Masahiro Sakurai, the creator of the Super Smash Bros. series, is famous for his extremely hands-on role in developing the games. But even though he’s said in the past that he’s done “too much of the work myself” on the series, in a new video, he said that he “can’t really imagine a Smash Bros. title without me.”
Sakurai made the statement as part of a video on his YouTube channel about the development of Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii. That was the first Smash Bros. title where Sakurai as a freelance director instead of as a staffer for HAL Laboratory.
During the video, Sakurai pondered how Nintendo might structure a team for a potential next entry in the Smash Bros. series and his fears that there isn’t one person who can take over from him. I’m just going to transcribe exactly what he said about that:
The question now is, what happens next time? I mean whatever comes after Smash Bros. Ultimate. One option would be the separate the series itself from the original creator. But for now, at least, I can’t really imagine a Smash Bros. title without me. You might think that’s a natural stance for someone in my role, but I say so speaking objectively.
I feel the same way President [Satoru] Iwata did when we formed the team for Smash Bros. Brawl. At present, we don’t have someone who can simply take the reins…
Smash Bros. is a massive, important title for Nintendo, so it’s fair to assume there will be another one at some point, but it’s going to take some work to figure out exactly how to make that happen. For my part, I’d like to keep working with Nintendo however I’m able.
To me, that sounds like Sakurai might still be open to working on the series in the future. Perhaps for the next title, he’ll train up some kind of series successor so he can cruise into retirement. Or maybe, like the legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki, Sakurai will just keep on working.