Masahiro Sakurai, creator of the ever-popular Super Smash Bros. franchise, has long been a vocal supporter of virtual reality devices like Oculus Rift. In articles published in Japanese outlet Famitsu in 2013 and 2014, Sakurai praised Oculus Rift and hinted that he’d like to develop a virtual reality game himself. As it turns out, he was soon granted that exact opportunity.
Liam Robertson outlined Sakurai’s previously unknown meeting with Oculus in a video that included research by Blake J. Harris, author of Console Wars and The History of the Future. According to Harris, Sakurai met with Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey in 2015. Luckey was enamored with Sakurai’s work and offered him the chance to create an Oculus game of his choosing. Sakurai would have been given creative control and a generous budget.
Although the prospect was certainly tempting, Sakurai decided against taking the job. This is largely due to the fact that Sakurai believes in creating games to reach a wide audience, and he felt developing a title exclusively for Oculus Rift would have limited his potential audience too much. Sakurai and Luckey parted ways after the conversation, and Sakurai returned to working on DLC for Super Smash Bros. on 3DS and Wii U before eventually moving on to Ultimate on Switch.