Ryu, Roy, and Lucas join the battle! Sakurai’s Famitsu column, Vol. 481

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Sakurai’s Famitsu column, Vol. 481

Ryu, Roy, and Lucas join the battle!

On June 15th, we launched an update for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS.

But the main attractions are the new fighters. Roy from Fire Emblem: Binding Blade, Lucas from MOTHER 3, and Ryu from the Street Fighter series were all made available to play at the same time.

Roy and Lucas appeared in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl respectively, and Ryu is a completely new fighter. The characters differ not only in terms of the game they originate from, but also in personality and performance. They are oozing with their own individuality.

In addition, there’s the Suzaku Castle stage, which came bundled with Ryu. There’s Miiverse, a Wii U-exclusive stage which works in conjunction with the actual Miiverse to show various messages during your battles. There’s Dreamland 64, revived from the first Smash game. As they are new stages, numerous songs have been added as well. Finally, there are Mii Fighter costumes, including collaborative costumes from the Virtua Fighter and Tekken series, and more.

We made individual introductory trailers for each fighter, and I wanted to explain the contents of the update as well as Ryu’s unique controls. So we streamed the presentation right before releasing the update. You can still see it now, check the official website for more details!

The update contained 3 characters, 3 stages, and 9 costumes, but mass production isn’t easy. The 3DS isn’t suited for successive downloads, and there are people who don’t have Wi-Fi in their homes and go to convenience stores to connect, so we made sure to put a lot of forethought into the process.

It really is amazing that Ryu is appearing in Smash. Personally, I was glad and excited to get to work on him. I’ve put my effort into all the small details as well. Ryu has made appearances many times outside of the Street Fighter series, so he’s probably exchanged blows with the highest amount of different types of popular characters. However, when you put him in Smash, you run into limitations based on the number of buttons and the control scheme.

He has the following unique characteristics:

  • The length you hold down the button affects his attacks

There are weak and strong attacks. It’s just like Fighting Street [1].

  • Command inputs

You can use his special attacks easily with just one button, but if you use the command input it’ll be even stronger. The risks of failure or missed inputs that result in unexpected attacks is all part of the fun.

Two people who worked on Street Fighter II, the music composer Yoko Shimomura and the illustrator AKIMAN were also involved. They each played a little bit of Ryu in Smash for Wii U/3DS. Mrs. Shimomura exclaimed “Even I can do a Shoryuken!” AKIMAN was shocked, saying “are you sure it’s okay to make performing a Shoryuken so easy?” Being able to use Shoryuken with just one button press might even feel fresh and new for Ryu.

What left an impression on me when developing Roy was recording his lines. We used the same voice actor from Melee, Mr. Fukuyama. Even though it had been over 10 years, he remembered details from the recording session for Melee extremely well, such as the names for characters, and even the other actors! As a very popular voice actor who had done countless projects since then, I was very happy Smash left an impression on him.

There is a fighter ballot on the official Smash for Wii U/3DS website. We’ve received an extremely large number of votes, but of course, Lucas, Roy, and Ryu were in development even before the ballot was created. I had a grasp on their popularity and demand, though.

From now on, it is going to be fan service [2] , but I can’t keep the development team together forever, so there’s only going to be several more characters [3]. I also ask for your patience, as we need time to develop more content.

There may be unforeseen circumstances that arise as well, but I’ll try my best!


1.  When the first Street Fighter was first ported to for home versions, it was released on the TurboGrafx-16, called the PC ENGINE in Japan. Here, its title was changed to “Fighting Street.” Because the PC ENGINE controller only had two buttons and no pressure sensitivity, weak and strong attacks were performed based on how long you held down the attack button for.

2. His specific wording here is “サービス,” literally “service.” While the definition of “service” in Japan does have its own nuances compared to what it means in English, I’m assuming based on context here that he’s referring to “fan service,” in reference to the ballot, although he never explicitly says this.

3.  数 means “several,” and it can be combined with another character to say “several of a specific something.” For example, 人 is the character for “person,” 数人 is “several people.” Sakurai wrote 数体. “体” is “bodies,” generally used for things that humanoid, or humanlike but usually aren’t actually alive. If I was referring to several dolls, or several figurines, I might say “数体.” Similarly, I assume Sakurai is referring to characters, not updates, because of his character choice.

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    1. Me and the editor discussed this a lot and several was what we think was most accurate. As I said in the footnote 数 does mean several, and it’s better than “some,” which means more “an unspecified amount” than a range of an amount.

    2. Here’s the original Japanese for that paragraph:

      1. I think “a few” is within the generally accepted range of “several,” though, as several is “more than two but fewer than many.” Also, in another article, he specifies that the monitoring team is made of 12 people, if I remember correctly, although we don’t know for sure, he could have simply meant twelve people at that time, etc. There’s some leeway there.

  1. To hell with you Sakurai, now Fire Emblem characters almost outnumber Pokemon character. They should add more Pokemon characters.

    1. Keep in mind:

      Number of Fire Emblem characters that can be summoned from Assist Trophies: 1
      Number of Pokémon that can be summoned from Pokéballs: 42
      Number of Fire Emblem-related items: 0
      Number of Fire Emblem stages between the 3DS and Wii U versions: 3
      Number of Pokémon stages between the 3DS and Wii U versions: 4

      Representation for a series comes down to more than just playable characters. Which is why I feel that the Donkey Kong franchise, in particular, is criminally underrepresented. Not even an Assist Trophy! Surely Rambi could work in a similar fashion to Gogoat?

    2. Is it a problem that one of Nintendo’s more popular underdog series is finally getting representation equivalent to that of their most impactful IPs in the history of gaming? I always see people complain about all the Fire Emblem characters in Smash, but when you look at the 7 Mario reps and 6 Pokemon reps, I think letting Fire Emblem have the limelight for a bit (with a mere 5 characters) is perfectly understandable. Again, no one is “stealing” character slots.

      You could use the argument that “they’re all the same! blahblah sword blahblah counter”, but honestly they all feel unique in their own way (and it’s not just gameplay that varies but character as well).

      I don’t know why you’re cursing Sakurai to hell for this, either, since, you know, he’s doing DLC out of his adoration of the fans. He brought back the most demanded characters since Brawl and I think he’s amazing for that.

    3. What the hell wrong with you? This isn’t “Pokemon Smash Brother”.
      We already have 6 pokemon and you saying not enough?

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