Disclaimer: Let me say right out the gate that this entire post is me being a huge nerd. That’s all it is–no insights about writing or documentation about my current work in progress. All it is: me mashing up two things I love in a way I’m not sure overlaps for a lot of people. So if you’re not a gamer and a reader of Fantasy, this post might not be for you.
For everyone else: holy shit!
You guys . . . what if there was a Smash Bros. clone for Fantasy fiction characters?
I need to back up; let me explain.
Two weeks ago, Sora was announced as the final DLC fighter for Smash Bros. Ultimate.
And I have to be real here: I didn’t care that it was Sora.
Nothing against him or Kingdom Hearts; I just don’t have a close connection with those games. Worse, the trailer really made it look like the Chosen Undead or Ashen One from Dark Souls was going to be the last fighter, which blew my mind so hard for five seconds that anything else could only be a let down.
Like many a disappointed nerd that week, I turned my thoughts to who I would’ve preferred instead of Sora (the easiest fucking choice in the world being Urbosa from Breath of the Wild, who I will champion from now on as the next Zelda character we need). Alucard was a close second.
But naturally, my mind went, “How about Memory?”
Memory, if you’re new here, is the masked bureaucrat-ninja-assassin-protagonist of my current WIP. And I surprised myself when I imagined her in Smash because, “Holy shit. I found it; the only daydream more indulgent than imagining my novel becoming a million-dollar Summer blockbuster: imagining my character getting into Smash before Waluigi.”
“Or, like, Harry Potter. Or Frodo. Or any other classic Fantasy character that–“
I texted one of the guys is my writing group immediately.
We went back and forth about how much we’d love a Smash clone full of Fantasy characters.
At one point he said, “I want you to write a post about this.”
I seriously sent him back pictures of the draft I was already working on.
Everyone . . . please indulge me in what is undoubtedly one of my nerdiest posts ever: my roster for the Fantasy fiction Smash clone that I now want more than anything in the world.
The Core Eight
First thing first: let’s do this right.
If we’re doing this like Smash, then we need to have the eight, core characters. The ones who would be in the very first iteration of the game and all of its sequels, even if the rest of the cast fluctuates. The backbone of the franchise, without whom it wouldn’t exist. Everyone’s picks would be different, but here are mine:
- Frodo – I mean, come on. Not only does he feel like the #1 must-have, but I honestly think he’d control like Mario in Smash, with the same speed and size.
- Harry Potter – The titular boy wizard from the famous series written by Hatsune Miku. I’d probably never play as him despite loving those books, but he should be in the game regardless.
- Aslan – Having only read the last of the Chronicles of Narnia when I was eight (and didn’t know better), I was hard pressed to pick one character. In the end, Aslan felt like an appropriately-video-gamey choice because he’d be a literal fucking magic lion in the roster.
- Drizzt Do’Urden – I will be totally real here: The Legend of Drizzt is one of the ones that got away for me. It’s a hole in my Fantasy knowledge that I need to shore up. But the one thing I know about him: he feels like a great, classic Fantasy addition to the core eight. Like, how could we not have at least one of the common Fantasy races in here? I know he’s a Drow and not a traditional Elf, but wha-a-a-a-atever.
- Lyra & Pantalaimon – It is extremely hard picking out only eight core characters for the theoretical first game, but Lyra & Pantalaimon feel like such a good addition to the roster. They’d be the first game’s weird team-character with a complicated move set that would absolutely dominate at Evo.
- Shadow Moon – We just need a Neil Gaiman character here. I was going to pick the Sandman because I feel like he’s Gaiman’s most iconic character, but it felt wrong to dip into graphic novels.
- Kvothe – I know there are many more classic fantasy characters who could fit into this spot, but it just felt weird to not feature the protagonist of one of the most popular modern Fantasy series out there.
- Vin from Mistborn – Of the Core Eight, ladies and gentlemen, may I present . . . my main. I have seriously been waiting to see a movie and/or play a video game about Vin for nearly 20 years. If this game was real, she would be my very first pick, hands down. *Also, just a reminder that this is my list, and if I was producing the game, Vin would have to be up there.
The Sequel Additions
“These people seriously weren’t in the original!?”
If choosing the Core Eight taught me anything, it’s that the first game would definitely need to have more than eight characters.
But if we’re following the Smash model for fun, then these are the equivalent of that Melee-specific vibe of, “Wait–Bowser wasn’t in the original? What?”
- Conan – He is so culturally present that he’d probably be in the Core Eight if this game was real, but I’m imagining a world where lesser known characters are highlighted first. And also, I seriously just don’t have the emotional strength to keep rearranging that top eight.
- Geralt, the Witcher – I can’t help feeling like he wouldn’t be in the first game for licensing reasons. But I can dream that he’d eventually be there. A part of me wants him to be a totally new take on the character, but, realistically, he’d be the CD Projekt Red version, which means he’d also be a video game crossover character. Also, his last two color choices would be variants of his Netflix look.
- John Snow – I honestly just don’t think HBO would be like, “Yes, you can put a version of a character who was on our TV show in your indie game.” Maybe I’m wrong, but I think John would be one of the major “How the fuck was he not in the first one?” characters who would drum up excitement until HBO and George R. R. Martin gave in. His reveal trailer would be trending and he’d absolutely sic Ghost on his opponent with his Side Special.
- Ged from A Wizard of Earthsea- I have no idea how Ged would play, but that just makes me want him in it even more?
- Rand Al’Thor from The Wheel of Time – Everyone has their massive, Tolkien-esque, 80’s Fantasy series they read a ton of, and everyone would definitely put that series’ protagonist in this spot. For me, Rand is here because my 80’s Fantasy series was The Wheel of Time.
- Katniss Everdeen – Again, I introduce you to my motherfucking main. She’d have her bow on Neutral Special, freely aimed by holding down B, firing when released.
My Personal Must-Haves
Okay, look–I know the structure of this post is unravelling fast. And I apologize for that.
But . . . I mean . . . I fell into a rabbit-hole imagining the characters I would lose my mind for and you can’t blame me for that!
- Sabriel, the Abhorsen – Seriously, I got chills when I imagined playing as her in any video game. I realize I need to do a post about how much Garth Nix’s Abhorsen Trilogy influenced my writing.
Neutral Special is “Necromancer’s Bells,” which changes all of her inputs to Ranna, Mosrael, Kibeth, and the rest of the bells. Different combinations have different effects, but also the speed that you ring them influences the strength of those effects (so you can ring them quickly for a few seconds of buffs/debuffs, or you can absolutely flex on someone by taking a full 10 seconds to ring the bells while an enemy’s recovering). The idea that she, a necromancer, would have more time to ring her bells when opponents are weaker (i.e. she’d be stronger when opponents are closer to death) is some of the tightest theming I’ve ever made up without realizing.
- Westley from The Princess Bride – If I wasn’t already down to buy this imaginary game, I literally just shouted, “WHAT!?” in my room when I saw him in my head-canon trailer. I would preorder it so fast to play as Westley.
I imagine all of his Specials being parries that look the same but have wildly different effects (Up as a vault over the opponent’s head, Side to shove the opponent back, Neutral to deal extra damage, Down to trip them and set up combos?).
- Inigo Montoya – My other main. I can’t even right now. Why can’t this game be real!? He’d probably be an Echo Fighter of Westley, but I can’t help feeling like he would be insulted by that?
- Commander Vimes from Discworld – I imagine him being like Pokemon Trainer; you can swap between him and other members of the Watch on the fly, swapping through movesets.
- Arya Stark – It’s weird that I almost forgot to add her here, but that’s 100% because of season 8. It’s wild how that season made me forget that ages before the show was even announced, I thought Arya Stark was the fucking best. I would absolutely want her in with the stipulation that she’s novel Arya (which would never happen). Also, I was going to roll into a joke about how this theoretical game will come out before Winds, but then I got sad because that might actually be true.
Down Special would let her change faces with her opponent, making her the absolute best for mind-games in hectic matches.
- The Strength and Patience of the Hill from The Raven Tower – I mean . . . how much more rad of a Fantasy character can you get than a fucking rock who’s also a god? This is another character I can’t imagine the moveset for but want to play as anyway so badly.
- The Malice – It was her or the Vagrant, and I just couldn’t help going with the Malice. To be totally fair and true to myself though . . . I wouldn’t go with either of them if it meant I could have the Hammer that Walks & the Goat as a playable character.
- The Hammer that Walks & the Goat – I just remembered this is my list.
- Wu Zetian from Iron Widow – It just came out (I just read it), so, first thing’s first: please skip to the next section, “The Rounded-Out Roster,” if you want to avoid spoilers for Iron Widow.
With that out of the way, I’m imagining Zetian in her Vermillion Bird Spirit Armor for sure. Highly aerial and mobile, but never walking around because of her lotus feet.
Her Final Smash has to be “Welcome to your nightmare.” It just has to be. It can be one of those Final Smash’s that you have to catch someone with at close range. And when you do, your opponent gets dropped into a Chrysalis pilot seat, Zetian behind them. They get the shit beaten out of them in her mind realm, and then the super ends with her dropping their body, standing over them, and shouting, “Welcome to your nightmare!”
Just the ultimate flex.
Also, for the record, I want Shimin and Yizhi both to be playable as well, but I desperately want to avoid spoilers here.
The Rounded-Out Roster
Okay. I’m just going to wrap up here with all of the characters I can think of. But also, I’m absolutely going to stop too soon because A) there are so many awesome characters in the Fantasy genre–this list will seriously never be done–and B) I’ve been maintaining critical levels of hype for too long, so I have to just let this one go.
Thus, in no particular order, under no particular heading, is everyone else I think would be / who I’d want to be in the game:
- Bilbo (Echo Fighter of Frodo) – It was either Sam or Bilbo who would be an Echo Fighter. The clincher was the realization that, “Ah, of course Frodo and Bilbo would both have ‘Don the Ring’ on Down Special.”
- Sam – I have no idea what his moveset would be, but I want him in it. Maybe if you’re playing on teams, Frodo will just collapse at 200% and Sam has to literally carry him for the rest of the match.
- Gandalf – Without a doubt his final Smash would be him fighting his opponents like the Balrog. I mean how could it not be? Imagining it starting with “You shall not pass!” is enough to make my entire playstyle revolve around getting that Smash Ball.
- Gollum – It was him or Sauron and I just feel like Sauron would be more of a stage hazard on the Mount Doom stage.
- Aragorn – We have to just accept that this game is 75% sword fighters. It’s just worse than Smash in that regard . . . Unless, wait, is it? I’m not kidding–I’m looking at the roster and I think this game might somehow have fewer sword fighters than Ultimate?
- Hermoine Granger – Her moveset would definitely be similar to Harry’s, but I feel like she’d have better spells–or maybe use the same spells in a totally different way because she’s a genius. Maybe all of the moves that are spells can be held to get her to perfectly pronounce Leviosa–for example–making it significantly stronger.
- Ron Weasley (Echo Fighter of Harry Potter) – You need him for the trinity for sure.
- Luna Lovegood / Your Favorite Potter Character(?) – It’s my list, so it’s absolutely Luna, but I think Potter characters could easily be the “Fire Emblem characters” of this franchise. Everyone’s waiting on playable Smaug, but Cedric Diggory gets announced and it’s like, “Fucking . . . really?”
- Voldemort – For his Side Special, he can summon his pet snake, Nagini, who–as you and I know–has always been just a big snake and nothing else.
- Brienne of Tarth – Not only would I put her in it, I’d make sure her kit as strong and technical as possible, so her skill ceiling would be through the absolute roof. Evo finals would probably be Brienne VS Lyra & Pantalaimon.
Or, ya know, Pippin V. Pippin on Mount Doom over and over and over.
- Daenerys Targaryen – Her Final Smash would be “Dracarys,” which would 1) activate an unskippable, four-minute cut-scene of the “Dracarys” moment 2) kill all of her opponents 3) log all other players out of the game, and 4) uninstall it from their console / PC so they have to download it again.
I’m kidding. It wouldn’t do that. It would just melt their console / PC.
- Lirael (Echofighter) – She’d have the pan-pipes instead . . . I just sighed. Seriously, I love The Abhorsen Trilogy, everybody.
- Kelsier – Paradoxically, he’s already in Fortnite, although, I would not want to use his look from that game. No shade on whoever does the character designs for Fortnite, but he just looks like a frat guy in Kelsier cosplay?
- Sazed – I can’t even imagine how to retrofit Feruchemy for Smash, and I feel like that’s . . . a good sign?
- Auri – No idea how she’d play, but I just imagined finding her on a character select screen and went, “What!? Are you serious!? Auri’s in it!?” and I feel like that means she has to be.
- Fezzik from The Princess Bride – I don’t even care what his moves would be–I would just taunt all day.
“We face each other as God intended. Sportsmanlike. No tricks, no weapons. Skill against skill alone.”
“I just want you to feel you’re doing well.”
- Maggie Hoskie – It would just be rad to play as Maggie, who would be such an awesome, clean fit for this game. Her Final Smash would definitely be her letting in Honágháahnii.
- Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell – I really shouldn’t put them together since they’re so at odds in their novel. But also . . . it somehow feels right to have them be a Pokemon Trainer-style team? Like, the longer you play as one of them, the stronger the other one becomes when they get tagged in, as if they need to one-up each other?
- Death, Captain Carrot, and a Bunch of Other Characters from Discworld – It’s been ages since I read a Discworld novel, and making this list made me realize I really need to get on that.
- Harry Dresden, Percy Jackson, Julian of Macedonia, Quentin Coldwater, and the Countless Others I Missed
Phew. I have seriously been tweaking this post for two weeks, and I just have to let it go.
If you stuck around, thanks for nerding out with me. I don’t usually write totally self-indulgent stuff like this, but I just couldn’t expel the hype for this completely imaginary game any other way.
I find it funny now that the original inkling for this idea was “Memory in Smash,” but somehow, I can’t convince myself to add Memory to this list of amazing characters. Maybe it’s because, in the end, the real excitement is just celebrating this mass of characters I grew up with. The depressing thing is that we don’t live in a world where this game would ever exist.
But the awesome thing is that I realize I have a ton of Fantasy characters I haven’t experienced yet. And that thought has made me happier than anything has in a long time.
The Poppy War is seriously right in front of me; like, abstractly, it’s next on my TBR list, yeah, but it’s also literally 10 feet away from me, on a table. I can see it from where I’m sitting.
The idea that I can post this, go make some tea, and then start reading it is an absolute treasure that feels somehow out of place in the existential nightmare that the world has become.
The plan was to work on my resume and do some other tasks.
But . . . Yeah, I’m putting a pot on. The resume can wait.
I want to get lost in another world again.
That’s it for me. If you enjoyed this post, I post here every Sunday / Monday morning. I write anything from posts about my writing process and status reports on my WIP to detailed movie critiques and random musings about the writing in general. You can find links to my most popular series on the red bar on the left side of the screen on PC or the top-right drop-down menu on mobile.
That’s also where you can find my Follow button if you want giant walls of text like this one emailed to you whenever I post. Likes are also always appreciated so I can tell how many people like what content going forward.
Until next time, take care and stay hydrated, and always remember that the Golem effect is real! Bye!