Pyra and Mythra are a small but meaningful step by Nintendo toward addressing an issue that Smash games have historically repeated.
Super Smash Bros is one of the most enduring fighting franchises in history, and for many modern fans, Super Smash Bros Ultimate is the definitive entry in the franchise. It brings back literally every character that’s ever been in a Smash game, plus it has the widest selection of stages that Smash has ever offered. It’s great to see a game that’s so welcoming to the game’s previous guests. The game is still adding characters, too, so it’s constantly becoming more inviting. Fans of Smash Ultimate are still hoping that all kinds of characters will join the ranks of the game and expand its roster.
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The latest addition of Pyra and Mythra actually does something important for Super Smash Bros Ultimate‘s roster, though. There’s not a lot of playable women in Smash. Although there’s tons of popular characters that seem like shoe-ins for Nintendo’s fighting game celebration of the video game industry, many of them have yet to receive an invitation. Pyra and Mythra are a pretty significant step in the right direction. However, Nintendo still has a ways to go. Since there’s still a couple character slots left in the second Fighters Pass, one would hope that Nintendo has some more female representation lined up.
Smash’s Many Memberships
It must be acknowledged that Smash was conceived at a time when there was significantly less female heroes in video games. Samus was the only female character to appear in the first Smash game for the Nintendo 64. Since then, Smash has slowly expanded the number of female fighters with every new game, but there’s always more men being added than women. For instance, Melee more than doubled the amount of playable characters, but Zelda, Peach, and Nana from the Ice Climbers duo were the only women introduced to the game.
Nintendo has done significantly better in recently Smash games in this regard. Several recent Fire Emblem protagonists have all been playable in their female variants, and other newcomers like Isabelle, Bayonetta, Rosalina, and more have added to the game’s list of female fighters. Even so, women are still vastly outnumbered by men in Smash Ultimate. Many more men than women have been added to the game over the course of its DLCs. It’s hard to say if Nintendo will opt to do a third Fighters Pass; it’d certainly be a lucrative opportunity if it did. It’d also be a good opportunity to add more female representation to such a popular and visible game.
There’s tons of characters that Smash should consider inviting. For instance, Lara Croft is one of the most famous women in gaming. She’s come back to the forefront recently with a very successful line of games aiming to revive the character. Considering how influential Lara Croft is, it’s frankly surprising that she hasn’t shown up in Smash so far. Other historically significant women in gaming that seem like good picks for Smash are Resident Evil‘s Jill Valentine or Claire Redfield and even Chell from Portal.
Recently many more games have been starring women, much to the benefit of the game industry. Horizon Zero Dawn stars the huntress and engineer Aloy, whose mastery of a broad range of weapons seems very easy to develop into a moveset. Control protagonist Jesse Faden uses a wide range of guns and psychic powers that would also make her a strong and unique fighter in Smash. Apocalypse survivalist Ellie from The Last of Us is another great option. Clearly there’s no shortage of options when it comes to adding women to Smash. It’s more a matter of Nintendo choosing to invite these people.
Introducing two female characters at once with Pyra and Mythra is a pretty big step in the right direction. Even so, Smash has a long way to go as a franchise if it wants to diversify. Smash‘s future is a little uncertain, considering how bold an undertaking Smash Ultimate is; it might be that Nintendo keeps supporting the game with DLCs for many years. If so, it has many more chances ahead of it to put more women in Smash. The game industry has lots of strong protagonists to offer. Nintendo would be wise to acknowledge them by giving them invitations to such a hugely influential game.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate is available now for Nintendo Switch.
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