Since Sakurai does not speak English himself, he relies on other people to translate his words. While we at Source Gaming are not perfect, we strive to have complete transparency with our translations (by offering the original Japanese to anyone who may request it, or by explaining translation choices). The issue of taking quotes out of context is something that we avoid by generally posting the full translation.
Today, I would like to go over some quotes that have been taken either taken out of context, or mistranslation. Introduce the misquote, why it was misquoted or taken out of context and explain how I have interpreted it.
I imagine this is going to be a multi-part series, so if you are aware of any other misquotes/ mistranslations, please contact me on Twitter, or the contact form at the end of the article.
Table of Contents:
“No Fighting Game Characters” quote
“Ice Climbers Aren’t Prioritized Because They Don’t Have a Series Future” quote
“No more DLC” quote
“All-Star Assist Figures”
PushDustIn’s Definitive Character List update
“No Fighting Game Characters” quote:
This quote is extremely infamous, and has lead to some confusion among the fanbase. The quote originally appears in June 2013 (issue 137) of GamesTM. After its’ publication, it quickly spread to blogs and social media websites.
The following comes from the “Smash Bros. FAQ” (Page 59).
Why Sakurai Doesn’t Favour Fighting Game Characters?
“The biggest feature we look at in Smash Bros. is, ‘what does this character bring to Smash Bros. that other characters don’t?” explains Sakurai. “If you look at…someone from a fighting game already, and people like fighting with this character, from my point of view, it’s like ‘this guy does what this guy already does. He fills the role that this character already has.’ So while you may like this character and he’s interesting, that doesn’t really merge well here.”
Why It was Misquoted:
After reviewing the full feature, I realized the first part of the quote is actually used elsewhere. When discussing character selection, Sakurai states on page 57,
“When we are looking at candidates for new characters, we get a list of characters that people are interested in and we go through them with a fine tooth comb.The biggest feature we look at in Smash Bros. is, what does this character bring to to Smash Bros. that other characters don’t?”
Therefore, the actual quote probably reads like this,
When we are looking at candidates for new characters, we get a list of characters that people are interested in and we go through them with a fine tooth comb. The biggest feature we look at in Smash Bros. is, what does this character bring to to Smash Bros. that other characters don’t? If you look at…someone from a fighting game already, and people like fighting with this character, from my point of view, it’s like ‘this guy does what this guy already does. He fills the role that this character already has.’ So while you may like this character and he’s interesting, that doesn’t really merge well here.
What Does it Mean?
After I discovered this, I contacted the editor of GamesTM to discuss the quote. I believe that Sakurai was likely discussing unique character selections instead of saying ‘no fighting game characters, ever’. Basically, characters must bring something new to Smash, and not be a simple port. Fighting games were used as an example of bringing in a character with an uninspired moveset.
Mr. Jonathan Gordon, an editor for GamesTM has been extremely helpful. While they do not have access to the full transcript, he agreed that the quote was most likely separated during publication. In an e-mail to me, he stated,
“…I would agree the quote is stating a character is only added if they offer something new to the roster.
Taking the example of Ryu, my interpretation of the quote would be that since he was added Ken would not be considered for the game. He is ultimately very similar to Ryu.”
“Ice Climbers Are Not Prioritized Because They Don’t Have A Series Future” quote
Before Source Gaming started offering full translations of Sakurai’s Famitsu Column, Thoughts about the Video Game blogs and news organizations often relied on portion translations. This is actually an example of a blog using a summary of the Famitsu column.
The quote seems to have originated with NintendoEverything.
First, regarding the roster, Sakurai mentioned that even though many characters are included, there are some who worry about those who didn’t make the cut. He specifically addresses the absence of the Ice Climbers as well. It seems they were running in the Wii U version, but due to the required hardware power, the team couldn’t make them work in the 3DS game. There wasn’t as high a priority given to series that are unlikely to have another installment at this time.
Why It Was Mistranslated:
After investigating their source, I realized that they didn’t use the actual column, but a summary by a Japanese user. However, the Japanese user did state that Sakurai stated that other fighters were not given a priority because their series’ had no future. So in reality this quote should have never been combined.
Soma, has worked on a full translation of that section in order to clear up misinformation. Here is the relevant part:
Even if I cram in as many fighters as I can, there are some people who are focused on the few who didn’t make it back. Among them are the Ice Climbers, who were playable during development on the Wii U. However, moving the two as a pair required significant processing power. The 3DS was already being pushed to its limit, and I couldn’t get them to work no matter how hard I tried, so I gave up on them. The other fighters had to be whittled and pared down until I could get them to work, so it was simply unavoidable.
I couldn’t get them to work no matter how hard I tried: I removed as many joints as I possibly could, and even when I removed certain effects, like gravity, they still wouldn’t work. Olimar and his Pikmin were also extremely difficult, but I managed to at least get them to work.
Also, characters and series that have no plans for future releases, or a low possibility of future releases, inevitably will be considered lower priority. Furthermore, transferring them from Melee would be difficult because the original data is old.
What Does it Mean?
As you can see, Sakurai goes in depth about why the Ice Climbers were cut (due to hardware limitations). However, other veteran/new fighters (most likely Lucas and Wolf) were not prioritized as they did not have a known game coming out during the start of development.
“No DLC” quote:
Many fans were shocked to see DLC become a thing….but why?
I understand that DLC could add a lot to the appeal of Smash Bros., and I appreciate that a major part of the excitement for these games come from which characters will appear in the roster, so I think fans could really enjoy DLC that could keep this excitement going. However, I think there might be criticism that we are cutting up content to sell characters one by one, or that we are adding things later that should have been there from the start.
Lack of Context:
This isn’t something that was explicitly taken out of context, but most fans did not read the full interview, or have twisted Sakurai’s words. Before the Wii U version of the game was released, Sakurai stated that there were “no plans for DLC”. However, if fans had went to the source of the interview, they would have read the full quote in context.
Here’s what Sakurai says in the same answer:
In light of this, we always need to weigh up both sides of this topic and carefully consider whether it really is best to have DLC or not.
However, what I can say now about paid DLC is that we aren’t working on anything at the moment. We’ve put all our efforts into making the actual game. Creating DLC would involve large additional costs and require the involvement of a lot of people. I can’t yet give you an answer about whether the price would justify the costs and criticisms mentioned above. (Emphasis mine)
Essentially, Sakurai stated that the base game was finished without any concrete plans for DLC. While we know from data-mining that there has always been capabilities for DLC, I do believe Sakurai created Smash without holding back any content as reiterated his Famitsu column, “The Creator’s Hands Are Alive and Well”.
“All Star Assist Figures Quote”
This is an example of a possible mistranslation by Nintendo themselves.
Here’s what was translated it in the April 8th, 2014 Smash Direct:
America: Assist Trophies have returned to help the fighters out. These figure into All-Star mode, so I’d like to put in as many as possible.
Here’s what Sakurai is actually saying:
Here’s my version of the translation:
Assist figures also appear to assist the fighters. Since they are also part of the All-Star battle, I wanted to include as much as possible.
Why it Was Possibly Mistranslated:
It’s easy to see why this quote was possibly mistranslated. All-Star is the name of the mode in the game, but it could also refer to the cast of character. Sakurai most likely meant the All-Star cast as he said battle, and not mode. As of right now, no additional information currently exists of ATs being used in All-Star mode, and Sakurai never introduced that concept in the video (instead opting to introduce the All-Star cast), Therefore, I’m going to have to chalk this up as a possible mistranslation/ misinterpretation on Nintendo’s part.
PushDustIn’s Definitive Character List Update
I want to remind everyone that I have updated the character list. I have removed Saki Amamiya and Toad from Melee’s “Consideration” table. This is a result of a personal mistranslation. With Saki Amamiya, Sakurai just says he didn’t consider him. For Toad, I misread the question. The original post was asking why Toad appears in the Smash 2 Polls. I did this research before I had assembled the translation team. We will always keep you guys updated with corrections and revisions whenever we do them, in an effort to remain 100% transparent.
Please contact me at any time, by using the form below.
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PushDustIn is currently working two full-time jobs. His actual job, and researching Smash information. You can contact him on Twitter at any time.
Mains: Yoshi (64), Game and Watch (Melee), Wario (Brawl), Wario/Pac-Man (Smash for 3DS/Wii U)