Steve debuted as the default skin for the player's avatar in Minecraft. Initially nameless, the character soon gained a moniker after franchise creator Markus "Notch" Persson was asked by a fan on Twitter if he had one, to which he jokingly replied "Steve?". The name quickly began to be adopted by the fanbase and eventually by Mojang Studios themselves, though other names were also thrown around prior such as Mr. Minecraft (as in his cameo in Super Meat Boy) as well as literally Steve? before the studio made it official without the question mark.
According to Notch, Steve was designed to be gender-neutral as to avoid the possibility of having the player feel pressured into deciding a sex for the character. Despite this, an alternate feminine model with the given name of Alex was introduced in 2014, who noticeably has thinner arms than Steve. Since her inclusion, the two have basically been given definitive genders as their roles were expanded to become one of the franchise's de facto mascots, appearing on merchandise and game update trailers.
Within the game, their appearances can be customized with the help of skin packs (or a template in the Java version). Some of the packs have featured crossover content from multiple franchises including Super Mario, Banjo-Kazooie, Pac-Man, Final Fantasy, and Fallout.
In terms of abilities, Steve and Alex can only do basic functions such as walking, running, jumping, punching, and crafting. As for their personality, much like their simplistic design, it is intended to be a blank slate. Within the very thin lore of the franchise, Steve and Alex are implied to simply be vessels of the actual player's manifestation, leaving somewhat of a resemblance of a "personality" up to the will of the player.
Steve was announced to be joining Ultimate as the second fighter in Fighters Pass Volume 2 during a live trailer reveal held on October 1, 2020. Much like the Heroes and the Koopalings, Alex and mob enemies Zombie and Enderman can be playable as Steve's palette swaps.
True to the core gameplay of Minecraft, Steve and Alex can roam the stage to mine for resources, craft weapons with them, and place Blocks around the stage. They are a fighter with high management priority, as players must constantly keep their limited number of resources in check, as they can be quickly depleted with certain moves such as Minecart and TNT or when weapons break.
A Fighter Spirit of Steve can be obtained after beating his Classic Mode route. An alternate Spirit of Alex can be purchased from the Shop for 300G after downloading Challenger Pack 7. As they are Fighter Spirits, they do not have their own Spirit Battles and cannot be used.
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- Steve and Alex are collectively the first fighters:
- Steve and Alex are collectively the second fighters:
- Steve and Alex are collectively the fourth characters in the Fighters Pass to not have a set name outside of Smash, following Joker, the Heroes, and Byleth.
- Steve and Alex are collectively the fifth fighters to originate outside of Japan, following Diddy Kong, Dark Samus, King K. Rool, and Banjo & Kazooie.
- According to former Minecraft production director Daniel Kaplan, negotiations for Steve to be in Smash took at least five whole years.
- Though Steve's texture is directly imported from Minecraft, it notably keeps his beard intact. This is different from current iterations of Minecraft as Mojang have since removed the beard due to players commonly mistaking it for a smile. Though, one could argue that the Smash development team went with his "classic" design for its recognizability, as Mojang and Microsoft still use it for promotional material and merchandising.
- Soon after Steve was announced for Ultimate, Twitter unexpectedly crashed for several minutes. Many fans have since speculated that it was due to the large influx of Tweets being sent at the same time that were reacting to the announcement, though this hasn't been confirmed by Twitter themselves.