Nintendo officially announced that the newest iteration of their hit fighting game franchise, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, was built entirely from the ground up. While many fans speculated this game would be a simple port of Super Smash. Bros for Wii U and 3DS, this announcement has gotten fans very excited about what updates each of their favorite characters received in this brand new game.

With a wealth of games to pull from, Zelda fans in particular should be excited for what series director Masahiro Sakurai and his team did for their favorite characters. Of the six players that will be available in the game’s final release, four characters (Link, Zelda, Sheik, and Ganondorf) were playable in the game’s demo version. Here are the technical differences we were able to identify between the initial trailer, Nintendo Treehouse streams, and the Invitational tournament.

Link

We were lucky enough to see a lot of Link during both the Nintendo Treehouse stream and Invitational tournament. These exposed a lot of smaller changes to Link’s moveset.

As revealed in the initial Super Smash Bros. Ultimate trailer, Link is now heavily based on the Link from Breath of the Wild. As we revealed in an earlier article on alternate character costumes, Link now has access to two of his more memorable outfits from Breath of the Wild: the Champion’s Tunic and the Tunic of the Wild. 

The Breath of the Wild influences don’t stop at the costumes and character model, either. His moveset has been heavily altered to make him more similar to Breath of the Wild‘s Link.

  • One of the coolest small details added into Link’s moveset is that Link now shoots a beam from his sword when using Smash Attacks at 0%. The beam is visually similar to his blue beams from Breath of the Wild, which Link shoots when he’s at full health.
  • Link no longer has access to his Hookshot. This means his grab has less range and he can no longer tether grab.
    • This is due to the fact that this Link is based on his Breath of the Wild iteration, where Link does not have access to a Hookshot but can now climb on his own.
    • Despite this change, we can confirm that at least Young Link still has a Hookshot, as he uses it to grab Ganondorf during his fighter trailer on the Smash Bros. Ultimate website. We are unsure at this time if Toon Link also still possesses it.
  • In both his character trailer and his initial reveal during the Nintendo press conference, it is possible for Link to shoot multiple arrows at once.
    • As described in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Veterans segment on day three of Nintendo’s Treehouse streams, it was shown that the arrows Link shoots won’t disappear until a second is shot.
    • Link’s arrows that land on the ground can be picked up. At this point, Link can either throw them like an item, or notch two arrows at once into his bow.
  • Link’s Side B is still a boomerang attack. However, it is no longer the Twilight Princess Gale Boomerang. This means that it no longer has the windbox property attached to it, but it seems to come out a little bit faster.
  • Speaking of windboxes, Link’s Up B recovery looks as though it either has wider reach, or has a windbox surrounding it, which would push enemies away from you.
  • Link’s Down B is still dedicated to his bombs. However, these are now the Sheikah Bombs from Breath of the Wild. His bombs can be remotely detonated, and appear to have a much larger blast radius than prior iterations of Link’s Bombs.
    • Link’s bombs don’t de-spawn, and can be detonated while another character is holding them.
    • Link cannot spawn more than one bomb at a time.

Zelda

Unfortunately, we failed to see a lot of Zelda during the Nintendo Treehouse stream, only playing during one four-person Free For All. Despite this, we’ve still been able to learn about one major change to Zelda’s moveset that could see her rise up the ranks in the competitive scene.

  • Zelda’s Side B (Din’s Fire) no longer puts you into special fall, meaning you can use the move off-stage without falling to your death.
    • This should open up a lot of off-stage options for Zelda at the competitive Smash level. Considering that Zelda was bottom tier in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, hopefully these additional options can help make her more competitively viable.
  • Zelda’s Phantom Summon (Down B) now slowly builds behind her as she charges it. There are four levels to the Phantom Summon, each dealing more and more damage.
    • As demonstrated in the Smash Bros. Ultimate Veterans segment, the full-strength Phantom Summon is unleashed after a small delay. This allows Zelda to approach and set up for combos in the small time frame before the Phantom Knight attacks.

Sheik

According to professional Smash players and observations from the Nintendo streams, Sheik seems to play nearly identically to how he played in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as fans saw great success from Sheik early in the game’s competitive scene. Even after the introduction of DLC, Sheik remained a top-tier character. If Sheik’s frame data and combos carry over into Smash Bros. Ultimate, we should expect him to continue to be an incredibly viable option.

Ganondorf

Ganondorf has long been a strange inclusion in the Smash series. Since Melee, he’s taken more inspiration from Captain Falcon’s moveset than his own character in Zelda games. He fought exclusively with his fists; he was very slow, yet insanely powerful.

Smash Bros. Ultimate’s Ganondorf is a different beast altogether. Overall, Ganondorf seems to still have a great deal of power behind his hits, but his frame data across the board seems to be a lot better. Hopefully this means that he is now more competitively viable at the professional level.

  • By far the biggest change to Ganondorf is that each of his Smash Attacks now incorporate a large sword.
    • This greatly increases his reach across the board. His Forward Smash can hit characters above him, and his Up Smash covers areas on the side.
  • Ganondorf’s Up Tilt now comes out significantly faster and has a new, fiery animation.
  • Ganondorf’s Down B (Warlock Foot) is now a lot faster.
  • Ganondorf’s Neutral B (Warlock Punch) has added super armor to it, meaning he can take several hits without disrupting the charge

We’ve only scratched the surface of the changes that have come to fighters in Smash Bros. Ultimate. We haven’t seen specific frame data, nor have we been able to explore new combo options for any of these characters. When the game officially releases on December 7, 2018, we will be sure to update you with a much more detailed moveset analysis.