Masahiro Sakurai On The Process Of Including Music In Smash Bros. Ultimate

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director Masahiro Sakurai had more to say on the music of the game this week, following a column two weeks ago dedicated to the newly-revealed details from the Direct.


Here are the highlights of Sakurai’s column:

  • Guest series song rights, especially for a global-scale game like Smash Bros., require a lot of money, so some titles may feel underrepresented. There are also cases where they have no choice in the matter at all. Still, given the limitations, Sakurai feels like the dev team have done their best, considering that the amount of trouble they have to go through to acquire all those rights is many times harder than would be in a typical game.


  • Sakurai first sent each composer an email a year and a half ago, but for some of the newer composers, other members of the sound staff acted as intermediaries. Once 4-6 people could be gathered, he would give a presentation regarding the plans for the game. This time, the team focused on pumping up the players for battle, as Sakurai realized during the Smash Bros. Invitational that some music, such as The Roost, weren’t very good at that. Therefore, they made sure not to include too many mellow tracks this time.


  • After the composers signed their NDAs, they immediately started choosing songs from a database of thousands of contenders, but some also suggested songs. Some composers were able to suggest many songs off the top of their head, some that had to head home to mull over which ones to choose, and some even straight-up suggested their favorites songs from their favorite series.


  • The composers’ choices were given priority, so the new arrangements might feel a bit lopsided. Castlevania and Mega Man were really popular among the composers, while one person worked particularly hard on Fire Emblem music as well. While the direction of the arrangements were mostly left up to the composers, Sakurai oversaw the process and gave some direction to retain the spirit of the original game.


  • Just like that, the song list was decided. The best part came from being able to  work on many songs which had its own history. Sakurai came to realize that “there’s no bad music in a masterpiece”, and although whether a person liked the game or not depended on their tastes, there was an absolute strength to the game’s soundtrack.


Super Smash Bros. Ultimate launches for Nintendo Switch on December 7, 2018.

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Alistair Wong
Very avid gamer with writing tendencies. Fan of Rockman and Pokémon and lots more!