Smash

Sakurai reveals how he positions new fighters in Smash Ultimate trailers

by Michael Gwilliam

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Super Smash Bros creator Masahiro Sakurai has explained the importance of direction when deciding how to position fighters in Smash Ultimate trailers.

In a new Famitsu column translated by industry specialists PushDustIn and Robert Sephazon, Sakurai revealed how position matters when crafting new fighters such as ARMS’ Min Min.

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For example, in ARMS, players use A to control Min Min’s left arm and B for her right, but it’s reversed in Smash Ultimate. However, when the fighter was first being designed, the control scheme matched up.

According to Sakurai, the team changed it because many fighters are right-handed and in boxing or other combat sports, it’s natural to have the left foot forward.

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“For Min Min, when she’s in her idle pose, her left foot is in front, as well as her left arm," PushDustIn translated for the game director. "Since the initial design plan, Min Min was able to change her arm using her special attack (B button). Therefore, she would’ve swapped the ARM that was originally in front."

Just like with boxing, it didn’t make much sense to have the more powerful punch be from her left hand, so it was reversed.

The direction is something Sakurai always takes into consideration when designing new Challenger Approaching trailers, stage position and how the characters are first shown to the audience.

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For Sakurai, these are all “major elements to be considered.” One example the 49-year-old gave was for Final Fantasy 7’s Cloud Strife and how he would be added to Smash. In the game, the former 1st Class SOLDIER faced the right side, towards the audience.

After imagining how Cloud would stand if his stance was flipped, Sakurai spoke with Square Enix’s Tetsuya Nomura and informed him of his vision and got the green light to go ahead and make the change.

“There is a variety of body movements when considering fighting techniques,” Sephazon translated. Interestingly, there is no set rule for characters holding two items at a time.

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According to Sakurai, his reason for this is to explain the “reason” behind fighters’ movements and positions.

One thing seems to be very clear: a lot of effort goes into making sure something as simple as a battle pose gets the proper treatment from game developers before being implemented in Smash.

With five more DLC characters still to come in Fighters Pass Volume 2, it will be interesting to see if any of them break the traditional mold and standard Sakurai has set.