We've got two long days to go, so let's talk Smash Bros! Who do you think has the best chance to get in at this point, now that most of the obvious choices have already appeared in past games? My ten most likely picks:
RIDLEY: It's hard to make heads or tails of the big guy at this point. Prior to Samus's sudden resurgence last year, I'd say he had next to no chance. But with Metroid making a long-overdue comeback, Ridley's re-entered the ring for relevances' sake. Shrink him down a tad and give him a bit of a "squished" stance and he'd fit in no problem. But will Sakurai go through the trouble for this fan-favorite villain? BUN SEZ 50% LIKELY.CONFIRMED!
RABBID(S): Love 'em or leave 'em, the Rabbids shocked us twofold last year by both starring next to Mario and co., and by being featured in a genuinely strong strategy game. That timely crossover works out in their favor with Smash Bros, as what seemed impossible by Smash 4's release now feels like a very real scenario. Personally, I wouldn't want them in Smash, but I can't deny that Kingdom Battle gave them a huge boost in potentiality--both in chances and in moveset. BUN SEZ 55% LIKELY.
DIXIE KONG OR CRANKY KONG: Tropical Freeze gave them a boost and I'm sure Sakurai is aware of the lack of DK representation these days. Even so, Smash has always leaned heavily Japanese (where's my Mike Jones!?) and the DK series has always been a bigger hit in the west. I can see Dixie or Cranky's chances being very similar. BUN SEZ 60% LIKELY.
TOAD/CAPTAIN TOAD: The Mario series has gotten newcomers in every Smash Bros game (well, if you count Wario in Brawl), so I'm pretty sure we'll see a new rep. Toad's been around forever, and Captain Toad has had both a Wii U game and a port since SSB4's initial release, so he seems like a prime pick for Smash. Since Peach has some Toad-like overlap (veggies and using Toad himself), there'll likely need to be some re-jiggering of movesets, but I think he's got a decent shot. BUN SEZ 60% LIKELY.DISCONFIRMED! He appears in both Peach's attacks (regular Toad) and in the New Donk City stage (Captain Toad).
SIMON BELMONT: This classic Konami character has been oft-requested, has a terrific built-in moveset (just put the four sub-weapons on his B-moves!) and a ton of Nintendo history. If Konami plays ball, there's no reason why he shouldn't get in...except that it's possible a different Castlevania character would make the cut instead; possibly Alucard, Trevor or even Dracula himself. Regardless, I think he's one of the more likely 3rd-parties, and I'd personally love to see him make it. BUN SEZ 65% LIKELY.CONFIRMED!
RAYMAN: We're overdue for a Ubisoft rep and Rayman is one of their most well-known characters. His history, design, Nintendo ties and moveset potential all make him a prime candidate for playable status. Heck, he dressed up as Mario in his most recent titles and his little lagomorph buddies had their own crossover game. Even so, I can see Rayman's chances being higher than the Rabbids thanks to his longer legacy and less...controversial nature... BUN SEZ 65% LIKELY.
BOMBERMAN: One of the few remaining third-party longtime characters that's still relevant, has direct ties to Nintendo and fits right into the Smash Bros. mold, Bomberman has seen a recent resurgence thanks to the solid Switch launch title he starred in. The concept of him as a fighter strikes me as a fun one, too--super powerful cross-shaped bombs that can cause friendly fire so they require the same level of precision as playing Bomberman. Of the three main Konami suggestions, I think he has the best chance. BUN SEZ 70% LIKELY.DISCONFIRMED! I guess Snake was more likely after all!
ISABELLE: While Nintendo isn't shoving her into every single promotional thing ever like they were a couple years ago, she still has made a ton of appearances all over the place, for better or worse. Animal Crossing is an extremely popular series and it makes sense for it to get a second rep in the new Smash. Of all the potential characters, Isabelle is by far the most popular (even though I'd much rather see Tom Nook!). BUN SEZ 80% LIKELY.CONFIRMED!
SPRING MAN: ARMS has had good timing as well; it's a new series that's not too new, and it's reasonably popular enough to get its own Smash rep. Sakurai has a tendency to gravitate towards main characters, or people that are the "face" of the franchise, so Spring Man seems most likely here (although I wouldn't count out alternate color characters). I'd put money on him being in Smash. BUN SEZ 90% LIKELY.
A NEXT-GEN POKEMON CHARACTER: Pardon the vagueness, but there's almost no chance there isn't a saved slot for an 8th-generation Pokemon character. Not only has every Smash game had new Pokemon, but in SSB4, they actually had a spot for an unknown character (who ended up being Greninja) simply because they knew they'd put in a new Pokemon. The only thing that might keep them from this is the timing for Pokemon Switch coming out next year, but I can see some early-revealed new Pokemon perhaps squeezing their way into the lineup. BUN SEZ 90% LIKELY.
Post your own predictions! I also think a second Splatoon rep (Squid Sisters maybe?) is very likely, and possibly Pauline.
@Hinph Yeah, plus Sakurai said something about hoping we're not expecting very many newcomers. Realistically, there are probably just one or two more newbies, and maybe one or two more "echo" characters.
I would also imagine this game will have DLC, and if all old characters are returning then any character DLC will have to be a new character. I just hope the price isn't as high as it was for Smash 4...
Yeah, DLC prices were a bit excessive last time... I was only willing to pay for Cloud, Ryu, and Bayonetta as a result. It's like they were too generous with the Mario Kart 8 pricing and then too greedy with Smash. There's a happy spot for everybody between those two.