The character selection screen (キャラクター選択画面 Kyarakutā sentaku gamen?), or more often called the roster, is the menu where a player chooses their character to be used in a game mode and also where the player may sometimes make changes to the rules. The character selection screen is composed of boxed portraits of the heads or busts of playable fighters, with more characters added once they are unlocked. It is utilized in each game and appears in both single player and multiplayer modes where the player is not required to use specific character(s). Character selection screens are almost always uniform across game modes for each game, with the exception of the character selection screen for Tournament Mode and the Subspace Emissary single player mode in Brawl which uses a very featureless character selection screen for assembling a party of characters.
The character select screen usually came before the stage select screen until Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, where the rules and stage select screen come before the character select screen. This makes it so that when you proceed, you can’t go back to change characters like you could in previous instalments.
Character selection screen features
Each player controls a small hand cursor which carries an emblem displaying their control port number and color. Selecting a character involves carrying the emblem over the character portrait and pressing a selection button. A box at the bottom of the screen will usually change to reflect the character choice; in Super Smash Bros., a full model of the character will appear and strike a pose while in Melee, Brawl, and SSBWU/3DS, only a larger area of the character's portrait is shown.
Player character portraits after character selection are usually interactive. In Super Smash Bros. the color of the character's model will change in real time when cycling through palette swaps. The player can cycle through the palettes of each character in Brawl in an alternate way by pressing the selection button while hovering their hand cursor over the player character's portrait. Additionally in Brawl, the player can select the default form or starter character where applicable by using the cursor to highlight the form or character in the portrait. The only character that has a transformation that cannot be chosen by means of a character portrait is Samus. A player may also choose a name from an expandable box in Melee and Brawl.
Single player modes typically feature character selection screens with only one area for a player character portrait and a separate area where options for mode difficulty and/or a stock count until a continue is needed. There is typically an area that highlights highscores for that mode.
Multiplayer mode character select screens typically feature a way to change quickly between free for all or Team Battles and coin, stock, or time battles, as well as a way to quickly change simple parameters like stock amount and the time limit. Attempting to change the battle mode in Melee and Brawl accesses more advanced options by opening an option menu. Depending on the options and game mode set, additional parameters may be found in the character portrait, such as the sliding weight scale in Melee. Ways to activate computer players and adjust their difficulty are also found in the character portrait.
A Random icon appears for selection in Brawl and SSBWU/3DS, which randomly chooses a playable character. In Melee, a random character can be selected by placing the cursor on one of the empty bottom corners once all characters have been unlocked. In Melee's Tournament Mode, the Pokémon Ditto, while not selectable by usual means, replaces this function.
Once character selection and mode option requirements have been met, the game will give some kind of indication, such as a "Ready to fight!" banner and a confirmation sound. The player can proceed by selecting the banner or pressing the Start Button.
- In multiplayer modes in Melee, Brawl, and SSBWU/3DS, KO Stars appear in the player character portrait tallying the number of stocks taken off of other players.
- In Brawl, a unique sound effect will play if the player is using a Wii Remote while selecting a character.
- Super Smash Bros. is the only game to feature all portrait boxes for characters that have not been unlocked.
- Additionally, it is the only game to have characters perform a brief animation in their player's display box when they are selected.
- In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, the character selection screen will add another page for DLC fighters as Extra Fighters when all characters have been unlocked and more than four (five if no Mii Fighters are created) DLC fighters have been purchased.