Super Smash Bros Creator Is Retiring?

Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai says he has semi-retired from the game business.

By Jason Collins | Published

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Super Smash Bros. creator and game designer Masahiro Sakurai has confirmed that he’s now “semi-retired” from the gaming industry, according to Destructoid. The game designer elaborated on this, stating that he worked on one of the most famous gaming series for more than twenty years, covering all installments and DLC released between 3DS/Wii U and Nintendo Switch. Spending a whole decade continuously working on the same franchise can be waxing, especially when we take into account that Super Smash Bros. is turning 24 this year, and the series is still going strong.

Sakurai has more than two decades of experience working on Super Smash Bros., with occasional slight breaks to work on other gaming titles, including Kid Icarus, Meteos, and several lesser-known titles. However, the last nine years of his career have been dedicated solely to the Super Smash Bros. franchise, and Sakurai worked tirelessly to make sure that the franchise is where it’s supposed to be—at the top of Nintendo’s crossover-fighter hill. 2018’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the manifestation of his efforts.

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With that said, Sakurai hinted at retirement several times during the latest game’s development cycle, saying how the intensity and stress of game development have caused numerous ailments and health issues over the years. One of those ailments is calcific tendinitis—a build-up of calcium deposits in tendons and muscle which often causes pain and inflammation—with which he was diagnosed in 2013. Add fainting at the gym to the mix and occasional IV drip here and there to enable him to continue working through the illness makes his desire to retire quite reasonable.

The other side of his retirement would be the fact that he feels, at 52 years of age, that his life would be over before he realizes it due to his involvement in notoriously lengthy development cycles of Super Smash Bros. games. Of course, this doesn’t mean he won’t take on any upcoming projects, but it’s likely that he won’t take on as many as he used to. One project he seems particularly passionate about is his Creating Games YouTube channel, where he apparently shares his experience as a game developer.

Sakurai also added that the additional time would allow him to catch up on all his favorite manga and gaming releases, as he’s yet to experience Sonic Frontiers, which got its free DLC, the controversial Bayonetta 3, and the fantastic God of War: Ragnarok—which is supposed to receive its new gameplay mode. In all probability, Sakurai is likely to stay involved with the gaming industry, likely operating in an advisory capacity or as an executive producer on sporadic gaming projects that don’t take as high a physical and psychological toll as working on AAA titles does.

The original Super Smash Bros. was released in 1994 for Nintendo 64 as a crossover fighting franchise featuring Nintendo’s most recognizable characters. It changed several development studios over the course of 24 years, but Masahiro Sakurai remained the only constant that directed every Super Smash Bros. we ever got to play—we’d say that his retirement is well-deserved.