Today’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Nintendo Direct was chock full of exciting announcements and reveals. But while new fighters like Simon Belmont and King K. Rool were getting most of the attention, Nintendo may have made another sly reveal — some type of ‘Boss Mode’.
Midway through the presentation, during a section about new Assist Trophies, Nintendo revealed that the Rathalos from the Monster Hunter series would be one — however, that’s not what they showed for its initial reveal. The Rathalos was first shown as a special boss fight against a single player, using unique moves on a brand new stage based on Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate’s Ancestral Steppe area.
After that boss showcase, Rathalos was then also shown as an Assist Trophy on a different stage. The thing is, that Monster Hunter stage doesn’t appear to be on the full level select screen that was also shown during the Direct, which shows all the 103 total stages that were announced to be in the game.
The Monster Hunter Stage Rathalos is featured on doesn’t appear on the stage select screen.
Additionally, if the Rathalos is just a regular boss character that shows up on a stage like Megaman’s Yellow Devil or the monsters on the newly announced Castlevania stage, then couldn’t you potentially use an Assist Trophy and get a Rathalos to fight a Rathalos? That would be strange, to say the least.
More evidence for a special boss mode came during Nintendo’s reveal of Dracula. When the Direct was listing monsters that could appear on the Castlevania stage, it showed a silhouette of Dracula, but then he also got his own section after the Direct talked about Castlevania’s music.
That Dracula section actually shows him on a stage with an entirely different layout than the Castlevania stage’s reveal, though it could just be the Omega version of it. But it also shows him using a wide range of complex moves against a single player character, similar to the Rathalos scene. Finally, the Direct said “Under what conditions will he appear? Time will tell,” implying that Dracula may not just be a simple stage hazard.
All of this makes it seem like Nintendo is teasing either the return of the “Boss Battles Mode” from Brawl, or potentially even the return of some sort of campaign mode that features large boss battles within it like Subspace Emissary had. We still don’t know what that blurred out option on the menu is, but this seems like a candidate that could make sense — though it’s worth mentioning that all the solo modes in Smash on Wii U were under the “Games and More” option, not on the main menu itself.
We don’t know for sure, but the Monster Hunter stage not being one of the 103 listed is the strongest evidence for me. Even if we don’t get something like Subspace Emissary again, I love the idea of large, hand-crafted boss battles returning to Smash.
December can’t arrive soon enough. But until then, you can find all of our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate coverage right here.
Tom Marks is IGN’s PC Editor and pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.