Warning for the few who have managed to avoid this information: there will be spoilers about the currently known playable fighters in the upcoming Wii U / 3DS Smash Bros. games ahead. Enter at your own risk!
So as we all know, the Smash Bros. franchise is more than just a fighting game, it is also a nostalgic love letter to Nintendo's biggest and best franchises. For the most part, it has some content from pretty much every notable Nintendo franchise over the years, although many franchises do not have playable fighter representation, and are relegated to assist trophy / etc. status.
We learned awhile back that both Wii Fit and Animal Crossing would be getting playable fighters, and I think most of us agree with those choices. Animal Crossing is kind of long overdue, and Wii Fit, although relatively new, took the video game world by storm. Also, using a Wii Fit trainer as a fighter is hilarious.
Yet I still feel like there are a few oversights. We don't know the full character roster for the upcoming games yet, so some of these may still have a shot. Others are sure to be left out once again. I'll list a few of mine and make my arguments for them. You list yours. You know the drill.
Here we go...
Advance Wars - Yeah, you knew I'd go here. But it's not just personal choice, I have some strong arguments for representing Advance Wars with a playable fighter in Smash Bros. A. It's one of Nintendo's longest running franchises (Well, Famicom Wars is, which we just kind of call Advance Wars in the West), with its first game appearing in 1988 on the Famicom (NES.) B. It's one of Nintendo's consistently highest quality series, with the games ranging from a 92% to an 85% on Gamerankings. C. For how awesome it is, it is kind of criminally underexposed, and it deserves more of a spotlight.
Character: Andy, of course. Duh.
Xenoblade Chronicles / X - I kind of feel like this one has to be coming, right? Maybe not though, as it's a relatively new franchise, and Smash Brothers seems to have a sort of wait period with most franchises before including them. Still, Xenoblade Chronicles kind of became a big deal, spurring on the whole Operation Rainfall thingy to get it (and the other two games) over to the West. And then it released to GOTY contender scores, and is the type of game that you will see on most serious top 10 Wii lists, probably somewhere around the top 3 spots. X was announced with a Western release from the start, so Nintendo seems to want to really support the franchise... why not get it into Smash Brothers?
Character: Shulk is the obvious choice.
Pilotwings - Alright, maybe not one of Nintendo's biggest franchises right now, but it's kind of one of the legendary ones for me. Early SNES game that really helped define what the SNES was capable of... same thing for the N64. Maybe not quite as defining on the 3DS, but still a fun little game. It deserves some recognition.
Character: Gosh I dunno... Goose and Ibis were my two main characters.
An eShop exclusive franchise - I'm not being specific here for a reason, because to me this move would be more about promoting the eShop exclusives as a serious branch of Nintendo gaming, so it sort of doesn't matter which franchise Nintendo picks. And they have a variety to choose from... Pushmo / Crashmo would be my choice, but a case could be made for Fluidity or Dillon's Rolling Western as well, among others. Just something to include what, at least to someone like me, is a pretty big part of Nintendo gaming nowadays, the eShop exclusives.
Character: I'd go with Mallo from Pushmo, but like I said above, there are a lot of options here.
I could do more but I want to let the rest of you post some original stuff. GO!
PS. I was going to do a poll for this, but then I realized that everyone would just vote for Xenoblade / X.
PPS. I know this isn't that different from my top ten list awhile back, but still, I'm thinking more from a franchise perspective this time around, and trying to think about what franchises have a compelling argument behind them as opposed to just picking characters I like.
I love Xenoblade and Pilotwings more than life itself (well, an awful lot anyway), but as you say Xenoblade might be a bit too recent and two out of three Pilotwings games don't even have their own playable characters as such. I'd definitely not protest if they included Shulk or Goose, though.
I think it's time for Little Mac to enter the fray, 'cause I mean, he's a boxer and everything. He might have to start doing a bit of kick-boxing to fit in, but whatever.
Chibi-Robo could probably have a pretty decent library of attacks, but they'd obviously have to put him in front of some embiggening ray before he could join.
Mallo is...I dunno. I think he'd work well as an Assist Trophy more than an actual playable character. However, I would vote for:
Dillon from Dillon's Rolling Western - he's a cool-looking character, I think his attacks in the game would translate well for Smash Bros., and the rest of the cast could join in for his Final Smash. Get 'im in there!
Issac from Golden Sun - I think this game is technically owned by Camelot, but the series has been exclusive to Nintendo systems, and Issac even showed up as an Assist Trophy in Brawl. Let us fight AS this RPG hero for real this time, Nintendo! Those Psynergy attacks could be pretty cool to use, and man! Think of the Djinn Summon spells that could be used as a Final Smash! It'd be epic.
Mach Rider from Mach Rider - Little to nothing is known about this character, but...hey! The Ice Climbers made an unexpected re-appearance when Melee came out, so why not? The only thing I'd worry about is if they just make him a Captain Falcon clone.
Ray Mk. II from Custom Robo - He's a fighting robot! With customizable weapons and armor! Sure, Nintendo would have to take some liberties with his height/size, but I feel they've already done that with Captain Olimar and Pikachu, so what's stopping them here? Besides, we all know this series could use a super, fighting robot that uses a variety of different weapons and guns. Now if only the Ray Mk. II was blue or something...we could call him the Blue....something. Blue Blaster? Hm. Let me think about this for a bit.
After the announcement that they're trying to avoid using characters that already fight, I'm kind of giving up on guessing and just letting them reveal whatever and focusing on other franchises until "Super Smash Bros. For-" comes out. I've mained Ness since the first game, and I'll probably try the others once or twice and go back to him.
But while we're fantasizing: The S.T.s: Falcon and Tornado from Metal Combat, along with Nintendo announcing a new entry in the Battleclash/Metal-Combat franchise for the Wii U (or just bringing the originals to Virtual Console).
Little Mac is such an obvious choice. A generic monster hunter would also be nice, make her female to add more diversity. I would also be for putting Layton in there. He's proven to be quite the swordsman. He also constructed a machine gun out of a slot machine Maguyver style.
After the announcement that they're trying to avoid using characters that already fight...
Oh, is that right? Huh, I didn't realize that. Though it does make sense since they added the Villager and Wii Fit Trainer to the roster, and neither of them "fight" in their games. In that case...
Someone from Rhythm Heaven - This is a fun series of games, but man! They don't have a "lead" character that's recognizable to represent the franchise. Maybe the masked wrestler? I mean I guess it would make sense that he fights, even though we don't see him do it...
Barbara the Bat from Jam With The Band - This game never came out in North America, but it did have two entries in Japan (Band Bros.) and at least one release in Europe. This game also doesn't have a "lead" character, but I think Barbara would most likely fit the bill. She keeps showing up in different Nintendo games too, such as Master of Illusion, and there is even a wig replica of her hair that is wearable by your Mii on 3DS. Obviously Nintendo hasn't forgotten about her, and hey. Smash could certainly use another female character in the cast, yeah?
The Elite Beat Agents from Elite Beat Agents - Now this group would obviously work best as an Assist Trophy. Still, their singing/dancing antics could easily translate to fighting moves, and they could control similar to the Ice Climbers, or maybe even the Pokémon Trainer (switching out Agents on the fly).
Vince from Art Academy - This one is kinda "out there" but if we're talking characters that don't already fight...this guy fits the bill to a T! He's an artist...an old one, in fact. I guess he could hit people with a paint brush, throw paint cans, sharp pencils...maybe a canvas or something. Maybe he could even paint a fire, and the painting could have a fireball effect, damaging enemies? I dunno. Not sure if this series is popular or recognizable enough to validate Vince in the roster, but who knows! Sakurai is crazy.
Formmee from FreakyFormes - This is another one that is "out there" - especially since the Formmees are custom-made from the player, so having an uncustomizable, "set" Formmee to use in the game would kind of take away from what makes the game/character unique...but then again, they've already sort of done that with the Villager character. Still, it'd be a really weird addition to the cast, completely hilarious, and something I wouldn't put past Sakurai. The Formmee would even be in complete 2D, not unlike Mr. Game & Watch.
Bubbles from Clu Clu Land - I don't even know how this would work, but I've got confidence that Sakurai and his team could figure something out!
Ah, good call on both! Mike Jones would be awesome to see return! His Yo-Yo attacks could be really fun to use, if nothing else.
And a representative from Fatal Frame could be cool, too. Taking pictures and damaging opponents...ha! Classic. Though they couldn't (or probably shouldn't) show the ghosts that are in that series, since that could easily move the ESRB rating from "E" or "T" to an "M."
Little Mac is the only essential fighter that is missing... I've got a good feeling he'll make it in. Mike Jones would be an interesting choice, and it would be sweet if it sparked interest in a revival.
I still really want a Castlevania character as a third party character option. The Castlevania series was right up there with Mega Man as far as NES classics that stood among Nintendo's own properties, and the stage and music could be so damn cool.
I was hoping Nintendo would work on a couple new big character IPs before this Smash so that more options would open up. Putting a new Nintendo character in a Smash game seems like a brilliant way to introduce a new series to the public, doesn't it? Wasn't Miyamoto talking about working on some new stuff a couple years back? What happened to that, I wonder...
They've always published the games in Japan. Nintendo is in charge of the distribution elsewhere. Now, I don't know if that means that Nintendo holds the rights outside of Japan, or if that was just for the Layton games. I'm saying that because it might not be up to Nintendo if Layton is in Brawl or not.
And as far as third-party characters go, Travis Touchdown should totally be in the game. I'd also personally like to see Doomguy; he's had more of a presence on Nintendo platforms than Snake did, so I don't think it would be too far of a leap. I doubt Bethesda would be interested though D: