Sakurai talks Smash Bros. development - Thoughts on characters, DLC, development struggles, and much more

The Sakurai motherload

Not that long ago, a collection of Famitsu columns from Masahiro Sakurai was released. Fans have since picked the book up and pored over its contents. Below you can find a summary of the more interesting details.

- Sakurai doesn't think characters like Goku, Shrek, and others don't make sense for Smash Bros.
- Smash Bros. is not a series where he thinks about continuation, so characters aren't held back, and DLC doesn't impact the next game
- Sakurai sees Smash as a party game and would like things to be more casual
- Sakurai also recognizes that he's not the only one who can interpret what the series can/cannot be
- back in the Wii U/3DS days, there were restrictions on how many updates to a game you could do
- updates are normal these days, but they're a bit of a voluntary service
- Sakurai thinks its important to hear feedback from a large variety of players, including newcomers
- no plans for a Smash Ballot again
- Sakurai was making plans for Smash Ultimate while on vacation
- Sakurai treats a characters personality as a game in and of itself
- characters joining Smash has an advertising effect, even if the characters appear in games that aren't on Nintendo platforms
- Sakurai played a beta of Breath of the Wild in 2 days to get a feel for its inclusion in Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Sakurai feels games shouldn't be created based on market research alone
- Sakurai feels games made to imitate other games is unfortunately
- 60 billion yen is enough to make every Smash game up to Ultimate
- Sakurai would like a Smash Bros. area in Super Nintendo World
- Smash Ultimate's DLC was planned without the developer's input
- DLC development takes time, and DLC business is far more risky than most think
- gathering staff to create new DLC is tough
- Sakurai isn't fond of season pass DLC
- Omega battlefield variants take more time than people think
- HAL is credited, but not involved in development anymore
- the team was very careful to avoid leaks during E3 2018
- the story idea of World of Light has existed since Brawl
- the idea of Spirits was a last resort, and Sakurai isn't sure this idea will return
- there was a plan to include a Spirits-like map in Melee
- Sakurai doesn't follow internet reactions and doesn't know of fan predictions
- Sakurai took a long vacation, but can't travel far as he has a cat
- by March 2019, the online win ratio is very close for all characters


Top Rated Comment
Sun May 26 19 01:02am
Rating: 4

That's how I got my last promotion.

Sat May 25 19 05:29pm
Rating: 1 (Updated 1 time)

That first one

- Sakurai doesn't think characters like Goku, Shrek, and others don't make sense for Smash Bros.
is a double negative, I hope that's a mistake. [It is]

If the World of Light story has been around since Brawl, you would think they could have developed it a bit more.

Yes, if you watch the video, it’s indeed a mistake.

Sat May 25 19 06:38pm
(Updated 1 time)

Nintendo staff seem to value gameplay first and story last.

Miyamoto has commented before that story is better suited to other mediums, than games.

Sat May 25 19 05:54pm
Rating: 1 (Updated 2 times)

- Sakurai doesn't think characters like Goku, Shrek, and others make sense for Smash Bros.

Didn't watch the video so I don't know it's mentioned, but I'm curious how he comes to this conclusion... it's not like characters like Goku would be any weirder than any of the other characters in Smash, and he's also appeared in more games on Nintendo systems (and systems in general) than the various Playstation characters have.

And let's not bring up licensing issues with characters like Goku, because that's not the point here...

If you go beyond game characters, it just becomes a game of throw everything in.

Sat May 25 19 06:58pm
Rating: 1

I'm afraid it kinda already is that, even with just game characters...

Throw in everything awesome from legendary video game series, yeah. That's what makes the series so appealing to me.

characters joining Smash has an advertising effect, even if the characters appear in games that aren't on Nintendo platforms

This is why I have no plans on buying the DLC thank you Nintendo and Sakurai for saving me $25.

What do you mean by this?

Eh? Why does any of this matter as long as the characters are good inclusions that are fun to play? If they put in Doom Slayer, for example, then I'm stoked that Doom Slayer is in Smash Bros. If Bethesda happens to get more interest in that franchise as a result, good for them. Whatever.

I imagine this is about people being butthurt that Persona 5 isn't coming to Switch?

Sakurai isn't fond of season pass DLC

Well then it’s too bad that’s what they’re doing with the fighters pass. I’m not buying anything until I have a better idea of who the remaining characters will be.

That might be a management decision, and/or condition by the third party studios.

I think nowadays waiting is always better than being first in-line to buy something. Most things get sorted out time after release and some cases up to a year after being released.

Yeah, after his statement I assume it wasn’t Sakurai’s decision.

I’m learning to be more patient - early adopters rarely come out on top these days. Price drops, mystery DLC in season passes and broken day one games are all too common. To Nintendo’s credit, their games are a little less likely to pull that crap.

Still they have had some issues last year with games adding content later. Kirby, Mario Tennis, took a year to add some missing content. And one could say Mario Party also needed that.

This year, I suppose Mario Maker will get new content months after it's released, and likely Fire Emblem also.

Was it paid content in those games? I wouldn’t know because they’re not my kind of games.

No. Just late added content. I mean at least it was free.

This interview has many contradictions, like, "Sakurai isn't fond of season pass DLC". Really!? So explain why there's so much paid DLC in Smash Bros. on Wii U and 3DS, and why there's a Fighter Pass in Ultimate? You couldn't and can't buy an all-in DLC pack on Wii U or 3DS. The DLC costs well over €100 for all the DLC, and that's just for one platform. They've been charging for the Fighter Pass in Ultimate from launch, despite Joker being the only confirmed fighter quite recently.

Then it sounds like it was Nintendo's decision, not his

You can not be fond of something and still be pressured to do it by your boss...

Sun May 26 19 01:02am
Rating: 4

That's how I got my last promotion.

I found it rather interesting that the concept of Spirits was originally supposed to be in Melee

Sakurai has nobody in his life who is willing to check in on his cat once a day so he can travel? That's tragic.

Maybe he loves his cat too much to be too separated from it.

So what game is he doing next?


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