Update 4: There is a cut mini racing game from Super Smash 64.
Update 3: Sonic was originally planned for Brawl. According to the History of Sonic, Sega initially refused causing him to be temporarily dropped.
Update 2: Sonic was indeed planned for Melee. I found the full magazine scan, so it’s no longer possible misinformation.
Update 1: Mii Fighters and Pac-Man were briefly considered for Brawl. They’ve been included in the list below.
Seeing your favorite characters battle it out is probably the highlight of any Super Smash Brothers game. Character selection is a closely guarded secret by the series director, Masahiro Sakurai, but over the years he has released juicy tidbits. This entry will outline all of the characters that did not join the fight in each iteration.
For clarity’s sake, I’ve decided to separate each game into three categories: considered, planned and scrapped. Considered are characters that Sakurai and his team thought about putting into Smash. Naturally, this list will always be largely incomplete. Planned characters are characters that made it into the planning stage, but were not started. The last category is scrapped characters, which are characters that nearly made it into the game, or have left over data in the game.
There is a possibility that some characters are miscatergozied in this post, as we have incomplete pictures of the development cycles. Within each title, I will identify common rumors I have read online, but as far as I can tell are not actually based on fact. In this post, there are a ton of links. This is to allow readers to double check the research that was put into this. Of course, the biggest challenge in writing this post was finding reputable sources and quotes for every character.
In some cases, I’ve linked to posts that I have translated. This was done for the benefit of English speakers. In each of these posts, I’ve included the original Japanese so readers may confirm my translation. Please comment with additional sources, or inquires about certain characters. I tried to be as thorough as possible, but I might have missed some. Without further ado, here’s the the list.
Super Smash Brothers 64:
DededeRacing Mini Game
The first game in the series, Super Smash Brothers 64 was developed with a low-budget, and few staff members. Even though it seems common sense now, Smash was not seen as a promising franchise as Nintendo was wary that people would not enjoy a crossover fighting game featuring their mascots. Furthermore, Masahiro Sakurai attempted to revolutionize the fighting genre as he got rid of complex button inputs and lifebars.
Ganondorf wasn’t considered for 64, but I couldn’t help but include this amazing piece of art.
Since Smash 64 had limited resources, there are characters that were planned, but did not made it into the final game. Bowser, Mewtwo and Dedede were confirmed by Sakurai himself when conducting a hypothetical, “If there was a Smash 2” poll (Japanese Source Here). There likely are additional characters planned but, as far as I know, no hard evidence for any other characters exist. Sakurai confirmed that Bowser and Dedede were being worked on for about half of the development of Smash 64 in a Smash 2 response. It’s unknown whether Mewtwo had any work done on him.
The information about the cut racing mini-game can be found here. No additional information is known at this time.
Sakurai planning Sigurd for Smash 64, seems to be an unfounded rumor. No official sources could be found, making this pure speculation. Fire Emblem is the only non-64 series to receive their own breakdown in the Smash 2 polls, which guaranteed Marth, and eventually Roy’s inclusion in Melee.
Meowth was probably not planned for Smash 64. I found no reference in any of the e-mail responses, despite claims that he was scrapped in favor of Jigglypuff. People tend to forget that Jigglypuff was popular due to her role in the anime at the time.
Pit in Smash 64 being dropped because they couldn’t get his wings working seems to be an untrue rumor. If this was true, I believe we would have heard about it during Brawl, which I’ve been unable to find a source on.
Super Smash Brothers Melee:
Banjo and Kazooie
Sprout Tower (Stage)
Kingdom of Akaneia (Stage)
Late in the development, the clone characters, Dr. Mario, Roy, Young Link and Pichu were added. Interestingly, Ganondorf was the last character in, and was extremely ‘lucky’ to make it as he was not originally planned. Since Captain Falcon’s model and moveset fit, and because of his popularity in the Smash 2 polls, Sakurai decided to add him in at last minute.
Additional characters were most likely considered, as Sakurai had the Smash 2 poll data. I’ve only included characters that were outright confirmed by Sakurai, or have an interesting history.
Sakurai was asked by a fan what character he would like to see in Smash 2, and Mach Rider was the response he gave. He was most likely joking though, as he said he ‘wanted to include him based on his funny name’. In an earlier response, he does say that his generation turns to Mach Rider or Takamaru. However, it’s unknown how much consideration was actually given into these characters as he outright stated that Takamaru’s chances of appearing in Smash 2 were low .
A Sin and Punishment character (Most likely Saki) was very briefly considered for Melee (Japanese). In his comment, Sakurai stated that he had no plans for a Sin and Punishment character, as a moveset did not come natural when thinking of a character.
Toad was at least considered for Melee. Not only was he ranked 9th on the Smash 2 polls, but Sakurai also said that he expected Toad to appear in Smash 2 in a reader response. Sakurai used the word “appear/ come out” and not “join the battle”/ “join the roster”; so it’s unknown how likely a candidate Toad was during Melee’s development. Like Wario, it is possible that he was dropped in favor of less Mario representation.
Ayumi Tachibana, one of the main characters in Famicom Tantei Club, was confirmed to have been considered for Melee during a recent NicoNico interview. Sakurai decided not to include her in the final roster plan, as she lacked familiarity abroad. In the Melee emails (Japanese), Sakurai stated that without a new release in the series, Ayumi Tachibana probably wouldn’t join Smash Brothers.
In an e-mail response asking about including a character from Rare (Japanese), Sakurai stated that it was difficult to include a character from Rare for various reasons. While some may see Banjo and Kazooie’s inclusion as natural, they couldn’t make it in due to ‘adult circumstances’ (This most likely means copyright).
In a similar vein, James Bond was considered for Melee. Again, “adult circumstances” led to him not being included. Sakurai actually lists the reasons here (Japanese). The reasons are: Can’t have realistic guns in the game. Can’t use the actor’s likeness. Since the game is originally based on a movie, the copyright won’t go through. Lastly, it’s owned by Rare.
Ice Climbers were chosen as Melee’s retro representation. In one of the Smash 2 e-mails, Sakurai discussed how important it is to have a wide selection of characters in order to appeal to the various demographics. When the Ice Climbers got their Japanese Melee character page, Sakurai included other characters that were considered for the Ice Climbers spot. These include Balloon Fighter, Urban Champion, Bubbles (from Clu Clu Land) and Excitebike.
Not a character, but Sprout Tower was considered for a stage at the start of Melee’s development (Japanese). Summit (Ice Climbers) was also considered (Japanese). Interestingly, ICETOP is a name of a cut stage. Reportedly, it can be loaded but it’s Icicle Mountain without music.
Planned and Scrapped:
During Melee’s development, Kojima (at his son’s request), asked Sakurai if Solid Snake could be in the game. Since Melee was pretty far into development, adding Snake was impossible. When starting Brawl’s development, Sakurai then asked Kojima if Snake could join the battle.
The source for Sonic being planned for Melee Edge magazine in Australia. Yuji Naka spilled the beans on Sonic’s possible inclusion in Melee. In it, Yuji Naka states that it was very close to happening, but because of time constraints, it was impossible. However it, “left the door open for future collaborations”.
Here’s the source information for for the magazine:
Edge Magazine (Australia Edition) Issue 04 (January 2005)
Subject:Edge Magazine (Australia Edition);
Wario was planned for Melee. Sakurai has mentioned that he was concerned with overrepresentation of certain series, so some characters that were planned got dropped. Wario was the 3rd most popular character on the Smash 2 ballots (After Bowser and Peach). On a Melee site, Sakurai stated that if he had the time to add one more character, he would have added Wario (Japanese). See possible misinformation for additional information on Wario.
Lucas was planned for inclusion in Melee. However, due to Mother 3 being in development hell, Ness was brought back. This is outright confirmed on Ness’ Japanese character page for Melee (Japanese) and in a reply by Sakurai.
Sukapon was going to be an item in Melee (Japanese). Sakurai mentioned Sukapon twice in the reader response. He says that Sukapon was cut because of “adult matters”, and that players would’ve been able to ride Sukapon. The bonus text relating to Sukapon was on the site, but it has since been deleted. Unfortunately, the Melee site didn’t allow it to be archived, so we don’t know how many points the bonus would have given. Since Sakurai said “adult matters” it’s plausible that there were legal complications which lead to Sukapon being cut entirely. I found a Japanese blog, supposedly written by someone who worked on Joy Mecha Fight, that stated that the contract for the game was lost, which is the reason Sukapon was cut. The contract was found, hence the Virtual Console release in Japan. It’s unknown the actual validity of the blog.
Not a character, but Kingdom of Akaneia (Fire Emblem) was scrapped from Melee (Japanese)’s stages. It was going to have machines that threw stones at the castle, and have appearances from a dragon and a sorcerer. Due to various circumstances it was cut. AKANEIA was found in the debug menu of Melee, and trying to access it crashes the game. Furthermore, the game’s Fire Emblem track is named AKANEIA.
Luigi’s plan in Melee was decided before Sakurai knew about Luigi’s Mansion (Japanese). His high pitch voice is based off of Mario Kart. “Assist Capsules” were thought of during Melee’s development but were removed for an unknown reason (Japanese). Giga Bowser was made as a reaction towards Bowser’s modern design. Sakurai notes that the old Bowser was really scary, and he wanted to incorporate that. However, since the design has changed, he had no choice but to include the modern version as a playable character (Japanese).
Venusaur, along with other Pokemon, were originally going to appear on Pokemon Stadium (Like Saffron City in 64) (Japanese).
Fire Emblem trophies were planned for the game, but they were too complex so they were not a priority (Japanese).
Update:I got in contact with the original poster for the following information. After careful consideration, we both determined that the information was illegitimate. Therefore, anything from the original post is open to debate as some parts of it are purely speculative.
Not all characters that appeared in the intro movie for Melee were intended to join the fight according to the Japanese official site. Sorry Ridley, Wolf and Samurai Goroh fans.
There is no reliable source for Wario actually being seriously, “considered for a Mario clone but he deserved better”. In addition, I haven’t been able to find hard sources on Japanese character discussion. Sakurai did say, “If I cut all the clone characters, I wouldn’t have been able to even add one new character. However, I could have made Wario using the same body shape and attacks as Mario” (Japanese). He also states that if he cut Roy and Marth or Mewtwo, he might have been able to add Wario, but the Mario representation was too much (Japanese). There’s nothing there that says Wario was cut for deserving better.
Dedede being next in line, or Sakurai choosing between Dedede and the clones, might also be false information. No Japanese sources exist for this comment. Considering that it Sakurai has stated that there was no option between one new character, or the clones in the Melee polls, I’m leaning towards this being false.
Wolf as a Fox clone might also be misinformation. The only source I’ve been able to find is a Neogaf user, who has since been banned. He claims that the information came from a Famitsu article, but provided no scans nor the date of the article. This was said by the same guy that claimed Wario was considered as a Mario clone. Based on Sakurai’s comments about not all characters in the opening movie being planned, and the questionable legitimacy of that user, I believe that this accusation is false. Sakurai mentioned that Peppy’s voice actor was wondering if Peppy was going to be a playable character. Afterwards, he mentioned that fans would really like to see the Starfox team complete (Japanese).
Super Smash Brawl:
At GDC 2008, Sakurai stated that a lot of characters were originally planned, but also many were scrapped so that they could focus on, ‘balancing series representation and making each character unique’.
Brawl’s character selection was essentially completed by July 7th, 2005. The only exception was Sonic, as he was a late addition to the game (Japanese). Sonic was added due to his overwhelming popularity in the ballots (Mainly from the West). This means that characters like Wolf, Toon Link, and possibly Jigglypuff might have dropped at one point from development. For additional information about Brawl’s development, check out DarkErmac’s comments on reddit for additional information about this theory.
UPDATE: Sonic was planned from the very beginning. However, Sega initially refused to have the hedgehog join the fight.
“Early on, Nintendo asked SEGA if Sonic could be included in the game, but the Haneda company refused. It was only later, when the development of Super Smash Bros. Brawl was nearly finished,
that SEGA changed its mind. This is why the game’s release was delayed.”
History of Sonic, page 210.
Thanks to Sur and Naoshi for providing the quote and source.
Just like Melee, additional characters were surely considered as Sakurai had the results from the Smash 3 ballots. The official site for Brawl was completely replaced by Smash 4’s site. Luckily, I was able to capture all of the poll results by using the Wayback Machine.
Blastoise (Pokemon Trainer)
||Confirmed: Dr. Mario, Mewtwo, Roy, Dixie.Highly Likely: Toon Zelda/ Toon Sheik.
Speculated: Plusle and Minun
Takamaru – Brawl response #71, #121, #139, #165, #284 all argue that Takamaru should be a playable character, but Sakurai did not give a response. Flip at NinDB posted:
If the GBA port of Nazo no Murasame sells well, then I will consider Takamaru.
In the same paragraph, he mentions that the GBA port of Kid Icarus was the final deciding factor in the inclusion of Pit as well. He knew Pit was popular, but he didn’t think he could be a “top-seller.” Lo and behold, Kid Icarus was the number one selling title in the Famicom Mini Series and thus Pit was included.
However, I’ve been unable to find the original source of this comment. Additional help finding this source would be appreciated.
Sakurai stated that finding representatives from new series was difficult as many of the characters did not have the fighting spirit, despite being really popular. The Villager and Nintendogs were explicitly named in an Iwata Asks. Most likely, they were only briefly considered.
In the previously mentioned interview (Japanese), Sakurai stated that Blastoise was briefly considered for Pokemon Trainer. However, he felt that having a representation for each of the stages of evolution would really balance the character out.
Pac-Man was briefly considered. Sakurai stated that Miyamoto approached him with the idea, but Sakurai thought it was a little “far-fetched”.
Mii-Fighters were also briefly considered, but Sakurai decided against it.
In a Nintendo Power Article, Sakurai said that “Ridley would be impossible”, “very slow”,and that the team would have to work very hard in order to make him work as a playable character. Interestingly, Ridley was possibly going to be an assist trophy, as leftover data has been found. His role as an assist trophy was most likely changed to a boss role during development.
AKA: The forbidden seven.
Of the characters with leftover data, Mewtwo, Roy and Dixie arguably had the most work done on them. Roy has a unique victory fanfare while Mewtwo had a unique victory fanfare and a Wii remote sound. Dixie had a working prototype at one point, as she was originally envisioned to have a tag-team mechanic, just like in Donkey Kong Country 2 (Japanese). However due to complications in programming, she was dropped and Diddy was made into a full character by himself. It’s unknown how far each of these characters got into development, or when they were dropped as the team worked on various aspects of the game at the same time. Since the other three (and arguably Dixie too) have less references to them, it’s plausible that they were dropped earlier in development.
Toon Zelda/ Toon Sheik are obvious from their filenames. However, it’s unknown whether Toon Sheik was actually Tetra or not. It is highly likely that this is the case, as Toon Link’s design was inspired from Wind Waker and Tetra was made to be Wind Waker’s Sheik. Despite this, it is not 100% confirmed as Sakurai has never talked about this character.
Plusle and Minun draw considerable debate within the community. The files are labeled, pra_mai, which kind of corresponds to their Japanese names, PURASURU and MAINAN(プラスル&マイナン). The main point against them is that the Ice Climbers, and the Dixie/Diddy combo, had two separate character files. This could be explained by Plusle and Minun using an unknown mechanic where they weren’t separated. Furthermore, they do not use the Gamefreak localization for their names, nor the original Japanese. Despite this, it’s interesting to note that Plusle and Minun, along with Pichu and Mewtwo, are all special criteria Pokemon trophies in Brawl.
Super Smash 4 3DS/Wii U:
||Speculated: a Rhythm Heaven character
Confirmed: Ice Climbers
Speculated: Dr. Mario Stage
Brain Age Stage
Additional characters were most likely considered. However, I’m only including the characters that Sakurai himself has stated were considered. Like Melee and Brawl, clone characters (Lucina, Dr. Mario and Dark Pit) were added late into development. DLC for Smash 4 was formally announced on April 1st.
Takamaru was (once again) considered as a playable character in Smash 4. In a NicoNico interview with the voice actor for Takamaru, Sakurai mentioned that he briefly considered adding the unique swordsman as a playable character. However, because of lack of name recognition Sakurai decided against it.
Chrom was briefly considered before deciding upon Robin. Robin was picked as he was more unique than Chrom.
Ice Climbers, officially were scrapped due to issues on the 3DS.
Note: This is my personal opinion, and should not be treated as fact. This is open for debate: Personally, I think that 8 Player Smash might have also played a role in them getting scrapped, despite claims by Sakurai saying they were working on the Wii U. This is because many of the 8 Player stages have removed components which require some artificial intelligence (A.I.). These include boss characters, stages with breakable walls, and even background effects. I believe that that the team could not make 8 Nana’s A.Is. work on many stages. It’s also interesting to note that some characters like Wii Fit Trainer actually have less bones in 8-Player Smash. This causes her thumbs up pose to look a little different– depending on what mode you are playing.
It is speculated that a Rhythm Heaven character was scrapped. This is due to the order of the emblem database that I uncovered while digging through the files. No additional files for the character were found, thus it is a mystery which representative would have been chosen and how long they were being developed. According to the Gematsu leaker, this would have been the Chorus Men. This is a very hot topic within the Smash community.The next article that I’m working on is an in-depth discussion about the potential validity of the Gematsu leaks.
Numerous stage references were found in the Wii U files. These are all speculated, but it’s assumed that Dr. Mario was going to have a home stage (with the Virus’ as boss characters) Furthermore, Brain Age had a blank emblem file present in the Wii U. It’s speculated that this file would have been used on the stage select screen. Furthermore, a reference to the emblem still exists in the emblem database (brainage). Electroplankton? (Plankton) has an emblem reference, and so does “diary”. “diary” is speculated to be a Swapnote Stage, as いつの間に交換日記 (Literally: Exchanging Diary over Spotpass) is the Japanese name. However, no further evidence seems to exist to confirm or deny these theories. It’s also unknown if all these stages were planned for the Wii U version, or if they are leftover data from the 3DS version.
I believe I provided a comprehensive list of all the unused characters in each of the Smash Brothers game. Please let me know if I made any mistakes or if you guys find additional sources. I will not accept information without legitimate attribution. Special thanks to Flip at NinDB, and Sir llpalazzo at Starman for laying the groundwork for this post. Additional thanks to Spazzy_D (Check out his amazing DLC article) and Frostwraith for giving me suggestions. I spent over 20 hours researching and writing this post so give me a shot out on Twitter. Stay tuned for more great content at Source Gaming.