If you thought the 2018 video game awards season was all wrapped up, you’d be wrong. There are still a few stragglers handing out awards in April, and one of them is the popular Japanese publication Famitsu. The Famitsu Awards handed out the usual accolades like Game of the Year (which was a tie between Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Monster Hunter: World), and they also handed out an “MVP Award” to Smash creator Masahiro Sakurai.
Sakurai had a huge night thanks to not only Smash Ultimate but also due to the popularity of Kirby. The little pink ball of joy won the Best Character award, which is a little surprising to hear in 2019. That said, Sakurai regularly writes a column in Famitsu, so perhaps he had something of a home-field advantage. You can check out the full list of winners below.
Game of the Year
Monster Hunter: World (Capcom)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Nintendo)
Octopath Traveler (Square Enix)
God of War (Sony)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Nintendo)
Detroit: Become Human (Sony)
Dragon Quest Builders 2 (Square Enix)
Fate/Grand Order (FGO Project)
Fortnite (Epic Games)
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu / Eevee (The Pokemon Company / Nintendo)
Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai is one of the hardest working people in the video game industry, often at great consequence to his own well-being. Throughout the development of Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, Sakurai suffered from calcific tendonitis. Since then he has made a recovery and is working fewer hours, but he’s still pushing himself pretty hard.
These days Sakurai usually works from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM (which is somehow a shorter shift than he used to work), and his tendonitis is no longer an issue. However, in a recent interview with Nintendo Dream, Sakurai revealed that he’s been struggling with stomach issues. Rather than take time off to rest, Sakurai says he simply takes an IV drip to work.
So you didn’t have any stomach issues or anything?
Sakurai: Well, actually… I still had a lot of stomach problems.
You did? (laughs)
Sakurai: Yeah, a ton.
So what do you do when that sort of thing happens? I actually had a case of acute gastroenteritis recently.
Sakurai: That sounds rough. When you’ve got symptoms like food poisoning, you definitely have to go to the hospital, right? I’ve had that situation once or twice before during development. It was like I got food poisoning from some oysters that I didn’t eat.
Even though you hadn’t eaten any. (laughs)
Sakurai: It was like my food had come into contact with them or something. But I cook my food thoroughly… Why did I get sick?
Uh, so… Do you take some time off when that happens?
Sakurai: No, I don’t. I just get an IV drip and go to work like normal.
Are you serious?!
Sakurai: I guess I’m a hard worker? (wry laughter) I’m a freelancer, so I don’t have any strict rules on my time. As long as I can complete the game, I could show up to the office once per week and I think it’d be within the realm of forgiveness. But instead I make sure I come to work every day and write proper daily reports and such. I’m always working, but there’s a lot of things that keep me in good spirits!
Sakurai’s history of quality game releases is impressive, but it’s disheartening to hear that he still seems to be prioritizing game development well above his physical well-being. It’s good to hear that he’s scaled back his hours somewhat, but it sounds like he’s still putting himself through a lot of pain. Please take care of yourself, Sakurai!
A forthcoming major installment of a heralded Nintendo game franchise like Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, or Pokémon is enough to drive their respective fanbases into an absolute tizzy. These new games, often boasting a lavish premise with plenty of promise, building on the solid foundations of its predecessors, lead us to high and often met expectations, with each landmark title continuing to surprise and amaze.
Super Smash Bros., on the other hand, isn’t your average gaming franchise.
No, a series like Smash Bros. sits in a hallowed position as the beloved and increasingly ambitious crossover helmed by the revered producer Masahiro Sakurai, bringing in all of Nintendo’s major players and honored guests under one unbelievably packed roof for an all-star battle royale like none other. Rumors alone of a new entry on the horizon are enough to stir a massive frenzy of discussion and speculation, and we were no stranger to the hype here at Gamnesia. When that familiar insignia blazed anew at the end of the March 2018 Direct, the collective Internet jumped out of its chair and screamed in total euphoria, as the long-awaited marriage of Smash and Switch has finally happened, later sporting the appropriately weighty title of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Since its inception, Super Smash Bros. sported its own distinct gameplay style that sets itself apart as a hybrid platformer-fighter-party game. It foregoes flat planes and health bars that the traditional fighting game genre has established since the days of Street Fighter, in favor of platform-based stages and damage percentage buildup. The higher a fighter’s percentage, the further they are sent flying off the map, and once beyond the stage’s borders, they are KO’d.
The biggest draw of Smash Bros. is, of course, its mind-boggling cast of playable characters. Each new entry over the years presented a bigger and more impressive roster than the last, although there were some fighters from a previous title not making the cut in a subsequent installment due to time constraints, rights negotiations, or technical difficulties—but not this time.
Living up to its name, and the lofty slogan “Everyone is Here!!,” Super Smash Bros. Ultimate goes above and beyond in bringing back each and every single fighter from across the franchise’s 20-year-long history. These include the return of one-off characters like Solid Snake and Young Link, and further cement the presence of the downloadable characters following the release of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and for Wii U, like Corrin and Bayonetta.
Prioritizing the return of every fighter for Ultimate did lead to a lower number of brand new fighters being developed for the game next to previous entries, but these new contenders are excellent additions that make up for the comparative lack all the same. Metroid‘s own “larger than life” Ridley and King K. Rool of Donkey Kong Country fame make triumphant debuts under the spotlight as highly requested legacy characters from Nintendo’s rogues gallery, with fresh faces like Inkling from Splatoon and the chipper Animal Crossing secretary Isabelle joining the fray. To top it all off, there are the special third party appearances by two of Castlevania‘s famed vampire slayers—Simon and Richter Belmont—adding to the already insane guest character lineup including Mega Man, Pac-Man, and Cloud.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s roster aimed for both quantity and quality from the outset, and succeeded in both fronts in spades. Every fighter, old and new, plays smoothly with a variety of bonkers movesets at the heightened pace of combat this game presents compared to its predecessor, inching it closer but nonetheless comfortably distant from Super Smash Bros. Melee when it comes to gameplay speed. The additional control mechanics like a streamlined short-hop attack and the return of directional air dodges have also been welcome additions that help spice up ways in which you can approach your opponent.
The stages also mostly comprise of returning maps, bringing in over one hundred stages for up to eight players to go toe-to-toe in. Returning favorites include Fountain of Dreams, Arena Ferox, and Jungle Japes, all with an HD facelift that make them look better than ever—as well as new additions based off of Nintendo’s recent hits like Moray Towers and New Donk City. For competitive players, not only does each map include a Final Destination variant like in for 3DS and for Wii U (this time bearing a consistent floating island layout), but a Battlefield off-shoot as well, let alone a dedicated Tournament mode and the team-oriented Squad Strike.
Throw in the brand new Stage Morph option to switch arenas mid-match, a Stage Hazard toggle to do away with hindrances and left-field surprises, and an incredibly thorough ruleset for players to mess with, and you’re all set for hours of fun fisticuffs with friends.
When you’ve had your fill of the multiplayer portion of Ultimate, the game has a few dedicated single player offerings as well. The ever-familiar Classic Mode takes on a new form this time around by having each fighter tackle a specific set of approaching challengers in their own specially themed campaigns, typically culminating towards a boss battle. Kirby, for example, faces off against fellow fighters known for their voracious appetites, leading towards a superstar-studded showdown versus Marx, and poor Luigi is thrust into his worst nightmares by clashing with the scarier fighters before confronting the dreaded Count Dracula Vlad Ţepeş. Most of these tongue-in-cheek references and thematic Classic routes are subtle slices of fan service that only endeared me further towards the labor of love and attention to detail Sakurai and company have put into each campaign.
The only real knocks against Classic Mode, personally, were how most of the campaigns simply end in a battle against Master Hand (occasionally featuring Crazy Hand) when certain other bosses would’ve been a better fit for certain fighters—say Badnik-busting expert Sonic the Hedgehog going up against the robotic tank Galleom—and the lack of dedicated Mii Fighter campaigns.
The other two single player game modes are Training Mode and Mob Smash, the latter being an umbrella category for Century Smash (100 Man Melee), Cruel Smash, and All-Star Smash. While Training Mode further expanded on the concept with a dedicated Training map with graphs and launch distance measurements, and Mob Smash provides some fun distractions, it does make one miss some of the more banal mini-games like Homerun Contest and Break the Targets.
All of that aside, the big crux of the game’s single player content revolves around Spirits Mode, and I have to say, the phrase “attention to detail” does not do this feature justice. Gone are Trophies, instead replaced with Spirits embodying a wide litany of characters from the collaborating franchises under Ultimate and then some. You earn Spirits primarily in battles via the Spirit Board, this game’s equivalent to Event Matches from previous titles, where you’re set up against computer players with a specific set of rules, enemy behaviors, and victory conditions. It put a big smile on my face to go up against a Shantae-possessed Zero Suit Samus favoring her whip, or Rayman possessing the ever agile Sonic with a helping hand from the limbless Sukapon Assist Trophy. A bit of a shame that the Spirits aren’t accompanied with a descriptive blurb on the character or item it represents, sadly.
It is also in Spirits Mode where Smash Bros. once again bears a fully-fledged Adventure Mode, this time going by the name “World of Light,” but those seeking something akin to the Subspace Emissary will be disappointed. There are no cutscenes featuring character interactions beyond the opening cinematic, let alone any substantial scenes aside from the finale and halfway point as WoL is mostly gameplay-driven, with Spirit Battles galore and no platforming segments like its predecessor. That is not to say the mode is devoid of any enjoyment, as you explore world maps and specially themed submaps in your quest to liberate Spirits and your fellow fighters, battle against Galeem and a litany of bosses, and train your Spirits to become stronger. It is, however, a bit of a grind to complete that could take a couple dozen hours, but the true final boss is a hell of a spectacle, including a certain surprise that will delight longtime fans, that helped validate the long road to reach it.
Tallying the Primary, Support, Master, and Fighter Spirits, the base game totals 1297 Spirit for you to catalog, and that’s only the final count that came up at launch. With a ton of Spirits to collect and several methods to obtain them, Spirits Mode will certainly keep you busy!
l was also pleased to see Smash Bros. Ultimate run at a consistent 60fps for the most part on my Switch in either Docked or Handheld mode, with the graphical fidelity hardly taking a hit when playing portably, perfecting the dream of on-the-go Smashings that for 3DS first realized four years ago. The game’s soundtrack, much like the fighters and stages, mostly comprise of returning favorites, but the new remixes for Ultimate are absolutely phenomenal, both in the creative approach of letting artists choose what they would like to cover and their subsequent execution. For example, hearing ACE—famous for composing many fantastic tracks from Xenoblade Chronicles and its sequel—tackle David Wise’s “Gangplank Galleon” from DKC was one of the best experiences I’ve had listening to an arrangement ever. The fact that the game even has a soundtrack totalling over 800 music tracks is so very surreal, but it’s all the more believable given it’s Smash Bros.—of course they had to go over the top!
Finally, that leaves one remaining portion that I feel is Ultimate‘s weakest pillar across its otherwise stellar foundation, and that is the online mode.
Pros first, the Battle Arenas have been improved considerably since for Wii U, as players can now host private lobbies with friends and invited guests for up to 8 participants, compared to the limit of 4 players among friends only the last time around. Only up to four at a time can throw down at once, but the remaining players can either queue themselves up to go up next or simply spectate each round as they come. Additionally, the Background Matchmaking feature helps immeasurably for those not willing to put up with waiting in a training lobby between brawls, as I found myself squeezing in some offline gameplay while waiting for the next match I’d be paired into.
The real down points with the online portion, however, come first with Quickplay. There are no “For Fun” and “For Glory” distinctions like last time, with players now choosing preferred rules before being paired up with others. This often leads to going into battle without the rules you wanted for yourself as the matchmaking system seems to choose one players’ rules at random rather than matching you with someone with rules more closely reflecting your own. While I can swing either casually with items or competitively without, I found it to be a bit of a drag going up against my opponents without the playing field I initially envisioned.
And my last point against the online is less a bad grade for Ultimate alone and more a scathing indictment of Nintendo Switch Online, but the lack of dedicated servers do hurt the appeal of fighting against your friends via the Internet. You can minimize lag for yourself with a decent service plan and investing in a USB-based LAN adapter, but if your opponent has a bad connection in this head-scratching Peer-to-Peer environment, so will you and everyone else. It’s a shame that Nintendo has not fully invested in an online infrastructure what with a paid subscription for a service that was freely available for a year and a half after the Switch’s launch, especially for a game as massive as Ultimate. It doesn’t exactly paint a pretty picture as Nintendo got caught fibbing on the matter when the North America Open livestream openly displayed said lag during one of the matches.
There is also a feature to share recorded match videos via the Smash World service on the Nintendo Switch Online app, but this has not yet been made available at the time of writing this review. It is also a shame that the Nintendo Switch’s video capture feature is disabled, as there are several moments in Classic Mode and Spirit Battles among others that I wish I could’ve saved, seeing as you can only record your multiplayer battles.
Online woes aside, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate stands proud as the most ambitious crossover in video game history, bringing together an impossible collection of fighters made reality thanks to the good faith Nintendo and Sakurai have accrued for the franchise since its humble beginnings on the Nintendo 64 twenty years ago. There’s plenty of replay value in store with the timeless frantic multiplayer and limitless combinations of dream fighter matchups, familiar gameplay modes that have been refined in most ways, and a long list of Spirits to collect and familiarize oneself with, so trust me when I say you’re in for a smashing great time.
Those looking for even more Smash for their buck will surely come back for rotating events on the Spirit Board, at times updating with new Spirits to collect, and keep an eye out for even more fighters on top of the insane number of 71 already present in the base game. Piranha Plant was one newcomer I could never expect, but its design and moveset make this timeless bitey, planty Mario baddie a welcome and hilarious addition to the roster, and with the surprise reveal I never saw coming with Joker from Persona 5 on the horizon, I can hardly wrap my head around how much further Nintendo can press the envelope with the four other mystery guests yet to be unveiled. Who else is there left who could possibly join? I can hardly wait!
All that and more is to say the thrill ride that is Ultimate has no end in sight just yet, and I am more than excited to be a part of it all.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is available now for the Nintendo Switch.
A digital copy of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was provided to Gamnesia by Nintendo of America for the purpose of this review.
No 9 Our Verdict Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Every fighter from previous Smash Bros. games returning for the craziest and biggest roster of playable characters in Nintendo history. Long-awaited newcomers that fit well into the mould. Gameplay tweaks compared to “for Wii U” that speeds up pacing. A wide variety of gameplay modes in both single player and multiplayer to keep one busy. Fan service galore with hundreds of Spirits to collect. Gorgeous graphics and absolutely phenomenal soundtrack. Lack of familiar mini-games such as Homerun Contest and Break the Targets. World of Light’s paper-thin story. Lackluster online service, in part due to Nintendo’s own subscription-based online platform. Inability to record every moment of gameplay aside from multiplayer battles. Top
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.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate does its best to live up to its name by including every past fighter in the history of the franchise, but it doesn’t stop there! In a recent interview with Japanese publication Nintendo Dream, Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai discussed how the game’s massive roster was chosen and revealed why certain characters were excluded.
New Smash games typically like to add a new Pokémon fighter, and Ultimate went with Incineroar. As it turns out, this was a tough call, and the team strongly considered Decidueye as well. It came down to those two Generation 7 starters, but Incineroar ultimately won out.
Additionally, Sakurai was asked why Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has no characters to represent games like ARMS and Xenoblade Chronicles 2. This decision, Sakurai explained, came down to timing. Ultimate‘s roster was planned out well in advance, and there wasn’t time to add in more fighters from upcoming Nintendo releases.
However, we do know that there are at least six DLC fighters on the way. On the topic of DLC, Sakurai also confirmed that the Fighter Ballot for Smash Wii U DLC influenced the base roster of Ultimate. Simon and Richter Belmont, Ridley, and King K. Rool all made it into Ultimate based on fan requests from the previous game.
Back in the late 1990s, Masahiro Sakurai and the late great Satoru Iwata worked in secret on a radical new project that would pit many of Nintendo’s most popular characters against each other in a brawl. Nintendo eventually greenlit the project, and Super Smash Bros. was born on the Nintendo 64. The crossover fighting game would quickly become a huge hit, and Nintendo realized its long term potential.
Fast forward 20 years and Smash is one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises of all time. Each new entry in the series featured a bigger and more diverse roster, culminating in the massive Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster we have today. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Smash‘s Japanese debut, Sakurai sent out a thank you message to fans.
“Smash Bros. is 20 years old today! Over these 20 years, I’ve seen so many people enjoy this series in so many ways – at home, at hangouts, at conventions, even in business offices! Development has always been hard on me, but I’m supremely happy. Thank you so much for playing.” — Masahiro Sakurai
Masahiro Sakurai is one of the most successful developers ever to work with Nintendo IP, and his latest masterpiece may be his most popular yet. In celebration of the launch of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Did You Know Gaming has taken an extensive look at Sakurai’s life, highlighting many of the key moments in his life and career, including the development of games like Kirby and Smash.
From his early days as a middle schooler playing Pong and learning to program all the way until today, Sakurai has had an unstoppable love for video games. That dedication would lead him to become one of HAL Laboratory’s top game designers after falling in love with one of their games as a child. It would further lead him, with the help of Satoru Iwata, to push for Nintendo’s most prominent characters to be part of a fighting game. Even the pain of calcific tendonitis couldn’t stop Sakurai from pushing ahead to greatness.
If you’d like to know more about the life and career of Masahiro Sakurai, you’ll want to check out the latest Did You Know Gaming by clicking above!
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is headed to Nintendo Switch with the biggest selection of playable fighters in franchise history. If the roster of over 70 fighters available at launch isn’t enough for you, Nintendo has already confirmed that they’re planning five more fighters as DLC (plus Piranha Plant). Fans across the globe are excitedly making predictions about the future fighters, but if you’ve been bombarding Sakurai’s social media channels with suggestions, you’re barking up the wrong tree.
The Smash creator has been absolutely flooded by suggestions from fans since the latest Nintendo Direct, but to no avail. As it turns out, the DLC characters have already been decided. Additionally, it wasn’t Sakurai calling the shots on the final roster this time. Instead, Nintendo selected the upcoming characters and passed their wishes on to Sakurai.
Sakurai explained all of this in a pair of tweets. While he thanks fans for their passion and understands their desire to see certain characters in the game, he also requests that fans stay on topic when posting to his Twitter. I can’t blame the guy! Constantly being questioned about something you’re not in control of must be exhausting.
No Our Verdict
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s DLC line-up is now complete. This time the selection was made entirely by Nintendo. I decide if we can create a fighter based on their selection, then come up with the plan.
Get ready to board the hype train one last time, Smash fans! We’re less than six weeks away from the launch of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on Nintendo Switch, but Nintendo isn’t done dropping exciting news about the upcoming fighter yet. Ahead of its release, they’re squeezing in one last Nintendo Direct, and it’s going to be a big one.
This Thursday, November 1st, Nintendo is kicking off a Smash-themed Direct with a whopping 40-minute runtime. For reference, that’s usually about how long Nintendo spends on their E3 Directs, which cover multiple games. So that’s a lot of Smash coverage, especially this close to launch. Just how much do they still have left to reveal?
We’ll all find out the answer to that question together in just two days. The show kicks off at 7:00 AM Pacific / 10:00 AM Eastern. That’s 2:00 PM in the UK and 3:00 PM by Central European Time. All of the exciting announcements will be delivered directly to fans by Smash creator Masahiro Sakurai. Tune in to Gamnesia for live coverage of the whole event!
If you want even more Nintendo goodness, the Direct will be followed by a post-show Nintendo Treehouse: Live presentation, featuring live gameplay of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee, Yoshi’s Crafted World, and Diablo III: Eternal Edition.
During this year’s E3, we learned that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Nintendo Switch is bringing back every single playable character in franchise history. As if that’s not enough, they’ve also been announcing new characters left and right, including Inkling, Ridley, Simon, King K. Rool, and Isabelle.
The near-constant fighter reveals have been a fun and crazy ride, but it sounds like things are going to be a little quieter on the Smash front going forward. In his latest Famitsu column. Smash creator Masahiro Sakurai indicated that this breakneck pace of Ultimate character reveals can’t continue forever.
“We announced Isabelle in the Nintendo Direct… however, it would be a mistake to think that the new character announcements will keep going [at this pace] until Smash Bros. releases. We may have been a little trigger-happy so we’ll be living modestly from here on out.” — Masahiro Sakurai
While Sakurai and his team are slowing down on the character reveals, that doesn’t mean they’re over altogether. There’s still nearly two and a half months left to go, which is plenty of time for another announcement or two. There’s also the possibility of more characters being announced after launch as DLC. Even without additional characters, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate already has the largest roster in franchise history, and it’s not even close.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Nintendo Switch appears to be living up to its name, with a roster that features every character in franchise history and a stage lineup with over 100 choices. We’ve shared videos from GameXplain in the past that show just how much returning stages from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and the original Nintendo 64 entry have evolved in the upcoming game.
As it turns out, this was one heck of a major commitment by the development team! In his latest Famitsu column, Smash creator Masahiro Sakurai revealed that this has been a more complicated process than you might think, as well as one of the most time-consuming elements of development.
“If you include Battlefield, Big Battlefield, and Final Destination, then there are 103 stages–104 if you also add in the Training Stage. And if you factor in the Omega and Battlefield variants, then you have over 300! It’s absolutely insane. I imagine you’ll have a hard time even finding the stage you want to choose on the select screen. Despite how it may look, stage creation is one of the aspects of development that requires a lot of manhours. Even though many have been ported over from previous games, updating the graphics takes a considerable amount of work, and some stages took upward of a year to complete. The Omega and Battlefield variants aren’t easy to put together, either. Despite struggling to gather the necessary human resources, we made it our mission to put together 100 stages, so I hope you enjoy them..” — Masahrio Sakurai
According to Sakurai, some stages were cooking for over a year. That’s a lot of dedication! Remember when people argued that this game was just a port?
If you ask modern game developers about how they got into their field, many will point to iconic and beloved franchises from the early days of gaming that blazed a trail and inspired them in their youth. Games like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid have served as a foundation for countless adventures that followed.
However, if you ask Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai about his origin story, you’ll get a completely different take. Speaking with The Guardian, Sakurai revealed that he (like many gamers) got a part-time job so that he could buy more games. Instead of focusing on critically acclaimed masterpieces, Sakurai went out of his way to buy games he expected to dislike.
“I was striving to become an engineer, but something happened that made me think, maybe I can make games instead. There was a two-year-period in school where I would do a part-time job to make enough money to buy games, that I would play to research. I went out of my way to play games I didn’t like or find interesting. Those ended up being a lot more informative for me. At home I have literally thousands of games, and I think of them as pearls of wisdom from my predecessors. Game development is very difficult. Nobody sets out to create a game that’s not fun. It’s all of the challenges and difficulties that happen throughout development that determine whether a game is a failure or a success. I think playing those thousands of games is the single best and easiest way to learn from my predecessors.” — Masahiro Sakurai
As Sakurai’s story shows, it’s possible to learn just as much (or even more) from gaming missteps than success stories. And who knows, perhaps one or two of those “uninteresting” games changed Sakurai’s mind once he got the controller in his hands.
Famed developer Masahiro Sakurai has been steadily pumping out new entries in the Super Smash Bros. franchise for nearly 20 years now. All of that effort will culminate in the launch of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (featuring every playable character in franchise history) this December. Sakurai has been floating the idea of moving on from Smash for years now, so will this Ultimate edition finally be the end?
Usually, by the time a new Smash releases, Sakurai is publicly flirting with the idea of washing his hands of Smash. This time around, however, he’s singing a different tune with a few months left to go before launch. Speaking to The Guardian, Sakurai was asked if he personally wished to make the series non-stop until retirement. While this isn’t Sakurai’s personal preference, he indicated that he plans to continue working on Smash so long as the demand is there from fans.
“I actually don’t feel that way at all! The best way to enjoy video games is to play what other people have made. But at the same time, I have a role. At this point I have been asked to create Smash and so I am doing that, and will continue to do so if the demand is there..” — Masahiro Sakurai
I’d say it’s a fairly safe assumption that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is going to sell millions upon millions of copies on Switch, and the fans will demand more at some point. It looks like Sakurai isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
During today’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct, series creator Masahiro Sakurai unveiled new playable characters (including Echo Fighters), new game modes, and more. At one point in the presentation, he also highlighted some of the rule changes in Smash modes, including the fact that you now choose your stage before you select your fighters. During this segment, he revealed an exciting new feature that’s likely to shake up the game quite a bit.
Players will now have the option to toggle on or off a chargeable Final Smash feature. When this feature is turned on, each player will have a meter that slowly fills up. When that meter is full, a fighter can unleash a weakened version of their Final Smash. This will keep battles exciting and dangerous, but there is a limitation. Two (or more) players cannot unleash their Final Smashes simultaneously.
During Nintendo’s E3 Direct back in June they pulled back the curtains and gave us an extensive look at the next entry in the beloved Super Smash Bros. franchise. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on Nintendo Switch lives up to its name by including every playable character in franchise history in one packed roster. There’s still plenty we don’t know about the upcoming crossover fighter, but we’re due for a big update in just a few days!
Nintendo has just announced a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct for later this week. You can tune in on Wednesday, August 8th, for a livestream featuring new game information delivered directly by series creator Masahiro Sakurai. It all kicks off at 7:00 AM Pacific Time / 10:00 AM Eastern. That’s 3:00 PM in the UK and 4:00 PM in Europe.
Nintendo is gearing up to launch a new iteration of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch, and this time it’s the Ultimate version of the game, including every past character in franchise history. Millions of fans are excited for the future of the franchise, but there’s still a dedicated group of players that miss the Melee days.
Melee was the fastest, most technical, and most competitive of the Smash titles, and some feel that the series has become too watered down with recent entries. Speaking with the Washington Post, Smash creator Masahiro Sakurai explained why he chose to move away from the Melee way of doing things.
“I feel like a game, at the end of the day, is about playing the game. But if we focus too much on the top level players — or the audience — then the game skews a little bit too much on the technical side.”
“I think a lot of Melee players love Melee. But at the same time, I think a lot of players, on the other hand, gave up on Melee because it’s too technical, because they can’t keep up with it. And I know there were players who got tendinitis from playing, and messing with the controller so much . . . that really is hard on the player. And I feel like a game should really focus on what the target audience is.” — Masahiro Sakurai
To a competitive fighting game fan, “technical” is a positive, but Melee can feel a bit overwhelming to the average Nintendo fan. That said, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is not just a casual party game. The Wii U iteration of Smash was faster and more technical than Brawl, and Sakurai has sped the action up once again in Ultimate. Based on our time with the game at E3, we’d say Sakurai manged to strike a good balance between technical and approachable.
Nintendo is gearing up to launch another Super Smash Bros. game later this year, and it’s poised to be the Ultimate iteration with every character in franchise history returning. You would think this would be enough to satisfy any fan, but there’s a rather vocal minority on the internet that’s furious about the lack of a playable Waluigi in the game.
Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime recently addressed this situation in an interview with Vice. Reggie, unsurprisingly, is a bit exhausted with the whole situation, but he still tried to be a good sport about it. In fact, he’s pledged to make sure that Sakurai is aware of the immense support for Waluigi.
Vice: So, you’re sitting in front of Mario Tennis Aces poster. I need to know your main is?
Reggie: [Forcefully, while holding back a laugh] WALUIGI.
Vice: OK, well listen… Why does Nintendo hate Waluigi then?
Reggie: CLEARLY, Nintendo does not hate Waluigi. Because here I am with him as my main character. I mean look, we’re making every character that’s ever been in a Smash Bros. game available in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Vice: [Laughing] But not Waluigi.
Reggie: [With faux exhaustion] You would think that would be enough to satisfy the fans. But noooooo! The fans have to focus in on one character that isn’t part of the series and to demand their inclusion.
So, one of the good things about the way we approach E3 is when it’s all said and done we step back. We look at all of the feedback and share with the devs and certainly Mr. Sakurai will be aware of the groundswell of support that appeared for a Waluigi. And in the end it’s his decision to make.
Nintendo is listening to the outcry from fans, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll get what they want. The final decision belongs to Sakurai. Perhaps he’ll see fit to include Waluigi one day, but for now, why don’t we just enjoy the 60+ playable characters we do have?
One of Nintendo’s biggest franchises is returning this December. Super Smash Bros.Ultimate uses the previous Smash game as a starting point and builds off of its systems, but the new game has been redesigned with tens of thousands of changes. One such change we picked up on during our time with the game at E3 is that the action is faster than on Wii U.
In his latest column in the popular Japanese publication Famitsu, Sakurai explained exactly what sort of changes he made to increase the pace and why he chose not to change things up too much.
“I still increased the overall speed of the game, but only by an amount that wouldn’t be alienating to people unfamiliar with Smash. After all, we haven’t seen a huge influx of brand-new gamers like we did when the Wii was released, and the on-screen movement is much easier to follow on the Switch than it is on the Nintendo 3DS.
“For example, the knockback speed has been increased. Even when launched a short distance, a character will fly off very quickly then suddenly slow down. Reducing the time while incapacitated has helped improve the flow of gameplay. I wanted to include this change in previous entries, but I gave up because it was so easy to lose track of your position, especially on the 3DS. I’ve also increased fighters’ initial jump speed, reduced aerial landing lag, and made a slew of other changes that will accelerate gameplay without making the game itself too ‘hardcore.'” — Masahiro Sakurai
Smash Bros. reached its peak speed in Melee, before sharply declining for Brawl. We saw a slight increase from Brawl to the 3DS and Wii U versions, and Ultimate will speed things up once again. All of these small changes should make for a more fast-paced and exciting experience.
That said, Sakurai is being careful not to change things too drastically or set the barrier for entry too high. Based on our time with the game, the changes were significant enough for us to notice them but subtle enough not to change the core gameplay beyond familiarity.
Many gamers are familiar with how dedicated Smash Bros.-creator Masahiro Sakurai is to the games he creates, to the point that he even injured his wrists during development of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS from working so hard. Thankfully, he’s taking things a bit easier this time around, and a new interview between Game Informer and Bill Trinen indicates that those old injuries have been taken care of.
Game Informer: How is long-time Smash director Masahiro Sakurai’s health? In the past we’ve heard that he had issues with his wrists during development.
Trinen: He’s totally fine. I think he had wrist issues during the development of the Wii U game. He’s fine now. My understanding is he got over it, did some rehabilitation on it, and is in good shape.
Many of us were a bit concerned that Sakurai might be pushing himself too hard yet again, but it sounds like things have turned around considerably for the developer since the days of the Wii U title. I for one am very happy to hear that he’s doing better, and I hope he stays that way as he and his team prepare to launch Super Smash Bros. Ultimatethis December.
Indie farming simulator Stardew Valley has been impressing gamers around the world since its debut in 2016. Its popularity soared even higher after it was ported to Nintendo Switch, and it has now sold nearly 1 million copies on Switch alone in just seven months. Stardew Valley has become a near obsession for many, and as it turns out, the list of hooked players includes Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai.
Sakurai writes a regular column for Japanese publication Famitsu. His latest column was titled “Man, Farming is Dangerous,” and it highlights his recent obsession with Stardew Valley. Sakurai initially picked the game up on PC, but just couldn’t get into it. When it came to Switch, he decided to give it another shot, and he’s had a hard time putting it down ever since.
If you’re interested in checking out Sakurai’s full thoughts on Stardew Valley and other farming simulators, you can find a full translation of his latest Famitsu column at Source Gaming.