Nigel has been playing video games ever since he first picked up a Master System controller in his diapers. Nintendo fanboy.
Echo Fighter, eh?
Echo Fighters have been around in Smash Bros for a long time, though there's never been any official reference to them until recently. Despite Nintendo and series creator Masahiro Sakurai doing their best to pretend Dark Pit was a completely different character than Pit, we all knew what was going on. Fans of the series have even had a name for these fighters: Clones, called such because their movesets were so identical. Clone characters had been around since the very first game with Luigi being a clone of Mario of course, and Jigglypuff being a clone of sorts to Kirby.
Clones have now been renamed officially by Sakurai as "Echo Fighters." Much like clones, echo fighters will have similar or identical movesets to other characters in the game, but will have tweaks made to their stats, hitboxes, and animations as well as the ability to "wall jump" or bounce off of ledges in the game to jump higher. This was followed by the first echo fighter announced for Super Smash Brothers Ultimate: Princess Daisy, who is an echo of Peach.
Since then, there have been more Echo Fighters announced, notably Richter Belmont being announced simultaneously with Simon Belmont, and Ken being an echo of Ryu, just as in their home series of Street Fighter.
So who else could they add as an Echo Fighter? Let's look at five possible candidates that could be included in upcoming DLC.
#5 - Shadow the Hedgehog
Let's get the obvious and most demanded one out of the way first. Sonic fans have been requesting Shadow since the Wii U Smash Bros game, and hype and expectations for his addition has only built since Sakurai officially recognized echo fighters. Even in his home series, Shadow is more or less a Sonic clone (not literally of course, since Shadow is actually older by decades), with appearances and abilities very similar to Sonic. It's even a plot point that Sonic is accused of crimes committed by Shadow because they look identical.
Some adjustments would have to be made for balance and variety, of course. Canonically, Shadow is faster and stronger, so I'd suggest Shadow have his speed raised from Sonic, but also increase the weight, ensure Sonic can wall jump and Shadow can't, and give him a slightly larger hit box.
#4: Azura (Fire Emblem Series)
Okay, we know there's plenty of Fire Emblem representatives in Smash Bros already, with Chrom being added as an echo fighter for Lucina in Ultimate. Heck, Roy was originally a clone of Marth when he first debuted. So another Fire Emblem character, let alone an Echo Fighter, seems a bit overkill.
But there are two twists: Azura actually has some personality, making her one of the more popular characters in Fire Emblem Fates, more popular than Corrin, who as the generic hero for you to project onto was added as DLC to Smash Bros for the Wii U and 3DS. Secondly, Azura would not be an echo of any Fire Emblem character. She would actually be an echo of Kid Icaris' Palutena.
While canonically, she uses a naginata, a spear-like weapon, she also can equip poles, and in Smash she could use them similar to Palutena. Like Shadow to Sonic, I'd also recommend making her animations faster, but counting the fact she is taller than Palutena she would have a larger hit box and probably an increase to gravity based stats making her fall faster and not be able to jump quite as high (Azura's estimated height is about 6'1" compared to Palutena's official 5'9").
While her moves would have to be slightly exaggerated as she doesn't quite do what Palutena can do in-universe, it wouldn't be a stretch to see her use variations on them in the Smash universe, as Azura's singing ability has been known to have a variety of powers according to various cutscenes in Fire Emblem Fates.
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#3: Birdo (Super Mario Bros 2, Mario Sports Series)
Birdo, similar to Waluigi, is really only relevant to Nintendo for the purpose of ensuring Yoshi has a doubles partner in doubles sports—mainly Mario Tennis. Now this doesn't mean they haven't had other appearances, after all Birdo began as a sub-boss in the North American version of Super Mario Bros 2, and has also appeared in several of the Mario Party games and had some minor roles in the role-playing series Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi.
Birdo would of course echo Yoshi, with some variations to their animations. Birdo doesn't eat opponents like Yoshi or Kirby does, but for the purposes of the game could do so. As well, there is of course the egg-based attacks. Their stats would be similar, but I would adjust it so that some of Birdo's animations are slower and give them a smaller hit box to compensate. They could also jump higher on their double jumps, and have a smaller reach than Yoshi to create a differential. Of course, there are other changes too of more fine detail, but that would be primarily for extreme balancing in competitive play and goes into more programming related detail than necessary.
Birdo is also popular in the fandom, especially among LGBTQS fans who have expressed desire for representation. Nintendo's official story and canon often conflicts itself from one interview to the next as well as from region to region. According to the manual, Birdo was a male in Super Mario Bros 2 but wore a bow, and was later portrayed as female in later games. Manuals are hardly canon nowadays, but if I recall, the official canon in Japan (which differs greatly than the one in North America) does mention Birdo is transgender. In North America, there has been no definite clarification and it actually has been a bit of a running gag mentioned within the games about the ambiguity of their gender. While I'd prefer to see someone's gender identity not be reduced to a running joke, I think it's time that the LGBTQ2S fans of Smash and Nintendo got some much asked for representation.
#2 KOS-MOS (Xenosaga Series)
Probably the least known character on this list—at least to my target audience, KOS-MOS was a secondary character from the Xenosaga series. Now, I'm trying to keep my hopes realistic so first, here's my defence for why KOS-MOS could be in Smash. Xenosaga is owned by Monolith Soft, a studio which used to be owned by Bandai Namco, but has since split and is now a Nintendo studio. Bandai Namco helped develop Super Smash Bros Ultimate, following work on developing Smash 4. After moving to Nintendo, one of Monolith Soft's most successful projects is the spiritual successor to Xenosaga known as Xenoblade Chronicles, which produced the Smash roster member Shulk.
Now, it's easy to think of KOS-MOS as a possible echo of Shulk, as she does have multiple weapons including swords, but there are plenty of sword and staff users on the roster. KOS-MOS is more famous for guns. While her guns are comically large, I'd suggest scaling them down and then allowing her to fire her feet as weapons, her pointed stilettos could do damage, and she is an android. From there, it's as simple as making her an echo of Bayonetta. As an anime android, her fighting style could be cartoony enough to perform combos similar to Bayonetta. While some may feel Jeanne, her fellow Umbra Witch would make a suitable echo, I think giving another series a chance in the roster would be better, and KOS-MOS, while being an echo could still be different enough to add to the game's meta rather than Jeanne who would essentially be so much of a clone she might as well be an alternate skin.
And those comically large guns I mentioned? Can someone say Final Smash?
#1 Terra Branford and Mog (Final Fantasy)
Finally it's Terra Branford, the half-human/esper of Final Fantasy VI. For this specific echo, she has a sidekick, Mog the Moogle! An Echo Fighter to Rosalina and Luma.
In the Final Fantasy universe, Terra is primarily a magic user, but equips melee weapons as well and doesn't have the worst stats for attacking, making her a good two-way fighter like Rosalina, with Mog serving a similar purpose to Luma to do more ranged melee attacks and double-team combos. Plus, if we're giving echo characters unique Final Smashes, can anyone say Trance Forme Terra?
Bonus: Waluigi (and more!)
Because 'Wah not?'
I know I'd get flamed if I didn't at least mention Waluigi in here. Right now he's possibly—alongside Shadow—the most requested character. If he were to be added, I presume he could use the same moveset as Wario, though he'd have a very different model, gravity, and hitbox.
Wart, from Super Mario Bros 2 (US) could easily be a swap for either Bowser or King K. Rool, though as far as echoes go, I imagine his attacks being closer to Bowser's.
Additionally, if we're going to fantasy levels, in my previous list I mentioned Cuphead should be an addition to Smash Bros Ultimate, and Mugman would be better suited as an Echo Fighter to Cuphead.
So who do you think should be added to Super Smash Bros Ultimate? Check out the poll and comment, and if you didn't read my top five on non-echo characters that should be given a chance on the Smash roster, you can read it here!