Introducing: Masahiro Sakurai

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“The pain goes away, but your work always remains” – Masahiro Sakurai

It’s quite hard to receive special recognition as a game developer these days. Now that the gaming industry has grown so much, so many people are getting involved in it and producing new games. There are just too many different people who bring different ideas to the table to the point where there isn’t enough recognition to go around for everyone to have. But even if you do end up getting recognition, that recognition ends up moving on to the next new developer in only a few days. However, there are a few developers who have been recognized and are still remembered to this day as geniuses in their own fields. Among these geniuses lies my eminent person, the mastermind behind both Kirby and the Smash Bros series, Masahiro Sakurai. 

There are many game developers that I could’ve chosen instead of Masahiro Sakurai, like the creator of Mario: Shigeru Miyamoto, or the creators of Cuphead: Marija and Ryan Moldenhauer. But there is one major difference in mindset that sets him apart from all of the other developers. This difference is that he truly cares about his game. This may come as a surprise, but there are tons of big-shot developers who don’t care about their games as much. They usually care more about the amount of money they earn than how good the game really is. If the original game that they had created does well, then they make sequel after sequel until they eventually burn out the series and basically end up “killing the series”. But unlike these types of people, Sakurai puts in effort and care into all of the games he creates. He works himself to death just to create a game that he can be proud of selling to his audience. He also does not like making sequels to his games because he believes that each game should be different and original. This mindset really made me come to like him as a game developer and a person since he also seems like a very humble person. 

I believe that a trait that Sakurai and I both share is that we are both very hard working and determined. Even during his hardest times, Sakurai never gave up and always worked through the pain in order to complete what he had set out to do. He also works himself to death every time he works on a project to ensure that the game is up to the audience’s standards and to ensure that he is putting out a game that he is truly proud of. Although I didn’t go through as many hardships as he has, I do think that I am hard working and determined. When I set out to do something, I always try to ensure that I finish the task before moving on. It may be because I am stubborn and not know when to give up, but I still persevere until I am positive that I cannot make it any further. 

I think that Sakurai almost perfectly exemplifies most of my goals. The fact that he exemplified my goals so well may have been an unnoticed factor that affected my choice in the back of my head. He does lots of presentations in front of huge audiences from time to time since he is a famous developer at Nintendo. He also is a risk taker of sorts since he tries all sorts of new ideas for his games and implements new ways to play games without knowing if that new way would even work or not. We can also assume that he has good communication and time management skills since these are both very important skills that a person needs in order to succeed in any kind of group projects. 

During my preliminary research, I tried my best to find someone who I am quite similar to. So I don’t think that there are many barriers preventing me from connecting with my eminent person if at all. We are both Asian, have similar interests, and are of the same gender. Faith and religion doesn’t really have anything to do with Sakurai’s eminence. The only barrier that I can think of is geography since he lives in Japan while I am living here in Canada, but this won’t really affect my speech in anyway.

Sakurai has brought tons of different ideas to the gaming industry as a whole like the platform fighter genre. But the biggest thing that he brought into the gaming industry was probably his mindset towards creating games. As I mentioned before, his mindset of having to create original games may stick with more people from now on, and reduce the amount of sequels made. And if sequels are still made, they will most likely have new, fun ideas that can make it its own game. Other game developers will hopefully also follow Sakurai’s example of putting his all into every single game that he creates to create more high quality games in the future. His ideas, mindset, and beliefs will most likely stick in the industry for many years to come. I think this because all of these things that he brought into the gaming industry was something that already existed. He simply uncovered it for everyone. By this I mean that his mindset and beliefs are the basis of how you create a good game, so in the future if people want to create good games, then they will end up having to follow Sakurai’s example in order to succeed. 

Although he is extremely successful with his games, he also faced many hardships during his time in the gaming industry. In fact, it was due to his successes that he faced these hardships. Many of the companies that Sakurai had worked for always saw lots of potential in him and ended up taking advantage of him. They forced him into project after project even while knowing that he was tired and needed a break. He was also bad at rejecting people, and was pressured to “ruin” his games by creating multiple sequels of them. The most famous example of this was when Satoru Iwata announced the next installment in the Smash Bros series. While this came as a surprise to the audience, it was also a surprise to Sakurai. He was never told that there was going to be a next Smash Bros game, let alone that he was going to be directing it. Sakurai got mad at Iwata for forcing him into a game and asked him why he did that. Then Iwata literally told him that he was forced to threaten him to work on the game because he refused to work on another sequel. Sakurai overcame most of these obstacles just by quitting after his last project. But after going into Nintendo, he’s been having trouble finding time for a break. So he’s simply just been continuing to work extremely hard on his projects while stating, even to the public, that he wants a break after finally finishing Super Smash Bros Ultimate. 

I can clearly tell that Sakurai wants to create a game that he’s proud of based on how much care and attention he puts into all of his games. He also wants to satisfy his audience and company. Another thing he wants and has clearly stated that he wants is a break from his work. I think that he fears disappointing others based on how he puts so much work and effort into all of his games. 

For my next step in my research on Masahiro Sakurai, I want to learn more on his early life since there wasn’t too much information on that topic. He was only recognized after he created Kirby, so his life before that is not as well known. 

 

 

Works Cited

Ashcraft, B. (2019, March 5). Smash Bros. Creator Masahiro Sakurai Works Too Damn Hard. Retrieved from Kotaku: https://kotaku.com/smash-bros-creator-masahiro-sakurai-works-too-damn-har-1833057020

The information from this article mostly informed me on Sakurai’s hardships. All the info on this website is mainly about how hard he works as well as how this is affecting his health. It really helped me understand how Sakurai was feeling. This website especially helped me put more emotion and feeling into my eminent speech so that I could have a more impactful speech.

Braun, E. (2018, June 22). A Brief History of Masahiro Sakurai. Retrieved from Culture of Gaming: https://cultureofgaming.com/a-brief-history-of-masahiro-sakurai/

Gallagher, J. M. (2019, January 21). Super Smash Bros: The Story of Nintendo’s Premier Fighting Franchise. Retrieved from Den of Geek: https://www.denofgeek.com/us/games/super-smash-bros/241515/super-smash-bros-nintendo-history

IMDb. (n.d.). Masahiro Sakurai. Retrieved from IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0757340/

Khan, I. (2019, March 5). Super Smash Bros. Director Masahiro Sakurai Worked With An IV Drip While Sick. Retrieved from Game Informer: https://www.gameinformer.com/2019/03/05/super-smash-bros-director-masahiro-sakurai-worked-with-an-iv-drip-while-sick

Macdonald, K. (2018, August 8). From Kong to Kirby: Smash Bros’ Masahiro Sakurai on mashing up 35 years of gaming history. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/games/2018/aug/08/super-smash-bros-ultimate-masahiro-sakurai-35-years-gaming-history-nintendo

Keza Macdonald did a very good job in putting information onto this website. It is extremely informative as there is information on Sakurai’s beginnings, his impacts, his games, and his current standings. There are also a lot of direct quotes that help to make sure that his information is correct and relevant.

Sakurai, M. (n.d.). Super Smash Bros Brawl. (S. Iwata, Interviewer) Retrieved from http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/wii/ssbb/0/0

This is an interview done by Satoru Iwata on Sakurai and their shared experience on Super Smash Bros Brawl. This is the main source where I got information on how Iwata ended up deceiving Sakurai during the Nintendo conference. It gave me lots of info on how they were feeling during this event as well as some details that you won’t be able to get from any other source. This is also a very good source to use since this is all firsthand information.

Shea, B. (2019, January 21). The Origin Of Super Smash Bros. Retrieved from Game Informer: https://www.gameinformer.com/classic/2019/01/21/the-origin-of-super-smash-bros

This website is mostly information on how the Super Smash Bros series began. Most other websites don’t go very in depth on how Sakurai began the series, but this site explains a lot deeper about how Sakurai created this series. This website also has a lot of important information that most other websites don’t know about or don’t bother to include.

VideoGameStoryTime (Director). (2018). Super Smash Bros: The Story of Masahiro Sakurai [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WsUsNCFHkQ

This video gave me a very easy to understand breakdown of Sakurai’s life and it used pictures and images which helped me understand a lot better since I’m a very visual learner. Unlike other sources, this video gave me information about Sakurai himself. Other sites and sources gave me lots of information about Sakurai’s career and his games, and little to no information about his life and himself as a person. So it really helped me when this video told me a little bit about Sakurai himself and why he started game development.

Wikipedia. (2019, November 1). Masahiro Sakurai. Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masahiro_Sakurai

Wikipedia. (2019, October 29). Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Smash_Bros._Brawl#Development

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