Diversity in Smash Bros Characters (or lack thereof) - TheFamicast.com: Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Thursday, December 12, 2019

Diversity in Smash Bros Characters (or lack thereof)

With the last DLC character on the verge of being announced, I thought it would be a good time to go back and analyse the full Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster just to see what kind of characters we already have, thus allowing us to look ahead to which may be announced. Upon initial glance, what is your personal reaction? Does any particular "type" of character seem more prominent? What's missing?

The full roster (79)
If you're whining about how Geno/Sora/Goku needs to be added, then you're probably a white guy. Have you not seen how many white men are in the game already? Check it:

White male only characters (31)
On top of that there's another three characters that have white male options, still not enough for you?
Additional three characters with white male options (34)
There are two slightly darker-skinned Pokemon Trainers, which you could argue are not white, but to me they just look like a couple who've been on vacation for a couple of weeks.

Slightly tanned, but still white
OK, next up - white female representation, a significant drop from white males, but plenty to choose from:

White female only characters (10)
Add those three characters who have white female options and have a few more too.
Additional three characters with white female options (13)
So with so many "white male only" options (31 of them, as shown earlier), how many "black male only" options are there? Well, that's a tough one because the answer could be one, or none depending on how you categorise Ganondorf!

The singular black-only character, is Ganondorf even black?
Thankfully, there are a few characters that have black male options, even though three of them you have to make yourself (Mii Fighter trio).
Additional five characters with black options
For the sake of argument let's call those last two Villagers black.

Inkling and Villager both have black options for male and female
So just to recap, if you want a white male human character, two thirds of the roster fit that bill.

White male humanoid options (49 characters, 62% of the roster)
Next up, let's look at who is designing these characters. As you may have guessed, a majority of the staff making Smash are Japanese, I don't know how many women are on the design team, but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess there are more male designers than female. With such a homogenous design team, it may not be surprising that only four characters in the whole roster are not based on Japanese-designed characters.

Only four characters are of non-Japanese origin in design (0.05% of the roster)
Next up, non-human creature characters. Again, similar to male humanoids, there are a lot more male creatures to choose from than female creatures.

All male creatures (25)
All female creatures (3)
If we count all male characters, both human-like and not, it's pretty clear which gender comes out on top. 82% male.
All male characters, plus all with male options (65)
If we do the same with the female characters, that drops to 27%.
All female characters, plus all with female options (21)
The total of Japanese designed characters is a whopping 95% of the roster.
Japanese designed characters (75 characters
If you wanted to have two black human characters, you'd have to stick to Mii Fighters.
The only way to have a black human Vs black human fight

The DLC characters released so far have been: 
  1. White male designed in Japan
  2. White male designed in Japan
  3. Bear designed in the UK
  4. White male designed in Japan
  5. Maybe...a white male designed in Japan?

Three white males designed from Japanese design origin, and a British bear.
The characters most predicted don't really stray too far from the current roster's pattern:
  1. Chris Redfield - White male designed in Japan
  2. Sora - White male designed in Japan
  3. Waluigi - White male designed in Japan
  4. Heihachi - Japanese male designed in Japan
  5. Shantae - White female designed in the US
  6. Doom guy - White male designed in the US

Or maybe it's time to mix it up! There are plenty of cool black female Nintendo characters to choose from, why not add one Mr Sakurai! Here are my suggestions:

Marina from Splatoon 2

Twintelle from ARMS

Nessa from Pokemon Sword/Shield

Elma from Xenoblade Chronicles X

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