Polygon Interviews Super Smash Bros. Director Masahiro Sakurai on Roster Selection, Says Creating a Roster Is Stressful “Almost to the Brink of Death”

By on June 24, 2013 at 9:37 am

Creating a roster for a dream crossover game may not be as fun as we all think it is. Masahiro Sakurai told Polygon in a recent interview, that selecting characters for the new Super Smash Bros. is stressful “almost to the brink of death.” Why? A number of reasons! He has limited space in the roster and in that space he has to include old favorites, new contenders, and has to satisfy the wishes of both Nintendo and Smash Bros. fans! If he starts running out of space, he has to start removing characters from the roster, and then anyone who liked that character will be furious with him and not like the game. Similarly, he might include characters that he believes have interesting and fun playstyles, but because of their obscurity they are liked by no one. It’s a rough job!

We have included an excerpt of the interview below. Be sure to head on over to Polygon to read it in it’s entirety, as Sakurai expands on what makes a character a candidate for Smash Bros. inclusion and how and why Megaman got added to the roster. Let’s see if Ridley is too big this time around.


“The amount of stress I feel, it’s almost to the brink of death,” Sakurai said of designing Smash Bros.’s character roster. “Because it’s not just a matter of me personally thinking this character or that character is going to be in the game; it’s that we also have the game balance, animation, graphics and sound to think about in order to make that character fully fleshed out in that universe. I have to think about all of that when I go through this decision-making process.”

Sakurai said that a Smash Bros. game is defined by the characters on its roster. Without the inclusion of Mario, Kirby, Samus or Link, some would say, “it might not be Smash Bros.” What defines the core of Smash Bros., he says, varies from player to player.

“Whether it’s a minor character or a character that is one of the most highly skilled and most played,” Sakurai said, “if that character is removed from the game, the people who live for that character in Smash Bros. are going to have their feelings hurt.

“I think we have to really consider that, so I take a very serious, hard look at that and have empathy for the players who look for these type of characters when we’re making these decisions.”

Source: Polygon

Angelo M. D’Argenio A.K.A. MyLifeIsAnRPG got his start in the fighting game community as a young boy playing Street Fighter II in arcades down at the Jersey Shore. As president of Disorganization XIII, he travels the convention circuit presenting a variety of panels from discussions on gamer culture, to stick modding workshops, to fighting game comedy acts. He has a passion for looking at the fighting game community from an academic standpoint and has completed several studies on effective fighting game learning and the impact fighting games have on social circles. A six year veteran of the gaming industry, he also writes for Cheat Code Central and is a lead game designer for Ember Games. On Tuesdays, you can find him getting bodied by Chris G and getting mistaken for Seth Rogen at The Break.