Check Out This Latest Famitsu Interview with Masahiro Sakurai

Check Out This Latest Famitsu Interview with Masahiro Sakurai

Recently, Famitsu managed to get another interview with Super Smash Bros series director, Masahiro Sakurai!

Int he interview he talked about many features of the game from World of Light and even the esports community!

Check out the interview down below:

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s defining feature is that “everyone is here,” was that something that you had in mind going into it?

Sakurai: Of course – that was the basis for the game.

When Ultimate was announced during Nintendo’s presentation at E3 2018, everybody jotting down notes about the reveal found that they couldn’t exactly keep up. Even people from foreign media outlets couldn’t help but crack a resigned smile; in the end everybody just gave up taking notes, but I imagine they were happier for it. (laughs)

Sakurai: I’m glad it all went down well! (laughs) At the time I was at the venue getting ready for the live broadcast, but I could hear everybody cheering from far off – Nintendo staff included. If that fact that “everyone is here” had been leaked it would’ve made a mess of things, so we had kept the actual contents of the presentation hidden from even the event staff. The level of security was pretty high, thinking back on it.

The amount of content in the game itself is unheard-of, so the workload during development must’ve been the same, I’d guess? Next to the other games in the series would you say it was the most involved?

Sakurai: I don’t think the difficulty in making them has changed much. I always put my all into making the games, and there wasn’t anything particular about this one that made it difficult.

From what we’ve gathered you started planning the game around December of 2015, but when did you actually start developing the game?

Sakurai: If we’re talking about when it “actually” started, we should look back to after Smash 4’s DLC had been released. Corrin and Bayonetta were released in February of 2016, so it must’ve been around then, I think.

So – in your head – you were thinking about Smash 4’s DLC characters and Smash Ultimate at the same time, then.

Sakurai: Right. Although, I’d say that the development cycle for DLC is a bit more relaxed than a typical development cycle. Until then, the game’s development staff was comprised of hundreds of people, and I’d see their work every day – for the DLC we were able to limit the staff to a few dozen people, for comparison.

At the time, did you have any idea of what the Switch’s specs were like?

Sakurai: Yes; they had shown me the Switch fairly early on during the design stage. Other than that, I’d hear something or other about it every so often.

So, from the beginning it was meant to be a Switch-dedicated Smash Bros?

Sakurai: Well, there aren’t that many parts of the game that depend on the hardware itself. For instance, if you take the Joy-Cons off of the Switch and play with the two of them it doesn’t change anything about how the game functions.

It seems like there are a lot of cases where four players will play in tabletop mode, for instance; did things like that have any effect on the screen’s layout?

Sakurai: Not that I can think of, no. During the planning stages I had made it a point to separate portable mode and docked mode, but that idea was phased out as I realized that the Switch’s LCD screen was a lot clearer than I had originally thought. Even in tabletop mode it looked great, so I didn’t see a problem with it. When you start changing things around to accommodate the different modes, you end up having to make duplicates of a variety of things. It was a big relief to not have to double our workload.

To that point, you didn’t have any kinds of issues like that when you were working on the 3DS game then, did you?

Sakurai: There were various adjustments that we had to make for the 3DS game, like cutting down on the number of polygons or not displaying colors correctly for instance. In Ultimate, whenever your opponent sends you flying, your high initial velocity is immediately followed up by a sharp deceleration. That change in velocity was actually something I wanted to implement in Smash 4 – I felt like it’d be best if the amount of time the player doesn’t have control over the character were shorter.

It really is stressful when you can’t move your character for a long time.

Sakurai: It was easy to lose sight of your character on the 3DS’ small screen, so I left it out in the last game. That being said, it could still happen even on the Switch… So, by purposefully having a trail of clouds follow the character after they get hit, we made it so that it was easier for the player to be able to track their character.

In Ultimate there’s also a radar-esque feature in the corner of the screen, was that oriented towards visibility too?

Sakurai: There’s that, and there’s also a few stages where players can hide around the edges, so it can be useful for smoking them out! (laughs)

Ahhh, people do actually do that, don’t they! (laughs)

Sakurai: Well, with the magnifying glass that appears when you’re off-screen it’s easy to immediately understand where you are. The radar is more useful for finding out where you are in relation to everything else, I’d think. Knowing whether you’re on the upper side of the screen or the lower side makes it easier to deal with whatever you’re facing at the moment.

Overall, we’ve gotten the impression that Ultimate has been “sped up,” was there a purpose behind that kind of adjustment?

Sakurai: The whole “upping the tempo” concept has proved to be a constraint in some ways. It was a bit of an issue when we were making the online mode, to be honest. For instance, when you’re trying to reduce the number of frames in your attacks or your landings, you can’t really take lag into account – there’s no cushion for you to rely on. In the 3DS game there weren’t any such in-depth features, and with the smaller screen we adjusted the game’s speed accordingly. In any case, though, I focused more on improving the game’s tempo this time. In the end it’s something that has made maintaining consistency in the game’s online mode more difficult… That being said, though, I felt like getting people together to play with each other should take precedence over the online mode anyway, so I tried my hand at it.

For sure. When everybody’s playing together it feels kind of slapstick – and that feels more like what Smash Bros. is.

Sakurai: Be that as it may, no matter what about the games you find fun, there’s no “correct” way for the game to be. While getting knocked off the stage is faster now, on the other hand it’s also easier to lose track of your fighter. When we made Brawl there was suddenly a large number of people who were new to playing games through the Wii, and within that group a number of other groups of people cropped up… And I don’t really have an explanation for why Melee felt how it did speed-wise. In making Smash Bros., I take into account the hardware, what’s popular at the time, and the various circumstances we’re working with. Things are the way they are now due to that train of thought. It wasn’t about upping the tempo for the sake of upping the tempo, it was more about optimization. I design the games around what generally feels right at the time with respect to scale and how it plays.


If we have any more information to share we will cover it here at Nintendo Soup so stay tuned for more!