Nintendo’s newest Super Smash Bros. game was announced last night for a release in 2018. While there are a thousand big and small questions after the announcement, one thing we don’t have to ponder is whether series director Masahiro Sakurai is involved.
Confirming on Twitter, Sakurai tweeted “Right now we’re just at the stage where we revealed this game, but I’ve been working on this game in silence day after day,” courtesy of a translation from SourceGaming. “Please wait until we can release more information, or until release day!”
Sakurai, commonly known as the creator of Kirby, has been director of every Super Smash Bros. game since its inception on the Nintendo 64. Growing tired of creating sequels, Sakurai left HAL in 2003 and founded development studio Sora, going on to create Meteos with Q Entertainment. The late Satoru Iwata convinced Sakurai to created a third Super Smash Bros. game for the Wii and worked with Sakurai on what he wanted to do with a fourth one.
During the creation of the fourth game, the split-console Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Sakurai was open about the pains development was causing him. The long hours and playtesting did a number on Sakurai’s arm, exacerbating problems that would eventually require surgery. It did seem like Sakurai was done with Smash Bros. after the injury, but he might just be taking a less hands-on approach.
At the moment, neither Sakurai nor Nintendo have elucidated on their roles with the game, or detailed the game at all. During a 2016 interview with Famitsu, Sakurai commented that he bought a toy with a rifle attachment to study it for the game he was working on, which is the only hint we have had about his projects since Super Smash Bros. for Wii U released in 2014.
Also in 2014, Sakurai penned columns for Game Informer explaining his thought processes on developing the game, which you can find here.
While Sakurai’s focuses for Smash Bros. as a more casual game rub some the wrong way, there’s no arguing with his enthusiasm and dedication for the series. Hopefully, if Sakurai is as involved with the Switch game as he has been with previous ones, he takes good care of his health in the process.