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Sakurai Says The Process Of Creating Smash Bros Character Takes Over A Year

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.”

109 thoughts on “Sakurai Says The Process Of Creating Smash Bros Character Takes Over A Year”

        1. I’m glad they only have one game per console with Smash and MK, they should do it with more franchises!

        2. They would never. Only Mario Party they annually spammed a couple of times but that’s it. They won’t risk going that far or else the same hypocritical world who support companies that do the same thing will forever bash Nintendo over it as well.

            1. Poor guy has been making the game injured and stuff. :( I admire his dedication for us but Jesus, if your hand is messed up like that, take a long break. I hope Sakurai gets a good, lengthy vacation after this and a bonus.

              1. I agree. I love how dedicated he is, but I would be more than fine if he postponed SSB4 to heal. Well, atleast before, it’s a bit too late now, haha, but afterwards he needs some R&R.

      1. Really? You can’t read into what he’s obviously implying? It’s funny, you thought you were getting in a jab, but yet, came across slow in the head.

    1. I’d actually love that. If anyone can do a yearly title right, it’s Nintendo. Imagine Smash Bros fighting it out against Call of Duty year after year. We could finally have a best selling title to brag out everytime the other fans bring out their Call of Duty trump cards.

      1. ewewewewewewewewewewew
        The last thing we need is Smash Brothers becoming more like CoD.

        It would be terrible, the game would not be as good, and it would feel like $60 DLC every year. I think no franchise should have yearly installments.

        1. As it is, the new Smash Bros is practically a 60 dollar DLC, just with 6 years to really add more content. It would still be a solid game every year. Maybe they would just only have around 8 new additions every year. Eventually, they’d build up to 100 characters with only 30 of them being clones.

            1. It depends on how they market it to be honest. Like, I buy the new Madden every year, but I don’t do the same for the yearly Street Fighter additions. If they call it Smash Bros Wii U ultimate edition, I would not buy it. If they call it something like Smash Bros Extreme, then I would buy it. Same content in both games, but the name is really what matters to me.

                1. No, seriously. I can link you to my blog if you want. I do buy the Maddens every year because I consider them to be totally different. Street Fighter is a different story because they admit that it’s the same game every time, but with no DLC. A new title for Smash Bros brings in the assumption that it’s a totally different game even if it’s incredibly similar.

                  Now, Smash Bros is theoretically from the ground up, but it doesn’t need to be. They can still make a lot of differences while adding new characters to the point where it can be considered a new game. Especially, if they add a story mode to the mix. That alone, could make it worth it for me since I loved Subspace Emissary.

                  1. Whelp, I guess we don’t see eye to eye. Lets just agree that neither one of us should have Sakuria’s job, yeah? :P

          1. Not to mention, they rework the game from the ground up. DLC is generally refereed to as add-on content you download. You can’t add on to something that doesn’t exist.

    1. I hate how there’s TONS of pokemon fighters, i do however wish there would be a pokemon smash game THAT would be awesome..

  1. “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.”

    That statement would have more validation if there weren’t clones…

    1. Well, there’s less clones now, than before. I think. I haven’t spoiled the entire rooster for myself, so if I’m wrong, please don’t prove it!

    2. Same moves doesn’t mean they are not different. Example: Some who knows to play with C falcon Is very bad using ganon.

        1. What needs justification? nintendo already made the best fighting game on the market and all clones play very differentry from one another unless you are terrible at the game.

      1. At least Ganon has different A moves/ aerials. Veteran X, Newcomer Y, Toon Link, and Lucina have practically the same exact moves as their counterparts.

        Still, not as bad as Melee, which introduced Ganon, Young Link, Dr. Mario, Pichu, Roy, and Falco (borderline).

        So 6/25 were clones in Melee and 6/51 are clones in Smash Bros 4. And that’s if you include Falco and Ganon, who both received several changes in Brawl (Falco’s down B and his new A combo). That’s not THAT bad.

        1. Actually, I find Toon Link notably different: A more damaging boomerang, faster, the range of his attacks and other various tweaks such as his d-air.

    3. I think some clones are done on purpose to provide similar fighting styles with different characters. (Lucina for example) I do think sometimes things are rushed and can result in things like Ganondorf being the same as Captain Falcon.

      1. That’s a terrible example. Ganon is probably the most different of his clones in melee. Go watch a high level match and tell me if they’re the same. And making judgments based on a not-yet released game is also bad, I thought we learned this around Spore.

    4. Yeah like Ganondorf, aka Captain Falcon 2.0, Pittoo, & Dr Mario… I now officially wish Sakurai had just ditched Ganondorf & replaced him with Ghirahim. Then again, he probably would have turned Ghirahim into the clone of a character from a completely different franchise.

      1. He added it in to appease players because that type of play is popular, but Sakurai didn’t make the game competitive by design. Just read 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.”
        Don’t get me wrong I actually love playing smash competitively, which is actually why I’m annoyed with some of Sakurai’s choices. Still excited for the game either way.

      2. For Glory mode was actually taken as a slap in the face by most competitive players. If you ever watch a high level match (which Sakurai probably hasn’t) you’ll see that it’s not a neutral stage. There is no true neutral stage, and if there is one, it certainly isn’t FD.

        1. So no to a front-to front fight without items and hazardous stages? I gotta think if you people liked street fighter or killer instict…I personally fine with it except for the stage and the 1-on-1 battles.

  2. this is BS. their just looking for a scapegoat as to why the other veterans did not make it back in this one. i know be cause i make games my self its true that making an entire game from scratch is difficult and tedious , its true that making characters new and old is difficult but Nintendo is literally a professional team im one person Literally one person

    1. I’ll tell you exactly what’s going to happen. It’s going to be a repeat of Mario Kart 8.
      First, they pull characters they know you want, or don’t add characters the fans are begging for.
      Next, special features will only be available on the New 3DS.
      They will come out with DLC, new fighters, including Ice Climbers, and will sell them as DLC, because they know you want them.
      Last, you can only download the DLC character pack if you have the New 3DS.

      Who wants to make a bet?

      1. I’m not betting on the Ice-Climbers, as much as I love them.
        The 3DS can’t support them, end of story.

          1. So your saying make dlc for the new 3ds and not the original…… Yet it’s the same game for both consoles only difference is that one gets to used the C stick

            1. That’s not what I’m recommending, that’s what I’m predicting will happen. DLC will be another feature only supported by the stronger hardware.

      2. shut up will ya hater your not sakurai or psychic so u don’t know what they are going to do with the game and stop hating MK8 every freakin second it gets really annoying

    1. Nintendo Sub-Lieutenant

      Most of the characters were just re-skins of the brawl ones. Mario and Link felt exactly the same at PAX. With minor gravity differences, it really is just Brawl-plus. But that is in no way a bad thing. I mean, It’d be a pain having to re-learn all the characters I’d become advanced with.

      1. There are definitely differences with Link & Mario, not huge, but they are there. Mario’s Fludd seems to knock you farther and actually kinda seems the slightest bit useful for once, and his cape is faster. Link’s running attack is different, and not sure what else cause I don’t main him. Just off the demo I must say I love it more than brawl, especially due to the gravity differences and such. The controls feel much tighter on the new game. Brawl is too floaty like people say.

  3. In other words, it took tooo much time so lets add a few clone characters so we won’t have to add characters that are actually deserving.

    1. We’ll get them later, and will have to buy them as DLC. That’s how I was screwed into the MK8 DLC, and that’s how most Brawlers will get screwed into the Smash DLC.
      I’m calling it right now.

  4. I don’t understand why sakuri keeps saying these things. we are already disapointed in the fact that they limited smash for wii u, and it seems like everytime he tries to explain why it’s the way it is he makes it worse!

  5. Over a year? So DLC characters are out of the question? Except for when they’re made beforehand ofcourse, but I don’t know if he would do that, especially since he said he wasn’t planning for dlc chars…. That was some time ago but when it takes over a year…

    1. pink0crystal0midbus

      Maybe they started developing DLC characters half a year before the release date, which means half a year later, they can release the character as DLC.

      Or maybe, once the game is done and they have nothing else to worry about ASIDE from character DLC, they can make a character MUCH faster than in a year.

      It didn’t take a year to make a character, because it “really” takes a year. It takes a year, because they have so many other things to work on and develop. If an entire team focuses on character DLC, they could design those fairly quickly.

  6. Am I the only one that is not disappointed with smash bros for wii u?? (Well, I really don’t care for the 3DS version though) I don’t know the reasons of why people are complaining so much.

    1. People feel about the smash roster the same as I felt about the mk8 roster.
      All in all, I’m happy with the 3DS version. If my skills don’t improve after buying the 3DS version, I probably won’t get the WiiU one. :p

  7. Saying that balance isn’t important in a “party game” (whatever that is) is a terrible excuse. I can tell you that Starfox Assault was not made better by Wolf, who made it miserable for everyone else. People consistently complain in League about how some characters are too strong or not strong enough.
    Balance is important in party games, especially ones where people get to pick characters who they have preferences towards. “My character sucks? Well, fuck this then”.
    If Smash were competitively made, then balance wouldn’t be much of an issue, since you’d have the help of high level players. Patching could fix stuff up a bit, and most importantly, the online scene would help newer places get better. It’s great that Sakurai wants to keep the game his, since a project where the designer gets more control can create very unique experiences, but don’t lie about the reasons for the failings of your game.

  8. Does it? The Project M team had redone all the characters and even added new characters and moves in a year and they don’t even officially work at Nintendo.

    Maybe Sakurai means one character from stratch being done entirely by one person with absolutely no other help from the team at all. Then maybe a year…

    1. The difference is that most of the characters weren’t really done by scratch.

      Sure, Roy and Mewtwo hadn’t existed in Brawl before, but even then, some of the assets, they could’ve gotten from Melee (or, in the case of one of Mewtwo’s taunts, the main Pokémon games), decreasing developing time.

      Even considering the facts, technically, Project M isn’t a finished product (in fact, I see, at the top right corner of the home page, saying “Current Developer Version: [version number]” which implies it’s not finished).

      1. Even though it’s currently at “V3.02”, the fact still remains that the mod’s incomplete, particularly when it comes to certain “single player assets” (like the fact that Roy and Mewtwo doesn’t have their own “victoy assets” when it comes to finishing Classic and Allstar modes with them).

        Just because it’s released doesn’t mean it isn’t flawed.

        After all, The Sims 3 had numerous bugs that were only fixed via updates, causing many to think they were actually paying for “beta game” instead of an official one.

        Sure, The Sims 3 was released by EA (who are infamous for “bad executive meddling”), but to me, it’s still proof that just because something has an official release like that doesn’t mean it’s 100% complete.

  9. I really am having a hard time understanding some of the complaints here… So Sakurai said characters take a while to make.. He’s not making excuses, and so he said that the party side of the game is more focused on than the competitive.. So what? Both of these statements have always been true, but guess what? We still love the games anyway! Just look at Brawl. It was built from the ground up with party gaming in mind, nothing screamed competition, but we still competed and had a great time doing it :) and what’s the problem with DLC? Even in the chance that it will come out in the future, Nintendo has proven that their DLC is at a fair price and that they are not “scamming” their beloved fans. No one ever said you have to purchase it. So don’t complain. I’m getting tired of everyone complaining about stupid stuff. Look infront of you. There’s a huge layout of awsome games coming out in the next few months. Get excited! Show each other what being a proud Nintendo fan is all about! I won’t complain, because, in the end, if for some slim reason I don’t like a game, I never have to wait more than a few months for another great a hivement. Sorry for the lengthy rant, but I’m getting tired on Nintendo lovers arguing with people who generally share the same views, I miss the days were everyone was happy and there was hearty competition, not this lousy arguing..

  10. I guess Sakurai’s just being a perfectionist since you can technically make a character a lot less of that time (look at Brawl “custom character” hacks, for example).

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