I agree. The gigantic roster is a little absurd, IMO. It's entertaining one time, but I haven't enjoyed a Smash game the same way since Melee, and it's not just because the changes in fighter mechanics. Melee's roster was a great size IMO, with the right variety, and each game since then has blurred the lines from fighter to fighter too much. There's not enough distinction anymore.
They could at least change the Echo Fighters into their own unique fighters. Dark Samus would work much better with the Phazon-based attacks she had as an Assist Trophy, instead of just being Samus with a creepier design.
That would have just taken more time in development and we wouldn’t have had the December release. You would still need to balance the attacks for both 1-on-1 and free-for-alls and make sure there’s no bugs/glitches that could hinder the gameplay experience. That still takes man hours.
While i I understand some people’s issue with the large roster, Ultimate is something not to be taken for granted. It’s an incredible feat to have a crossover of this magnitude. Plus, the roster is remarkably balanced. Tournaments have shown that there is room for a variety of characters to be great. I think Sakurai is right that something like this may never happen again. And I think that’s fine. But that should not take away the fact that Ultimate is something incredible. It ranks up there with Avengers Infinity War/Endgame, JLU, the Silent Era/Early Audio Era Monsters, Marvel vs. Capcom, etc.