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Nintendo revealed the campaign mode for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate last month with an apocalyptic trailer showing an attack only Kirby survives. According to the director, there are several good reasons for that.
In speaking with Famitsu magazine (via Source Gaming), Smash Bros. Director Masahiro Sakurai explained that the game's World of Light campaign mode boasts Kirby as a starting character, with a growing roster the further you go into the game. He also points out that Kirby was selected for this role because of a bit of series lore that's been around since the beginning of the series.
We needed a solid, convincing reason for why said character could outrun Galeem. All fighters possessing 'normal' abilities were immediately disqualified. Given that its assault enveloped the ends of the galaxy, only a vehicle that could defy the laws of physics would work. Even short-distance teleportation wouldn't be enough. Some of you may have forgotten, but Kirby's Warp Star has been able to, y'know, warp since his very first game.
In the opening cinematic for the mode, which was also the trailer, we see Galeem's forces bearing down on the heroes of the Smash Bros. series. Galeem's surprise attack, though, completely obliterates the competition, wiping out nearly every character from throughout Nintendo's history. The vast majority of characters were turned into Spirits, which you can collect and equip for special effects, but the characters that make up the Smash roster are especially powerful and can be freed from their prison of nonexistence in order to return to the battlefield.
If you've watched the trailer, you saw a bunch of characters learn the hard way just how powerful Galeem's attack really was. Some tried to fight the pulverizing waves of energy while others, like Sonic and Pikachu, tried to outrun it. Even Captain Falcon tried to hop into his vehicle from F-Zero but was unable to move an inch before Galeem's attack struck him. And then there's the hilarious moment where we see a simple cardboard box, undoubtedly belonging to a hiding Solid Snake, get zapped as well.
Kirby, though, has the ability to basically warp reality while traveling on his star, which is why he was able to escape and help get the Smash campaign rolling. Sakurai knows that many folks assumed Kirby's survival was due to the fact that Sakurai himself created the character, but he said there was actually a process of elimination that led to only a few possible selections, with Kirby being the only real option.
The only other two fighters that could have survived would have been Bayonetta or Palutena. That said, Bayonetta's enemies from Purgatorio (a hellish other world) were turned into Spirits, so it wouldn't have made sense for her to escape. Other divine beings like Hades were also turned into Spirits, so there was no way Palutena could have survived, too. Plus, it would have been difficult to use Bayonetta or Palutena as the starting character. The first character players try has to be simple and easy to use. As you may have seen in The Smashing Life, Kirby was voted as the character they should play first. I really had no other choice than Kirby.
Can we all take a moment and appreciate how off-the-walls it would have been had Bayonetta been the sole surviving character to serve as the game's initial protagonist? And while we like Palutena just fine, she's not exactly an iconic Nintendo character like Kirby, Mario and Link. You can play as whomever you like, however, once Smash Bros. launches next Friday, Dec. 7.