Updated: 10/5/2021, 10:12 a.m. ET: Well, it happened. Sora is the final fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Our original story about the speculation and debate around his inclusion is below.
If you’ve spent any time on Twitter recently, you may have noticed Kingdom Hearts’ Sora has been trending. That’s thanks to the ever-vocal Super Smash Bros. Ultimate community once again debating the potential of Square Enix’s big-shoed hero joining the already-packed fighting game as its final new combatant.
This isn’t a new song and dance for the game’s community, of course. The conversation goes back to at least 2016, when modders Nibrock.Rock and KTH put Sora in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate using Shulk as the base. Hell, even pro Smash player Tyrell “Nakat” Coleman told Kotaku over Twitter DMs that he’s been begging for the character’s inclusion for “over 10 years.” That’s a long time for one request.
The discussion resurfaced this past week for two main reasons: Sora’s got as many haters and as he has stans, and on October 5 game director Masahiro Sakurai will reveal Smash Bros. Ultimate’s long-awaited final DLC character. Needless to say, there’s lots of speculation about who it could be. And the game’s community is very much torn when it comes to Sora.
Some fans, like Twitter user 2xDana_, don’t want Sora in the game because of the character’s Disney ties. 2xDana_ told us that while they dislike Disney’s business practices, they also fear the company “would have too big of an influence in their characters’ design in Smash, taking away from Sakurai and the design team’s vision.”
The Disney connection was a contentious point among fans, but so too was Sora’s look. IGN senior editor Kat Bailey echoed that sentiment, telling Kotaku over Twitter DMs she “dislikes his design—the big shoes, the hair, all of it.” Bailey also found Sora to be “the least interesting element of Kingdom Hearts,” though she did enjoy the myriad Disney references and Final Fantasy callbacks.
On the other side of the debate are Sora-loving diehards who would possibly kill to see the character join a Smash roster. An artist who goes by the Twitter handle Caehum, who happened to post a super-popular render of Sora in front of the Smash logo, told Kotaku that Sora was one of their favorite characters ever, and said they’d straight-up buy Super Smash Bros. Ultimate if Sakurai added Sora. (They don’t own the game, but have access to it via game sharing on Nintendo Switch.)
And of course, there’s pro Smash player and Joker/Pichu main Tyrell “Nakat” Coleman. Nakat, sporting #Sora4Smash in his Twitter name, told Kotaku that Kingdom Hearts fans have been “suffering” while waiting for the next mainline entry. (The long-awaited Kingdom Hearts 3 finally launched in 2019.)
“Sora is my favorite video game character and I have been begging for his inclusion for over 10 years now,” Nakat said over DM. “I think he fits in [Super Smash Bros. Ultimate] as an exciting character not only lore-wise, but gameplay as well. With how big he is as a gaming icon I think it is the proper sendoff to Sakurai’s years of work and having most of the world happy with his inclusion is a bonus.”
As a Kingdom Hearts fan myself, I can’t claim to be an unbiased observer. I think Sora would be a cool addition to the Smash roster. He’s got a deep moveset that spans multiple games, so there’s plenty of material to pull from, with copious keyblades and outfits to choose from.
That said! To be honest, I actually don’t want to see Sora in the game, in part because there are too many damn sword characters already. By my count, and according to Screen Rant, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has 20 bladed fighters. If Sora were added, that would mean some 25% of the 82 combatants use swords. That’s way too many! Couple this with the glut of echo fighters, and Sora starts to feel a little redundant in the roster.
So if not Sora, then who? Popular theories range from Jill Valentine to Tifa Lockhart, with dark horses including Dr. Eggman and Phoenix Wright. But Kingdom Hearts and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate YouTuber HMK, who’s released several videos about why Sora should be in the game, has one specific selection.
“While I had some heavily desired picks that eventually became Mii Costumes such as Travis and Dante, when it comes to another big character, I would want...It would definitely be Master Chief from Halo,” HMK told Kotaku over email.” Time to Finish the Fight!”
And yes, as usual, approximately half the internet is still holding out hope for Goku.
All will be revealed on Tuesday, though, when Sakurai-san will debut the game’s 82nd, final character, which will be the final component of the Fighters Pass Vol. 2 DLC. What could well be the final Smash Direct will begin on October 5 at 10 a.m. ET.