Making a fighting game with a large roster of characters from so many radically different IPs has been no easy feat, relates series creator Sakurai.
In an interview with Game Informer, Sakurai stated that, “You may not sense that, but it is actually a miracle every time we’re able to create a Smash Bros. game. 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 I.P. holders who are involved in this game, we can’t make this game. And every time, we are walking a fine line.”
This fine line of getting approval for every character, stage, track, and other representations of an IP is bound to take its toll on any creator. As Sakurai went on to relate, “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.”
In speaking of fans that are disappointed about their favorite character not being included, Sakurai seems to have come to a certain peace. He acknowledges that even when he puts in as much hard work as is possible to make the best fighting game ever, “no matter how hard we try, and no matter how many fighters we include, there will always be people who feel that way.”
When the world went wild over the inclusion of the Super Mario Bros. series character Piranha Plant’s inclusion, Sakurai didn’t pay much attention. Instead, he finds that balancing the character roster is much more interesting.
“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,” explained Sakurai. “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.”
When asked what he would have said in 1998 if someone had told him that Smash Bros would become an insanely popular series, he responded with “I would have probably said, ‘You must be kidding!’ But at the same time, I probably was thinking in back of my mind, ‘that’s not entirely impossible…’ Games were quickly evolving, and even back then, I did believe everything was possible in the future for sure.”
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releases for the Nintendo Switch on December 7, 2018.