News Flash! Smash Bros. Dojo: Opening Movie

Opening movie alt

Hey, Soma here with a translation of one of the non-character pages from the Melee website. This one’s somewhat pertinent to an article that’s being published soon called, Is Sakurai a Liar? so that’s why it’s being posted.

All comments were originally written by Sakurai himself. The original page can be accessed here.

Today, I’d like to introduce the opening cutscene, which ever since E3 has had quite a lot of exposure despite the fact that the game isn’t being sold yet.

This year (2001), I forsook my New Year’s vacation and spent the day diligently working on storyboards. Almost nobody else was at work. (Without other people around, I can’t really make a lot of progress). Of course, I was working on storyboards for the opening movie.

Some people think, “an introductory opening doesn’t have anything to do with the game.” Some also think, “Nintendo doesn’t need to rely on cutscenes.”

However, I think that the reason why people think cutscenes are unrelated to the game, or why people think games rely on cutscenes is that there are a lot of cutscenes that don’t match the content of the game. At least, it’s something I’ve been questioning.

And more than anything, I really wanted was to have something that would serve as a grand opening for the premiere of the Gamecube. And there was no title more appropriate for that than a new Smash game.

So I decided to create an opening movie, operating under the assumption that I could show it at E3, the same time that the specifics of the Gamecube would be released to the public.

Because we had been developing games for the Nintendo 64 until now, this was a first for us (Hal Laboratory). I held discussions with the head of our sound department, deciding on the timings for each shot and scene, and created an image of what I wanted in my head.

The actual production of the movie was entrusted to computer graphics animation companies.

We wanted it done by E3, so we contracted 3 (actually 4) companies at once, and split up responsibilities by scene. Overall, production took approximately 2 months.

Hal Labs is in Yamanashi, and the animation companies were in Tokyo, so editorial supervision had to be done remotely. Communicating images to another person is hard enough on its own, but when the line of communication is thinner (it’s even harder to communicate), it becomes difficult to work efficiently.

So I tried to provide swift responses that were as detailed and specific as possible. I went on business trips to Tokyo dozens of times, and continually tried to convey what I had in mind. I had numerous email exchanges with the companies every day, sometimes even sending 100 emails to them in a day (this gets tough when you’re working with multiple companies).

By the efforts of the workers at the animation companies, the movie was successfully completed.

…when I put it that way, it appears very straightforward. But there was a lot to deal with. Seriously.

You might feel that it’s easy to make something like this as long as you have a lot of money, but that’s honestly very far from the truth.

I think what we had going for us was that the game’s director himself was overseeing the production. Compared to a movie that was entrusted to someone else, I think that this short movie should be brimming with “Smash”-ness.

For the music, we’re using a live orchestra, but we’ll talk about that another time.  

Mario, who is transitioning from "real" to "imaginary."
Mario, who is transitioning from “real” to “imaginary.”
Sheik, playing her harp by the lakeside.
Concentrating fire on Ridley! In the Space Science Academy.
All Pokemon, assemble!
All Pokemon, assemble!
Three heroic ships. Whose is whose, though?
Three heroic ships. Whose is whose, though?
A big Bob-omb explosion! The characters return to their trophy form.
A big Bob-omb explosion! The characters return to their trophy form.

Oh, that reminds me.

Not all characters that appear in this opening are going to be playable characters in Smash, so please don’t misunderstand me.

TN note: Yeah, it’s the last two lines that are really important. Sorry to make you read everything else first.




Translation Team Leader at Source Gaming
I translate things, with the occasional written article here or there. My main game is Melee, so I’m pretty out of the loop when it comes to Smash 4 speculation and such.
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