Much to the elation of fans, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game director Masahiro Sakurai announced on Tuesday that Sora, from Disney’s Kingdom Hearts series, will be the last character to join a roster of 82 fighters. In the announcement trailer, the camera lingers on the Mickey Mouse-shaped charm on Sora’s signature weapon, the Keyblade, before we see Sora.
However, it looks like that’s the most we’ll see of the mouse.
Mickey and other mainstay characters and songs from Kingdom Hearts were notably missing from Tuesday’s announcements. Donald Duck and Goofy, who also play big roles in the franchise, were absent from the gameplay shown. The answer why is pretty simple: While Nintendo could get permission for Sora’s appearance, for whatever reason it was unable to get a license for Disney’s A-listers.
This makes for a very conspicuous absence in the world of Super Smash Bros. In the series, when a character from another franchise crosses over to the roster, it’s common for supporting characters from their world to appear in various forms. For example, Waluigi appears in the game as an assist trophy. Other characters appear as stage guests in the background.
But for the new Sora DLC, it looks like the developers scrubbed out any reference to other Disney characters. The Dive to the Heart stage accompanying Sora features stained glass windows from the Kingdom Hearts series. Sora is in one, leaning alongside other characters from his game. While Sora’s friends, Riku and Kairi, are included in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s depiction of the window, Goofy and Donald Duck are missing. Fans were quick to notice that instead of the Disney characters’ faces appearing, there is now a boat and star in their place.
Absolutely losing it over the way they chose to censor Donald and Goofy out of this pic.twitter.com/uFGrdkGvqZ
— Gender Neutral Milk Hotel (@WendySnowRadish) October 5, 2021
Characters aren’t all that’s missing. Sakurai showed an official track list of songs from Kingdom Hearts that would be present in the new DLC. That list didn’t include iconic songs from the series, like “Simple And Clean” or “Face My Fears” by Hikaru Utada.
These missing songs and characters ultimately serve as a reminder; even a seemingly expansive Nintendo franchise like Super Smash Bros. — which has incorporated characters from across vastly diverse franchises and games, from Minecraft to Sonic the Hedgehog — has its limits.