Sakurai Discusses How the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Roster Was Determined

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate includes a whopping 74 fighters at launch, and Sakurai has finally given some insight on how they were decided upon.

By Tomas Franzese

November 21, 2018

The roster of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will come in at an astounding 74 fighters, which makes one wonder how exactly the development team chose which character would get in. Fortunately, Smash Bros. Creator, Director, and overall gaming auteur Masahiro Sakurai gave some insight into how exactly this process works in a recent interview with GameInformer. 

As Nintendo has well-publicized, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate contains every fighter that has appeared in a prior Super Smash Bros. game. As Sakurai was working with the same development team from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS on this title, it made implementing all the fighters from those games a somewhat smoother process. He also wanted to please the fans of all these Nintendo franchises, though he has finally come to terms with the fact that he will never please everyone:

“This time, I worked with the same company and same team that worked on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS titles. And in those titles, we were able to include quite a few fighters. So I thought, if we work a bit harder, we can make the dream of including all fighters come true, so we went for it.

There will be people who might feel disappointed if fighters that appeared in a previous title are not included. I didn’t want any players to feel that way, so we worked really hard to make this happen.

But what I learned is that regardless of doing our utmost, no matter how hard we try, and no matter how many fighters we include, there will always be people who feel that way.”

When discussing brand new fighters, Masahiro Sakurai revealed that several different elements influence a character’s inclusion. In addition to things like workload and relevancy of the character, the development team also considered feedback from the Smash Ballot and discussed which fighters would balance out the roster well.

He went into further detail about both Incineroar and free DLC character Piranha Plant. He revealed that the developers initially left a blank slot for a Generation VII Pokémon before they got more information on those titles, though Incineroar was chosen soon after he got that information. When it comes to Piranha Plant, he acknowledged that it was an extremely well known enemy so it would make a noticeable and enticing limited-time free DLC character:

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“It is a project after all, so we take into consideration things like labor, man-hours, the time in which the title will be sold. We decide on the fighters from the very early planning stage, and from there, we calculate and begin production. We don’t add or remove any characters during the project. We do things like base our consideration on the results of the Smash ballot, and also balance things out so that there’s a difference in the types of fighters.

By the way, as for Incineroar, during our planning stage we knew that a new Pokémon game was coming, so we intentionally kept one spot open for that, and we decided which character to create once we received more info on the title…

Also, unlike some main characters from some (not widely known) franchises, Piranha Plant is a character everyone knows well. And, I want to make sure to remind everyone that it is a limited-time offer fighter everyone can get for free as an early-purchase bonus.”

So there you have it – recycling the development team and some of the work done on the previous Super Smash Bros. games help ensure that every previous character could make it in. Meanwhile, new characters’ inclusions relied on a combination of popularity, relevancy, and feasibility. Now, don’t mind me as I stare longingly into the distance hoping for Geno to make it in as a DLC fighter (all of whom have already been decided by Nintendo).

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Nintendo Switch will finally bring the long running crossover fighting game series to a crescendo on December 7, even if Reggie Fils-Aime wished it launch earlier this year. The game can also still be pre-ordered on Amazon. DualShockers recently attend a Super Smash Bros. event where we were able to try out every new fighter, so you can check out impressions of all of them. 

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Tomas Franzese

Tomas Franzese is a News Editor at DualShockers, writing a variety of reviews and shedding light on upcoming games for both PC and consoles. While he has been a gamer most of his life, he began writing for DualShockers in 2016 and has almost never put his computer or a controller down since.

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