In what’s become almost tradition at this point following similar lengthy explainers after the reveal of other characters like Byleth, Masahiro Sakurai has celebrated the launch of Sephiroth in Super Smash Bros Ultimate with a detailed breakdown of the character’s controls, features, alongside other updates to the rapidly expanding party fighting game. The result? A potentially powerful new addition to the Smash roster.
New Mii Fighters Join the Brawl
The presentation opens with Sakurai having returned to a studio slightly bigger than his old office to ensure social distancing during recordings, following previous character reveals which were showcased in the director’s home. Decorating the studio are posters of Sephiroth, including one which has sent the internet into quite a fluster: shirtless Sephiroth.
Before exploring the iconic character as a fighter, however, the format for this presentation was altered to showcase Mii Fighters and additional updates at the beginning of the event, as opposed to the ending. The ability to skin and customize Mii Fighters has been a popular addition to Smash in this latest entry, with every update bringing with it a new selection of skins to purchase and choose from.
Many of these act as a way to celebrate other characters from Final Fantasy VII without making them additional fighters, and as a result, the two biggest announcements for Mii Fighter costumes are the inclusion of Barret as a Gunner Fighter and Tifa as a Brawler. Also, who could forget Aerith, who packs a punch as a Swordfighter. Even a Chocobo hat to celebrate the franchise is now available to purchase.
In a move that may upset the small subset of fans clamoring for Geno from Super Mario RPG to be included as his own fighter, rumors of such a move have been quashed with the news that Geno will be added to the game as a Gunner Mii Fighter only.
Each skin will cost $0.75 each.
The One Winged Angel’s Moveset
Following this, Sakurai wastes no time. He gets into detail on the character’s use in the game, beyond being a thorn in Cloud’s side and one of the most well-known villains in gaming history due to his all-powerful abilities in the game and the influence of Final Fantasy VII on the industry at large.
One of the biggest features setting Sephiroth apart from other Super Smash Bros Ultimate characters is his Winged Form. This will activate when Sephiroth is in danger, and gives them a number of advantages over his standard form. Speed and strength are increased, and the character gains an extra jump in the air for a total of three mid-air jumps. Most exciting of all, however, is that all smash attacks will have super armor that gives Sephiroth a major advantage in face-to-face one-on-one battles. Players will lose Winged Form if they are KO’d or they KO an opponent, which helps to avoid the feature becoming too overpowering. It should also be noted that although Sephiroth has a wide range with his blade, he is an easier target due to his height and is a lighter character, so you will need to be careful in Winged Form.
Danger is determined by a number of factors beyond HP, however. While in an even match danger may be determined by Sephiroth’s damage counter rising above 80%, if Sephiroth has more stocks than his opponent, the wing won’t appear until Sephiroth’s damage counter rises above 105%, but if you’re losing in stocks, Winged Form can activate as low as 30% damage.
Inflicting damage with Sephiroth’s sword can be done either by slashing using a side tilt attack or by stabbing with an up-tilt or forward-air. To inflict maximum damage, it is recommended you slash an opponent in front of you in the middle of the blade’s range, while hitting an opponent with the tip of the blade will perform maximum damage while stabbing.
Neutral attacks are the fastest form of attack Sephiroth has at his disposal and, although slower than many other fighters in the game, act as effective and useful melee attacks in Sephiroth’s arsenal. Neutral attacks work best at close range to an opponent, with a dash attack giving slightly more range to the neutral attack while quickly allowing you to close the gap with your opponent. This dash attack is useful thanks to its wide range.
The down tilt allows Sephiroth to slide along the floor and can be used as an offensive dodge due to it reaching below an opponent’s standard attack range. Meanwhile, Sephiroth’s side smash attack is a powerful slice with strong launch potential, but it does leave him open to counterattack. The up-smash is a wide-ranging slash that can attack opponents on all sides of Sephiroth in a 270-degree slash. His down-slash can also attack the ground or an opponent on the ground and launch debris, with the potential to be used at the stage’s edge to prevent a character’s recovery. It can also break shields.
In a slight dig at those taking Super Smash Bros Ultimate a bit more seriously than would be expected for a game initially designed as a party title, Sephiroth’s forward and backward air slash attacks each have slightly different activation intervals. Though the forward air has slightly less range than the backwards air, it activates in 13 frames as opposed to 15 frames… but who cares about that other than the competitive players, right? Both are fun!
Finally, the special attacks. Sephiroth’s neutral special can become one of three moves depending on charge time. Sephiroth will use Flare if the special attack is used without charging, which is a long-ranged flame attack that ends with an explosion. A brief charge will give Megaflare, which is more powerful but has a shorter range. Charging longer gives Gigaflare, which is the most powerful of them all. Charges can’t be stored.
Shadow Flare is Sephiroth’s side special that, when it hits an opponent, causes flares to circle the opponent that hit them after a brief period of time. Blade Slash is Sephiroth’s final special, acting similar to Fox’s Fire Fox. Holding it turns it into Octoslash, which slashes Sephiroth’s blade 8 times in a particular direction.
Sephiroth’s Final Smash is Supernova. Taking inspiration from the games, this is a flashy Final Smash that triggers a Supernova, wiping out entire planets, and can cause a variety of special effects and slightly launching opponents.
The Northern Cave: Sephiroth’s Battle Stage
Northern Cave is the special stage for Sephiroth in Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Unfortunately for those who somehow don’t know the story to this iconic JRPG, the background tells the story of the events of Final Fantasy VII, including the ending. Northern Cave is the stage for the final boss fight of the game, and is the Promised Land and final destination for the Reunion. As a stage, the layout is simple and lacks many stage gimmicks, with most of the changes being visible in the background as events unfold throughout the battle. Elements have, however, also been borrowed from Dissidia Final Fantasy in the composition.
We see Holy being activated and Sephiroth’s Meteor descending onto the planet. Finally, we see the livestream of the planet itself come to help stop the meteor. Sakurai notes it’s the first time a stage has depicted story events like this, and the effect is impressive, even if the rest of the stage is depressingly ordinary.
Sephiroth: A Powerful New Super Smash Bros Ultimate Fighter
That’s it for how Sephiroth functions in Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Effort has been taken to recreate the move set of Sephiroth in a 2D fighter and capture the mood of Final Fantasy VII as a game, most notably as a stage. As with any new fighter, new music inevitably follows, with nine songs, including four new remixes, massively expanding the Final Fantasy music selection for Super Smash Bros.
Sephiroth will be released for Super Smash Bros Ultimate on 22 December. Celebrating his status as a boss fighter, however, a new feature, known as the Sephiroth Challenge, has been added for a limited time starting today. For those who own the DLC, they can fight against Sephiroth and, if they win, use Sephiroth before the official release date.
What are you waiting for? Why not see if you can beat the ultimate boss for yourself?