Smash Bros: New Hero arrives as Nintendo Direct confirms date

The Nintendo Direct video presentation will today reveal the release date and other details of the latest DLC character for Super Smash Bros Ultimate, the creatively named Hero from the Dragon Quest games. So far, Nintendo has done a great job in bringing new and unique characters to the latest edition of the game, but since the last addition was made the community has rather split down the middle, with some believing the company has already put a ‘broken’ character in for $5.99.

That character is The Joker, added most recently and optimised by the world’s best player Leonardo ‘MKLeo’ Lopez Perez. Although he has won tournaments with multiple characters, the Mexican phenom has proven Nintendo’s latest addition to be extremely dangerous in tournament. The same wasn’t true for Piranha Plant, but the community live in fear of an addition as dominant, polarising and potentially scene-damaging as Bayonetta, a latecomer to Smash 4 for WiiU.

Evo 2019 schedule and streams

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In terms of design, we’ve seen some gameplay from Hero already, and the character appears to be an interesting mix of classic swordplay and some more effective ranging tools, the like of which Marth, Lucina and Chrom do not enjoy. Until top players get their hands on Hero’s kit it’s going to be hard to judge how good the latest fighter really is, but as with many modern fighters there is a chance that the game becomes ‘pay2win’ when the Hero drops.

Hero release date confirmation

The Hero release date and other information are expected to be announced during the Nintendo Direct presentation on July 30th 2019, starting at 6am PT / 2pm BST / 3pm CEST.

Could a Joker win Evo?

While the exact details of the presentation are unclear, we will be getting a release date for the character today, which is interesting with Evo just a few days away. Should the character drop prior to the start of the FGC’s biggest weekend, for which Smash Bros is the main and ultimate event, it will put the organisers in a tough spot, but logically nobody should have time to take the character to a point where they can compete at that level yet.

Update: Hero will be available as DLC later today, Tuesday 30 July 2019. While there was no clarification over the exact time of release, the results will be dramatic for Evo, given the incredible character traits revealed in the video.

Coming into Evo, MKLeo is considered one of the strong favourites for the event, alongside players like TSM’s Gavin ‘Tweek’ Dempsey and some of Japan’s finest. With close to 3500 entrants for the event, Ultimate has nearly twice as many players as the next most popular game, Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition, and you can expect a good degree of character diversity across top eight, the majority of which is still being played in a best-of-three format…

That aside, this weekend promises to be one of the biggest of the year for the Smash scene, which is facing a first Evo in years with only one title from the series featured. For ages Melee was also a staple, providing some of the best viewing figures the series has seen, but publisher pressure from Nintendo means a game without big dev support has struggled to hold a spot despite that, and fell off the roster in 2019.

Banjo next

If the weekend see MKLeo dominate with Joker, it is even possible that the Hero’s release coincides with Nintendo patching the game to tone down aspects of the Joker, as the company has been more proactive in trying to fix aspects that appear broken in competitive play. Characters like Olimar and Lucina have been changed to try and stop them centralising the metagame or providing players with free wins, and the alterations show Nintendo are somewhat serious about the competitive scene.

We are also awaiting the arrival of Banjo and Kazooie, the long-awaited duo that will follow Hero into Ultimate most likely later this year and delight fans who have been waiting years to use them in Smash. The flow of new characters into Ultimate has generally been a benefit to the competitive scene, although we had not seen a Smash Bros Ultimate Major won by a ‘DLC fighter’ with the likes of Olimar, Wolf, Lucina and Snake dominant, until MKLeo began to demonstrate what the Joker was capable of.

The weekend at Evo and any details that come out of the presentation have the potential to change the scene a small amount, but as the latest challenger approaches it appears that Ultimate is in a decent place compared to its predecessors Brawl and Smash 4. With any luck Nintendo will continue their streak and Hero will be a viable addition to the game without becoming a totem for negativity, the way Bayo and other characters have.