In his latest Famitsu column which was partially leaked a day early, game director Masahiro Sakurai reveals how a meeting to present a new fighters to a publisher was delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Translated by Twitter user PushDustin, it also details how development could be put on hold due to the virus - which would delay the release of any character DLC.
Sakurai had plans to present information about new fighter(s) to a publisher(s), but that's been put on hold now.— PushDustIn (@PushDustIn) March 17, 2020
If someone at the office is found to have COVID-19, then the whole building would be shut down and development would be put on hold.
It’s important to note however only part of the column was leaked, so there might be some context missing which could give greater clarity.
It wouldn’t be entirely surprising though, with many studios like Rockstar, CD Projekt Red and more taking up different work measures due to the virus.
A previous column from Sakurai also revealed how he has no plans for any more DLC characters beyond the second Fighter Pass - so it might not be a bad thing to stretch it out.
The second Fighters Pass will feature six new characters instead of five like the first - with past DLC releases for Ultimate including Joker from Persona 5, Hero from Dragon Quest, Banjo Kazooie, Terry Bogard from SNK and Byleth from Fire Emblem.
The second Fighters Pass is available to pre-purchase already on the Nintendo eShop.
But who could the next character be? There's already a huge amount of rumours from Devil May Cry's Dante to Crash Bandicoot.
The virus outbreak recently affected Smash tournament CEO Dreamland 2020, with players even giving back their winnings to help ensure the many dropouts wouldn't cost the event too heavily.