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Sakurai explains how the Smash Bros. Ultimate 'Picture of the Day' series started, and why he keeps it up

A man of dedication

Did you know that Sakurai has been doing a Smash Bros. Ultimate "Picture of the Day" Twitter post every day since Dec. 27th, 2019? In the latest issue of Famitsu, Sakurai explains how the whole idea got started, and why he keeps it up. Check out the info below, courtesy of a translation from PushDustIn, Nokoloc, and Sephazon.

- the Picture of the Day idea is something Sakurai has done for the staff since the development of Kid Icarus: Uprising
- Sakurai uploads the pictures to a private network that is only accessible within the studio
- sometimes the PoTD interferes with his meetings or when he’s driving
- Sakurai even posts them to Twitter on weekends
- the first Smash PoTD came about back in August 2012
- at the time, Smash for 3DS/Wii U was being built
- for Smash Bros. Ultimate, Sakurai's been using pictures from later in development (around March 2018 to now)
- Sakurai first started PoTD as a way to create a good atmosphere among the hundreds of staff
- since every picture varies, it creates an exciting atmosphere for the staff
- Sakurai keeps up the posts as a way for the project to be more open to the entire development team
- because these projects are so large, staff may not see the bigger picture, so it’s important to bring the team together with PotD
- whenever a good opportunity arises, Sakurai may take several photos at once
- when shooting, Sakurai doesn’t think of a ‘story,’ but instead uses a random assortment of fighters and stages
- Sakurai is usually quite busy with development, and these posts do take some time to write
- ‘Picture of the Day’ began as a service directed towards our staff, but it's also become entertaining for fans

Sakurai says there's "no guarantee" he'll keep making games after Smash Bros. Ultimate's DLC is done, has nothing lined up

Say it ain't so, Sakurai!

Smash Bros. Ultimate's DLC work is going to continue for quite some time, especially when you factor in potential delays due to the coronavirus. There's no doubt a year's worth of work ahead of Masahiro Sakurai and the team, if not more. What happens when all that DLC is taken care of, though? What does Sakurai have lined up after Smash Bros. Ultimate comes to a close? According to Sakurai himself, he's free and clear!

"That's how I approach game development whenever I start a new project. Though, honestly, there's no guarantee I'll keep making games after this. Right now, all I'm thinking about is the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC development. Once that's done, I actually have absolutely nothing lined up."

Let's hope that Sakurai does decide to move onto other game ideas outside of Smash Bros.. It would be great to see what else he could come up with. Besides that though, let's hope he takes a good, long time to rest!

Sakurai suffers a health scare, passes out while at the gym

Hang in there, Sakurai

This week's issue of Famitsu has a new feature from Masahiro Sakurai, and he has some unfortunate news to share. Apparently Sakurai passed out when he was exercising at the gym, which he says is related to being fatigued, along with dehydration. Sakurai goes on to say that he's been on a low-carb diet and eating lots of meat. Whatever the case is, it seems like Sakurai needs to slow things down and catch up on some much-needed rest.

Sakurai confirms that Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC support ends with Fighters Pass 2, says the next Smash isn't being planned yet

Let Sakurai rest, damnit!

This week's Famitsu has another column from Masahiro Sakurai, and as you might guess, he talks a bit about Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Sakurai wants one thing to be very clear about Smash Bros. Ultimate. When it comes to DLC, things are being wrapped with Fighters Pass 2. Once all the content in Fighters Pass 2 is complete, Smash Bros. Ultimate will not receive anymore DLC. Hopefully whatever comes in Fighters Pass 2 will satiate you! Sakurai also once again reiterates that characters in this Fighters Pass are chosen by Nintendo.

Finally, Sakurai makes a quick note about a successor to Smash Bros. Ultimate. According to Sakurai, work on a sequel hasn't even hit the planning stages yet. Let's hope that's true, as Sakurai definitely needs a break!

Sakurai says Smash Bros. Ultimate has too many Fire Emblem characters and sword users

That's not possible!

Sakurai's latest Famitsu column has come out, and it's a hot one. Sakurai addresses the discussion of Fire Emblem overload in Smash Bros. Ultimate, along with some other tidbits. Check out a summary of the discussion below, courtesy of BlackKite.

- The new fighters were not decided based on Sakurai's favorites
- the new characters were picked by Nintendo
- Sakurai believes there are too many Fire Emblem characters, as well as too many sword users
- Sakurai says this was the decision that was made, so he just continues on with work, as he has other things to consider
- since there are so many sword fighters, Sakurai gives each fighter exclusive tactics to use
- the 3 Hero Relics owned by the 3 house leaders in Fire Emblem: Three Houses are being included in move inputs

Sakurai recalls not being able to visit Iwata in the hospital before his passing, setting out on a mission to make Smash a success

The final thoughts on Iwata from Sakurai

Today brings us the final excerpt featuring Masahiro Sakurai from the Iwata-san book. Once again, translations are being handled by PushDustIn. Check out the summary of this final chapter below.

Back when Iwata was admitted to the hospital, Sakurai didn't get the chance to visit. This is because Sakurai was swamped with work on Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS' DLC. When Sakurai heard the news of Iwata's passing from Takahashi Shinya, he was at home. The phone rang, and even before he picked up the phone, Sakurai knew something was wrong. He had the same feeling in his heart when he found out his grandparents passed away.

After hearing of Iwata's passing, Sakurai gave himself a mission. He wanted to make sure Smash Bros. became a true success. This personal mission came about when talk of a 'definitive' version of Smash Bros. arose during Smash Wii U/3DS DLC work. This paved the way for Smash Bros. Ultimate, which Sakurai feels completed his mission of making Smash a success.

Wondering what the next mission is for Sakurai? He doesn't know quite yet, and actually feels that the Smash DLC he's working on is outside of his original mission.

Sakurai closes out the interview by looking back fondly on a few more tidbits from Iwata. He says the two used to travel together to Tokyo quite often, and Sakurai would visit Iwata at his hotel to share a meal. During dinner discussions, Iwata would often recommend books for Sakurai to read.

Finally, when Sakurai worked at HAL, Iwata would call him "Sakurai-kun." After Sakurai left, Iwata would call him "Sakurai-san." All in all, Sakurai ended up feeling that Iwata was a very sincere person.

Sakurai recalls moments that made Iwata upset, and Iwata's reaction to Sakurai leaving Nintendo

More Iwata memories from Sakurai

In the third and fourth part of a five-part interview with Masahiro Sakurai, we hear a bit more about Sakurai's interactions with Iwata overall. PushDustIn has translated the juicy tidbits, which you can find summarized below.

Sakurai says the first time he saw Iwata upset was back in the early days of HAL. The company was working on Metal Slader Glory, which took a number of years to develop, and almost bankrupted the company. Things were so dire that HAL was renting out apartments for work, and had to borrow a large sum of money to keep development going. This lead to Iwata being quite upset, but he was upset by the situation itself, and not the people involved.

Sakurai also recalls Iwata getting upset when he became president of Nintendo. There was a process of reorganization going on, and one meeting about technology lead to Iwata being upset with numerous responses from the team. It was these two instances that lead to Sakurai realizing how sincere a person Iwata was.

The second time that Sakurai saw Iwata upset was when he became the president of Nintendo. The company had to be reorganized, and there was a meeting dealing with technology. There wasn't really a response from the meeting which upset Iwata a little.

Finally, Sakurai shares a story about driving with Iwata to Narita Airport in Iwata's newly bought sports car. Iwata bought the car because he figured it was a 'now or never' kind of purchase, and if he didn't buy it he wouldn't be able to drive it.

In another section of the interview, Sakurai looks back on the days of working on Smash Bros. Brawl. You can find those details below.

Sakurai remembers telling Iwata that he was going to go freelance, which might lead to him working on non-Nintendo platforms. This news made Iwata a little sad, understandably. Sakurai actually had another project he wanted to work on at the time, but Iwata ended up wooing Sakurai back to work on Brawl.and Iwata Asks for Brawl.

Sakurai discusses the prototype that lead to the creation of Smash Bros., and a cancelled N64 robot game prototype

I want that robot game!

In the second part of a five-part interview with Masahiro Sakurai, we learn about what the developer was up to in the early days of the N64. PushDustIn has translated the juicy tidbits, which include some pretty interesting insight into the prototypes Sakurai was working on.

Sakurai started to study 3D tools and animation while cooking up prototypes for the N64. The first of which he worked on was Ryuo: Fighting King, which was a game that would utilize the four controller ports and analog stick of the N64. The second prototype was an adventure game that had a robot as the main character. Satoru Iwata worked alongside Sakurai to program both prototypes. There was a time when both prototypes were considered to be parts of one game, but he moved away from that later on.

With the robot prototype, the player would control the robot like an R.C. car. You'd take the robot around a mysterious underground city, which you could only access by a drill attached to the robot. You had to drill down into the earth to gain access to the city at certain points. The robot would also be able to hack into cameras in order to get a better look around the city.

As you probably have figured out, this robot prototype never saw release as a full game. Sakurai does say that the controls for this prototype are actually quite similar to the original control scheme in the first Resident Evil.

As work on the prototypes continued, the decision was made to focus on the fighting game over the robot game, as work on the fighting game could be completed faster. Development estimates put the robot adventure game at roughly 2 years to complete. The fighting game was much more straightforward, and didn't even feature special attacks at the time. As you might suspect, this fighting game is eventually what paved the way to Smash Bros..

Sakurai looks back on his first interview with Iwata, and what it was like working alongside him

There's no one quite like Iwata

Not that long ago, the Iwata-san book was released, which chronicled the work and life of Satoru Iwata. Included in that book was an interview with Masahiro Sakurai, and now the first part of that interview has been posted online for free. We have a breakdown of what was said, thanks to PushDustIn.

Sakurai recalls being interviewed by Iwata back when he was just 18 years old. Sakurai looks back on the interview fondly, remembering Iwata's smile, and how closely Iwata paid attention to what was being said. Iwata was apparently taking notes on Sakurai's interview the entire time.

Not surprisingly, Sakurai says that when issues popped up during game development, Iwata was quick to hop in and help set things right. Iwata did this during Melee's creation, and did so without even being asked to come in and help.

Shuto “Shuton” Moriya takes home the win at EVO Japan 2020's Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament

Wins it all, and goes in for a Sakurai hug

The Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament at EVO 2020 has come to a close. With the dust settled, we can see that Shuto “Shuton” Moriya has emerged victorious. He managed to take out Seisuke “Kome” Komeda in the finals to seal the victory. For his win, Shuton received a Pro Controller with gold Smash logo, and a trophy that was presented by Masahiro Sakurai.

Unfortunately, there was also a moment when the special Pro Controller was dropped on stage. As you might expect, that moment was capped right away and put online for all to see.

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