Nintendo 3DS

Kid Icarus: Uprising Designer Feels His Games Are Hard To Understand


    Masahiro Sakurai has created some of Nintendo’s most successful games, but speaking with Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, Sakurai says he feels like his games can be hard to understand at first. Sakurai says this is because he has a fondness for going against the grain.


    The original Super Smash Bros., for instance, took a while before it caught on. Sakurai wanted to defy conventional fighting game wisdom and create a game that allowed for frantic battles without having to memorize and practise lengthy combos. Because of this unfamiliar approach, it wasn’t until Nintendo erected the original Smash Bros. Dojo website, detailing the depth of the game under its shallow exterior, that people paid attention.


    “It took quite a lot of time and energy until Super Smash Bros. spread to a large number of people,” Iwata recalls.


    Other examples of this phenomenon are Kirby: Air Ride and Meteos. In Kirby: Air Ride, a racing game for the Gamecube, you don’t have an acceleration button. Instead, you’re always moving forward, and the A button acts as your brakes. Holding down the A button also gives you a boost of speed after you let go of it. Similar to Smash Bros., this game took a while to catch on.


    For this reason, Sakurai is afraid that players will misunderstand multiplayer battles in Kid Icarus: Uprising as well. For his part, Sakurai says he’s developed the game as something for hardened gamers to enjoy, with both land and air battles, and a deep level of customization using the Fiend’s Cauldron and loot drops.


    Sakurai feels Uprising is similar in concept to a first-person shooter, but uses far less inputs than the standard FPS. In fact, Iwata reveals, Sakurai constantly pestered him for information on 3DS games by other developers, just so he could be sure no one else was creating a title similar to Kid Icarus: Uprising.

    Ishaan Sahdev
    Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and a contributing writer at He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.