In a recent interview Super Smash Bros producer Masahiro Sakurai has explained that creating a character for the series can take over a year. Sakurai explained that this was because they have to work on the model, the character animation, and also the balancing against other opponents in the series. Here’s what Sakurai had to say.
“I get the planning for each character done remarkably quickly. For example, after learning about Greninja and its abilities one evening, by late night I had already completed the design for that character’s moves and features.”
“The process, however, of actually creating a character often takes well over a year, where we are constantly working on the model, the animations, the audio and the balancing. For the game balance we have a testing team playing almost every day and we make adjustments based on their results. I was working from morning to night with my responsibilities as director, so I was only able to spend Wednesday evenings and weekends on the balance.”
“One of the important things for me was having a large difference between the characters, which I call their “dynamic range”. In a typical fighting game where you just square off against an opponent, other things like the environment have less of an impact, so even small differences between characters can be very noticeable. With Smash Bros., however, I want to bring out the individuality in the characters and I think it’s rare to see a game with such a wide dynamic range as this.”
“So although it may end up that some characters are stronger than others due to way the game works, we have focused on allowing a lot of “accidents” to happen in a party game sort of way – resulting in things that make players laugh – so the emphasis is on variety rather than making Smash Bros. into a sport.”