Simon Belmont and King K. Rool join the fight in #SmashBrosUltimate!

To kick off this morning's Nintendo Direct, we've got TWO new Smashers on the way, along with a slew of Echo Fighters!

The first of the new characters is Simon Belmont, the main protagonist of the incredibly loved Castlevania game series!

Simon Smash Ultimate.png

As a renowned Vampire Hunter in the 17th century, Simon has become one of the headline characters in the Castlevania franchise. He starred in Castlevania and Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, and has also made appearances in Castlevania Judgment and Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.

Additionally, multiple incarnations of Simon have appeared in other titles throughout the series. One such example is his descendant Richter Belmont, who will be in Smash Ultimate as Simon's Echo Fighter!

Richter Belmont.png

In addition to Simon and Richter, game director Masahiro Sakurai had quite a bit of information to impart on the stages coming to Smash Ultimate, but more on that later. First, we're happy to share that a brand new stage will be included along with the Castlevania characters: Dracula's Castle, which will apparently be the "darkest" stage seen in Smash Bros history.

Dracula's Castle.png

As you'd expect, Dracula's Castle comes with its share of stage hazards. Smashers can attack candles in the stage to transform them into items, but they must be wary of monstrous creatures striking from the background. Some will be more than recognizable if you are familiar with the Castlevania franchise...

Returning to the subject of Echo Fighters, two others were announced in today's Nintendo Direct, and these come as an answer to numerous requests from the Smash community. Let's give a warm welcome to Roy's Echo Fighter, Chrom from Fire Emblem; and Samus's Echo Fighter, Dark Samus from Metroid!

Dark Samus.png

As per other Echo Fighters, Chrom and Dark Samus have movesets that are the equivalent of their original incarnations, but their visuals definitely stand out from the rest.

Speaking of Echo Fighters, an option has been added to Smash Ultimate in regards to character select. You can set the Echo Fighters to have their own portraits at the select screen, or for theirs to overlap with their original selves. See below for an example.

Echo Fighters.png

Sakurai then proceeded to share details on what sort of content we can expect from Smash Ultimate, which is shaping up to be the most packed entry in the Smash Bros franchise since its inception in 1999. One such topic is stages...it may interest you to know just how many we can expect. Well, observe the graphic below.

Smash Ultimate Stage Select.png

Don't want to count them all? We took care of that for you: 103.

That's right: 103 stages in Smash Ultimate! That's almost double the amount of stages that have appeared in Smash 4 for Wii-U and 3DS, namely 55! And even better, many of these stages will be returning favorites from previous titles, such as Melee's Brinstar Depths, Termina Bay, Pokemon Stadium 1, and even Brawl's Summit!

The Nintendo 64 stages are also making a comeback, but while they've been tweaked to look up to date, Sakurai has expressed that the team intends to stick to the stages' classic roots. Those of you who have been Smashers since the first game are sure to enjoy this flash from the past.

As has been discussed before today's Nintendo Direct, players will have the option to enable or disable Stage Hazards, but a new twist has also been thrown our way. If you feel like making a recipe for chaos, you can use the Stage Morph option to have one stage change into another (of your choosing, of course) while you and your friends are fighting! For instance, Luigi's Mansion could suddenly morph into the Umbral Clock Tower when you least expect it!

Furthermore, Sakurai has thrown another bone towards the competitive side of the Smash community. Before beginning each match, the following must be selected in the order they are listed: ruleset, stage, and character. As with previous titles, you can play timed matches or stock matches, or utilize both settings at once. Given the stage select rules that competitive Smash Melee and Smash 4 have followed, this proves incredibly convenient.

As if you aren't excited enough for the release of Smash Ultimate, Sakurai has teased us with a glimpse of the game's main menu. It consists of a series of multicolored squares surrounding a circular image of Smash Ultimate, along with an overlay to the right that is presumably tied to the Nintendo Network services available on the Switch.

However, the option written over a green background, as you're about to see, appears to be blurred out...but Sakurai has refused to elaborate on it at this time.

Perhaps we'll learn more about the blurred option in the next Nintendo Direct, whenever that may be.

Finally, in conclusion to the Nintendo Direct, we've been given a sneak peek at the next newcomer joining the fight in Smash Bros Ultimate, and like with the Echo Fighters, he is appearing by popular demand.

Donkey Kong fanatics...ready to take on the infamous crocodile villain from your childhood - King K. Rool?!

It has taken him a long time, but King K. Rool has finally arrived to throw down! However, we'll have to wait for a future Direct to learn more about his gameplay capabilities, it seems.

That's about all we have learned today. If you missed today's Nintendo Direct, you can catch up by watching its archive linked below.

Smash Bros Ultimate releases exclusively for the Nintendo Switch on December 7, 2018. Visit www.smashbros.com to learn more about the game and/or to pre-order your copy!


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