Masahiro Sakurai recently sat down with Nintendo Dream to discuss Super Smash Bros. Within this interview, Sakurai opened up about the development process behind the characters. From designing characters’ movesets to determining the roster, Sakurai provides great insight into the entire process.
First, Nintendo Dream asked if Sakurai looked at new characters and imagined how they’d look in Super Smash Bros. According to Sakurai:
“Absolutely not! I’m always thinking that doing Smash Bros. again will be impossible. Impossible, impossible…is what I always think, but I ended up making it again. But once I decide to do it, I’m very fast about creating moves and such. For example, Greninja, even before his name was decided, I received several illustrations. I took them home in the evening and around midnight I had already done all his actions, normal moves, special moves and pose-pictures and sent them around asking ‘What do you think?'”
— Masahiro Sakurai
Sakurai continued by discussing the use of characters from unreleased games, stating:
“At the very beginning I did that. This time our project-proposal is dated May 2012, at that time all characters were decided already. Then as production moves on we will say ‘We won’t put that character in’ and cut out low-priority characters.”
— Masahiro Sakurai
With this approach, Sakurai and the staff can determine which characters won’t work out due to technical restrictions and cut them as necessary. This has resulted in some long-time veterans, such as the Ice Climbers, being cut, as well as the borderline exclusion of Bowser Jr.
As could be expected, there were fans of the series among the development teams. Sakurai stated, “Of course. People who love Nintendo, people who love the characters, people who aren’t a fan of something specific but love games as a whole…it depends on the individual.” He also revealed that there were aspects of the gameplay that came as a result of this fandom, saying “There are several cases of this. For example, Sheik’s movement is completely different to Brawl, someone made a proposal to me for those motions.”