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Masahiro Sakurai (born August 3, 1970), head of Sora Ltd., and creator of both the Kirby
and Super Smash Bros.
series. He created Kirby under HAL Laboratory when he was only 19 years old. Seeing how it was the nineties, and most of Nintendo's games were infamous for their difficulty
, Sakurai designed the original Kirby's Dream Land
to be relatively easy so players wouldn't be alienated by the game being too hard. He directed a number of Kirby
titles from there, playing a smaller and smaller role in development as time went on, culminating in him simply voicing King Dedede
in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
. He worked closely with the staff for the series' anime, Kirby of the Stars
, and he also worked as the designer on Kirby Air Ride
, which was his final game in the series.
During 1994 for the SNES
's Super FX2 chip, Sakurai wanted to make a fighting game, developed again by HAL Laboratory, but during their spare time, with a shockingly small budget
. He wanted to make it different from the others; not with combo based combat, and with simultaneous four player gameplay. Originally called FX Fighters
(there were 2 versions of this, one made by Argonaut Software
and the other made by HAL Labs with Sakurai in charge) and was later renamed to Kakuto-Gemu Ryuonote
once HAL's SNES version got canceled and moved to the N64 and for legal reasons as Argonaut's version did came out for PC
, he felt it was somewhat bland. However, Satoru Iwata and Hiroshi Yamauchi told Sakurai to add in characters from various Nintendo franchises in there to rank in more money
, and the game was released as Super Smash Bros.
in 1999. The game was a Sleeper Hit
, and the game intended not to even leave Japan's shores
was localized, where it also did well. Over the following few years, Sakurai made Super Smash Bros. Melee
before his resignation, which he stated was due to HAL Laboratory continually making sequels
. It looked as though he wouldn't make another game in the series, forming his own company, Sora Ltd., and working on original titles, such as Meteos
, until he was approached by his good friend and president of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, who persuaded him to make his Magnum Opus
, Super Smash Bros. Brawl
. During development, characters, items, and stages were posted on the official website
, leading to fans eagerly awaiting possible character reveals, The event was dubbed "Japan Time" by fans and remains one of many fan's most memorable times.
From there, Iwata and Sakurai wanted to work on an original game with both land and air combat for the Nintendo 3DS
, but they realized that the Kid Icarus
series would be a perfect fit, with its protagonist Pit and the goddess Palutena already having been given redesigns in Brawl
. Kid Icarus: Uprising
has been generally praised as a must have for the system, becoming its Killer App
for early 2012.
At E3 2011 it was announced that Sakurai would be developing two new Super Smash Bros.
games, one for the Wii U
and one for the 3DS. Although he was uncomfortable with announcing a game before development had even startednote
, but it allowed staff to be recruited. Around summer 2012, it was announced the game would be produced by a joint effort between
Sora Ltd. and Namco Bandai
He also has stopped tweeting as frequently
in order to focus more on the games' development, and also because he grew tired of posting a game and fans instantly thinking the characters would be in the next Super Smash Bros.
Works Sakurai has been involved in:
Tropes associated with Masahiro Sakurai:
- Boss Rush: Kirby games, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and the Super Smash Bros. series all have the exact same kind of Boss Rush, in which the player fights several bosses with breaks in between with limited opportunities to heal.
- Determinator: Even after his Heroic RROD mentioned below, he didn't slow down in his work; he simply changed methods of issuing orders and communication.
- Even after his condition worsened to the point where his muscles are tearing, he still says he's still capable of working.
- This has evidently been the case for some years now; he describes his lifestyle during Melee's development as "destructive," taking no vacations and shortened weekends.
- Dual Wielding: He does this with various controllers often while play testing.
- Fountain of Youth: Sakurai appears to have undergone a form of reverse-aging. Popular theory is he feeds on the emotions of the fans.
- Heroic RROD: Is suffering from repetitive strain injury, likely as a result of pushing himself to create a trailer of the new Super Smash Bros. games for E3 2013.
- He wrote in his Famitsu column that his condition was worse than he thought.
- Name's the Same: He shares his name with a character from Soul Hackers.
- 10-Minute Retirement: Sakurai announced he would stop tweeting as often and focus on developing the new Super Smash Bros. games... and a few months later went back to tweeting every other day.
- Trolling Creator: Almost as bad as Kojima. For instance, he put the Wii Fit Trainer in the new Super Smash Bros. games just because no one would have expected her.
- Teasing Creator: Before the matter was officially addressednote , Sakurai often sort-of trolled fans who wanted a handheld Smash game. Three examples come to mind: the PictoChat arena in Brawl note , the main menu in Kid Icarus: Uprising being nearly identical to the one seen in Brawl, and a dialogue between Pit and Palutena referencing the SSB series in the same game.
- To promote Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS, he began posting daily screenshots to Miiverse. One day, he posted a screenshot of an empty hallway that can't be seen during normal gameplay◊ (in case you're wondering, it's the hole Ridley makes when escaping the Pyrosphere in Metroid: Other M).
- To celebrate the 100th daily screenshot, he posted a picture of... Luigi adjusting his nose.
- Amongst rumored leaks of playable Palutena, Sakurai posted an image from the 3DS version of the Kid Icarus: Uprising stage... with Viridi in the background. He also revealed the Wii U's Kid Icarus stage, which does feature Palutena... as a stone statue.
- When Waluigi was reconfirmed for an assist trophy despite his cult following, he had this to say on the matter:
"Once again, Waluigi's Assist Trophy joins the collection!! ...Which also means he's not a playable character. Just because you try hard doesn't mean you'll make it into the battle."
Sakurai: "Once again, I'm Masahiro Sakura—"
(set up arms)
Sakurai: "—Director of Super Smash Brothers!"
- Because he did make Kid Icarus: Uprising, it's only fitting that the Trophy Quiz segment of the direct has players guess Palutena's trophy as it starts the shot from her legs... It was Pseudo-Palutena.
- The sting is double edged because revealing character as an assist trophy automatically confirms that he/she is not playable. Confirming Palutena as AT would ruin the hopes of the fans hoping to play as her.
- Also, when discussing characters that will no longer be able to change forms mid-match, specifically Samus:
Sakurai: "What happened to Zero Suit Samus, you say? Well, unfortunately, she won't be participating in this iteration of Smash Bros...."
(shows Zero Suit Samus on-screen)
Sakurai: "Nah, I'm only kidding."
- On the segment about Yellow Devil in the April 8th Direct, Sakurai mentioned that several more bosses will appear in the game. During this, footage is shown of Pikachu on Pyrosphere being followed by a shadow that all-but-surely belongs to Ridley. Considering that Ridley is one of the most requested playable characters, the fandom went wild.
- Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things: One of the reasons he stopped tweeting as frequently.
"I don't like it when a tweet or whatever leads to needless speculation getting spread around. For example, when I tweet about playing some game, some people immediately get the idea that that character is in the new Smash Bros. Then people fan the flames on it, people start to think it's really true, people get angry about it. Nobody benefits."