Masahiro Sakurai on the future of Smash: “I’ve done too much work myself”

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is finally finished. After launching in 2018 with a roster that included all characters from the series’ long history, it has since been regularly updated with new fighters, culminating with the addition of Sora from Kingdom Hearts in October. The last major update of the game arrived on December 1st.

Three years and countless charming video presentations later, series creator Masahiro Sakurai – an infamous workaholic – finally seems to be relaxing. “I have more free time now than I’ve probably ever had since I started working in game development,” he says. The edge by email. This career has been closely linked to Smash, a series he’s not only directed but also a key developer for over two decades. “I have no regrets because Super Smash Bros. like no other, ”he says of his time working on the show.

With the development on Ultimate To conclude, there has been a lot of talk about the future of the franchise – and in particular whether Sakurai would still be involved. I had a chance to email the director a few questions, and we talked about working on new fighters, taking time off and where Smash Bros. go from here.

This interview has been edited slightly for length and clarity.

When the game was first announced at E3 2018, you told me how intimidating the prospect of creating such a large list. How does post-launch development and the addition of all these new fighters compare to that initial development process?

You might have noticed it by now, but DLC fighters tend to be more unique than the standard fighters on the list. Some sort of new game system is implemented, their Final Smash is accompanied by a visual sequence, they have a relatively elaborate stage set-up and guests, and their combat tactics and game systems clearly set them apart from other existing fighters.

Fans are paying extra for these extra characters, so we feel like we have to strive and do our best to deliver more than worthy content. Given that, adding a DLC fighter element and the stages, music, and other content that goes with it has proven to be a bigger challenge than adding a content element. in the base game.

Now that it’s over, how does the final product compare to what you originally planned for the game? Are there any things that you are particularly proud of?

We’re looking at the finished product and aiming for that as we work on the game, so where we landed is certainly not too far from that initial vision. Even so, I feel like there are still some gaps, which I took as lessons learned. I feel like the notion of “being proud of” differs between Japanese and English, but I don’t want to brag about what we’ve accomplished with this project.

After working on it for so long, was it hard to finally walk away from the game? What was it like when you realized the job was done?

I knew that as long as we continued to work diligently, it would end someday. This was a large-scale project that spanned many years, but even for a project like this we still apply the same effort every step of the way as with any other project.

Have you managed to take time off since Sora launched? What a break looks like for you (apart from riding a horse)?

Usually I like to go by car. I have more free time now than I’ve probably ever had since I started working in game development, so I do take short trips every now and then, overnight, or just a day trip. a day. My itinerary is quite busy as I like to make stops here and there. In addition, he is happy that the COVID-19 situation in Japan has improved.

Have you ever regretted not being able to work on projects outside of Smash during the last years?

I sometimes look back and think about the fact that maybe there would have been other opportunities if I hadn’t worked on Super Smash Bros. However, I do not regret anything because Super Smash Bros. is not like the others, and it was an opportunity that I could not have seized with any other project.

What will convince you to come back for another one? Smash? Do you think that if you came back your role would be different or reduced?

I think we’ve hit the limit, at least in terms of volume of content and fighters. Basically, if I had the opportunity to work on another Super Smash Bros. game, that means we should narrow the list down, but we have to ask ourselves if fans would be thrilled with that.

Also, I have done too much work myself so I should fix this as well. The stream Super Smash Bros. has too much of my personality poured into it. In order for a long-running series to continue to thrive today, we need to think about eliminating the series’ addiction to one-person vision.

Of course, it’s like that now because we had failed to divide the vision among several people before. It would be a challenge for the future and something that needs to be discussed with Nintendo, if there were to be an upcoming episode in the Super Smash Bros. series.

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