Super Smash Bros Ultimate is the biggest, and possibly the best, Smash Bros fighting game to grace our Nintendo consoles. Half a year on from its release, you'd be forgiven for thinking the Smash Bros train has slowed, but not so: with regular Smash Bros Ultimate DLC making its way to the game, there's plenty motivation to keep revisiting the hit fighting game with its growing roster of characters, outfits, soundtracks and stages.
With over 75 characters already playable, you're unlikely to really run out, but Nintendo is using its DLC packs to bring some real fan-favorite characters into the fray. E3 2019 certainly didn't disappoint, with trailers dropping for the next two DLC fighters, courtesy of the Dragon Quest series, and even – we almost couldn't believe it – Rare's iconic bear and bird buddies, Banjo-Kazooie.
So what downloadable content / DLC can players hope to get in 2019, and what's already available? Here’s our list of everything on the cards, and how you can make sure you don’t miss out.
Smash Bros Ultimate DLC characters
The real draw of Smash Bros DLC is in the fighters. Nintendo has teased a total of five fighters coming over the next year, with all but one announced so far – and a Winter 2019 release window for the final one looking likely...
Piranha Plant (available for download)
A potted plant may not seem like the best fit for an action-packed fighting game, but Piranha Plant is a classic Mario nemesis going back decades – Nintendo certainly likes to play by its own rules. You can see some of Piranha Plant's moves in the video below, including a monstrous Final Smash featuring Petey Piranha.
Players who bought Super Smash Bros Ultimate by the end of January 2019 had a chance to download the fighter early, but Piranha Plant is now available on the Switch eShop for $4.49 (£4.49 / AU$7.80).
Joker (available for download)
No, not that Joker. Nintendo teased the trickster from Atlus’ paranormal RPG Persona 5 shortly after Ultimate’s launch, with a nifty animated teaser you can see below. Smash Bros' version of Joker keeps the graphic art style of its source material, with some stylish slides and jumps, handguns, and some supernatural forces to help you win the battle...
Persona 5 is a PS3 / PS4 exclusive, though, making Joker's appearance on a Nintendo console all the more intriguing – and fuelling speculation that Persona 5 could be coming to Nintendo Switch.
Hero (coming Summer 2019)
For all the fans of the Dragon Quest franchise over its 20-plus years heritage got a real treat at this year's E3: confirmation of not one but four Dragon Quest heroes in one DLC pack. Nintendo's own DLC page is scant on info, but the trailer shows off the unnamed protagonist from Dragon Quest XI galloping into battle, with the heroes from various Dragon Quest titles swapping out for a slice of action – with the option to select attacks and spells from that battle menu you'll know so well. You can even cast Kacrackle!
While the idea of swapping characters out mid-battle is exciting, it's more likely that the other three heroes are additional 'skins' for a bit more variety, even if their movesets remain essentially the same.
Banjo-Kazooie (coming Autumn 2019)
Damn straight. After years of clamoring for Rare's iconic bird and bear duo to join the Smash Bros series, Banzo-Kazooie is finally here. While Rare is now a subsidiary of Microsoft, the beloved developer was previously closely tied with Nintendo, and it's heart-warming to see one of its most famous creations welcomed back into the family.
It looks like Kazooie will be able to help out with jumps and ranged attacks, with Banjo using fists and items for more close-range attacks. Here's hoping we finally get to hit Mario over the head with a banjo, just like we always dreamed.
Smash Bros Ultimate Challenger Packs
Technically you don’t just get a new fighter with each DLC pack. The new fighters (Piranha Plant excluded) each come in a bundle called a ‘Challenger Pack’, which throw in a new stage and thematic soundtracks alongside the new character. You can buy each of the five Challenger's Packs individually for $5.99 (£5.39 / AU$7.80).
Alternatively you can buy an all-inclusive Fighters Pass for $24.99 (£22.49 / AU$32.50), which nets you each pack as it arrives, as well as a Mii Fighter outfit based on Xenoblade 2's Rex.
Smash Bros Ultimate DLC leaks and rumors
So what of the remaining unannounced characters? Rumored leaks come through regularly, with some more reliable than others. We’d heard calls for Banjo Kazooie so often we have up hope of it actually happening – but it just goes to show Nintendo can still surprise us. (While we’d love to see Crash Bandicoot or Spyro the Dragon appear on the roster, either might be too much to ask for.)
Some proactive datamining of Smash Bros Ultimate seems to have preempted the Joker announcement (under a file name ending ‘Jack’), while another file labelled ‘brave’ could arguably refer to the Dragon Quest fighters listed above. You can read the whole conspiracy theory over at GamesRadar.
There are also reports of the shotgun-wielding demon-slayer from Doom featuring in the list – and given Bethesda’s increasing library of ports to the Nintendo Switch, we think this one actually seems pretty likely. With Doom Eternal releasing November 22 this year, we've got plenty of time for a Smash Bros trailer with the demon-slaying Doomguy to appear.
It’s worth mentioning that the confirmed DLC listed above is only the road-map for 2019, or possibly briefly into 2020 new year. Nintendo are unlikely to let new content dry up entirely, so we could be seeing a steady drip of new fighters – or other game modes and customization options – coming in the long term.