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Nintendo's "Smash Bros." is gaming's biggest crossover

For all the talk of "Fortnite" and its so-called metaverse of character crossovers, it is Nintendo and its "Smash Bros." fighting game series that has created the industry's biggest team of rivals.

The big picture: For "Smash," Nintendo flexes its strength as a successful video game company to rope in collaborators and occasional competitors in the service of making its own $60 game increasingly successful.

  • The current vehicle for this is 2018's "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate," which on Tuesday is set to receive another addition to its roster of combatants in the form of Kazuya Mishima from Bandai Namco's fighting game series "Tekken."
  • The paid update will also add crossovers with Capcom's "Devil May Cry," Microsoft/Bethesda's "Skyrim," and WayForward's "Shantae" series, all in the form of costumes for the game's most generic combatants, the doll-like Mii Fighters.
  • The "Tekken" addition gives "Ultimate" a roster of fighters from 39 franchises, more than a dozen not made by Nintendo.

Epic's approach with "Fortnite" is to wedge a wide array of pop culture icons — from gaming, movies, sports, music, etc. — into a format that is ostensibly a 100-player shootout but can be used as a social space.

  • That creates a multi-branded playground that can double as a marketing launch pad for any company's next game, movie, album or show.
  • Epic isn't selling more copies of "Fortnite," because the game is free. Instead, it's enticing players to log back in, maybe buy a new costume but also receive these crossovers as ads.
Screenshot: Nintendo

Between the lines: "Super Smash Bros." launched on the Nintendo 64 in 1999 as a fighting game featuring many of Nintendo's most famous characters, but it has morphed into a corporate barrier-breaking rumble.

  • Newer releases added characters from Sega's "Sonic The Hedgehog," Square Enix's "Final Fantasy" and "Dragon Quest," Konami's "Castlevania," and more.
  • One of Nintendo's most active collaborators is rival console maker Microsoft, which supported recent crossovers with "Banjo-Kazooie" and "Minecraft."

Big companies are Nintendo's favored partners, but it has also worked with indies.

  • Yacht Club Games' Shovel Knight, Toby Fox's Sans and WayForward's Shantae all appear in limited forms.

“Smash” is now also the medium’s biggest library of gaming music, thanks to aggressive additions of songs from the game’s many franchises. 

  • The addition of a “Tekken” character will add 39 songs from that series to the game.
  • A fan wiki for “Ultimate” lists over 1,000 songs from more than three dozen series, many of which are not Nintendo’s.

What’s next: Smash Bros. producer Masahiro Sakurai said Monday that Nintendo’s efforts to add downloadable characters to “Ultimate” will end later this year with one final character.

  • There’s a long list of characters fans have been begging for, including Sora from “Kingdom Hearts” and Nintendo’s own Waluigi.
  • Even if a fan’s dream pick doesn’t come true, maybe their character will at least show up as a Mii costume.

American Carissa Moore wins first-ever women's Olympic gold in surfing

Team USA's Carissa Moore won gold in the first-ever Olympic women's surfing final, at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday.

The big picture: Brazil's Italo Ferreira won the gold medal in the inaugural men's Olympic surfing contest. The finals were brought forward a day due to the threat of Tropical Storm Nepartak.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Activist Tong Ying-kit found guilty of terrorism in first Hong Kong security law trial

Tong Ying-kit, the first person to be charged and tried under Hong Kong's national security law was found guilty of terrorism and inciting secession by three judges Tuesday, per Bloomberg.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Extreme drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

Two significant U.S. lakes, one of which is a major reservoir, are experiencing historic lows amid a drought that scientists have linked to climate change.

What's happening: Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the U.S., has fallen 3,554 feet in elevation, leaving the crucial reservoir on the Colorado River, at 33% capacity — the lowest since it was filled over half a century ago, new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data shows.

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North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resumed previously suspended communication channels between the two countries, per Reuters.

Details: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to "restore mutual confidence and develop their relationships again as soon as possible," South Korea's Blue House spokesperson Park Soo Hyun said in a televised briefing, AP notes.

  • This followed an exchange of letters between the two leaders since April.

Go deeper: Kim Jong Un says prepare for "dialogue and confrontation" with U.S.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

U.S. teen Lydia Jacoby wins Olympic gold medal in 100m breaststroke at Tokyo Games

Team USA's 17-year-old swimmer Lydia Jacoby has won the Olympic gold medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games.

Of note: The Alaskan is the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, and she beat Lilly King into second place.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Pelosi expected to extend proxy voting as Delta variant surges

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to extend proxy voting through the fall — and potentially until the end of the year — Democratic lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: The spread of the Delta variant has alarmed both members and staffers anxious about interacting with the unvaccinated. Pelosi’s anticipated move — continuing an emergency COVID-19 measure enacted last year so lawmakers could vote remotely — is aimed at allaying those concerns.

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Jan. 6 panel to paint haunting scene of Capitol attack with graphic footage

The Jan. 6 select committee will paint a haunting picture of what unfolded during the attack on the Capitol during its first public hearing on Tuesday, Axios is told.

Why it matters: The nine-member panel will not only hear from four police officers on the grounds that day, but show graphic video footage similar to the chilling 13-minute video Democrats aired during Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.

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