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When is an Echo Fighter not an Echo Fighter? (Discussion thread)


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Basically, I made this thread wanted to get people's opinions on Echo Fighters as a concept, and how the Echoes we have were handled; in other words, this is an opinion-based discussion thread.

Personally, I love the concept of Echoes, but I do think there should've been more significant differences. And that's not even going into the characters who felt like natural Echo Fighters, but didn't make it into the game at all.

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Echoes are a fantastic idea, but I feel like it's difficult to quantify if it should be used in regards to other clone characters. You have your glorified palette swaps like Dark Samus and Richter whose differences are so insignificant that it's more or less down to personal preference which character you like more, so the distinction as an echo is fine. Then you have the characters that have just enough variation that they could be separate, but are still way too similar to their originals, like Chrom and Ken.

There are also all the clone characters like Roy, Young/Toon Link, Ganondorf, etc. I wouldn't count them as echoes since they have fundamentally different playstyles despite having the same or similar movesets to the originals. There's also characters like Lucas and Falco who take heavy inspiration from Ness and Fox respectively, but I would say that they're more like semi-clones.

If I were to rank characters based on how much of an echo they are, I'd probably go with something like...


Literal Palette Swaps

  • Alph
  • Daisy (I think I recall players finding her having a slightly different loot table in the game's files for her down special when Ultimate first came out, which was later patched)

Glorified Palette Swaps

  • Dark Samus (she floats)
  • Richter (holy water does aura damage compared to Simon's fire damage)
  • Lucina (consistent damage across whole blade, but it really doesn't make that much of a difference)


  • Chrom (different up special, consistent damage across whole blade)
  • Dark Pit (neutral special and side special variation)
  • Ken (literally the original echo fighter and probably the best implementation of it imo. I'd be inclined to say he's more of a clone than an echo though, honestly)


  • Dr. Mario
  • Roy
  • Young/Toon Link
  • Ganondorf
  • Pichu
  • Pyra/Mythra (of each other, and they're in the same character slot, but I figured I'd throw them in)
  • Mewtwo (iyk, yk)


  • Luigi
  • Falco
  • Wolf
  • Lucas
  • Isabelle
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I think Echo Fighters were a brilliant Rebrand of what used to be a much talked about "problem". That perception of Fighting games (not just Smash), artificially inflating the size of their character roster with derivative concepts. Or worse, idiots on the internet claiming they somehow each take the slot of a different character Like it's some disc space issue. Smash 4 would have its three clone characters off on one end of the character select, almost like Sakurai was embarrassed by them. He'd insist in interviews going all the way back to Melee that they did not take as much development time as the more unique characters. And then one day he discovers they're actually pretty marketable as a concept. It's weird then that they weren't considered for DLC. The Pyra/Mythra idea could have been Echoes of the same character for instance.

Ultimately I think What is an Echo Fighter is whatever Sakurai is comfortable labeling them as. I understand wanting to control the narrative away from hurtful terms like "clone character" or "semiclone" But I also understand not wanting to devalue extremely creative iterations of characters by placing them in a separate, lesser box. If I were him, I'd go with a loose definition. From the 'Alt with unique voicework' like the Koopalings all the way up to Pyra and Mythra. 

And come on. We all know Doc is an Echo Fighter. Just embrace it.

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An Echo fighter when Nintendo labels the character an Echo fighter. It's honestly a cheap marketing gimmick to make people more comfortable with what we previously called "clones", which have been in the series since the very start. And honestly, it kind of sucks as a cheap marketing gimmick as it gave them the excuse to be lazier than they previously had been. With the exception of Lucina who is Marth sans the tipper gimmick, the clones of Ultimate are functionally identical. No, Ricther's holy water damaging red pikmin is not a significant enough interaction to make that statement false. Male Robin and female Rombin are more different than that one rare interaction due to female Robin's slightly shorter hitbox. Melee's clone characters were great and are absolutely what the Echo fighters should have been. Give them all the same attacks but just slightly tweak hitboxes and frame data and boom, you have two characters that are easy to make but actually feel different to play. An extra afternoon of work for one person could have done it.

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As I understand it, an Echo Fighter is one whose build and moveset are similar enough that you can use the same animation rig for both. If the moveset is similar, but the build is wildly different like in the case of Link and Toon Link, or if two characters have similar builds but few common moves, then they're not Echoes.

I don't mind when moves or movesets are similar, provided it makes sense. Charizard's Flamethrower being similar to Bowser's Fire Breath makes sense, they're both breathing fire after all. Falco's moveset being similar to Fox's makes sense as they're pilots on the same team using the same resources, just each in his own way.

What matters most is that the moveset fits the character and best exemplifies their abilities.

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