Smash Ultimate has 74 Characters, yet lacks Black/Brown characters (READ OP)

Astral/H3X

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Oct 25, 2017
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By that argument, any game that has katanas is a game filled with Japanese people. And there are far more katanas in Western games than they have any right to be.
The fact is D&D was the origin of most RPGs, and many weapon and armour elements were imported in Japan that way. But if you then insist that everyone is European, then you are stretching that too far.
I'm not saying, "The game has a longsword, therefore it is European".
I'm saying that "99.99% of all equipment, regions, character armor designs, and general class types are directly inspired by European warfare, with a small, small subset of equipment and designs that are inspired by Asian warfare (complete with characters whose design even 'looks more Asian'), thus it is reasonable to infer that the games take place in a European inspired region."

Like, would it make any sense to say that Africans playing Fire Emblem would think the games take place in an African inspired region? No? Not sure why Asian players would think Fire Emblem is Asian inspired.

Like, do Asian players think that all the characters in Bloodborne are Asian, despite everything about the game being clearly lifted from Victorian England?
 

Neoxon

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Also, I dunno if this matters or not, but the female variant of all those characters with male/female alts are vastly more played than the male ones in Smash 4. I also expect this to be true for the Inkling with Pokemon Trainer potentially being an exception.

...Well, except for maybe Villager (which is about an even split) and the Mii Fighters (but no one cares about them anyways).
As it stands right now, 20.779% of Smash Ultimate's roster is comprised of playable characters who are female by default. If you want more information, check out the thread I made (& am still updating) comparing the percentage of female fighters in each fighting game.
 

Fosko

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Oct 27, 2017
1,370
The third parties featured in Smash has more (not necessarily better) black representation than Nintendo, I do not think this an issue with japanese third parties

People are really eager to say "other JP third parties need to improve" when that's not the case like at all.
The thing is, smash only uses third party protagonists, so even if there are secondary black characters, they won't get featured as playable characters in smash (Rodin is a good example)
 

Lord of Ostia

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Oct 27, 2017
16,937
It's a significant problem, but unsurprising for a company with 90% of its properties originating from a Japanese development environment. There are very few people of color in Japanese media, and when they are there the way they are represented is often...problematic. OP brings up Fire Emblem but characters like Danved/Devdan are problematic. Basilio and Flavia are good, but they aren't main characters. Fiona is also fine, but I'm sure no one outside of FE diehards remembers her existence.

It reminds of me Playstation All Stars too, that game had the same problem despite most of the franchises represented being Western franchises, which is pretty egregious.

That said, there are definitely options. Urbosa and Twintelle would make great Smash characters, for example.
 

MisterHero

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Oct 25, 2017
3,324
Diversity is a hugely untapped well of ideas especially for Nintendo. I want to see more new IPs with people of color and LGBT in leading roles.

Nintendo traditionally doesn’t design a character and design a game from that. They do the reverse. They don’t let story or expisition get in the way if gameplay. That’s why they have the pantheon that exists right now. But they can change that everytime they develop a new game, so I’m hopeful.
 

SPRidley

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Oct 25, 2017
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Why not Sandman? Although I'd rather have King Hippo, but I'd sacrifice him to get some better representation for others.
Mr Sandman is used in the website as one of the main spirits. I would say he is not important enough to have his own character (and Punch-Out!! wii is one of my favourite games of all time) but now that we have a godamn generic plant anything can have a spot, so I would love more villain representation in the game for each series and with it, mr sandman should be the punchout one.
 

feyder

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Oct 25, 2017
1,156
I will say this while genuinely respecting the point that OP made : I do not want them to put a black / brown character in smash brothers just for the sake of putting one. I would rather get the most iconic characters regardless of their skin color. What I mean by this is that skin color should not be a criteria that Sakurai considers when thinking about upcoming challengers.

Of course this is just my opinion and it's an interesting topic of debate.
Which black/brown characters could Nintendo even put into Smash Bros just to say the roster has characters of black/brown skin? The problem is Nintendo doesn't even have many darker skinned characters, let alone black/brown characters who are the MCs/forefront of the game.

And even the characters in Smash, who have the option to be darker skinned, their default is their light skin, plus I think people would prefer a character who IS black/brown, rather than just COULD be black/brown.
 

Rukumouru

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Nov 12, 2017
1,516
See? This is why we need Rodin and Elma. And if ARMS is to have a rep, Twintelle should be it.

Xeno X is like the best game Nintendo ever made and Elma is the protagonist so they don't even have the "minor/side character" excuse.

EDIT: Oh and remember when Sheik was brown in OOT? Good times. Bring that back.
 

Illusion

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Oct 27, 2017
7,216
No seriously, just look at the series that were chosen to get new characters and think about if PoC characters could've been reasonably chosen instead

  • Splatoon - Character is an avatar with skin color options. Unfortunately the Splatoon 1 Inklings are default white. At least they changed it for 2 but it was too late for this game.
  • Metroid - Your only PoC option is Anthony, who appeared in one game that a lot of people didn't like.
  • Castlevania - Every single main character is white.
  • Donkey Kong - No human characters
  • Animal Crossing - No more human characters (unless they added "Villager 2")
  • Pokemon - Could've added another trainer, but that's much more work than adding in a Pokemon (and the Pokemon are the real characters essentially).
(Not including echos because those characters have to be similar to existing characters)

Simply put, Nintendo is REALLY BAD about PoC main characters.
Technically Daisy is Latina but was white-washed in later years.
 

Fosko

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Oct 27, 2017
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I know it's not black, but I really liked how Daisy had a darker skin tone in these LINE stickers and Mario Tennis and wished that they used it for the jump to the switch. It's a bit sad that it didn't happen, because it's just something slight to make the cast more diverse without having to create a new relevant character, and it'd make sense for her, coming from a desert kingdom.


At the same time, I think that maybe the push for more black people/diversity is just something that's more clear to see in North America than in other countries, specially Japan. I suppose if NoA had more to say on the bussiness, things would be different.

In Europe we have many african inmigrants and I guess it'd be nice for them to get more representation so that they feel more included in society, but normally when I read about diversity it feels to be focused on black-american people.

Which... I guess makes sense in an English forum, uh.
I see lots of people bringing the "slightly darker skin tone" characters when talking about race representation, but those are white people as well, like white people during summer.
 

HardRojo

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Oct 25, 2017
10,274
That's the thing, Splatoon 2 pushed the darker-skinned Inklings more, even going as far as to make the main Octoling Girl black.

Oh that's pretty cool then, I don't really follow Splatoon but what I've seen mostly is what the white-skinned squids.
If you think I have any disdain for discussions like these then you seriously don't keep up with my posting etiquiette
I'm sure you didn't mean anything malicious, but the complete opposite, I just feel like pre-emptive posts like those would make more people aware not to do this shit, and I'd rather them do it so that they can get banned for showing their stupidity. If they don't do it now, they'll do it later anyway.
I feel like Twintelle, Skyward Sword Impa and Elma could have been obvious picks for this roster. Add a FFVII Barret AT and maybe include Kukui/Kiawe in some way along with Incineroar and we could have had a better representation this time.
Ah, Twintelle is a cool character, I haven't played much of ARMS yet (just got a Switch a week ago) but I guess she'd be a nice rep. I suppose we could consider Ganon a brown char as well, he's a pretty cool Nintendo character. Gonna have to look Elma up because I don't know who she is.
 

Seesaw15

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Oct 27, 2017
5,393
I will say this while genuinely respecting the point that OP made : I do not want them to put a black / brown character in smash brothers just for the sake of putting one. I would rather get the most iconic characters regardless of their skin color. What I mean by this is that skin color should not be a criteria that Sakurai considers when thinking about upcoming challengers.

Of course this is just my opinion and it's an interesting topic of debate.
Sakurai's a troll and will put stuff in just for the sake of putting it in. There's really no iconic character meritocracy when it comes to Smash's roster.
 

mutantmagnet

Member
Oct 28, 2017
9,544
Does Nintendo actually have any major black characters among their IPs? Plus, who from the third parties involved could offer a character and who would that character be?
I can't even think of any distinctly asian characters.

I love anime but Japan has a huge blindspot when it comes to even portraying their own more common physical features in any non-live action media.

While Nintendo has been very poor on representation beyond Caucasian features it is fair to point out that they have noticeably diversified their art direction since the Switch came out. Splatoon, Labo and Arms is a clear indicator of their shifting attitude towards body types.


Ryu and Solid Snake?
Definitely not Snake bro.
 

Lord of Ostia

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Oct 27, 2017
16,937
Oh that's pretty cool then, I don't really follow Splatoon but what I've seen mostly is what the white-skinned squids.

I'm sure you didn't mean anything malicious, but the complete opposite, I just feel like pre-emptive posts like those would make more people aware not to do this shit, and I'd rather them do it so that they can get banned for showing their stupidity. If they don't do it now, they'll do it later anyway.

Ah, Twintelle is a cool character, I haven't played much of ARMS yet (just got a Switch a week ago) but I guess she'd be a nice rep. I suppose we could consider Ganon a brown char as well, he's a pretty cool Nintendo character. Gonna have to look Elma up because I don't know who she is.
Black Inkling Girl even got an Amiibo.
 

KtSlime

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Oct 25, 2017
4,580
Tokyo
I'm not saying, "The game has a longsword, therefore it is European".
I'm saying that "99.99% of all equipment, regions, character armor designs, and general class types are directly inspired by European warfare, with a small, small subset of equipment and designs that are inspired by Asian warfare (complete with characters whose design even 'looks more Asian'), thus it is reasonable to infer that the games take place in a European inspired region."

Like, would it make any sense to say that Africans playing Fire Emblem would think the games take place in an African inspired region? No? Not sure why Asian players would think Fire Emblem is Asian inspired.

Like, do Asian players think that all the characters in Bloodborne are Asian, despite everything about the game being clearly lifted from Victorian England?
Japanese players (not sure about other Asians) think characters are from where they say they are from. If the character says they are from England, it is simply taken at face value. If Fire Emblem said it was taking place in Japan, the assumption is that the people there are Japanese, however Fire Emblem takes place in a fictional world, so the characters are of that fictional world. Not Asian, not European, not African, etc.
 

Devilgunman

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Oct 27, 2017
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It's not only lack of black or brown people. I'm surprised that Nintendo, being Japanese developer, actually has very few lead Japanese characters in their games. Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Pokemon, Xenoblade etc most characters in these games are not Japanese.
 

cmChimera

Member
Oct 28, 2017
839
This is a problem with a Nintendo as a whole, that becomes more plainly apparent when looking at Smash. With characters like Twintelle becoming popular and race changing in Splatoon, I think Nintendo is beginning to warm up to this, but there's a long way to go. We just have to keep arguing for it. Loudly.
 

Nepenthe

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Oct 25, 2017
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The reason we really only have pallete swaps to go on is because Nintendo is a company that has never actually cared about representation, and subsequently other "legacy" franchises they can potentially pull third-party characters from also followed suit. Gaming is a cesspool in regards to this issue, so it's no surprise that the biggest crossover franchise would similarly be lacking.
 

julian

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Oct 27, 2017
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Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Ness, Marth, Pit, Samus, Link, Zelda, Mac, Ike, Rye, Snake, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a ton.
This really points out the heart of the issue. The vast majority of the characters were made in the 80’s and a handful in the early 90’s. This was well before people were vocal about lack of representation in videogames.

They’ve clearly been trying to rectify this, but they continue having a few issues like:

1) not defaulting any characters to non-white if the player has a choice

2) Fire Emblem - soooo many humans, so little diversity. Xenoblade is slightly better, but not by a huge margin.
 

snazzums

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Nov 22, 2017
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What's amazing is that the game has Eskimo people thanks to Nana and Popo. Nintendo really should make more games with characters of other ethnicities. Bring on more new IPs!
 

Lord of Ostia

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Oct 27, 2017
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It's not only lack of black or brown people. I'm surprised that Nintendo, being Japanese developer, actually has very few lead Japanese characters in their games. Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Pokemon, Xenoblade etc most characters in these games are not Japanese.
Eh, Anime characters in general are meant to be read as "Japanese" unless specifically stated otherwise, or they have blonde hair and blue eyes. Marth and Roy spoke Japanese in Melee.
 

ASaiyan

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Oct 25, 2017
7,228
Nintendo has actually been doing a little bit better with creating POC characters recently, which makes it even sadder that none of them were given a roster spot. Coulda had Twintelle. Marina. Elma. Rodin (at least he got an AT I guess). Etc...

Technically Doc Louis is 'in the game', but only on Mac's victory screen (so not actually), and even then his model looks a bit off compared to Punch-Out Wii
 

Wolf

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Oct 25, 2017
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I really expected Twintelle. It's weird there is no ARMS rep and she's the best character in that game.
 

Neoxon

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Astral/H3X

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Japanese players (not sure about other Asians) think characters are from where they say they are from. If the character says they are from England, it is simply taken at face value. If Fire Emblem said it was taking place in Japan, the assumption is that the people there are Japanese, however Fire Emblem takes place in a fictional world, so the characters are of that fictional world. Not Asian, not European, not African, etc.
Having played the Japanese games, and seeing quite clearly that everyone is named with Katakana characters (used for foreign names), with very, *VERY* few exceptions, and all of the characters having distinctly "European sounding" names, I'm pretty sure there's no aspect of the vast majority of the characters that would indicate they are Asian to a Japanese audience.

And to really drive it home, here's a weapon in Fire Emblem 6, the "Wo Dao". In the Japanese version (well, the only version, I guess...), it is explicitly named as to be a "Japanese Sword".
https://fireemblemwiki.org/wiki/Wo_Dao
It is also only able to be wielded by Myrmidons and Swordmasters, who, as a generality, are typically designed to look 'more asian', particularly in FE6.
 

TheCed

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Oct 27, 2017
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I think Nintendo overall is lacking in the Variety department.
It's hard to put the blame on smash when they're is not many characters to go with.

Elma is the first one that came to mind right, I can't think of any black character in the Nintendo Universe right away. Mario Kart and Mario Party suffer from the same lack of variety too.
It's a shame really, hopefully it'll change. First thing they should do is to add one to the regular Mario Cast. That would help for sure.
 
Jul 20, 2018
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Are there any asian characters? I can't think of any unless I'm really forgetting someone. Seems like Nintendo generally only designs very light-skinned, caucasian-looking characters beyond maybe some side characters in Zelda.

That's true, Ganondorf is definitely not a "white" character I would say.
Along with Ryu, who I've seen others mentioned, I think it could be argued that the Pokémon trainers are Japanese-representative, given they come from the Pokéverse's version of Japan.
 

GoldStarz

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Oct 25, 2017
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What's amazing is that the game has Eskimo people thanks to Nana and Popo. Nintendo really should make more games with characters of other ethnicities. Bring on more new IPs!
Are they actually inuit though? Like I know they're like chibi blob people, but they're skin tone doesn't really reflect it very well.
The inklings nor Pokemon trainer have option?
The Pokemon trainers in Smash are Japanese, and the inklings only have two dark skin options despite the variety in the main game.
 

ToiseOfChoice

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Nov 1, 2017
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It’s weird to me that some people can’t even think of any dark-skinned Nintendo characters prominent enough (because Piranha Plant set a really high standard here) to be playable.
 

Neoxon

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It’s weird to me that some people can’t even think of any dark-skinned Nintendo characters prominent enough (because Piranha Plant set a really high standard here) to be playable.
I mean, Elma's arguably the main character of Xenoblade X. And with Spring Man & likely Ribbon Girl out of the running, Twintelle has the best chance of anyone from ARMS at getting in Smash via DLC.
 

Braaier

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Oct 29, 2017
13,237
Nintendo needs more black characters period.

Also, out of curiosity I was looking at the roster for PS All Stars. I only see one black character in that game and he was paid DLC.