Source Gaming has recently brought together a ton of information and quotes from Masahrio Sakurai and Satoru Iwata in regards to the first Super Smash Bros. The information comes from around 1996 (when the Smash Bros. prototype was completed) to 1999 (when the game was released).
An interesting quote from Sakurai stands out amongst all the information, in which he talks about what he wanted Smash to be in order for it to have success over other fighting games. He believes that the reason other fighting games weren’t so successful was because they had too many protagonists, so Sakurai had to think carefully on how to avoid that.
Here’s the full quote:
“We knew that fighting games had fared miserably in the consumer market from playing lots of games, it was obvious. I think it’s because they have so many protagonists. You don’t know which character to focus on…you could immediately have 16 protagonists, you don’t know what or who to buy into. We were told that there hadn’t been many successful original fighting games for home consoles, for example, so in order for this game to avoid that, we really thought carefully about what kind of fighting game this should be.” — Masahiro Sakurai
Source: Source Gaming