Final Fantasy’s Cloud Strife Added to Nintendo’s Smash Bros., Brings Back the Original’s Magic

A decided lack of strife.
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Smash Bros. is a fighting game based on the idea (among others) that people will want to play a fighting game more if it features characters they already know and love. In 1999, no one ever imagined they’d be able to play an official game in which Mario, Link, Samus, and Pikachu beat each other down. In 2015, no one imagined Nintendo would get Square Enix’s most recognizable character to join.

That’s one of the many things so great about last night’s Nintendo Direct announcement that Cloud Strife of Final Fantasy VII will join the roster of Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS as a downloadable fighter. Sure, each game along the way has had its groundbreaking character expansions: the original just for being what it was, GameCube’s Melee for doubling the roster and bringing villains into the mix, Brawl for nabbing non-Nintendo icons like Sonic and Snake, and the latest games for continuing that with Mega Man, Pac-Man, and Ryu.

Cloud is something different altogether, though. While the three other newest additions from outside Nintendo’s universe weren’t necessarily expected, but no one was really counting them out. Cloud, on the other hand, seemed like an addition straight out of fans’ dreams. In the heyday of Smash Bros. Brawl modding, Cloud saw a lot of fan versions, but the general consensus was that hoping for an official version was a lost cause. Cloud had never appeared on a Nintendo console (though Final Fantasy had) [Edit: Sorry I forgot about you, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Can’t think straight.], and he was so iconic of the PlayStation’s success that it’d never happen. What’s next? Master Chief?

And then it did happen, and a large portion of gamers feel like it’s 1999 again, and they can’t believe this fighting game is real. Smash Bros. creator and director Masahiro Sakurai has tried to put the series behind him more than once and failed, but if this were the last Smash Bros. game ever made and Nintendo just kept it up to date with quality downloadable content like this, maybe he can finally move on. The monumental prospect of topping this game gets harder with every new announcement—especially since there’s still more to come.

There’s no price or release date on Cloud yet, and Nintendo has scheduled a dedicated Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct just before the holidays next month, where we’re sure to learn about even more additions to the game if they felt Cloud was something they could let out ahead of time. His character and stage look very far along in development, so it’s unlikely that he’s the result of the fairly recently closed Smash Ballot for suggesting new characters. Perhaps we’ll learn the results of that in December? It’s a very exciting time for the biggest Smash Bros. game yet as it just keeps getting bigger.

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.