Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is Nintendo’s most ambitious iteration of the franchise yet, offering 70 total unique fighters as of the addition DLC fighter Pirahna Plant. Yet in a funny coincidence, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s most popular fighter turns out to not even be a Nintendo character. Game director Masahiro Sakurai shared some statistical information recently, and one of the more interesting details he shared was that Final Fantasy‘s Cloud is currently the most popular Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter in matchmaking.
According to Sakurai, Cloud is used over twenty times more often in matchmaking than the least popular Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter, who Sakurai doesn’t name. Cloud’s overall win-rate isn’t mentioned, though Sakurai does say that no fighter in the entire roster wins over 54% of the time. As such, it’s unclear whether Cloud’s popularity is due to the success of Final Fantasy 7, his suave anime hair and giant sword, or his relative strength and ease in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Alternatively, when exclusively considering Elite Smash matchmaking for higher skill level player, Ganondorf is the most popular fighter. Unfortunately for Ganondorf, Sakurai does confirm that his win percentage is a disappointing 47.9%. The Legend of Zelda antagonist can carry players up to Elite Smash matchmaking, but he may not be able to take them much further.
Sakurai spoke to Famitsu to offer some insight into the balance of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s roster of fighters. The popularity of Cloud and Ganondorf was just a product of that interview. Sakurai appears to be quite proud of balance the team has managed with such a huge roster of players. The data he offers shows a broad sort of balance, with no single fighter having a win rate over 60% or a loss rate below 40% in normal matchmaking. Even the oft-considered destroyer of inexperienced players, King K. Rool, only manages a 51.9% win rate.
The Elite Smash win and loss rates are even closer together, with a 56.8% high and a 43.7% low. Sakurai doesn’t offer the names of fighters that are at the top or bottom. It seems to him that the game may not even need a balance adjustment at all:
“If we look just at battle data, it seems like there’s no reason to tune the game at all. However, if we don’t tweak things just a little bit, there are probably some people out there who are going to feel stressed out. So for now I’m waiting for opinions of the team in charge of adjustments.”
To be fair, while it absolutely is impressive that no single fighter is extremely strong or weak straight out of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s launch, the win/loss percentages are definitely a bit beyond what a high-level competitive game player might find acceptable. So long as no fighter is too strong, and a diverse range of fighters can be competitive, the tournament scene should flourish. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of Cloud and Ganondorf players, though.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is available now exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.