Dreams fulfilled: Sora finally joins Super Smash Bros. Ultimate


Photo courtesy of Nintendo


Come the morning of October 5, millions of Nintendo fans woke up and prepared for the final “Mr. Sakurai Presents” for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, where the game’s director would announce the sixth character of Fighters Pass Vol. 2 and the last being added to the 80+ roster. From the game’s release during Christmas of 2018 to now, Sakurai and the teams at Nintendo and Bandai Namco worked tirelessly through pre- and post-pandemic worlds on the full 11 fighters being added as DLC for the game. All the while, fans both casual and competitive speculated which famous video game faces would finally make their way into Smash. Dream fighters ranged from the reasonable to the insane, and as icons like Joker from Persona 5, Banjo & Kazooie from their self-titled series, and Steve from the sandbox juggernaut Minecraft were added to the roster, only time would tell who could possible top all of the Twitter-breaking hype. In the end, the answer was revealed to be a cartoonish, spikey-haired boy with a comically large key for a sword. And the internet broke. 

The trailer began with the same fiery Smash logo that first revealed Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to the world back during E3 of 2018, now with all 88 fighters standing before the blazing symbol, eyes glued to the flames. Everyone’s nerves were on edge at this point, random guesses thrown out as the anticipation burned through fans. With the embers going out and a single teardrop of fire falling from the game’s logo, the many fighters turning into lifeless figurines, only Mario remaining when the tiny flame continued to burn before him. Confusion set in at this point, and all that was left was to wait as the trailer took its time to give us the ultimate fighter. Mario slowly approached the fire, and driving his hand into it, the face of Nintendo reeled back and threw it into the darkness.

From the fire emerged the classic Keyblade, Mickey Mouse keychain and all. And as the sword pierced the darkness and created a large keyhole of blinding light which Sora drifted out of, the fans – many of which having dreamt for years for his inclusion – collectively lost their minds. Screams of raw excitement and tears of pure joy rang out across the internet as these fans’ dreams finally came true, and the boy who embodied so many childhoods beat the odds and finally joined Super Smash Bros.

“This is unprecedented!” exclaimed gaming YouTuber and stand-up comedian ‘runJDrun’ before screaming with glee as Sora appeared out from the brilliant light. 

Now, for everyone who didn’t own a PlayStation 2 as a kid, Kingdom Hearts is what you get when you cross the colorfully animated worlds from Disney’s wide library of movies with the gunmetal and magical action role-playing universe of Final Fantasy. Literally. The series follows the main protagonist Sora, wielding a powerful weapon known as a “Keyblade”, along with Donald and Goofy as they venture across a multiverse of Disney and Final Fantasy properties, fighting off foes clad in darkness and saving the hearts of many bright, lively worlds. 

“There’s no way! Sakurai, you-!… There’s no way!” game commentator and musician ‘RogersBase’ cried as he watched Sora fly above the other fighters’ heads, trailed by sparkles of dust as the beautifully epic track “Simple And Clean” played over Sora’s flight. 

For the past several years, Sora was seen as a character impossible to add, many opponents to his inclusion claiming that Disney would never allow it, or that the character would be incomplete without Donald and Goofy by his side. The character was also just seen as a joke, Smash players against Sora usually bashing his supporters, calling them children or saying that his inclusion would ruin Super Smash Bros. and what it stood for. Of course, the challenges that came with Sora were very strong counterarguments to his addition, as Disney remained quiet and it became impossible to tell if they would be willing to let him join the fight. In the end though, all those who doubted were wrong, really proving that when it came to this game and its creator Masahiro Sakurai, anything is possible. 

“Believe! You have to believe! Believe with your heart!” video game theorist and YouTuber ‘HMK’ expressed as he watched his number one requested character join Smash. For years he had defended Sora’s inclusion, both a massive Nintendo fan and self-proclaimed Kingdom Hearts lore expert. Watching the trailer back during his stream, HMK shared with his audience the importance of holding onto one’s own hope. “Remember… Never stop believing. Whenever people look to you to kill your hype and your hope, you look back and say no. And you keep believing. Because sometimes, when you shout your wishes into the void, the void looks back, and smiles.”  

Set to be released October 18, fans from the East to the West wait eagerly for Sora to officially join the fight. Meanwhile, much praise has been sent towards Sakurai and the teams behind Super Smash Bros. for quite perfectly replicating the floaty fighting style of Sora, on top of actually being able to pull this seemingly impossible task off. But the demand seemed strong enough for Disney and Square Enix to hand the Keyblade wielder over, as Sakurai revealed during his presentation that Sora has been the most requested character since 2015, back when Nintendo held a ballot for possible newcomers for Ultimate’s prequel installment. 

As someone who grew up loving Kingdom Hearts, watching hours long explanations of the story and playthroughs as a kid, seeing my number one most wanted fighter finally join Smash made the child in me burst with joy. It made my day watching Sora glide around with all these other gaming icons, even shaking hands with Mario himself, the character which inspired Kingdom Hearts and Sora’s creation. I also like seeing this all as an early birthday gift from Sakurai, Square Enix and Disney themselves. This may be a video game, but it’s also my childhood, and millions of others’ too.