Smash Bros to Fire Emblem: "You're welcome"

Nintendo's flagship fighter gave an obscure series mouth-to-Marth resuscitation

Bloody buggering hell! Super Smash Bros is 21 years old today – no, it’s not 20, but it’s definitely worth remarking on, given the series’ prominence this (and let’s face it, every) week. Series head honcho/prisoner Sakurai recently unveiled the final character in Super Smash Bros Ultimate’s first Fighters Pass – Byleth, from beloved grid-‘em-up Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

There’s been some moaning and consternation – not least from myself – at this inclusion of yet another Fire Emblem representative, but with hindsight it’s very interesting how far Smash has come. At the time of their inclusion in the Gamecube’s seminal 2001 sequel Super Smash Bros Melee, Marth and Roy weren’t familiar faces in the West. Indeed, at that point, not one single Fire Emblem game had seen release outside its native Japan, despite having been a thing since the Famicom’s Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light in 1990. The presence of these strangers in major crossover mash-up Smash Bros was an exciting glimpse at what was then, by and large, a forbidden world.

A Fire Emblem game on Super Famicom, yesterday.

Of course, the popularity of Melee (and sibling series Advance Wars) can have been no small part in the decision to localise Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade (as simply Fire Emblem) on Game Boy Advance in late 2003, followed by a sequels on Gamecube, Wii and DS and then about a billion instalments on 3DS, where the series exploded in popularity.

And now, the series that only has any presence in the West at all because of Super Smash Bros is getting complaints that it’s being represented too much. Whether or not you agree, you have to admit that is quite amusing.