Nintendo Life recently sat down with Masahiro Sakurai, lead developer for the Smash Bros. series, asking him a few questions regarding his insanely popular game franchise.

Sakurai first addressed how third party characters are chosen and incorporated into the game: “First off, I think about which third-party characters would make suitable guests for the game before beginning any negotiations. It goes without saying that Mega Man is a guest who could fit Smash Bros. with his range of moves and attacks, but PAC-MAN as a guest fighter needed some careful consideration.” Sakurai’s response makes complete sense, as not all popular third party characters would fit into a game like Smash Bros., and it is refreshing to see that he didn’t simply take whatever characters he could get.

SakuraiHe then went on to explain the large character roster, and that each character was made from the ground up: “In actual fact, since the development team is different for this game as compared to previous iterations, even the veteran characters were remade from scratch.”

It is good to see that the developers weren’t simply “cashing in” on these latest iterations of the franchise, but rather, taking an insane amount of time to carefully pick, create, and design each character. In fact, Sakurai even revealed that “the process, however, of actually creating a character often takes well over a year, where we are constantly working on the model, the animations, the audio and the balancing.”

“First off, I think about which third-party characters would make suitable guests for the game before beginning any negotiations.”

Another aspect Sakurai had to take into consideration was the voice of the fans and their impressions of past titles; developing a game is aimed at pleasing gamers, but where do you draw the line of familiarity and innovation? Sakurai explains, “I know that some sequels focus on fixing problems with the last game, but if we had taken that approach then we would have had less than half as many new characters, and the game wouldn’t have felt so different from the last one.” Sakurai’s vision for Smash Bros. is to please long-time fans, while bringing in new fans at the same time: “To do this we need to listen not just to the biggest fans, but to a whole range of different users to give everyone an experience that is fun.”

It’s great to see Sakurai taking his project very seriously, and trying to bring something new to the table. Make sure to read all of his thoughts in the entire interview. Smash Bros. for 3DS is available worldwide now, while Smash Bros. for Wii U arrives in North America first on November 21.

  • I love Sakurai, and he’s an inspiration of mine, even though I’m not a game developer. he is super dedicated and knows what he’s doing. Can’t wait to see what game he makes next! (After he rests and heals his wrist!!)

  • Laleiro

    “He then went on to explain the large character roster, and that each character was made from the ground up: In actual fact, since the development team is different for this game as compared to previous iterations, even the veteran characters were remade from scratch.”

    Yeah, tell that to Ganondorf ¬¬

    • TheMuSTARdofd00m96

      Haha. Wait. If this is the case THEN BRING BACK FREAKIN’ MEWTWO (I would say Roy, but since there already is one in game…)

    • keys13

      Yup.

      I know I set myself up for disappointment, but I was really hoping Ganondorf would be remade as Wind Waker Ganondorf, with unsheathable swords and general badassery.

      I mean, the WW rerelease wasn’t that long ago!

  • Jason Nunez

    See, where I respect Sakurai’s work and admire it- so much so that I’d love to meet him just to listen to things that revolve around the creation of his game.

    I can’t help but deny that some characters in this iteration are a serious disappointment…

    I give a pass to the Marth clone- since Lucina’s purpose is seems to be “an easier Marth” that happens to be female.. I found Marth a bit difficult to play in the last games so I never got into him.

    But what’s the excuse for Dark pit and Dr. Mario?

    Those slots better fit Dark Samus, whom would be the first separate character from the Metroid universe, and Waluigi, whom would round out the roster for the Mario bros’ counterparts…

    Dark Samus would easily work like a reverse Lucario, though not in the sense of power, more rather mobility. The phazon beam, phazon pulse… Dark Samus’ ability to use phazon to levitate… so forth.

    Waluigi can run an antagonist sort of sense to Luigi, filling in holes with tennis and dirty moves… Slippery maneuvers, dodgy, counters, hits with a tennis racket (like peach lol..)

    I don’t understand why he allowed two slots to be wasted with clones without a clear explanation.

    -.- I mean…. Dr.Mario’s final smash… like… REALLY!?

    • ZephyrDevil

      waluigi would not have been a better character slot choice, and dark samus would have ended up basically being a clone, dr mario was included to give melee fans their version of mario as many of them believed dr mario was better anyway, dark pit is the only one that’s hard to justify but even then he still plays differently from pit and if you don’t realize that then you’ve never tried him

      • Logan

        But Dark Pit is a literal clone, Dark Samus is much different than normal Samus, she has vastly different abilities and was a main antagonist for two (sort of 3) games. Dark Pit is literally a clone of pit in all but colour and personality, he even plays the same in his own game. Even if she was just a clone character, she’d be better than Dark Pit.

        • Andrew DeCaire

          Instead of Dark Samus, I’d rather have SA-X

          It basically turned “Metroid: Fusion” into Survival Horror, which was awesome.

      • Red_Naxela

        Sure dark Samus could be a clone fighter. But it still makes more sense than dr.Mario. Dark Samus is it’s own character, dr.Mario is just Mario. Further more, the Metroid series have two entries, Mario series have… well alot. That is without counting donkey kong too. Dark Samus would fit the bill. And it has lots of diffrences from Samus, both by moves and look.

    • Deva Ashera

      Its the common belief amongst the Super Smash Bros. community that Dr. Mario & Dark Pit were originally alternate costumes for Mario & Pit similar to how Lucina was originally an alternate costume for Marth.
      Its believed that this is why they are placed together on the select screen instead of being placed with the Mario, Kid Icarus, and Fire Emblem series’ characters.
      They already had high quality models and movesets to work with while Dark Samus & Waluigi had lower quality models and no movesets to work with.

      Had Dark Pit and Dr. Mario not been in the game, then its more likely that we would have just ended up with 2 less characters then we have in the final version, not two completely different characters (unless Alph had been his own character instead or something.

    • Andrew DeCaire

      WaLuigi wasn’t originally created as a clone without a clear explanation?

  • David

    Any Belmont would be an excellent fighter

    • Rust

      Or Alucard. :3

  • “Another aspect Sakurai had to take into consideration was the voice of the fans and their impressions of past titles.” Then why no Midna? Honestly, I know people have been begging for her inclusion ever since before Brawl’s release.

    • Soeroah

      “Take into account” doesn’t automatically mean accepting what people say, he just considers it.

      I mean, people have called for Goku, Chrono, hundreds of other characters. If that statement meant he was adding in whatever characters a vocal group of people have been asking for over a long period of time, the game would never come out.

    • Deva Ashera

      Probably because of something I heard he said before about not wanting to include one-off Zelda series characters since they’d likely no longer be relevant by the next game in the series. He’s not all that incorrect either, since Midna had the most requests during the Brawl days..this time half of her fans split to request other characters, namely Ghirahim.

      • Red_Naxela

        I’m just gonna say it… Shiek. Anyway, I don’t think the fans wanting ghirahim would be disappointed if Midna got added. I would love any new Zelda character.

        • Rust

          Vaati, Midna (on Wolf Link), or Ghirahim would all be great…

          There’s also been a quieter request for a Pokemon Trainer style Majora’s Mask Link, where he changes between transformation masks. That would be amazing.

          It would be nice if they would at LEAST make Ganondorf less of a slow, chunky Captain Falcon clone, and give Toon Link some unique items from Adult Link, like the Deku Leaf…

        • Anthony Moseley

          Well, in Shiek’s defense, she did start out as an alternate form of Zelda, so at least Shiek had appeared in previous Smash Bros. games, making her a veteran (which in a ways, gives her a pass in my opinion).

          With Impa appearing in both Skyward Sword and Hyrule Warriors, I could see her appearing in a future game, or maybe as DLC. The Zelda series really needs a new character in the Smash Bros. series though. Putting Midna and Ghirahim in as Assist Trophys just isn’t enough.

        • Deva Ashera

          Sheik was a special case as she started out as part of Zelda’s character, of which Zelda herself was a re-occuring character in the series.
          The only reason she stayed on was because she proved to be just as popular with players and was intended to stay a part of Zelda, but technical difficulties with the 3DS version is why she (and Zerosuit Samus & Charizard) were split off into their own characters.

  • Andrew DeCaire

    You know, since everyone else is cartoony looking compared to the realistic/serious looking Snake. Causing Snake to seriously stick out. I always thought that he regardless belonged. Though yeah I know if they kept “EVERY” smasher from the franchise it would be a massive strain and we’d have too many characters even for our liking.

  • Rust

    So, ‘even the veterans were remade from scratch’… This blows a hole in his excuse for not including Mewtwo being that the data from Melee was too old to transfer such missing characters up to the new hardware.

    Guess he’s talking out of both sides of his mouth.