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Shovel Knight was published by Nintendo in Japan, which is likely the biggest reason he got to be an assist trophy at all. And Shantae only has two spirits, presumably as a sort of consolation price for doing well in the ballot.

Like, yeah, of course they keep the worldwide market in mind. I believe Sakurai has stated this as the reason why Takamaru isn't playable, for instance. But that goes both ways too, I think - they wouldn't include someone who's only known in the west either. Little Mac and Ridley have been said to have been included with western fans in mind, but it's not like Japanese fans didn't know about them. Lara on the other hand does seem to be relatively unknown in Japan, especially with Nintendo fans.
Tomb Raider also doesn't have a lot of Nintendo legacy in general and the last one on a Nintendo console was over a decade ago, so why would Nintendo choose to promote them by putting her in Smash?
Don't get me wrong, I'm a Tomb Raider fan myself, I just don't think Smash is the right place for it.

Just because DQ and FF are both RPGs doesn't mean they're the same fanbase, either. Of course there are people who like both, but there's still a lot of difference between them too. It's like comparing Mario and Sonic, Street Fighter and Tekken, etc.


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