At the beginning of nearly every character reveal for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, director Masahiro Sakurai breathes a sigh that’s a mixture of relief and disbelief that a decade of working on the series is coming to a close. Sakurai considers the previous game, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS, to be the beginning of development that culminated with Ultimate’s DLC characters ten years later, so he’s very eager for a long break.
But the grind continues unabated and Nintendo will eventually want a new Smash Bros. game, considering Ultimate is the best-selling fighting game of all time, but Sakurai says neither he nor Nintendo are talking about that yet.
This comes from an interview with Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, leaked early by blogger ryokutya2089 and translated by Siliconera, wherein the longtime Smash Bros. chief was asked about the future of the series. The short answer is that they’re not talking about it yet, the slightly longer answer is that he hasn’t even started thinking about it yet. Ten years on one project is a lot and probably shakes up some perspectives and following up Ultimate is a task that would very likely have to disappoint a lot of fans.
One thing that Sakurai hasn’t been shaken on, though, is his desire to stay on as long as new Smash content needs to be made. When asked by Famitsu if he could see the series helmed by someone else without his direct involvement, Sakurai said he couldn’t see a path toward that future. He will think hard about his future with the games, but that any continuation needs to involve him and Nintendo having a long talk about it.
Curiously, Sakurai also mentions that they did try to have some Smash Bros. content made without his watchful eye, but that it “didn’t go well.” He doesn’t elaborate on that, but that could mean anything from him delegating parts of Smash 4 or Ultimate to there somewhere, in some dark office at Nintendo, a cancelled prototype for a failed Smash Bros. game existing. It’s hard to say, as we’re relying on a vague allusion by Sakurai then translated into English, but it’s an interesting thought. Maybe the six year gap between Brawl and Smash 4 involved someone who wasn’t Sakurai taking the reins for a brief bit while Sakurai worked on Kid Icarus Uprising.
[Source: Famitsu via Siliconera]