Gamers were overjoyed Tuesday morning when the seemingly impossible happened. Nintendo partnered with Disney in a massive deal to add Sora from the Kingdom Hearts video game franchise to their flagship fighting game, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Since its release in Dec 2018, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has sold 24.77 million copies, making it Nintendo’s third-highest selling game behind Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The fighting game, which includes over 80 playable characters from video game history, has made surprising reveals before (such as adding Sonic the Hedgehog or characters from Minecraft), but the fan-favorite Disney hero always seemed like a near-impossibility.
Though gamers have been praying for his addition for over six years, Nintendo had to work with Disney for a long time to make fans’ dreams come true. The company ended up saving the best for last, announcing that Sora would be added as a playable character in the final update for the game. He is purchasable starting Oct. 18 for an additional $5.99.
Hailing from the Kingdom Hearts franchise of Disney video games, Sora was an original character designed to go on grand adventures with Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck. The four heroes traveled throughout the various Disney films, such as Toy Story, The Little Mermaid, Hercules, and many more.
Kingdom Hearts III, the latest entry to the series released in Jan. 2019, sent Sora and friends through updated worlds with characters from Frozen, Tangled, Big Hero 6, Monsters Inc., Pirates of the Caribbean, Winnie the Pooh, and Toy Story 4.
Back in 2015, a Nintendo community poll was conducted on the video game site asking which character fans would want to see added most to Super Smash Bros. Mysteriously, the winner was never revealed.
During the announcement on Tuesday, however, game director Masahiro Sakurai finally said that not only had Sora won, but that the company kept it a secret. Nintendo was worried that fans would hound Disney while they worked for years to get him in their game as a playable character.
“For the fighters at the top of the list, we thought that some people might demand them from the respective game companies,” Sakurai explained. “We believed that this would cause some inconvenience to many parties. We’re sorry that we were not able to reveal the results. But now, after a long time, we were able to connect it to the result we have today.”
Six years later, Sora has finally joined the cast of Super Smash Bros., with fans rejoicing online. Flooding the internet with praise, Sora’s announcement has remained the #1 trending topic on Twitter in the United States since his morning reveal.
“Having Sora join was a huge undertaking, but one that everyone involved was excited to take on,” game designer Masahiro Sakurai said during the announcement trailer. “I’m just in awe… we’re very grateful.”
“I think this is unprecedented territory for a game collaboration,” he continued. “Every single fighter has their own developer, stakeholder, game world, and fans.” Thanks to the success of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, all of these lovable characters now exist in the same game.
The Kingdom Hearts games, which were previously PlayStation exclusives, were also announced to be coming to the Nintendo Switch in the near future.
Calling his experience a “true honor,” Sakurai expressed his gratitude to “everyone who has enjoyed playing the game.”
As the director of the franchise since 1999, many suspected that the 51-year-old game developer would retire long before Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s final reveal Tuesday morning.
“I guess that’s really it…,” he said at the end of the video, taking a deep sigh of relief. “I suppose if you keep working on something, someday it’ll be complete.”