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Smash Bros Ultimate DLC is coming to an end – so what's next for the franchise?

Smash Bros Ultimate DLC is coming to an end
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Super Smash Bros Ultimate is without a doubt one of the most necessary Nintendo Switch games to play on the bestselling console. With every fighter that's ever featured in the franchise, a host of new ones coming through DLC, and the flexible play styles offered by Nintendo's handheld/home console hybrid, it's a fighting game with plenty to recommend it.

Now, however, it seems that the DLC tap is running dry.

At the start of 2020, a Smash Bros Ultimate livestream revealed the existence of a whole other Fighters Pass season, with six new (and unannounced) fighters coming in addition to the original five DLC fighters that were unveiled.

There's plenty of speculation around the additional six, of course – from age-old favorites like Crash Bandicoot to the hell-razing Doomguy – but what's even more telling is that players probably won't be getting any more DLC after this.

Sakurai tells all

Masahiro Sakurai, game director of Super Smash Bros Ultimate, has reportedly confirmed that the incoming Fighters Pass was the last batch of DLC fighters for the Switch game.

The comments came in his column for Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu – at least according to summaries of the article posted online (with some help from Google Translate).

Blogger Ryokutya2089 quotes Sakurai in saying that "the breakdown of the six has been decided and we do not plan to make any more".

Those plans could always change in the future, of course, depending on when a new Smash Bros entry was being planned for, though Sakurai adds that "I and the people in charge of Nintendo have no idea what the future will be."

New game, new console?

So will there be any more Smash Bros? It's unlikely that we won't see another entry, given the popularity of the series, and the relative youth of the Switch hardware means we'd expect to see it on a Switch model of some form, even if we have to wait for a more substantial refresh – and in the same blog post Sakurai is quoted as saying "The next work of Smash will not be released until a new hardware is released."

There are plenty of rumors around a new Nintendo Switch or Switch Pro model featuring improved specs and processing power, if not even 4K resolution, although we know the console line won't be getting a refresh line this year, so we'd expect it to be 2021 at the earliest.

The next Fighters Pass should push well into 2021 – if Nintendo sticks to the same seasonal release schedule for its DLC fighters that we've seen so far – which gives Sakurai and Bandai Namco plenty of time to plan their next move.

Smash Bros Ultimate DLC is coming to an end

The first Fighters Pass ends with Fire Emblem's Byleth (Image credit: Nintendo)

While another Smash Bros game seems certain, it's worth noting that a lot of resources have been poured into the game so far, and Nintendo likely won't want to ditch its built-up base of players too soon either – especially given its esports ambitions for the game. Giving gamers time to enjoy the DLC fighters they've paid for isn't a bad idea either.

We'd like to think a new Smash Bros game would have the same broad inclusion of past Smash fighters, though with the new additions for this entry, we may see a more curated list next time around – in the vein of the divisive, pared-down Pokédex for Pokémon Sword and Shield.

So while a new game isn't in the pipeline yet – and probably won't be formally announced until after a Switch console refresh hits the market, meaning these considerations are quite a way off – it seems that another Smash title will likely only come when there's hardware able to support something that's substantially improved in terms of graphical prowess.

Via GamesRadar