Nintendo Switch

Smash Ultimate Director Masahiro Sakurai Speaks On Fan Reception, Character Reveals, And More


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With just barely more than two weeks until launch, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director Masahiro Sakurai sat down for an interview to talk about how he feels about fan reactions, who does the reveal trailers, and how the Smash Bros. development team gets details for each character right. [Thanks, Game Informer!]


Here are the highlights:

On why they decided to add every character back in:

Masahiro Sakurai, director: “There will be people who might feel disappointed if fighters that appeared in a previous title are not included. I didn’t want any players to feel that way, so we worked really hard to make this happen.

But what I learned is that regardless of doing our utmost, no matter how hard we try, and no matter how many fighters we include, there will always be people who feel that way.”


On the decision process behind choosing newcomers:

Sakurai: “We do things like base our consideration on the results of the Smash ballot, and also balance things out so that there’s a difference in the types of fighters.

By the way, as for Incineroar, during our planning stage we knew that a new Pokémon game was coming, so we intentionally kept one spot open for that, and we decided which character to create once we received more info on the title.”


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On surprising fans and including Piranha Plant:

Sakurai: “I’m actually not paying too much focus on the surprise element when we introduce a new fighter. The surprise element quickly fades once the announcement has been made.

Rather, I believe it’s important to have a good balance as a game. In the past titles in the series, Mr. Game & Watch, R.O.B. and Duck Hunt Dog were some of the examples we offered outside of people’s typical expectations. However, if we don’t have these types of fighters, and we only had typical “hero/heroine” type fighters in the lineup, there’s not much difference. It’s probably not very interesting. Correct?

Also, unlike some main characters from some (not widely known) franchises, Piranha Plant is a character everyone knows well.”


On whether “Ultimate” means that this is the final game:

Sakurai: “With the background I just explained here, every time I work on this game, I’ve devoted myself to making it under the assumption, “this is the last one.” That said, I have no idea what future holds, so I can’t deny that there’s no next one either.”


Other points of note:

  • Just reproducing the source material for Smash characters won’t work, and their actions all need to be exaggerated so that realistic and comical characters blend together. That said, an extensive knowledge of each character is needed.


  • Sakurai was left speechless at how well the game’s been accepted by fans.


  • Sakurai creates the plot of the reveal trailers and “World of Light”, including the audio, CG, and gameplay portions. He imagines that this should be entrusted to someone else, but says he hasn’t found that person yet.


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

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