What If Scenario: Smash Bros. 4 and a Gender Balanced Roster
To celebrate the launch of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds in Japan, Zelda joins the battle!! It's great to see so many female characters this time around.
So many female characters, eh? I thought for a moment and realized that there have been four female characters in the series: Princess Peach, Princess Zelda (and her Shiek alter ego), Samus (and her Varia Suit-less form), and Nana, one half of the Ice Climbers team. That's it. Over 15 years and 3 games. Sure, you could argue that some of the Pokemon are hinted as being female (Jigglypuff has a ton of stereotypically female accessories in her alt colours), but that's about it.
So far, Smash Bros. Wii U and 3DS has 22 announced characters, two of those being new females to the roster: Wii Fit Trainer and Rosalina. So if you ignore that you can also play as a Male Wii Fit Trainer, the roster is a little under a quarter female. It's an improvement, but I doubt it's going to stay that way once the roster is complete.
Then again, there aren't a ton of female characters in Nintendo's history and having a gender equal roster wouldn't really allow for the big favourites to have their time to shine.
Or would it?
I started digging through lists, wikis, and databases for Nintendo female characters. I started to think of it as a challenge:
Could a Smash Bros game have equal female & male characters and still have roster that people could be happy with?
I took a crack at it. Whether I succeeded or failed is up to you. But first let's lay some ground rules:
1) 50 characters would be an incredibly satisfying roster to see out of the new game, so I used that as a cap/goal.
3) For our purposes, there are three categories for genders: Male, Female, and Other/Both. What I mean by "Other/Both" is any character that is considered genderless (see: Mewtwo), is both (see: Ice Climbers), or has a version of the character that is male or female (see: Wii Fit Trainer). That last one is important. The idea of swapping genders makes this list possible and, although its unreasonable to assume that Nintendo would make this many changes (due to the cost of extra voice acting, etc.), I'll defend it by just saying this is just a thought experiment, not an actual expectation.
4) The goal is to have equal number of Male & Female characters. Characters that fall under "Other/Both" just fill out the roster around them.
5) Characters are determined by slot, not by being a different character. Ex. Ice Climber is considered 1 Other/Both character, not 1 female and 1 male, and Shiek/Zelda is considered 1 female character. If Zelda/Shiek were split into two slots and could not switch from one to the other reliably, then they would be considered 2 female characters.
6) Only one more Third Party character is allowed. It sort of defeats the purpose when you can just add a ton of female characters from companies like Namco, Capcom, Konami, Sega, etc. Plus, with Megaman and Sonic already in the game, it's unreasonable to think there could be many more.
So with that all figured out, let's look at this hypothetical roster!