The man's gaming knowledge knows no bounds!
Masahiro Sakurai has had one hell of a career in the games industry. He’s worked for HAL and Nintendo, and during his tenure he’s birthed two franchises that have brought in millions upon millions of sales, and an equal amount of fans. Having just one hit is impressive, but to create so many installments in big-name franchises that fans gobble up is truly amazing.
One person who recognizes Sakurai’s hard work is Tekken director, Katsuhiro Harada. In a new interview with IGN, Harada spoke about adding Tekken’s Kazuya to Smash Bros. Ultimate. While Harada thought Sakurai would need a ton of input from Harada to make the character feel right, Sakurai had already planned pretty much everything out. This really impressed Harada, and showed him just how vast Sakurai’s knowledge of gaming goes.
So working with Sakurai-san, you mentioned collaboration on the character Kazuya, but actually, Bandai Namco Studios, when they were developing Smash Brothers… Sakurai-san was there all the time, just normally coming to work, I guess you could say. So we knew quite well what to expect and his personality. And even that said, we were also surprised when it came time to make Kazuya for Smash Brothers, because we thought since we’re the experts at Tekken, maybe he’s going to ask what’s the points that I need to definitely get right to make this feel like Tekken, but actually that wasn’t the case. He had already had his own thoughts about what makes Tekken “Tekken.” So it was surprising but also refreshing to see that he came in and didn’t ask questions, but said, “I’ve played a lot of Tekken and studied it, and this is what I feel is important for the game,” right off the bat.
So that was quite a shock, I mean in a positive way. But then also it made us think that he has all these characters from other different franchises and games in Smash Brothers, so to know so much to a deep extent about all of these different IPs to be able to do that… he’s probably the only one that could properly make that game. In creating Tekken series we always look at various different fighting games or other games outside the genre and think about what to maybe draw from that experience. But he just went so much deeper on all of them, we thought there’s still a lot we can learn ourselves from different products outside of Tekken by looking at his example.