Today Fire Emblem may be popular enough worldwide to garner five representatives in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, but back when Melee was released in 2001, that was not the case. In a recent interview included in a Fire Emblem 25th Anniversary book, Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai opened up about the struggles of including the Japan-only characters Marth and Roy in Melee worldwide; for example, he stated that Roy was almost cut from the game’s American release, but, in the end, Nintendo of America said, “He’ll be fun, so let’s leave him as is.”
Sakurai stated that there were difficulties in including Marth in Melee, but he “pushed hard” for him because he knew he would be a fun character; he also pointed to the characters’ Japanese voices in the worldwide release as another point of contention in their development. Here’s his full statement:
Interviewer: I think that Smash characters are designed in a way that’s very conscious of the entire worldwide audience, but at first Fire Emblem wasn’t even a series that had been released outside of Japan. Were there some difficulties trying to include Marth, who hadn’t ever made an overseas appearance?
Sakurai: Yes, there were a few, but I was certain he would be a fun character, so I pushed hard for Marth. For Roy, I think there was some discussion and internal dispute. For example, their voices are both Japanese even in the international releases. That’s pretty rare, I think. Well, other than Pikachu.
Sakurai: During development, I also had meetings with NoA. We talked about removing Roy for the NA release, but in the end they said, “He’ll be fun, so let’s leave him as is.”
What do you guys think? Are you glad that Sakurai was so confident about these characters? Sound off in the comments!