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It has been roughly two weeks since the announcement of both The Hero from Dragon Quest and Banjo-Kazooie in Smash, which means that Sakurai has once again descended from his heavenly loft to bequeath upon us another Famitsu column where he discusses their appearance in Smash Ultimate, focusing on their journey towards becoming playable as opposed to their mechanics. With translations courtesy of @PushDustIn, we’ve provided his tidbits below:

  • With The Hero, “the day has finally come” when Sakurai could work with Dragon Quest. The main idea that came to him when thinking of the series was the Command Prompt. In Smash, the Command Window has a randomized assortment of spells as well as MP to pull from. (It’s currently unclear whether “randomized” is referring to the selection of spells or simply the order in which they’re listed.)
  • There’s usually a restriction on which DQ protagonists can fight with one another, but Smash received special permission to use multiple. The appearance of the Hero from Dragon Quest VIII was due to Western fan demand. 
  • Sakurai was nervous about how to include a legendary series like DQ, ultimately deciding to have the Final Smash showcase protagonists from throughout the entire series. While The Hero was initially not supposed to have a voice, as DQ protagonists are traditionally silent, Dragon Quest XI S added voice acting for its main protagonist, so Sakurai & co. changed course. All four iterations of The Hero have voice actors.
  • He moves on to Banjo-Kazooie next. Sakurai notes that Western requests for Banjo were never ending, even after other popular picks like King K. Rool and Ridley.

  • Including them seemed like a difficult prospect for Sakurai, given that B-K is owned by Microsoft. While many people have an attachment to the N64 games, Rare was sold to MS in the early 2000s, and now have their games on Xbox platforms. It’s generally thought that console competitors shouldn’t cooperate with one another. Yet Sakurai states they were able to get the character quite easily, thanks Microsoft and Rare for their helpfulness.
  • Sakurai takes a moment to offer his perspective on the console wars. He doesn’t find much value in that kind of thing. No matter the kind of console, as long as it contains fun games, Sakurai respects that.
  • He ends the column by noting just how many companies are involved in Smash these days. He believes his work to be truly special, and wants to please all the fans of the original games, so he’ll keep working hard.

A heartwarming experience all around. It’s nice to see passion and respect on all sides of the development. The Hero releases for Smash sometime this summer, while Banjo-Kazooie drop this fall.


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Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.