Super Smash Bros. has quickly become one of Nintendo's hottest franchises, even with only three installments. It's every Nintendo fan's dream fighting game, with pretty much every major player in the company's roster coming together to duke it out in a wonderful blend of accessible yet deep gameplay, and the newly announced fourth installment looks to reach even higher. With so much hype behind a franchise, it's understandable that the development process would feel weighted -- and this is exactly what Masahiro Sakurai, head of Super Smash Bros. development, feels.
In an interview with Polygon, Sakurai talked about the character selection process behind the series, and how it feels to weigh all of these beloved franchises and characters against each other:
The amount of stress I feel, it's almost to the brink of death. Because it's not just a matter of me personally thinking this character or that character is going to be in the game; it's that we also have the game balance, animation, graphics and sound to think about in order to make that character fully fleshed out in that universe. I have to think about all of that when I go through this decision-making process.
Not only is it a challenge to narrow down characters based on technical requirements, Sakurai also has to consider the hordes of emotionally invested gamers who are watching his every cut and addition like hawks:
Whether it's a minor character or a character that is one of the most highly skilled and most played, if that character is removed from the game, the people who live for that character in Smash Bros. are going to have their feelings hurt. I think we have to really consider that, so I take a very serious, hard look at that and have empathy for the players who look for these type of characters when we're making these decisions.
Taking part in the Smash Bros. speculation community myself, I can see what he means. There are fans who will choose to buy the game based solely on whether one character is in -- or, alternatively, will abandon the series if somebody they hate makes it to the roster. They are some of the most vocal fanbase in gaming, and Sakurai realizes it. Personally, I feel that this complete care is what makes his final product so good; nevertheless, the man deserves rest.