Nintendo opened up Pandora's Box last year with the newest Super Smash Bros. Soon after the game's launch, the company announced there would be downloadable characters offered in regular updates, similar to the successful content packages for Mario Kart 8.
For many dweebs, geeks, and dorkuses this spurred the imagination. Who would be added to Nintendo's all-star roster of gamey heroes? One of the Splatoon kids? Rayman? Rayman has a trophy in Smash Bros. It could be Rayman. Maybe a Uniracer? Just putting that out there.
Probably. Maybe. No.
If you put your office pool bet on Street Fighter's iconic angry sexy karate man, then fantastic news. It looks like Ryu is being added to Smash Bros.
With the video game megaconvention of E3 starting this week, video game news has been cautiously sparse. It is what companies would like to be the calm before the hype storm. But it being 2015, the cork will sometimes pop before midnight, and while a big Nintendo leak hasn't been the most embarrassing premature announcement this weekend, it certainly is the easiest one to get giddy about.
To say Ryu is a video game icon feels like an understatement
Late on Friday night, a few game journalists began tweeting about an embargoed video that will get fans excited, but kept hushed otherwise. Upon waking up the next day, many discovered a short but sweet video online of Ryu in action, as well as a new stage based on the world of Street Fighter (you can see a full image of it here). It also contained footage of Roy. Remember Roy? From Fire Emblem? Good ol' Roy. You'll be able to play as Roy… But more importantly you'll be able to play as Ryu. To say Ryu is a video game icon feels like an understatement.
On Sunday, Nintendo held a short livestream to let it all out. Ryu can now be found pummelling Super Mario and Pikachu, and more shockingly, he'll be doing it immediately, now available to download. In just over 24 hours Ryu went from rumour, to leaked information, to confirmed, to reality, Nintendo showing that even if some of their tricks are spoiled they can still pull a rabbit out of their hat.
So far the additional fighters for Smash Bros. have all been returning characters. Pokémon's original psychic menace, Mewtew. Nintendo's most depressing protagonist of all time, Mother 3's Lucas. Even Roy was already in Melee in 2001. Ryu would not only be the first all-new character added to the game as a download, but he'd also be a guest-star from a second party game, albeit one with a lot of cherished history on Nintendo systems.
Ryu and Roy aren't the only additions this weekend. Smash Bros. will also have a few new outfits for your personalized Mii fighters based on characters from Animal Crossing and Mega Man. While they aren't getting the same honours as Street Fighter, Namco's fighting series Tekken and Sega's Virtua Fighter will be getting their respects with downloadable costumes as well. Despite the success of Nintendo's newest game, Splatoon is only getting a few collectable trophies thrown into the mix, but I'll be damned if one of those kid-squids isn't getting a fighter sooner than later.
And yes, there will be new Amiibos for Ryu and Roy. Plastic, tantalizing, frenzied Amiibos for you to alienate your loved ones pursuing.
Since the announcement and subsequent release, Nintendo's servers have reportedly been hammered as every Wii U owner races to see what happens when Jigglypuff's face is met by a fiery hadouken.
While you're waiting to find out more, tide yourself over with Ryu's theme, that uncanny elephant-trunk horn MIDI noise mixed with studio musician fiddlers for some reason. There is also what is either Ryu's sound bites from the game or an audio recording of your roommate fucking. Or just do what I'm going to do: have sweet, sound dreams of a future where we can play as Simon Belmont in Smash Bros. Just saying Nintendo, your big surprise is spoiled. If you're going to whip up a new one, it may as well be a beefy whip-happy vampire slayer.