Super Smash Bros Director Explains How Characters Are Chosen

After questions from fans, the Super Smash Bros director, Masahiro Sakurai has explained part of the process behind choosing which characters make it into the game. It turns out that almost all of the roster is decided a lot earlier than you might expect.

In an interview with Game Informer, Sakurai talked about the decision to include so many fighters in the new game and why the ones that did made the cut. He also explained how the team managed to include every fighter ever plus a few bonuses in the final character roster.

“This time, I worked with the same company and same team that worked on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS titles,” he said. “And in those titles, we were able to include quite a few fighters. So I thought, if we work a bit harder, we can make the dream of including all fighters come true, so we went for it.”

The Super Smash Bros director also added that he doesn’t want to disappoint fans by not including characters from previous titles that they might have grown attached to.

“But what I learned is that regardless of doing our utmost, no matter how hard we try, and no matter how many fighters we include, there will always be people who feel that way,” he added.

The good news for fans is despite this incredible influx of fighters, it should only take a few hours to unlock the full roster in the game. Getting every amiibo for the game is another matter unless you’re in Japan where you can get a very limited special box set from Amazon.

But why then do characters like the new surprise Piranha Plant make it into the fray where other fan favorites fall to the wayside? Sakurai explained that it’s mostly about variety and balance and that he felt “speechless” at fans’ reactions surprising fans is never a goal.

“I’m actually not paying too much focus on the surprise element when we introduce a new fighter,” he said. “The surprise element quickly fades once the announcement has been made. Rather, I believe it’s important to have a good balance as a game. In the past titles in the series, Mr. Game & Watch, R.O.B. and Duck Hunt Dog were some of the examples we offered outside of people’s typical expectations. However, if we don’t have these types of fighters, and we only had typical “hero/heroine” type fighters in the lineup, there’s not much difference. It’s probably not very interesting. Correct?”

When the Super Smash Bros director was asked about how new characters made the cut, he explained that all fighters are decided on during the planning stages, even if they don’t exist yet. No changes are made during the development of the game, everyone is pre-decided.

“By the way, as for Incineroar, during our planning stage we knew that a new Pokémon game was coming, so we intentionally kept one spot open for that, and we decided which character to create once we received more info on the title,” he explained.

Lastly, regardless of how certain each generation getting it’s own Smash title seems, Sakurai explained it’s actually quite a balancing act.

“You may not sense that, but it is actually a miracle every time we’re able to create a Smash Bros. game,” he stated. “It’s a bit different from any other game series that regularly comes out with new installments. Unless we get approval from all of the I.P. holders who are involved in this game, we can’t make this game. And every time, we are walking a fine line.”