The Famitsu containing the last Sakurai Column is now out! As expected, the feature is quite in-depth but @KodyNOKOLO and I will be tackling it!— PushDustIn@BitSummit (@PushDustIn) November 3, 2021
First up, is an interview focused on Smash Ultimate's DLC. This will take time, so stay tuned to this thread for updates. pic.twitter.com/0tfF92Cj2d
Sakurai starts things by talking about his well-being as well as Sora from Kingdom Hearts:
- The most peaceful for time for Sakurai is in-between projects as he can do what he likes. He's even thinking about taking a trip.
- When asked about the ballot, Sakurai states that Sora quickly became the most requested character.
- Sora mainly fights in the air so that he can stay true to the Kingdom Hearts series while also being more unique, as none of the other DLC characters don't really prioritize aerial combat.
- Aerial smash attacks were considered for Ultimate at one point, though it was dropped for being too complicated. Sakurai didn't want to disrupt the balance of Ultimate being both for casuals and hardcore players, as people of the latter category will use more aerials.
- Sakurai was in charge of Sora's reveal trailer and came up with the plan in 90 minutes after reading Disney's guidelines.
- In Sora's trailer, Mario was originally going to swing a keyblade to open the door. This was changed to him just throwing the burning object and the door being opened by the keyblade itself, as only keyblade users like Sora can properly wield them.
In addition to the recently released Sora, Sakurai also talked more about the previous DLC characters for Ultimate. We've divided his thoughts on each character individually:
Fighters Pass 1:
- Working on Joker was difficult for Sakurai as the base game had just being finished and the team had to decide on how to work on DLC characters.
- The inclusion of Arsene into Joker's moveset also doubled the work load.
- Hero was originally not going to have a voice. However, this changed when Hero was given a voice in Dragon Quest XI S. From there, Sakurai worked with Square Enix to give all of the other Hero alts official voices and names.
- Banjo was the most voted for character in the ballot after Sora.
- His trailer was based off K. Rool's, which was very helpful for the team as it was much cheaper due to the high cost of trailers.
- The trailer was created by Bandai Namco, while the person in charge of Terry's trailer had previously worked on the 1986 Namco game Genpei Toma Den.
- Sakurai's goal was to make the coolest Terry Bogard ever.
- Younger fans may have not known who Terry was, but what was important for Sakurai was that they could understand Terry through Smash.
- Development on Byleth started before Three Houses was even released. It took Sakurai a long time to get through the game even with a developer build.
- Sakurai played Three Houses in top secret. He couldn't bring the game home and employees weren't allowed to see his screen.
Fighters Pass 2:
- Min Min
- Spring Man was an assist trophy as he couldn't make it into the base game.
- To make a character in Smash feel like they were from ARMS, Sakurai felt that long arms were key.
- Adding the code for blocks on each stage was tough and took a lot of time.
- One issue came with Enderman, who would often blend into the background. Sakurai actually quizzed his staff by showing them screenshots and telling them to guess where Enderman was.
- Sephiroth's appearance in the Advent Children movie was an important base for Sephiroth in Smash.
- Sakurai was concerned about the reach of Sephiroth's sword, but figured it would be ok especially given Min Min's reach. Balancing in general was a concern, however Sakurai wanted to Sephiroth to leave a strong impression.
- Sakurai wanted Rex to appear alongside Pyra/Mythra in battle, however this couldn't happen due to hardware limitations. Pyra/Mythra's detailed costumes pushed the limit of the game being able to run at 60 fps.
- If Sakurai had to pick between only Pyra or Mythra being playable, he would've went with Pyra.
- Other Xenoblade 2 rep ideas that were considered by Sakurai:
- Rex by himself
- Rex with Pyra appearing at times
- Pyra by herself
- Pyra with Rex appearing at times
- Sakurai states that if the fighter were not Kazuya with his devil gene, Tekken could not work in Smash.
- Regarding Heihachi, Sakurai says that he had little to no up-B options (with Sakurai even wondering if it would just be nothing). Sakurai then states that he is glad he settled with Kazuya.
Sakurai continues by talking about the development of Ultimate more:
- The Sakurai Presents video format for DLC characters started with Hero. Nintendo came up with the idea and it was the standard going forward as the Joker Presentation cost a lot of money and time to create.
- Regarding toning down characters for balancing, Sakurai thought it'd be best to add weaknesses to characters rather than eliminate their strong points. Doing the latter would make the character less unique.
- Sakurai states: "There’s no right way to play Smash, just play how you want and have fun!” Smash is catered towards a wide range of players, so its important to try the game out different types of scenarios.
That is all that has been translated for the time being, as PushDustIn and Kody NOKOLO will translate the remainder of the column in the upcoming days. You can get the latest updates of both the Sakurai translation and general gaming news by following their Twitter accounts which are linked below.
Social Media: @Zerp
Special Thanks: PushDustin and Kody NOKOLO for translating the Famitsu article.
Author's Note: What did you think about Sakurai's final column so far? Let us know in the comments below!