“Every time, we are walking a fine line,” says Masahiro Sakurai.
At this point, the Super Smash Bros. series has become a mainstay of the gaming landscape, hitting each new generation of Nintendo hardware, and being known for its fanatic fanbase, and the festivity it entails with each new entry. However, even as one enjoys the celebration of gaming that a new Smash Bros. game is, it can be easy to forget that it has to be a nightmare to get the game out at all.
After all, there are so many corporate entities involved with each new Smash game—Nintendo, The Pokemon Company, HAL Laboratory, Sakurai’s own development team, Intelligent Systems, and any third parties that are represented to any extent in the games. And, in an interview with Game Informer, series creator and director of every game within it Masahiro Sakurai admitted that he sees the release of each new Smash game as a “miracle”.
“You may not sense that, but it is actually a miracle every time we’re able to create a Smash Bros. game,” Sakurai said. “It’s a bit different from any other game series that regularly comes out with new installments. Unless we get approval from all of the IP holders who are involved in this game, we can’t make this game. And every time, we are walking a fine line.”
He further added that the reason that the games can be made with the kind of unbridled ambition that they exhibit is down to former Nintendo President Satoru Iwata’s decision to keep the Smash Bros. team as a freelance group, which ensures their independence.
“Especially after I left HAL Laboratories, normally, games continued to be developed by the remaining company,” he said. “But instead, Mr. Iwata created a development team centered on the director who became freelance. That was his call. Without that decision, I can easily imagine that we could not release this Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in the best possible shape at this point.”
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate looks to be a fantastic celebration of the series, of Nintendo, and of video games in general, thanks to Sakurai being able to do the impossible, and bring together every character in the series’ history together for one game, and then some. The game launches exclusively on Nintendo Switch on December 7.