But development could have been a lot longer, had the team had to redo their work for the Switch’s tabletop, handheld, and console modes.
One of the biggest, most content packed games of all time is the just released Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which is packed with so much stuff, it defies description. And yet, the game ended up being in development for not even a full three years.
Speaking to Famitsu in an interview (via Ryokutya), series creator and director of Ultimate Masahiro Sakurai noted that the game began development in early 2016, which means it launched after just two and a half years of development. A lot of this comes down to the team realizing that they could reuse the same work that they did across the Switch’s three modes—handheld, console, and tabletop. If they had not been able to do that, he notes, then the game would have taken double the time.
Sakurai also admits that Nintendo had basically dictated that a new Smash Bros. game be ready for the Switch, which is what Ultimate ended up being, and notes that given what Ultimate is, there may not be another Smash game for ten years or so from now—which, to be fair, is not that much longer than the time period between Melee and Brawl, or Brawl and Smash 4.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is out now on Nintendo Switch.