You've heard the stories of games where famous producers are involved in name only. Such is definitely not the case with the upcoming Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Smash Bros. for Wii U.
Series creator Masahiro Sakurai is nothing if not a hard worker, but as his column in Weekly Famitsu reveals, his involvement with the development process is far more vital than one might imagine. While he does not go as far as to do the actual coding, he might as well. "With the previous Smash Bros. games, I would input all the fighter specs and attack hitboxes, and with the new games I'm doing something very similar." Sakurai writes. With the new games, a lot of Sakurai's job consists of entering and editing an endless amount of parameters into the games. "If I were to hand over the work to someone else, it would be a full-time, multi-person designated workload."
With attack animations, Sakurai does everything from determining the individual attack poses to the starting and ending motion frames. While he has considered having other people do the work and has done so before, it never turned out right. Writes Sakurai, "It's faster and more accurate to do it myself than to tell someone else over and over again what to do."
Another reason Sakurai does this nitty gritty hands-on work himself is due to the fact that he's working with a different team. Fortunately, according to Sakurai, the development tools that Namco Bandai has developed for the game are a lot more advanced and allow for more immediate trial and error.
Apparently, Sakurai's average work day is so busy that by the time he actually gets to sit down and do his own editing work, it's usually past 10PM — 12 hours after coming to the office. Because of this, Sakurai tends to prefer coming in to work on Saturdays where he's not bogged down with other duties that interfere with his work on Smash Bros.
At the end of it all, despite the six-day work weeks, constant workload, adverse effect on his already injured arm, and almost complete lack of a private life, Sakurai seems to be happy with his current lifestyle. "I'm thankful to be able to work a job where I can offer enjoyment to more and more people." Sakurai writes. "More than anything, it's fun to see things come together!" Don't ever go anywhere, Mr. Sakurai. We need more people like you.
Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Smash Bros. for Wii U are scheduled for release next year.