When announced for Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Duck Hunt was met by many with confusion. After all, Masahiro Sakurai has been on record a number of times stating that characters who didn't have a high likelihood of returning were given a lower priority. In the most recent issue of Nintendo Dream, Sakurai cleared up some of the confusion behind Duck Hunt's inclusion in the Smash roster.
According to Sakurai, Duck Hunt was included partly because of large sales numbers:
"Please try to have a look at the sales numbers. It might be the most-sold shooting game in the world. It might be because it came bundled with the NES outside of Japan. If you look at worldwide numbers you come up with a huge number. I thought to create a character based on that would be appropriate, so we included that character from the very beginning of the project." — Masahiro Sakurai
Sakurai admits however, that Duck Hunt wasn't a viable option until this iteration:
"No, that would be exaggerating...in past titles we had our hands full with the characters we included back then. Even if we had tried even harder back then we couldn't have included it. But this time it was fun to do 'Duck Hunt' and its shooting-like presentation. Like having a third person intervening the action, being able to say 'It's actually a trio' was fun. That's how we finalized it during development of the concept, saying 'That's how we can make it work!'" — Masahiro Sakurai
Personally, I'm very happy with how they turned out in Smash. Do you think Sakurai and the development team made a good choice to include Duck Hunt?