Sakurai on the response to Smash Bros. Ultimate, keeping things a secret, more talk about the future
Smash Bros. Ultimate director Masahiro Sakurai is back this week with one of his regular columns in Famitsu. This was the first piece he shared after seeing the reaction to the game’s announcement at E3.
Aside from speaking about the response, Sakurai also spoke about keeping Ultimate and reveal itself a secret, and addressed the series’ future again. There’s even a bit of talk about his health as well.
Our full translation is as follows:
The previous installment and the installment before that of “Thinking About Games!” dealt with the topic of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – both of which were written before the game’s reveal at E3. As such, this is the first column being published after seeing everybody’s responses!
The response to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was absolutely incredible, to say the least!! I think the release of the game’s promo was honestly the first time I’d seen so tremendous a reaction! A great many people were immensely excited and weren’t shy about letting us know. Of course, we weren’t bothered by that excitement at all.
At the time of the announcement, I appeared in the Treehouse Live presentation immediately after the Nintendo Direct. As I was preparing for Treehouse Live, I didn’t really have time to see the announcement itself. At the time, however, I could hear the bellowing and cheers from Nintendo’s booth far away at important points during the presentation; that felt great!
Truth be told, I’m really glad there weren’t any leaks… Had any information gotten out – say, if everybody knew about “Everyone is Here!” – I feel like the reaction wouldn’t have been as intense as it has been.
The rest of the staff and myself have essentially been preparing this for many years; even now we’re planning carefully and meticulously for when the release day rolls around. In making things like the cinematics for the presentation as well, for instance, I really didn’t want all of that careful planning to go to waste because somebody felt the need to boast about all of the work they did.
This game is immense in scale, so naturally there were a lot of people involved in its development that had access to information, such as the publisher. To that end, we very deliberately monitored and controlled the flow of information. Even at Nintendo’s booth, we didn’t have any printed information that might give away the surprise, and the giant screen we had prepared didn’t display anything until the day of the announcement.
At any rate, having something like the “Everyone is Here!” concept get leaked was unacceptable. You could even hear the cheers of some event staff members too, as even their information was limited! During the game’s production, there were a lot of people even at Nintendo that didn’t know anything – the game was truly a secret project. So, naturally, when the announcement actually happened I felt a weight lift from my shoulders; the sole source of my anxiety had finally left!
My focus had shifted from my anxieties to that moment. For instance, when characters like Ice Climbers, Pokémon Trainer, and Wolf were revealed, there was an absolute uproar! I feel like, however, that excitement wasn’t due to the characters’ popularity in and of itself, per se – rather, people were only excited because they hadn’t appeared in the previous title.
I’m sure there are a lot of people who have questions like “What about the next entry in the series!?” No matter how I think about it, the number of fighters will probably decrease – I can’t foresee another title having absolutely everybody appear. Despite the immense reaction we received in response to the “Everyone is Here!” reveal, we may have just opened a Pandora’s box that has messed with the future of the series.
If I can be frank, I’m simply not thinking about the next game in the series or anything like that.
Instead, I’ve just been focusing on making the best possible game I can now.
Honestly, I’m just not that young anymore – I can’t work at the same level as I have been forever. So, the important thing is to focus on the “now” rather than the “later!” For now, I think I want to focus on what I’m able to do and what I should do.
Incidentally, the Smash Bros. announcement was the first video announcement I had done in a while, and I had a lot of people asking me things like “Did you lose weight?” “Are you feeling okay?” and telling me to “Please take care of yourself!” I did end up losing around 13 pounds, in fact – but it was more so from me being stressed out than actually being sick, so please don’t worry about me. For now, development still has a little bit farther to go. I’ve been so busy I don’t even have time to play games that much, but as the days go by I’m still doing my best!
Translation by provided by Nico Thaxton on behalf of Nintendo Everything
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