Masahiro Sakurai And Yuji Horii Discuss The Hero’s Inclusion In Smash Ultimate And More

Masahiro Sakurai And Yuji Horii Discuss The Hero’s Inclusion In Smash Ultimate And More

Earlier this week, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director Masahiro Sakurai made a special guest appearance on the Dragon Quest XI S Countdown Livestream, where he and Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii discussed the Hero’s addition to Smash Bros. and more.

Aside from the Hero’s addition to Smash Bros, Sakurai and Horii spoke about a wide variety of other topics, mostly relating to their approaches to game design. You can check out some translated highlights below:

The Hero In Smash

  • Sakurai and Nintendo told Square-Enix they had a proposal for Hero in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
    • Sakurai says that requests to add in a Dragon Quest representative have been around for a long time
    • Nintendo approached Sakurai saying it might be possible, so he ended up doing the presentation proposal
  • The proposal itself was very detailed, and Sakurai and Nintendo spoke very passionately, saying “We want to use Hero.”
    • There was discussion about a monster being better for the role, but that was decided against
  • Sakurai knew he wanted to work with the franchise, but wasn’t sure in what way at first
    • Sakurai felt Hero was the best option, but would have worked with the Slime or other suggestions from Square-Enix
    • Sakurai was quite convinced that he’d be rejected, but the agreement came surprisingly quickly
  • Square-Enix approved the idea due to Sakurai’s passion, and because the ‘best of’ element in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • With Smash Bros. being such a popular series, Horii wanted Hero to join the game
  • The rules for Dragon Quest appearances were much stricter years ago, but have changed in recent years
  • Sakurai acknowledges that there are people who hate characters like Hero who add in random elements
    • Sakurai says Smash is an unpredictable game where you have fun and move onto the next game anyways
  • One spell Sakurai had trouble with was differentiating the Frizz line of spells (neutral B) and Sizz/Sizzle (via Command Select)
    • He had to look up how the spell functioned in the original games, and how Frizz would float out to hit the enemy
    • Sizz would fly quickly and sear the enemy when it hit the enemy
  • Making the Yggdrasil’s Altar was very troubling, to the point Sakurai thought of giving it up
    • Some other alternatives included the volcano
    • In the end, they decided upon the altar as it would show the world tree that symbolizes Dragon Quest XI
    • The world map as seen in the stage references the world map in the PlayStation 4 version, but was made from scratch
  • Originally there were only two Heroes set to join Smash Ultimate, being Erdrick and Eleven
    • Horii later said it would be fine to have four Heroes join
    • According to Sakurai, he was ready to make eight different Heroes, but that wasn’t a realistic option
    • After Erdrick and Eleven, the hero of Dragon Quest VIII was decided as he was popular overseas.
    • Popularity wasn’t the only factor, as then the hero of Dragon Quest V would be included
    • In the end, it came down to either the hero of Dragon Quest I or Dragon Quest IV
      • As there wasn’t a unified image for Dragon Quest I’s main character across media, IV was decided upon

 On Being A Game Designer

  • Sakurai feels being a game designer is all about bringing together that sort of “fun” which is usually intangible and subjective
    • Sakurai finds it nice when he’s working on something alone, as he’s usually in the director role and talking to people
    • It’s more fun or interesting for him when he’s working on inputting data, especially the moment there are successful results
    • Sakurai’s the type to work under pressure, and he approaches his work not in an imaginative approach, but rather task-like
    • Sakurai gets inspiration by playing many games, such as Dragon Quest Walk, Link’s Awakening, and Borderlands 3
    • Sakurai plays games while doing other things like watching Netflix, or gaming while riding the aerobic bike
      • Sakurai has other hobbies like going driving, although he doesn’t want to make a driving game
    • Sakurai makes sure to think of what the players want
    • Overall, he tries to go for a wide range of players, while still keeping a certain amount of depth
    • For Sakurai, he’s uncertain what to do next if there is a next game in the series
      • he’s making the current one with the mindset that this is the last one, and he thinks that it might be impossible to top this one
    • Sakurai says he’s not that serious of a person
      • As a game director, he puts on a stoic mask, and might say harsh things to his staff
        • In Kid Icarus Uprising, Pit and Palutena are always trading jokes, and that was all written by Sakurai
      • Sakurai thinks that if people were actually that serious, they wouldn’t be able to make fun games
      • Sakurai does acknowledge he has some trouble showing off that fun side of him though
  • For Horii, it’s something from a more practical angle, as in game designer = game creator
    • For Horii, as an RPG creator he loves the part where he’s setting the stats and characteristics of battles
    • Horii is the type to get a lot of inspiration from other media, which transform into other ideas for his works
    • While Horii also tries to go for a wide range of players and depth, it also has to be fun to play for himself
    • Horii is generally more relaxed, until meetings where he sort of shifts into working mode
    • Horii doesn’t worry too much about outdoing each game in content
    • When he adds in all the ideas, the game just ends up really large in scale, so he just focuses on adding in the ideas he has

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.