Welcome to a brand-new weekly feature from the Nintendo Wire crew, This Week In Sakurai. Kirby and Super Smash Bros. Director Masahiro Sakurai started a YouTube channel this year, “Masahiro Sakurai on Creating Games,” to share his insights and tips on game development. In lieu of reporting on every video he puts out, or just the ones that catch our fancy, we’ll round up what he has to say here every Monday. So without further ado, here are the topics he discussed:
- Super Smash Bros. Melee [Game Concepts] – Part of Sakurai’s ongoing series where he discusses games he’s directed in chronological order, this time he discusses 2001’s widely acclaimed and celebrated Super Smash Bros. Melee. Sakurai talks about the technical leap between Melee and the first Smash on N64, the intensely shortened development schedule, and the addition of features like trophies.
- The Fiend’s Cauldron [Game Essence] – The core game design topic of the week is the Fiend’s Cauldron from Kid Icarus: Uprising. We already covered it in detail, but in short, he shows how the sliding difficulty is beneficiary to both hardcore and casual players, though it has shortcomings. He also wonders if the game will be ported, as if he enjoys hurting us.
- A Small Window Into The World [Planning & Game Design] – the topic here is field of view, with Sakurai focusing on racing games to provide examples of how information on screen is conveyed and how limited the space to do so really is. He also brings up VR briefly as well as varying takes on scale in perspective in games.
- Sharing Info Within A Team [Game Management] – Acknowledging how developers on big games can lose sight of what they’re working on in the minutiae of day-to-day tasks, Sakurai shares three things he did during Super Smash Bros. Ultimate development to keep workers in the loop: Daily Reports that team members can comment below, Screenshots of the Day to show developmental progress and give the team something to talk about or loosen up with, and Project Presentations where teams convene every couple of weeks to show off what they’ve been working on.
This is going to be a regular fixture going forward, so check back Monday for a debriefing on whatever topics Sakurai covers this week. And please. Make that Uprising port happen.
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