo has been leading the way with its cost-efficient directs for years now and it is hard to imagine any other form of game DLC that gets impacts the internet gaming zeitgeist as much as a new Smash reveal.
Nintendo seems to be winning offline as well. The recent reveal of the theme park Super Nintendo World is a little more interesting now that Bowser being clobbered by a Mickey Mouse adorned keyblade is now Nintendo cannon.
How long have Disney and Nintendo been planning this? Is it really so hard to imagine Mickey Mouse and Super Mario giving each other a tour of their respective parks? Now that Sora is in Smash Bros, I suppose anything is possible.
"as the last fighter, I think he is perfect" - Masahiro Sakurai
In some ways, the outpour of praise over Sora's inclusion in Smash underscores how senseless Nintendo of America's treatment of the still active Super Smash Bros. Melee community is. Nintendo clearly understands their consumer and the power of IP, but their persistent (deliberate) blind spot to the melee community is a weakness the recently revealed Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is already
Spongebob is no Sora, but at least he can wavedash. When it comes to esports relevance, that may make all the difference in the end.
Warcraft 3 is my one true love and I will challenge anyone to a game of Super Smash Brothers Melee.