You may not know this, but when Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, first “announced” Super Smash Bros. Brawl long ago at E3 2005, there was no development team in place.
Rather, Iwata had hoped that his former colleague at HAL Laboratory, Masahiro Sakurai, would develop the game.
At the time, Sakurai was a freelance developer, so he had no development team of his own. To help create the game, Nintendo enlisted the services of Game Arts, who had just completed development of Grandia III. The core development team consisted of 100 people, and counting external contractors, the total number of names in the credits amounted to 700. Super Smash Bros. Brawl was eventually released in 2008.
At E3 2011 last month, Iwata announced not one, but two Smash Bros. games — one for the Wii U and one for the Nintendo 3DS, promising that both games would be able to link up with each other. The irony? There’s no existing development team in place for the game this time either.
Smash Bros. games are huge affairs, and Sakurai, who is now the CEO of the Nintendo-owned studio, Project Sora, is busy at work on Kid Icarus: Uprising. He explained the situation in the latest edition of his ongoing column in Famitsu magazine.
“Project Sora had intended to make a 3DS Smash Bros. once it had finished up a game on the system and had gotten used to the hardware’s feature set,” Sakurai revealed. “With the advent of the Wii U, though, we had a choice to make. Iwata asked us if wanted to make the next Smash Bros. on the Wii U or 3DS, and my thought was that we had to go on both platforms.”
As of now, no development blueprints exist for the new Smash Bros. Sakurai is entirely focused on Kid Icarus. The reason the new Smash Bros. was announced early, he says, was so that Nintendo and Project Sora could attract new development staff to work with them on the project.
The end result? Don’t expect the new Smash Bros. any time soon. Sakurai mentions “several years” as a development timeframe for the project. Couple this with the fact that Super Smash Bros. Brawl’s development was approached as if it would be the last game in the series, and that the new project will be two separate games instead of one, we’re in for a long wait.