Terrific Japanese translation resource Shmuplations is at it again, translating a 1999 Nice Games magazine interview with Masahiro Sakurai. It yields a few surprising and intriguing insights about the original Super Smash Bros., including types of characters included, challenges of getting specific characters in the game, and the lightning-fast development of the single player mode.
For starters — the game was almost all dog fighters! Sakurai said this:
Nintendo only let us use their characters later. Of course, during that time, we thought of a lot of different possibilities. We considering asking someone else to design all the characters, or to make all the characters dogs—the first dog fighting game. (laughs) I also thought about using all Kirby characters.
It is well known at this point that Sakurai faced an uphill battle trying to get people like Shigeru Miyamoto on board with the idea of including Nintendo icons in Super Smash Bros. However, in this interview Sakurai goes even a bit further with the details of that struggle. For instance, it took the longest to get the Pokémon characters in the game because their likeness was so closely protected. But even still, Sakurai sympathized with why people guarded their creations so much, because he had been in a similar position before himself:
… there had been times when I’d been kind of annoyed by the way Kirby was depicted in someone else’s illustration or as a game cameo. Smash Bros. was conceived, in part, as a reaction against that kind of sloppy handling. I imagine anyone who creates a character feels similarly protective, but Smash Bros. brought an unprecedented number of different characters together and it was of the utmost importance to us that we re-create their personalities and characteristics faithfully. I absolutely did not want to betray the original characters’ creators.
One more surprising thing in this interview was about the single player experience in Super Smash Bros. Sakurai said, “The 1-player mode in Smash Bros. was created in the very last month of the development in a mad rush.” That’s crazy! One month to build one of the most played modes? Not bad, HAL Laboratory. Not bad.
Be sure to read the full interview for even more intriguing insights.