C3: There has been some criticism of the control system for the land battles, from both media playing early preview versions and even people playing the final game. What is your response to the feedback so far?
Sakurai-san: This isn’t something unique to Kid Icarus: Uprising, but my games always seem to get such a response. When Smash Bros. first came out, it suffered terrible criticism from people who were stuck in the perspective of traditional fighting games. Of course, by now most people can understand it.
A theme we had for this game was “challenge.” A game is a challenge. This can be seen clearly in the Fiend’s Cauldron system too. We had ideas for features that would make the controls easier for users such as having the camera lock on to enemies, but the more of these we added the more I felt it was becoming just another game like all the others. We decided to stop avoiding the problem by turning to such features and instead, developed these controls that allow the user to aggressively control both the character and camera at high speeds.
You do need to get used to them, but the controls aren’t really that difficult. If even these controls aren’t good enough for users then we probably can’t hope to see advancement in gaming; and new and innovative control systems in the future. But I believe in the intelligence and strength of gamers.
People who say their hands get tired are clearly holding it too tightly, I would advise them to just relax. Personally, when I hold it in a more relaxed way, I can play for hours without my hands getting tired.
C3: Were there any ideas and features you considered including in the final game, but eventually removed? Could you please share one or more examples?
Sakurai-san: There were lots of such ideas, but I’d rather not talk openly about them. In development we came up with lots of ideas and had to abandon those which we would not be able to implement in time. Also, when we were first coming up with the storyline, we actually had 3 more chapters that we had to give up on quite early on.
C3: What are your plans for Pit after Kid Icarus: Uprising? Will he merely be a guest character in the new Smash Bros., or will you challenge yourself to create a sequel to Uprising that improves on the original?
Sakurai-san: I don’t think I’ll make a sequel. I am making Smash Bros. next and I don’t suppose anyone else will make it without me being involved. I don’t think the structure of the company, which was created by lots of people coming together, is suited towards making a sequel either.
In Kid Icarus: Uprising we included surprising developments in the story coming from, for example, the different armies coming into conflict. It would be very difficult for us to do the same thing in a sequel, but at the same time users would be expecting this from the beginning, therefore losing the surprise factor of the game. I think there are lots of things like this.
I’m not saying that there is sure to never be another Kid Icarus game. I hope that perhaps in another 25 years someone else will come along and do something with the franchise.
C3: : You have mentioned how you like to breathe new life into forgotten franchises. Now that Kid Icarus has been completed, what other old classic would you like to look at? Ice Climbers, Star Tropics, MoleMania…or something non-Nintendo?
Sakurai-san: I am planning on doing my best to bring old characters back in Smash Bros. From that perspective, I am probably in the most fortunate position in the world.