An unused character is a term referring to a character who was planned to be in a game, but was cut for varying reasons. Every Super Smash Bros. game has had at least one fighter who did not make it into the final release.
There are three types of unused characters:
- Considered: If a character was considered, it means that they were suggested as playable characters before development.
- Planned: If a character was planned, it indicates that they were set to be playable in a game.
- Scrapped: If a character was scrapped, it implies that the character was being worked on in development before being cut.
Super Smash Bros.
- King Dedede
Bowser was strongly considered for the original Super Smash Bros. game, with Shigeru Miyamoto stating in an interview that Bowser would be in the game, but Bowser was completely scrapped from the final game instead.
King Dedede was "partially complete" as a playable character, but was cut due to a lack of development time.
Marth was considered to be playable, but due to the limited development time, he wasn't added in.
Mewtwo was set to be a playable character, but was dropped for unknown reasons.
Bowser, Mewtwo, and Marth would later debut in Melee, while King Dedede would be added in Brawl.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
- Ayumi Tachibana
- Bubbles (Clu-Clu Land)
- ExciteBike racer
- Balloon Fighter
- Mach Rider
- Urban Champion fighter
- Solid Snake
- Sonic The Hedgehog
- Banjo And Kazooie
- James Bond
Lucas was originally meant to replace Ness as a playable character in Melee, but due to the cancellation of Mother 3 on the Nintendo 64 as a result of the disappointing failure of the Nintendo 64 Disk Drive, Ness was retrieved. Lucas would later make his debut in Brawl.
Wario was a highly requested character for Melee, but ultimately, he was not added. This is because of time constraints and Sakurai did not want too many Mario characters. However, he did state that he could have added Wario to Melee if he had more time to develop the game. Sakurai also stated that he could have used development time dedicated to either Mewtwo or Marth and Roy to add Wario instead, but he decided against it. Wario would later be playable starting from Brawl.
According to Masahiro Sakurai, he stated that Hideo Kojima asked him if Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid could be a playable character in Melee. When the request took place, however, development was too far in to even add another character. Snake would later debut in Brawl.
Yuji Naka, the former head of Sonic Team, explained that Sonic was greatly considered for Melee, but was not added because of time constraints. Sonic would later debut in Brawl.
Sakurai stated that 5 different characters (including the Ice Climbers) were all considered for the NES era fighter. The characters who were considered include a Balloon Fighter, an Urban Champion character, Bubbles from Clu-Clu Land, the Ice Climbers, and an ExciteBike racer. Despite of all this, Sakurai chose the Ice Climbers.
Judging by Sakurai's words, James Bond and Banjo And Kazooie were difficult to include in Melee due to copyright, but they were not actually planned to be playable. Banjo And Kazooie would make the cut in Ultimate as DLC fighters.
Takamaru and Ayumi Tachibana were considered for inclusion in Melee, but due to the lack of familiarity in the West, Sakurai excluded them. Ayumi Tachibana would still be included in Melee regardless as a trophy, while Takamaru would be absent completely.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
- Mii Fighters
- Young Link
- Plusle and Minun
- Dr. Mario
- Toon Zelda
- Toon Sheik (believed to be Tetra)
- Dixie Kong
According to Sakurai, the Villager from Animal Crossing was planned to be a playable character, but was removed because Sakurai felt that the Villager "wasn't suited for battle".
Mii Fighters were also considered to be playable in Brawl, but the idea was decided against as Sakurai did not think the Miis were popular enough characters, they weren't suited towards fighting, and he did not want online bullying to occur. Villager and Miis would later debut in Smash 4.
Pac-Man was requested by Shigeru Miyamoto as a playable character, but Sakurai felt that Pac-Man appearing in his famous pizza form seemed "too far-fetched". However, Sakurai added Pac-Man in Smash 4.
Sakurai wanted to include Geno as a playable character, but this did not occur for unknown reasons. However, Geno would be added as a Mii Fighter costume in Smash 4 instead.
Krystal from Star Fox was considered to be playable in Brawl, but she was ultimately excluded due to time constraints, and Sakurai felt that Krystal's movements were not similar enough to Fox and Falco, so he would have to start from scratch. Wolf was ultimately chosen over Krystal, as Sakurai stated that Wolf's moves would only require 70% of the effort needed to add a new character. Krystal would make an appearance in Ultimate, but she only appears as an Assist Trophy.
According to Sakurai, Blastoise was considered to be part of the Pokémon Trainer's team, but he was replaced by Squirtle instead as Sakurai felt that Squirtle was more interesting as a character and he wanted to balance the stages and sizes of the Pokémon.
Young Link was considered to be retained as a playable character in Brawl, but due to the release of The Wind Waker without delays, it was decided that Toon Link would replace Young Link as a newcomer fighter instead. Young Link would later return in Ultimate.
A Nintendog was briefly considered to be playable, but was dropped as Sakurai felt that Nintendogs weren't well-suited for battle and would work better as an item instead.
Sakurai was asked by a fan if Ridley from Metroid was considered a playable character, Sakurai stated that he had excluded Ridley from Brawl because Ridley would be too slow for a fighter. Sakurai additionally mentioned how difficult it would be to add Ridley. However, Ridley would debut in Ultimate.
Dixie Kong was originally planned to team up with Diddy Kong, where the pair would fight alongside each other as a tag-team, based on their mechanic in Donkey Kong Country 2. However, the idea was removed since this was too difficult to implement. Therefore, Diddy Kong was kept in Brawl as a solo fighter while Dixie Kong would be excluded.
Dr. Mario, Roy, and Mewtwo appear in the game files, suggesting they were planned to appear in Brawl as playable characters. Roy has an unused victory theme, while Mewtwo has an unused victory theme and an unused Wii remote selection sound. All of these files are empty when you play them, so we can't take a listen to these sounds to acknowledge what they would have been. Despite these mysterious sound files, Dr. Mario doesn't have an audio file, but he has unused character file. The 3 characters would ultimately return in Smash 4, with Roy and Mewtwo being DLC fighters while Dr. Mario would be brought back in the base roster. Strangely, the new filename of Dr. Mario is "mariod", which was believed to be a debug character of Mario.
Toon Zelda refers to a cel-shaded cartoon version of Princess Zelda who appeared in The Wind Waker. A possible theory is that after Sakurai made the decision to replace Young Link with Toon Link, he suggested using this version of Princess Zelda too, but the idea fell through due to unknown reasons.
"Toon Sheik" is a rather hard character to assume who it might be, as there is no such thing as a canon Toon Sheik. However, there are 2 different possible theories. It is possible that this could be the filename for Tetra (who was later revealed to be Zelda's alter-ego in The Wind Waker). Another theory is that Sakurai would have created Toon Sheik to match Toon Zelda, but it has never been revealed who "Toon Sheik" could be. Additionally, the files with the name "toon_sheik" are empty, so the truth cannot be proven.
Finally, a character with the filename "pra_mai" appears in the game files. Similarly to "Toon Sheik", this character is unknown, and no one knows who this character could be with their data in the files, as Sakurai has not revealed any information in interviews to claim who "pra_mai" is. However, according to predictions made by fans, this could be the filename for Plusle and Minun from the Pokémon franchise. Another theory is that "pra_mai" could be a stand-in for the Random Button, or it could represent Mii characters.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U
- Heihachi Mishima
- Other Final Fantasy characters
- Reggie Fils-Aime, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Satoru Iwata
- Ice Climbers
- A character from Rhythm Heaven
Takamaru was briefly considered to be a playable character. However, Sakurai decided against him due to the fact that not many people would recognize him and decided to make Takamaru an Assist Trophy instead.
Sakurai stated in an interview that Chrom was considered to be a playable character and even had a planned moveset for him. Despite this, Sakurai chose Robin, as Chrom was nothing original with Marth and Ike. Chrom would later debut in Ultimate as an Echo Fighter of Roy.
Heihachi Mishima from Tekken was briefly considered to be a playable character, but was decided against because Sakurai felt that implementing Heihachi's movements in Smash would be difficult. Heihachi would make the cut as a Mii Fighter costume though. Kazuya Mishima would later be added to Ultimate as a DLC fighter, and Sakurai stated that Kazuya was chosen over Heihachi due to the Devil Gene making Kazuya more unique, unlike Heihachi. This is because Heihachi does not have a Devil Gene.
The Ice Climbers were intended to be retained as playable characters, but due to Smash 4 being developed for 2 consoles (the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U), Sakurai tried to keep the rosters identical. While the Ice Climbers were good on the Wii U version, the development team found challenging difficulties on the Nintendo 3DS. In fact, the development team went as far as disabling gravity to removing joints to get the Ice Climbers to work, but in the end, they still wouldn't work. While the Ice Climbers could have been kept on the Wii U, Sakurai wanted the rosters to be similar and equal so the Wii U wouldn't have an exclusive character. Sakurai also stated that he could not get the Ice Climbers to work on the Nintendo 3DS no matter what he tried, so he just had to cut the Ice Climbers ultimately. The Ice Climbers would return in Ultimate instead.
Datamining has revealed an unused emblem for Rhythm Heaven, suggesting that a character from the series was planned to be in the game.
Several document files show that Alph was set to get his own roster spot as a clone fighter, and would have used Rock Pikmin. Despite these plans, neither of the ideas were implemented in the final release, likely due to time constraints.
Reggie Fils-Aime, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Satoru Iwata were considered as fighters, but they were decided against due to a lack of interesting characteristics and due to how much time and effort it takes when adding a new character.
Ridley was briefly considered as a playable character, but was dropped as getting Ridley to fly around the stage was too difficult. Ridley would ultimately debut in Ultimate.
According to Masahiro Sakurai, he had the opportunity to add a Final Fantasy character such as Fusoya, Bartz Klauser, or Terra Burnford, but Sakurai claimed that it was hard to think of a Final Fantasy character who was not Cloud, considering how iconic he is.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Characters from ARMS and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 for the base roster
- Heihachi Mishima
Decidueye was planned to replace Incineroar as the new Pokémon fighter from Generation VII, but Incineroar was picked instead as Sakurai wanted to implement a wrestler-based character in the game.
Alucard was momentarily considered as a playable character from Castlevania, but Sakurai picked Simon and Richter instead, feeling that fans would like one of the Belmonts more. Alucard still makes cameo appearances.
Due to development of Ultimate being completed in late 2016, no fighters from ARMS or Xenoblade Chronicles 2 could be added in the game. However, Min Min from ARMS and Pyra and Mythra from XC2 would be added as DLC fighters instead.
According to Masahiro Sakurai, Rex was going to team up with Pyra and Mythra so they could fight alongside each other, but the idea was later cut due to technical issues with the development of the idea, thus ultimately leading to Rex being delegated to a cameo character, while Pyra and Mythra would be solo fighters who could swap back and forth into each other.
In an interview, Sakurai stated that he would have been fine with Slime being a playable character had Square Enix not allowed him to use the Hero.