A localization writer for Nintendo of America discussed Sakurai and Smash a while back. This is old news, but we wanted to preserve their statements. This will allow people who couldn’t / didn’t listen to the podcast to become familiar with the comments made, as well as allow the comments to be indexed and searched. Since the writer was fired for this podcast, we decided not to include their name in this post.
Special thanks to Bri Bri from Japanese Nintendo who helped with this article. Say thanks to him on Twitter!
On the hardcore players and Smash Bros.
Smash Bros. is another game, people constantly flip out if Sakurai ever even hints at the fact that he made Smash Bros. as a franchise as first and foremost for more casual experience and the more fun-loving player as opposed to the hardcore tournament scene and people hate that. [The hardcore players] don’t make up a significant number to justify the costs of this game.
Sakurai the auteur
I know that Sakurai’s outlook on the game is very dire. He gets really sad when he finds out how people are reacting and when there’s a leak because he really wants to create. He’s an auteur in the most crazy sense, he’s basically Vincent Van Gogh cutting off his own ear.
On the writer not working on Smash Bros.
I didn’t get to work on Smash Bros. directly and I told my boss a year before Smash was announced that if I don’t get to work on it then I’m going to throw a holy fit. I didn’t get on it and I pissed and moaned for awhile but at the time I was working on Hyrule Warriors, so I was on a pretty cool thing with a lot of responsibilities. When I saw how deep and involved Smash was down the rabbit hole it goes with more DLC, the patches, the two versions, the amount of work that has gone into Smash has been crazy but fascinating to watch just from the outside watching my friends and co-workers going into it.
Working on the Smash TV commercials
I did get to help get footage for the U.S. commercials for the Wii U version. If you see those commercials and the kids playing that is actually me and Ada from the Treehouse playing that game. And the weird thing is, that footage alone, I’m going to estimate took over 100 man-hours, 100 employee work-hours to get. Because if you’re doing an eight-player Smash match, you have eight players there, and if you spend an hour collecting that footage, that’s eight employees standing around for an hour, that’s comparable to one employee standing around playing Smash for their entire work day.
So it takes eight hours to try and collect all the footage that Sakurai wants and then you find out he is not happy with anything we ever gave him. He’s like ‘In this scene, I want Samus to shoot her Final Smash and I want her to catch all seven other players but I don’t want them to look like they’ve jumped into the beam and I don’t want this to look hokey, I want this to look real, and I want at least three of the people to be cleared with that shot’.
I’m like ‘That would be awesome but that’s like one-in-a-million shot in any match. You’re asking for utter chaos.’ You also have to crunch enough people into an eight-player Smash onto the specific stage he wanted. You have to get them close enough, you can’t just have them jumping around. And every time we would submit the hours and hours of footage, I would hear back that he was getting more and more
disappointed with us. It came to the point where they were like ‘This is the zero hour, there is no more time, the atomic clock is up and we’re about to go, if we don’t have the footage now approved then we don’t have the commercials basically and it’s going to affect everything by millions.’ His [Sakurai’s] basic response was ‘Fine, this is acceptable now but I give up, I have no hope for gaming anymore!’
This guy [Sakurai] is probably crying himself to sleep half the night, he’s killing himself to make the game. He cannot delegate.
He can literally play [Smash Bros.] two players with each hand, he can play one in one hand and one in the other. He can play the competitive scene like that. He’s a real gamer gamer when he plays.
On why Ness got nerfed
Nate Bihldorff from Nintendo Treehouse Live famously went to Japan and met Sakurai and talked about how big of a fan he was of Melee, played Sakurai and Nate’s character at the time was Ness. And lo-and-behold, in Brawl, Ness got super nerfed because Nate crushed Sakurai with Ness.
Mains: Yoshi (64), Game and Watch (Melee), Wario (Brawl), Wario/Pac-Man (Smash for 3DS/Wii U)