“Subspace Emissary” Sakurai Famitsu Column vol. 215

Note: Do not repost the full translation. Please use the first two paragraphs and link to this translation. For additional information, please read this post.This translation is for fan use only, and may not accurately reflect Masahiro Sakurai. The following is a selection from Masahiro Sakurai’s book: Think About the Video Games X. If you enjoyed this article, I would strongly encourage you to support Sakurai by buying his books. If you have any questions about this article, please contact the administrator.

August 24th, 31st 2007.

It’s now public knowledge through the “Smash Dojo!!” and magazines that I am making an extensive side scrolling action game in Super Smash Brothers Brawl!

The name is of the mode is “Super Smash Brothers Brawl: Adventure Mode ~ Subspace Emissary” and controls exactly the same as the normal Smash mode. The Subspace Army and boss characters make appearances, and there is a unique power up system. The cutscenes are overflowing with a sense of speed, and we there is even a small story unfolding. As a single-player game, I think it will be pretty fun.

We are planning to make “Subspace Emissary” a splendid action game that entwines a variety of Nintendo characters. ”Characters who lose in battle are returned to their trophy form”, makes use of the “Smash” lore, and adds to the fun by allowing us to showcase unique stories that you won’t see otherwise. It took a [significant] amount of time. Naturally. Although we’re still working on it.

The main reason for including this mode is simple.  It is to make the single player experience more complete for Smash.

As far as ‘action fighter’ [1] games are concerned, Smash is very well received, but without a one player mode, it feels short. Fighting against your opponent is the main draw, but I don’t think that not everyone has someone to fight.

Another reason is to accurately represent the characters. No matter what you say, Smash is a game where the characters are important! Only paying attention to how the small characters jump and attack, the potential is wasted. A new addition to this game’s system, “Final Smash” also attempts to address this, but I try to accurately and impactfully portray the characters. In that regard, I think players will really enjoy when characters appear in the cutscenes for “The Subspace Emissary.” However,  we don’t want to delay showing you these cutscenes, so we are creating them fairly quickly. Take care not to miss anything!

In the first project plan, this mode would have been worked on by a separate company, with oversight from us.  For the evolution of “Smash” simply increasing the number of stages and characters is not good. I have already reached the limit.  From the production and playing perspective, if I don’t spend enough time on a character, that character wouldn’t receive the love [that they need], the project would become bloated and disorganized, and versus would have no room to breath. The previous game, “Melee” barely made it….of course. Naturally, I will do my best, one step at a time.

Therefore, I thought we could arrange the main team would work on the game in conjunction with another team who is working on the action game in a different location.

….Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a promising studio to take on the contract. Well. In the end, everything other than the cutscenes was done almost entirely in-house.

A lot of people lent their hands and helped, so it seems that we are on our way to completion. I keep thinking about players enjoying this game as we are aiming for the release date without any issues.

Looking Back:

Interviewer: When I found out you were making the “Subspace Emissary” I was really surprised!

Sakurai: To tell you the truth, it was never required to make something like this. When you think about the “struggle” versus “the enjoyment of the players,” the cost isn’t cheap. But when I thought about it, Smash is probably the only game that has this many characters makes appearances in it. So, I wanted to create stage that would really made that element more fun.

Interviewer: It’s really a magnificent amount of fan service, isn’t it?  After all, it’s a whole adventure game.

Sakurai: …it was difficult. That’s how I felt….when making the movies.

Interviewer: Mr. Sakurai, you draw out the scenes, right?

Sakurai: Well enough to serve as a reference point. In my previous works such as “Melee” or “Meteos” I drew the storyboards myself, but this time it would take too much time so I entrusted that to the experts. Of course, I wrote the manuscript so it takes time for workers [to understand it].

Interviewer: You are talking about the difficulty to accurately explain the image that’s in your head, right? [2]

Sakurai: That’s right. Other staff members don’t know all of the character’s special traits so I need to convey what kind of game they come from, and how they move… (laughs).

Interviewer: Did you remember something?

Sakurai: In Subspace Emissary, there’s the climax where the Subpsace Gunship makes an appearance.[3]

Interviewer: I know that scene.

Sakurai: I conveyed Ganondorf’s movement through gestures. “He moves like this!” “This!” I filmed myself moving. If you compare that movie and the final movie in the game, it lines up perfectly (laughs).

Interview: Wow! (laughs) I really wanted to see that.

Sakurai: At that time, I had caught a cold, so I was filmed wearing a mask.

Interview: I guess it’s not an exaggeration when you can say that all the movements of the characters in “Subspace Emissary” are Sakurai.

Sakurai: When Ganondorf opens his eye, and turns away, it was really me wearing a mask opening my eyes. It’s embarrassing! [4]

Translation Notes:

[1] The Japanese is “対戦ゲーム”. Edge Magazine has previously translated this as ‘opponent based action game’. However, there is no comparable genre in English. I have previously went into depth about what genre Smash is.There I translate 対戦ゲーム as an “action fighter” game. The literal translation is “waging war game”.

[2] This is mentioned a bit in Sakurai’s 100 Questions, and mentioned again in School, Work and Specialists. An upcoming translation of the GDC slides will go into greater detail about this process.

[3] Here is the scene that they are talking about:

[4] Sakurai might be trying to be cute with the way he says this, as he says “恥ずかちい”.


PushDustIn adores the cut-scenes in Subspace Emissary. You can find him on Twitter, where he frequently posts about Smash related information.

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  1. “I try to accurately and impactfully portray the characters.”

    Looking at Lucas in Subspace especially… yeeeaaah, that was kind of a fail.

    1. To be fair, anyone who’s well-informed enough (i.e. not morons from places like GameFAQs) will tell you that Sakurai didn’t write the SSE story on his own.

      Kazushige Nojima, who also wrote many Final Fantasy stories (7 included), got on board with it.

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