Smash creator Sakurai opens up about retiring: “I can’t count how many times I’ve wanted to quit”

Alan Bernal

Legendary developer Masahiro Sakurai opened up about his drive to make games, and what would compel the Smash Bros. creator to one day call it quits.

For over 30 years, Sakurai has been in the games industry, leaving his mark on millions of fans around the world. After years of work and struggle, it’s getting closer to the time when people would start thinking about retiring.

On Bandai Namco’s Katsuhiro Harada podcast called ‘Harada’s Bar’, the two touched on the notion of retirement as they approach 60 – an age where some would start transitioning out of the workforce.

Sakurai, 51, has other ideas. Admittedly, he’s thought about quitting multiple times. But not because of societal pressure – even as most of it can come from the very game community he’s helped foster.

(Timestamp at 24:19 for mobile viewers)

Instead, Sakurai is more determined to keep working as long as he can, despite how many times the thought of ending it has come up before.

“I’m also thinking whenever it ends for me, there’s nothing I can do about it,” he said. “Making games is really tough. I can’t count how many times I’ve thought I want to quit.”

What’s stopping him is both the demand for the kind of games he can create and the plain fact that Sakurai thinks he can still contribute to society by working well after his 60s.

But you’re going to live after [60] too so you have to keep working,” Sakurai explained. “Contributing to society even after 60, if you can, is something you have to think about no matter what job you do.

Sakurai talked about retirement from his legendary dev career.

“If you can still do what you’re good at and if there’s demand, you can just do it. If not, you can just change what you do.”

But game development is really hard. Sakurai joked that when fans clamor about what game he wants to make, all he really wants to respond with is: “‘There’s no game I want to make’… is what I’d like to say, but basically games are just more fun to play than make, guys.”

As it stands, it sounds like he is determined to continue his art in the industry until he can’t anymore. According to him, if he ever feels like “nobody likes [the] art and there’s no demand,” then that’s when he’d let himself think about quitting.

“If your heart gets broken you can quit. But if not and there’s demand, you can keep doing it forever.”

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About The Author

Alan is a former staff writer for Dexerto based in Southern California who covered esports, internet culture, and the broader games/streaming industry. He is a CSUF Alum with a B.A. in Journalism. He's reported on sports medicine, emerging technology, and local community issues. Got a tip or want to talk?

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