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- Super Smash Bros Ultimate
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director Masahiro Sakurai recently confirmed that Terry Bogard would be the next DLC character for the popular fighting game. While he has been the de facto face of SNK since Fatal Fury: King of Fighters released in 1991, many Nintendo fans were upset with the decision calling him generic looking and lacking personality. While it is easy to dismiss the fighting game legend due to his visual similarities to Street Fighter‘s Ken, Bogard is an intriguing character in his own right and deserves to be added to the roster of Super Smash Bros.
Nobody represents SNK’s fighting games better than Terry Bogard
Terry Bogard’s involvement with Fatal Fury is why he is famous but his role is more nuanced than Ken or Ryu’s similar role in Street Fighter. The franchise took off and wound up being a significant success for SNK, despite it being the developer’s first fighting game. Two sequels followed, with the series retaining its two-plane stages, and the fighter adding more playable characters into the mix. But he wasn’t always the leading man as he later trained Rock Howard, the son of his rival Geese, and then moved out of the spotlight himself in the next game in the series.
However, he still was a pivotal figure, showing how important he was to Fatal Fury‘s success. Bogard’s adopted son Rock was the new hero of the last game in the Fatal Fury series, Garou: Mark of the Wolves. Similar to Street Fighter 3, it takes place 10 years past previous games and features almost a completely new roster albeit an older Bogard appears with a shocking new look (since it just wouldn’t be a Fatal Fury game without him). Gone are his signature red hat and his long blond ponytail. As a passing of the guard, he also stopped using several of his signature maneuvers. Many of these moves were given to Rock, which allowed the character to be instantly popular since he had so many moves that fans already loved to use when playing against their friends. This also meant he was sort of still the star of the series without actually being the star of the series. It also works as a plot device by showing the growing maturity of Bogard, who was once a rowdy young man looking to fight anyone he could due to his own trauma, and was now looking to help others deal with their own.
Fatal Fury‘s popularity, which Bogard played no small role in, was used by SNK to launch several spin-offs that took place within the same universe. The first of which is Art of Fighting, which served as a prequel to the series and even features a young Geese Howard. It would go on to receive three entries and added several notable characters into the SNK world such as Ryo Sakazaki (who wound up being the inspiration for Street Fighter‘s Dan Hibiki). On the other side of the timeline is KOF: Maximum Impact, which features a ton of returning characters such as Bogard and Rock Howard. Even in the games that Bogard wasn’t directly in, his presence was still felt due to it tying into his rivalry with Howard or it giving more information on his hometown. He serves as the connective tissue of so many of SNK’s titles and his impact can be felt throughout, which is why he is such a great representative of SNK.
Midway through the Fatal Fury series, SNK decided to do a crossover title bringing together characters from many of their different fighting games. That’s how The King of Fighters series was born, and Bogard has been a staple of that since it began in 1994. The series became incredibly popular in Japan and received yearly installments until 2003. Bogard’s popularity didn’t just help his own series, but lifted the entire SNK brand to prominence. If Fatal Fury didn’t have a cool character that helped it take off, then we likely don’t have a King of Fighters and fighting game history is forever different.
Terry Bogard has a long history of guest appearances
Now Bogard will get to test his skills against Nintendo’s biggest stars in Super Smash Bros., but it is far from his first challenge facing characters from other brands. Bogard developed a rivalry with Ken Masters in the Capcom vs. SNK series of titles, and most recently joined the roster of Fighting EX Layer as a DLC character. That’s not to mention all of the spin-off SNK games he has appeared in as well, as he’s found his way into a Metal Slug game, The Rhythm of Fighters, and their PSP shoot ’em up Neo Geo Heroes: Ultimate Shooting. Even gender roles can’t keep Bogard down as a female version of him appeared in the all-female fighting game SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy. No matter the genre or role, Bogard just keeps popping up in new titles so it makes sense for him to pop up in Smash; he (or she) has been doing it for years.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate already has two fighting game legends in Ryu and Ken Masters, and adding one of their greatest cross-brand rivals is a great move. Not only will Bogard get to test his skills against Masters again, but he’ll get to interact with a ton of characters that would’ve never seemed possible like Solid Snake, Banjo and Kazooie, Mario, and the dog from Duck Hunt. There are so many ridiculous possibilities for him to battle, and that’s exactly what makes Smash Bros. such a fun series. It’s bringing so many different characters together and while Bogard might not be a fan-favorite to some Nintendo fans, he’s absolutely one for fighting game fans.