Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was an ambitious endeavor. Masahiro Sakurai, the game’s director, made that very explicit in a recent interview with Nintendo Dream (translated by Nintendo Everything). During development, Sakurai suffered stomach pains akin to food poisoning. That didn’t pull the man away from his work on the game. Crazily, an IV drip helped make that possible! When asked if he fell ill at any point during his work, he shared that he acquired a case of acute gastroenteritis. The interview then asked if he took some time off to work through that and was shocked to hear the answer. “No, I don’t. I just get an IV drip and go to work like normal.”
And in case your wondering, this wasn’t a case of strict contractual demands, meeting deadlines, or forced crunch by an external source. Sakurai isn’t beholden to such restrictions as he noted his great working relationships with the companies that hire him. Also, since he is a “freelancer” of sorts, he makes his own rules. He simply attributes this to work ethic.
“I guess I’m a hard worker?” Sakurai continued, “I”m a freelancer, so I don’t have any strict rules on my time. As long as I can complete the game, I could show up to the office once per week and I think it’d be within the realm of forgiveness. But instead, I make sure I come to work every day and write proper daily reports and such. I’m always working, but there’s a lot of things that keep me in good spirits!”
2018 was booked solid
Working through sickness is merely one of a few ways Sakurai displayed his dedication to his work. Last year, he only took three days of vacation, Dec 22-24. The game had launched only a couple weeks prior, but his team was still hard at work developing the DLC. Hence, the reason he didn’t take much time during the holidays.
After hearing this, I think we can all agree on one thing — Sakurai, take a break! He brought us the megahit of the year on Nintendo Switch and continues to push forward on the DLC content for the game. The man has deserved a substantial break. We can only hope he gets one sometime soon! Be sure to check out the entire interview. Sakurai talks about a variety of things such as the voice-over work for the game as well as how he decided to implement bosses and much more.