By Jake Rushing
I was in the hospital last Thursday taking care of a relative when Nintendo’s latest direct was on the air. I was slightly bummed about missing out, but I was visiting family that I haven’t seen in forever. Thankfully, I had already set up my watch to receive Twitter notifications, so I was able to get updated. When I saw that Cloud is now in Super Smash Bros. via Twitter notification sent to my smart watch, my first thought was: “Wait what, Cloud? As in THE Cloud from Final Fantasy 7? No way is that possible.” That skepticism went away when I saw that reveal trailer for myself when I had some alone time. There was no mistaking it was THAT Cloud. Seeing his trailer made me happy that an another out-of-the-ballpark third party character is making their way into Smash. But the more I think about the inclusion of this character, I realized that this character choice might be the most important character inclusion event of Nintendo to date. Yes, even more important than certain Melee characters returning, or a certain Capcom fighting series mascot making his debut.
When I first saw that Cloud is coming to Smash, I was surprised that not a single detail about his appearance managed to get leaked. Not even his victory montage managed to find itself on the internet, like it did for both Roy and Ryu. The closest thing we ever got from Nintendo’s last patch was 3 character slots (well played Nintendo). A lot about Cloud as a Smash competitor was revealed to be almost done. His Limit Break feature, his specials(?), his smash attacks, and other things were shown and it looked like Cloud was ready to be released as DLC tomorrow. It’s good to know that Nintendo is finally nailing down how to keep things tight-lipped behind their closed doors. I hope they’ve finally learned their lesson and learned how to keep things under wraps going forward.
I’m sure that I’m not the only one out there who realized that the inclusion of a character from any Square Enix series into Super Smash Bros. will excite those who have been dreaming of their favorite Square Enix character joining the Smash roster in the future. Of course, we thought before that it wouldn’t happen, but now, fans of Sora (myself and Terry included), Geno, and even Chrono can rejoice, as there could be possibilities of having those characters enter the arena at some point in the future. If they are not going to be included as DLC characters in this particular smashing iteration (see what I did there? OK, I’ll see myself out), you can hope that they might be included in future Super Smash Bros. releases.
Out of all the characters they could have picked from Square Enix, this was, without a doubt, the most monumental choice of a character they’ve made. This made me wonder if Nintendo and Square Enix finally patched things up from the bitter end of their relationship back in the mid 90s. After all, Final Fantasy 7 was the first flagship title of the franchise to not be released on Nintendo consoles, due to Nintendo’s decision to stick with cartridges for Nintendo 64 instead of switching to CD-ROMs, which ended up severing their relationship. Not to mention that Final Fantasy 7 went on to become one of the best and highest selling titles of its console, making this probably ironic.
Since then, Square Enix has released one Final Fantasy title to a home console, but it wasn’t a flagship title unlike Sony consoles. Now it looks like bad blood might be a thing of a past. With the confirmation that Dragon Quest XI and Final Fantasy XIV: Realm Reborn will be coming to Nintendo’s next console, Cloud’s debut might be a sign that the Final Fantasy 7 remake MIGHT be ported for Nintendo NX as well. This could potentially be a sign that Square Enix will provide the third party support that Nintendo desperately needs. Let’s hope that NX’s launch next year will be very solid.
Could this debut be a start of something temporary between Square Enix and Nintendo? Or will this evolve into something more permanent? If so, could Square Enix be the support Nintendo needs to survive? I would love to see how this develops. In the meantime, I will look into making Cloud as one of my new mains of Smash.