Super Smash Bros. Ultimate creator Masahiro Sakurai said Fatal Fury’s Mai Shiranui didn’t make it into the game because she isn’t age-appropriate for its audience (via Forbes).
The SNK sex symbol is almost always scantily-clad and fights with a flair that flaunts her assets. It seems that these reasons are to blame for her exclusion, as eighteen of SNK's series’ characters got the green light to be stage cameos for Fatal Fury’s Terry Bogard. ‘You may have noticed that a very important character from the Fatal Fury series was not included,’ Sakurai admitted during the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate livestream. ‘Yes, Mai Shiranui. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is for good boys and girls of many different ages so we decided not to feature her, please forgive us.’
Nintendo was caught between a rock and a hard place here. If they added Mai with her classic look, her flirty ways and seasonally inappropriate outfit would undermine the family-friendly intentions for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Now that it has chosen to leave her in the cold, there’ll be a crowd of gamers crowing ‘censorship’. Even if they gave Mai a new wardrobe, Nintendo would likely have contended with a lot of criticism.
But, Nintendo knows that adults play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as well as children and teens. Mai would have only appeared as a stage cameo rather than a fully-fledged fighter, and surely there was a way to add the character in that didn’t spell disaster for its image. Bayonetta, a video game character who progressively loses clothes as she completes special moves, did make it into Smash. Then again, that mechanic was left out of the fighting game, and Bayonetta wears a far less revealing outfit than Mai does on a daily basis.
It’s kind of weird. Mai’s design feels like it’s out of time and in desperate need of a gilet at the very least. There is going to be a certain subsection of the Smash community who are upset she hasn’t been included, for their various reasons. The sun will still come up tomorrow.